In my last article I explained the term psychological projection and how to save our peace when others project onto us.

I analyzed the cues that help discover when another person is projecting onto us. 

In Summary, Projection is when a person attributes their feelings onto another person. Humans do it all the time, since we all have our individual “lense” through which we see the world. Based on our life experiences and the experiences we have made with other people, we interpret the world.

There is nothing wrong with it – it just is. 

It allows us to form deep connections onto another person – because in the end we do not know how the other person is feeling, so we simply interpret their emotions based on our scope of experiences. Projection can become problematic though. And that is whenever a person is feeling insecure, anxious or has desires that they find hard to comprehend and they project those emotions onto another person.

Projection is protection, in that sense. It allows the individual to transfer difficult feelings onto someone else and therefore they do not need to confront these feelings within.

And here lays the problem. 

When we project our difficult to comprehend emotions onto another person, we do not face them ourselves. We deprive ourselves of the chance to grow and we bring trouble into our relationships with other people -namely those we project these feelings onto.

A couple having an argument – projection as the cause?

How to realize our own projections

The first phase of breaking free from projection is to become mindful. We need to realize when our emotions are a little “too much”.

In my previous article I gave the example on how to identify the attempt of another person projecting onto us. As an example I have given the harsh reactions of our partner over a forgotten item on the grocery list. We are all human and things happen. Sometimes we simply forget about things and there is rarely a bad intention behind. If our partner reacts extremely sensitive to us forgetting their favorite cookies, for example, then something deeper might be at play. They may feel insecure and see us forgetting their favorite cookies as a sign of them not being important enough and they accuse us of being selfish.

I know it may sound dramatic to take the step from a cookie to low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness – But feel into it for a moment and see if it makes sense (and maybe you can even remember a moment when you felt insecure, deep down – for example when someone canceled a date with you or came too late and you took it personal). 

All those strong emotions are a clue for us to listen what is really happening inside. Step back for a second and feel into why you are emotional now. What does it do to you? Can you try and make a connection from your feeling to what has caused it?

Examples of projection

I feel disappointed because my partner arrived too late to our date. –> It makes me feel like they do not value my time. –> I am not important to them. –> I accuse them of not loving me enough. This enforces the feeling I have of myself (unworthiness). 

Or to stay with the cookies: I am angry because my partner forgot the cookies. –> I feel as if it is not important for them to make me happy. –> I am not important.

In both of these examples, own feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem are being projected on to the partners actions. This projects the feelings we have of ourselves, deep inside. It probably has nothing to do with our partners actions, but all with the way we see ourselves.

Observe your emotion when something triggers you. What does it do to you? Where do you feel it? How do you feel it? Instead of turning away from an emotion – dive deeper. An emotion is just an emotion, it is not harming you. You just feel – it shows that you are alive. A complex human system, facing the world through your own, innate and individual lense. There is nothing wrong with you feeling and you do not need to fight it. Observe, be curios. 

How to solve psychological projection

But how can we stay drama free and learn from our emotions?

Realize your triggers. Keep a journal and write down whenever you feel overwhelming emotions towards other people.

Write down the superficial reason, the emotion felt and identify and see if you can identify what the emotion does to you and your self-believe.

Rain is a technique that guides through the different steps:

R – Recognize what is going on

A – Accept what you are feeling

I – Investigate with kindness

N – Natural Awareness (be aware of the feeling without identifying with it. For example: Anger is an emotion. There is a feeling of anger. But you are NOT that feeling. Instead of “I am angry” — > “I have a feeling of anger”. This helps in becoming an observer instead of a co-driver). 

I have first read this technique in “The Craving Mind” written by Neuroscientist and Psychiatrist Judson Brewer. I recommend this book to anyone dealing with issues related to addiction or seemingly uncontrollable cravings. 

Being a psychiatrist, he became especially interested in researching Buddhist meditation techniques (such as awareness) in comparison to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He describes the effectiveness of Buddhist meditation techniques and decided to focus on Mindfulness in his approach. 

He testifies that mindfulness was in some researches even more effective than CBD (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). 

Mindfulness can help in curing not only anxiety and cravings – but also lead to better relationships. When we identify our triggers, our emotions and our projections, we set the stage to let go of old engrained habits. We allow for new patterns – for self-growth and eventually growth in our relationships.

By realizing that we are the drivers and are in control of our actions, we can choose different routes and let go of victim mentality.

Give it a try. And as with everything; In order to feel the benefits, one needs to practice. It takes time and dedication. And it might not be easy. But it is so rewarding. 

When you realize you have been projecting onto your partner (or friend); step back. If you feel that you want to explain your emotion to them or apologize for your reaction, then do so. Own it. It is your drama, not theirs. Learn to resolve your insecurities and become drama-free.

You might also enjoy:

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.