Psychological Projection

“Projecting our problems onto other people”

Psychological projection is the phenomenon whereby one projects one’s own thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals, parents, children, neighbors, other drivers, political figures, racial groups, states and countries, also occurs).

According to the theories of Sigmund Freud, psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so on onto someone else (usually another person, but psychological projection onto animals and inanimate objects also occurs). The principle of projection is well-established in psychology.

An illustration would be an individual who feels dislike for another person, but whose unconscious mind does not allow them to become aware of this negative emotion. Instead of admitting to themselves that they feel dislike for someone,  they project their dislike onto him, so that the individual’s conscious thought is not “I don’t like Bob,” but “Bob doesn’t seem to like me or I do not like that certain behavior that Bob does.”

It is “the operation of expelling feelings or wishes the individual finds wholly unacceptable – too shameful, too obscene, too dangerous – by attributing them to another”.

Projection concerns externalizing the issues that we need to deal with ourselves. Usually we project onto others issues and problems that we need to address within ourselves, or are unable to manage properly. Projection is irresponsible behavior as we dump our problem onto somebody else. We justify these projections by blaming someone or something outside for the emotions we do not want to feel. We project our disappointments and problems onto other people, it is somehow their fault, we become a blamer. Ultimately it is the person who projects that loses, as they never really sort out their own problems.

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About Brent P.

Editor-in-Chief at TheRightPlanet.com, writer, tech editor, software engineer, web developer, graphic design, anti-Marxist, pro-American guitar shredding Glock owner.
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