Thoughtful Thursday #238 – Psychological Projection

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Projection is something we all do and the subject is uncomfortable. Here is an article from Everydayhealth.com that explains psychological projection in simple language.

Psychological Projection: Dealing With Undesirable Emotions

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings. Have you ever disliked someone only to become convinced that the person had a vendetta against you? This is a common example of psychological projection. Luckily, there are methods you can use to identify why you are projecting your emotions and put a stop to this coping mechanism.

The Basics of Psychological Projection
The theory of psychological projection was developed by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist commonly referred to as the “father of psychoanalysis.” For this reason, psychological projection is sometimes called “Freudian projection.” During his sessions with patients, Freud noticed that they would sometimes accuse others of having the same feelings they themselves were demonstrating. By engaging in this behavior, the patient was better able to deal with the emotions he or she was experiencing.

The classic example of Freudian projection is that of a woman who has been unfaithful to her husband but who accuses her husband of cheating on her. Another example of psychological projection is someone who feels a compulsion to steal things then projects those feelings onto others. She might begin to fear that her purse is going to be stolen or that she is going to be shortchanged when she buys something.

Projection is not always as dramatic or as easily identifiable, however. An instance of projection that most people can relate to is when they come across someone they do not like, but are forced to interact with on a somewhat-polite level. For example, Jessica begins to resent her sister-in-law, Carla, for being so close to her husband.

Jessica knows that she has to be nice to Carla for her husband’s sake. Over time, however, Jessica begins to notice that Carla does not like her either.

Whenever there is a family gathering, Jessica thinks that Carla is being snippy with her, especially when Jessica’s husband is in the room. Jessica explains to her husband that she has tried as hard as she can, but the reason why she does not like Carla is because Carla does not like her. As you can see, Jessica has projected her feelings of dislike and resentment onto Carla.

Why Do We Project?
As mentioned earlier, projection is used as a defense mechanism, and defense mechanisms are used to cope with feelings and emotions that we have trouble expressing or coming to terms with.

To return to the Jessica and Carla example: Jessica has a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she resents her sister-in-law. She may feel guilty about being jealous of the time Carla spends with her husband, or she may worry that her feelings will be noticed by other members of the family, who will then think badly of her. Jessica then subconsciously projects her feelings onto Carla which gives her an excuse for disliking her. Instead of having to face these feelings of dislike and resentment on her own, she is able to project her feelings on another person.

Psychological projection is one of many defense mechanisms people engage in on a regular basis.

Other common defense mechanisms include:

Denial – Refusing to admit to yourself that something is real (e.g., not believing the doctor when she tells you some particularly bad news about your health).

Distortion – Changing the reality of a situation to suit your needs (e.g., thinking that your boyfriend cheated on you because he was scared of commitment).

Passive Aggression – Indirectly acting out your aggression (e.g., purposely parking in your co-worker’s parking spot as retribution for a previous dispute).

Repression – Covering up feelings or emotions instead of coming to terms with them (e.g., being unable to recall the details of a car crash you were involved in – the brain sometimes purposely “loses” these memories to help you cope).

Sublimination – Converting negative feelings into positive actions (e.g., cleaning the house whenever you are angry about something).

Dissociation – Substantially but temporarily changing your personality to avoid feeling emotion (e.g., trying to “keep yourself together” at a funeral for the benefit of others).

Defense mechanisms are not always unhealthy. In fact, some defense mechanisms are essential to coping with stressful events. For example, humor is an example of a positive defense mechanism that people employ to deal with stress in life. Using humor in a difficult situation allows you to get your feelings out into the open and also brings pleasure to others by making them laugh.

How to Stop Projecting
Unfortunately, most people do not realize that they have succumbed to psychological projection until it is too late. However, there are steps you can take to identify whether you are engaging in psychological projection in order to avoid doing it in the future.

A good place to start is to examine the negative relationships in your life. Who don’t you get along with at work or in your family? Do you feel as though someone is out to get you? Try to determine where the animosity began. In some cases, you may find that speaking with a therapist will help you examine these relationships more honestly and openly than you are able to do by yourself.

Once you have identified that you are engaging in psychological projection, you will become more aware of this tendency during future interactions. Try to face problems and disputes head on rather than becoming defensive. The key is to be able to recognize when you are using a defense mechanism and learn how to respond in a more positive manner.

Different Types of Psychological Projection
Projection is not always a negative mechanism. Although the Freudian theory of projection assumes that the projected feelings tend to be undesirable, there are other types of projection that are more positive and productive.

Complementary projection, for example,is a type of projection where one assumes that other people share the same opinions that he or she does. This phenomenon is quite common. For instance, whenever you hear a story about an animal that has been mistreated, you are shocked to discover that not everyone shares the same views regarding animal cruelty as you. Likewise, although you cannot possibly see how other people perceive color, you assume that everyone sees the color blue the same way you do. In this sense, you are projecting your perception of color onto everyone else.

Complimentary projection is slightly different and not as common. People who employ complimentary projection assume that everyone has the same skills and ability as they do. For example, someone who is skilled in the kitchen might assume that everyone else is able to make a soufflé with as much ease as they do. Of course, we all know that this is not the case.

Psychological projection is not the healthiest way to deal with emotions, however, it is a difficult habit for some people to break. Next time you begin to project your feelings onto someone else, stop and ask yourself why you are engaging in this behavior. You will find that it is much easier to deal with the monsters in your head rather than project the negative emotions you are experiencing onto others.

How Do You Deal with Difficult Emotions?
It’s natural to experience anger, jealousy, hurt – even though your mother told you that “a frown doesn’t suit your pretty face, Dear!” But have you ever felt so overwhelmed by these emotions, or that you spend too much energy getting over them? Everyone could use some healthy options for dealing with difficult emotions. Find out how well you deal with suffering in this difficult emotions quiz.

Thoughtful Thursday #237 – Bad News Good News

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Bad News : trauma recovery work never ends. Trauma stays in your DNA, in your subconscious, in your dreams, in your worries, in your decision-making, in your choices. Trauma is embedded in your cells.

Good News : trauma recovery is indeed possible, trauma recovery is uncomfortable and our defenses will throw many distractions at us because they think it’s dangerous to feel. When we are ready and can sit with being uncomfortable without running away something happens. We become healed, because we didn’t run away, we allowed and trusted the organic process of feeling what we have avoided for so long and allowed the experience to fade away. Is recovery a simple linear process, not at all. The results are worth the effort.

Thoughtful Thursday #235 – Mind Blindness

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Mind blindness is my code for believing anything you are told or believe to be true, especially when it is not.

Mind blindness causes prejudice, destructive false beliefs, tons of fear, missed opportunities, misrepresentation, isolation, sadness and creates many reasons to thwart camaraderie and friendship.

It is no easy feat to see our own mind blindness yet so easy to see it in others. It is easier to judge rather than see our own huge false beliefs disguised by mind blindness.

First, let’s start by uncovering our own false beliefs about ourselves, let’s stop beating ourselves up as not good enough, or rich enough, or wise enough or good-looking enough.

Let’s acknowledge that we have our blind spots but we have so much to add to the world. Let’s be open and honest enough to examine and question our own mind blindness.

Ask questions, why do I believe as I do, why do those I know act as they do, what is the truth behind that mystery that is bothering you.

You may be very surprised at the result of questioning your own mind blindness. The more we question what we believe the more open we we are to understanding no only ourselves but most other people too.

 

Thoughtful Thursday – #234 – Emotional Triggers

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Sometimes we feel weird all of a sudden and don’t know why. This can be an emotional trigger. Perhaps you were reminded of a bad time in your life and the feelings and memories are buried deep in your mind and body.

If you can detach from the trigger for a moment by writing or some other grounding activity you will get a better perspective of how your inner world is working. Remember: a lot of recall is subconscious and it usually comes up as a feeling then a thought then an action.

With compassion, acknowledge what your inner world is sharing with you  and thank it for sharing the hurt and trauma of a long-held memory.

By this method you can process and rearrange any painful memories.

 

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday #233 – The Common Denominator

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Shortly after any horrific shooting it is common that politicians and rallies to hop on the bandwagon to complain that the common denominator is  guns. Take away guns and there will be no more shootings.

That is not true, I can’t understand why ninety-nine percent of the public don’t mention that the common denominator is mental health. Normal people don’t go around shooting people, nor do they commit crimes. Most people are living their lives as best they can with families and jobs and everyday ups and downs.

There must have been red flags all along with these perpetrators. But what can the average person do about it.

How about starting to keep notes about what is seen and heard. If anything happens at least there will be some log to back up much-needed treatment. Anonymously report suspicious activity to the authorities. Do take any precautions to keep yourself safe.

The mentally ill cannot be forced into treatment but they can get help especially if they repeatedly violate the law, have chronic homelessness, aggressiveness and so on and you can be part of helping them. Look up Laura’s Law and Kendra’s Law.

Mental illness runs in my family. There were very little services available those many years ago and as a result there was so much violence and dysfunction and damage emotionally, financially and physically.

We live in wonderful times where finding information and services for mental health issues are readily available. If you or someone you know has mental health issues or need services, get on the internet and search for information talk to your doctor. Keep searching for the services you need. There is no reason to live in the dark, disturbing world of mental illness.

 

Begin Again

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purelysimplewords

OK, you started something and didn’t finish it. You made a commitment and didn’t follow through. You promised something and totally forgot. You got down on yourself for not finishing, not following through and forgetting what was important.

Stop a moment. Without judgement…………………

Begin again at that project, begin again on that commitment, renew those promises.

Begin as many times as it takes, reorganize your methods, figure out what you don’t want to commit to.

There are no rules about beginnings and endings. You make your own rules. Begin as many times as it takes to do what you decide to do. Help yourself in creating your own life. Begin as many times as you need. It’s a perfectly OK thing to do.

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Thoughtful Thursday #232 Grief

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It is not easy to feel grief, we avoid it at all costs with distractions galore.

Allowing yourself to feel grief and cry and rage and weep are very healing actions to take you forward.

Grief that is not felt is invisible and holds you back. Clues that you are not feeling grief is lots of unfounded fear, perhaps you feel numb, anxious.

How can you get to a point where you can organically feel grief? Writing, talking to someone you trust, exercise, getting educated on recognizing grief, find a support group, being really good to yourself because you are hurting.

Grief work is a very personal journey, there is no timeframe, no right and wrong to process grief and your coping strategy will belong only to you. Only you have to validate this.

Is grief work easy, no it is not. It’s uncomfortable, the good news is that every opportunity you have to process and express grief the quicker it goes away.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #231 – Questions

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Question everything you do. What is the reason and purpose of your behavior.

Question the motives of others. Ask why, ask for clarification.

It’s perfectly acceptable to try to make sense of your life and circumstances.

If someone has a problem with you asking questions, ask why?

You have the right and responsibility to yourself and your life to make it the best, you never need to justify bettering your life and life education to anyone.

You only have to answer to yourself.

Thoughtful Thursday #230 – Wholeness

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We look for emotional wholeness all the time whether we are aware of it or not. The dark side of finding wholeness is through addictions, busy work, false beliefs about ourselves, looking outside of ourselves for answers to our emptiness just to name a few.

Life can send us confusing curves, our self-esteem is crushed more than once, and none of us is whole all the time, this is the bad news.

The good news is achieving wholeness is a process. As Carl Jung states wholeness is a process of letting go, change and growth.

Your mental health requires that you find your own balance of physical, spiritual and mental health.

Is it an easy or linear process? Nope. The process is one day at a time, one moment at a time, all as you live your life with tons of distractions.

The benefit you get from finding a way to be balanced in your physical, spiritual and mental health is priceless. You create the life that is exclusively for you. How cool is that. Way Cool.

Carry on…………………..