Tag Archives: feelings

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 #226 – Emotional Numbing

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Emotional numbing comes in two forms:

  1. detaching emotionally as a coping method to avoid triggering overwhelming feelings.
  2. detaching emotionally as a form of keeping boundaries and protecting from any psychic trauma.

What does it feel like to be emotionally numb? You feel like a ghost watching and observing others go along in their lives and you feel so invisible that you can’t interact with anyone. This state of mind is very painful. You feel unfocused and ungrounded. Can’t communicate or think straight.

There can be many causes for emotional numbing only you can say how it occurred in your life.

So how do you manage in the meantime.

  1. identify triggers, what caused your initial shutdown.
  2. write it out uncensored on your computer or by hand.
  3. talk to a therapist or trusted friend.
  4. stay busy.
  5. exercise.
  6. eat and sleep well.
  7. remember, the feeling is temporary.

It may take some time to come out of emotional numbness but that is the OK. Mental health is very important and it takes time to understand what is going on in our minds. Is it a linear process, not at all. Healing has its own time table, have patience with yourself and in the meantime take really good care of yourself. You are worth it.

Thoughtful Thursday – #224 – What’s Wrong With Me?

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You feel sad, people are rude, you are munching on junk food, your bag of chips is empty and you are down in the dumps.

Well pumpkin, take heart, humans have feelings, some can be explained and some are random. You have permission to be human, you don’t have to control your feelings.

Try to let feelings move through you before reacting. Acknowledge those uncomfortable feelings and release them. Will you be able to do this on a first try? Nope. Try as many times as you need to.

Feelings have life spans, some are quick, some last a while, some seem to never go away. Resist the urge to analyze every feeling or thought.

Here are some suggestions for self-care while you are feeling a little or a lot off.

  1. talk kindly and with compassion to yourself.
  2. it’s OK to feel your feelings.
  3. read a book.
  4. listen to music.
  5. find a healthy distraction like cute animal videos, take a walk in nature, go to a gym.
  6. talk to a trusted friend.
  7. light a candle.
  8. get together with friends.
  9. be good to your body.
  10. try coloring with your non dominant hand.

As you move through your internal life remember, it’s OK to get good at being good to yourself.

 

 

Recovery and Resiliency

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If there is one thing wonderful about being human it’s the ability to change. When we experience trauma or other upsetting situations we can recover and bounce back and end up thriving. However, the journey is not an easy one. Even though there is no one path to healing there are some guiding principles to recovery.

  1. there are many pathways to recover.
  2. recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  3. recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  4. recovery has cultural dimensions.
  5. recovery is holistic.
  6. recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  7. recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  8. recovery involves a process of healing and self redefinition.
  9. recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  10. recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community
  11. recovery is reality.

The idea here is to find your way to recover. There is no right or wrong way to recover and it is your journey with lots of helpers along the way. Don’t give up.

Helpful Resources

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org

Child Welfare Information Gateway http://www.childwelfare.gov

American Psychiatric Association Answer Center – 1-888-357-7924

American Psychological Association Public Education Line – 1-800-964-2000

 

This list is from Page 19 of Mental Health First Aid USA – for adults assisting young people. ISBN:  978-0-9885176-0-8.

 

Feelings – Darn It

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Those gosh darn feelings can be so annoying. They are looming up to get my attention and I will do almost anything to chase them away. But those pesky feelings keep chasing me.

I use busyness, procrastination, eating, TV and any distraction to keep those uncomfortable feelings of anger, grief, sadness and past memories that need to be processed just under the surface of my awareness.

Hold on one minute. Bashing feelings are not the best way for me to check in with my inner life.

As hard as it is I must be willing to sit quietly and let the feelings come up like waves rising up and crashing on the shore. Let these feelings come in to focus and let them go. Create a tiny space for opening up to my inner life.

This commitment to quiet time creates trust between me and my inner world that I can examine my feelings without judgement and in a very gentle and natural way I can heal.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays # 179 – 15 Minutes

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If you have 15 minutes for yourself what would you do?

Call a friend, Mend some clothing, Paint a picture, Sing a song, Write in stream of consciousness, Meditate, Listen to you favorite music, Draw a picture, Write a positive note to your significant other, Feed your pet some treats, Gaze at the night sky, Sit still in the morning hours before daylight, Read something interesting, Count the stars, Sip a hot beverage, Send good wishes to those in need, Not complain in your voice or head, Just listen intently to your environment.

Finish the list of your favorites.

And you do have 15 minutes anytime you want. Indulge happily.

Thoughtful Thursdays #176 – Internalized Oppression

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Internalized oppression is when we  have been oppressed and unwittingly use the methods of the oppressor against ourselves. The oppressor could be family of origin, your unfulfilling job, negative friends, or any other area that feels oppressive. Wow that is a heavy realization.

How do we recognize this internalized oppression?

  1. Where am I punishing myself. Am I continuing a behavior that is keeping me down.
  2. Are my beliefs based on an oppressors opinion?
  3. Do I want to assimilate or  fit in with my oppressors to feel of value?
  4. Do you have oppressive views of your identity?
  5. Do you believe you have no power?

Here are some remedies. I am sure there are many more.

  1. Stop a negative behavior and sit with the feeling. There’s a good chance there is shame and guilt present. Express any feelings that come up.
  2. You now have permission to have your own opinions and don’t need any validation but your own.
  3. You are not supposed to fit in, you are supposed to be your own person without apologies.
  4. Your identity is your own, no one can tell you who you are.
  5. Power can be overwhelming, take baby steps in reclaiming your personal power.

We learn to oppress ourselves, and it can be unlearned. This is the work of an empowered adult.

So get to work, you are worth it.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays #175 – What Is Necessary to Our Wellbeing

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There are three things necessary to our wellbeing: Identity, Community and Purpose.

However in our fractured world where these things are hard to find, many people, young people especially are lost in the world. The internet doesn’t help. Even though the internet is a tremendous asset there is not much in the way of human interaction. So we become fractured. We lose any sense of identity, community and purpose. We flip from one relationship to another to find our identity, racing from one community to another to feel we fit in, and trying over and over again different causes to feel personally satisfied. Or we can completely shut down.

We can see the lies fed to everyone by invisible agenda makers. These invisible agenda makers know psychology to manipulate those who are searching for their lost identity, community and purpose. Their hidden agenda is to tap into these basic human needs to the detriment of the searcher. These invisible agenda makers come up as extremists groups as political, religious, consumerism and that sneaky minority of those who just hate humanity and are power-hungry to destroy anyone they can.

Let’s find out what our true identity, community and purpose is by not blindly following others but doing the work of learning about ourselves. If you have no sense of identity, find out who you are by your own standards. If you have no community, find like-minded people or create your own community. If you have no sense of purpose, find your passion and go for it.

It’s not easy to go your own way, it’s unknown territory so at times you will feel lonely and lost. That is OK. Sit with the feeling rather than running away from it. When you arrive to the other side you will know more of who you are, have an internal compass that will find the community that loves you and you get up every day happy to live your purpose.

Stop wasting time, learn more about you now.

Black Magic Cake

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I made a cake called Black Magic Cake in honor of the full moon, in honor of my dark side. The side that is hidden, the side with raw emotions. My friend Christopher asked me who I was going to hex with the cake. I got a laugh about that but it made me define just exactly what the dark side is for me.

It is the dark of our emotional life, the part that we cry in the night about. The part that is ashamed and holds secrets that we decided to go to our grave with. It is grief, sadness and mournful pain, the murderous rage and hatred. It is the part that is unhealed.

Making this cake is to give a voice to those uncomfortable feelings that need to be expressed. I usually write them out or do art to express myself but this time I tried something different. I baked a cake.

My advice to you is to unravel those strange feelings and sensations. There are messages there that want to be heard. Honor yourself enough to express yourself in a positive way. If you squash your dark side it has a way of showing up in unhealthy patterns.

Be curious enough to examine your dark side without judgment. There is no right way or wrong way of living your life. It is your path alone and very sacred. Make this journey important. Look at your dark side and be healed.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays #144 – Depression

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Depression – Ugh – That feeling that nothing matters and all is hopeless. But lets take another look. Depression just might be your friend. It is probably telling you something is wrong. Maybe its your job, relationships, the drug you use, the lifestyle you have, and that it’s time for a change.

The reason you feel so bad is that you refuse to listen to the changes you need to make. Change is hard but it’s better than living in a constant state of misery and hopelessness.

Don’t believe the lies that your fear will tell you that you are helpless to change. That is not true. You are capable of doing anything you want to do.

Now get out there and make a plan. Do one baby step. Only baby steps. Only baby steps work. You can do it.