_When a person has uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, they may project these onto other people, assigning the thoughts or feelings they can’t handle on to a convenient alternative target.
It may also be projection when we ignore attributes of other people, which we are uncomfortable with. We assume that they are like us, and in doing so we allow ourselves to ignore those attributes they have with which we are uncomfortable.
Projection also appears where we see our own traits in other people. So we see our friends as being more like us than they really are.
• Neurotic projection perceives others as operating in ways one unconsciously finds objectionable in yourself.
• Complementary projection is assuming that others do, think and feel in the same way as you.
• Complimentary projection is assuming that others can do things as well as you.
I do not like another person. But I have a value that says I should like everyone. So I project onto them that they do not like me. This allows me to avoid them and also to handle my own feelings of dislike.
An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.
A woman who is attracted to a fellow worker accuses the person of sexual advances.
Projecting thoughts or emotions onto others allows the person (projector) to consider them and how dysfunctional they are, but without feeling the attendant discomfort of knowing that these thoughts and emotions are their own. We can thus criticize the other person, distancing ourselves from our own dysfunction.
Freud’s explanation is that the ego perceives dysfunction from 'somewhere' and then seeks to locate that somewhere. The super ego warns of punishment if that somewhere is internal, so the ego places it in a more acceptable external place - often in convenient other people.
To communicate authentically with other people, avoid projecting your woes onto them. When you see others in a negative light, think: are you projecting? Also understand that when others are criticising you, they may well be criticising a projection of themselves.
NLP is concerned with the interaction between the outer world inner worlds: how we take in and make sense of external events and how we put our inner thoughts and understandings back out into the outer world.
Mum, NLP Trainer & Master Practitioner & Life Coach