Do you know what drives me absolutely bananas? A bunch of stuff actually, but today I’m going to focus on the phenomenon of creating your own catastrophe by projecting thoughts and feelings on to others.
I hate when people go about creating problems where none should exist to fuel their egos and/or delusions. My mom is the worst about this. “You’re mad at me. I didn’t do anything wrong! Stop being mad at me!” She would say after doing or saying something offensive. Even if what she actually had to say didn’t make me mad, after a few hours of listening to her project her own insecurities onto me I would be mad at her and then it would start with the: “I knew you were mad at me! I knew you were going to do this!”
Well of course! After so many hours/days/whatever of someone projecting the thoughts and feelings they “just know” that you have onto you, most likely you’re going to give in to what it is that they’re trying to thrust upon you, or get frustrated and lash out. It’s one of the hallmarks of true malignant narcissism. Everything revolves around the projector, and if they don’t get the reaction they expect from you? They start to panic, as it shakes the unstable core of their identity until they reach so far to find what supply they want or need, it borders on psychosis.
It is one of the fastest ways to piss me off. “I know you’re feeling *insert whatever feeling here*” or “I know you’re only doing this because *whatever reason*” No… It pisses me off even more when those who want to project onto me use circumstances beyond my control to validate themselves, or make any number of wild assumptions.
A perfect example is my most recent triggering event. I certainly didn’t plan for Chester Bennington’s death, nor did I really grasp how deeply it would affect/trigger me until after the fact. That’s what triggers are. You don’t expect something to set you off, but it does and when it does you have no control over what you feel only how you behave in the midst of your feelings. Making outlandish accusations about why anyone feels a certain way is ludicrous.
Another good example: me speaking out against absuve women. Do you want to know why I am so adamant about speaking out against abusive women? Because 90% of the abusers in my life have been women, and they’ve been allowed to continue their behaviors unchecked. I myself have been abusive in the past and didn’t even realize it until fairly recently because I’m a woman. No one called me out on it and assumed that my victims “deserved” it. Now that I know better, I’m going to speak up about it to educate those otherwise unaware.
I want to be clear here: noticing an unhealthy behavior and coming to someone with a genuine concern isn’t projecting. Expressing your own opinions about how someone’s behaviors effect you isn’t projecting. Asking questions about how someone is feeling or behaving isn’t projecting. Arguing with someone, on the other hand, when they have given you a clear answer to your concerns because you “just know” they have to be feeling a certain way? That’s projecting, and that’s a problem.
I struggled a lot with projection myself, before I ended up in recovery. I know I did. Growing up with my mom always invalidating anything I felt, and always projecting her own feelings on to others I thought that was just what you did when you loved someone. You knew them better than they knew themselves if you really loved them, and it was your job to take care of them when they couldn’t figure it out. I lost a lot of friends, and made a few enemies with my projections. Before I learned that I had inadvertently adopted my mom’s unhealthy behavior, I couldn’t understand why. Now that I understand what projection is, and why it’s unhealthy, I’m almost hyperaware of it. I’m consistently checking in with myself to prevent my own projections onto others, and I’m aware of people attempting to project their own feelings onto me.
I have a very short fuse when it comes to being projected upon, but then I have to remind myself that maybe these people throwing projections at me don’t understand what they’re doing. In the same way that I didn’t understand why I couldn’t keep any friends around before I figured it out. So I’m really trying to work on developing my patience, and offering people more understanding before immediately going on the defensive. I’m trying, but argh does it ever annoy me.