Projection is a quasi-psychological term. When we project, we push out, onto other people, negative experience that is, in fact, internal. Examples could include
Accusing others of harbouring ill-feelings that we ourselves hold
Accusing others of incompetence that is, in reality, ours
Accusing others of being oppressive, while in fact being oppressive ourselves
We do this when we cannot afford to face faults or bad feelings in ourselves.
Here’s an example. Phil wakes up, and remembers all the things he needs to do, that he hasn’t done yet. This makes him feel panicked, and guilty. He gets ready for the day, and the first email he reads is a trivial one, perhaps from a phone company. He has all this negative energy inside him, but he does not want to continue experiencing fear and guilt. So, in an attempt to push it onto someone else, he finds a tiny fault in the correspondence from the phone company, and phones them up. He becomes disproportionately angry, pushing the customer service representative into feeling, guess what, panicked and guilty.
Phil has pushed his angst onto someone else, because he cannot afford to face his own fear, guilt and procrastination. It would be too much for him. So, instinctively, he finds someone else to blame for how he is feeling, and discharges all that negativity onto the third party.
LEARNING NOT TO PROJECT
How can we learn not to project?
I’d suggest working on three things:
Learning to sit with our own feelings, and become an expert in deciphering and describing them
Holding only ourselves accountable for problem resolution
Learning to act peacefully, even when provoked
When things go wrong, I can sometimes feel myself scrabbling for ways to blame others. When I am angry, I start fights. When I feel victimised, I start throwing my weight around. When I am upset, I make things worse.
It’s counterproductive. I can see that nothing good ever comes of this kind of projection. I guess it’s because its a form of deception. I am not truly noticing, and accepting, what I am feeling. I am not taking responsibility for managing my own behaviour, my own weaponry. I can be damaging to others unless I Iearn to be peaceful.
But, when I am wise, I can learn to watch myself carefully. I can learn to catch myself in my own safety net, and look after myself. If I can do that, then I will have no need to project my faults onto others.
I can still be boundaried with other people. But those lines of accountability will come from a kind, shared place. When I am projecting, my controlling nature comes out, and hostility is a likely outcome. When I am simply being kind, I am not trying to control, and friendship is a likely outcome.