MEANING: An intense emotional feeling that was forged in a past, deeply painful experience which we project into a current situation of any relationship.
What does this then look like in an every day scenario? Let’s say someone feels insecure in their intimate relationship. They may feel insecure because they are jealous by nature or they could have experienced a cheating spouse in a previous relationship. This insecurity rarely leaves them and the moment it rears its little head, they will project this insecurity into a situation in their current relationship.
For instance. Spouse B comes home a bit later than usual from work. Spouse A had spent most of the “bit late” time projecting his insecurities on to the current situation and when spouse B walks in she is immediately confronted with something like, “So, did you enjoy his company?” or, “Is he rich?” or, “Does he have a bigger dick than me?”
Spouse B is completely confounded about the attack and if this has happened many times in the past will be frustrated and exhausted by it.
Another scenario may be that you are in a social situation with a group of people, You walk out of the room and as you step back in you see two people talking quietly. Your insecurity about people speaking about you behind your back kicks in and you immediately assume they are talking about you. This insecurity stems from low self esteem or a past situation where this kind of talk deeply hurt you.
Without thinking you confront the two with challenging body language and may ask, “And what are you two saying about me?” The surprise that may be reflected on the faces of the two concerned may even be interpreted as guilt and the already-inflamed conversation becomes even more confrontational.
It is unpleasant for everybody present. It seems that no matter how much the two people deny having spoken about the other, the other’s hurt and insecure feelings do not dissipate. They may be put on hold until they encounter another situation onto which they can project their insecurity. This may then come up as a projection like, “Do not insult my intelligence. Say what ever you want to say to my face.”
If scenarios like this occur constantly in any relationship, the relationship WILL be negatively affected and may even end if this type of projection goes on indefinitely. The recipient of the projection will begin to find it impossible to be in such a relationship because no matter what one does, the other will consistently project their past pain all over a current situation.
It becomes unbearable for both the person projecting, because they feel they are under covert attack constantly, and, those on which the stuff is consistently projected will feel they have to walk on eggs because they never know where the next test or confrontation will come from.
It is tedious, hurtful, unkind and exhausting. This is of course a self fulfilling prophesy for the person who is projecting and they feel that all their relationships are the same and therefor all the people they meet and encounter have the same negative tendencies.
They simply are not aware that they themselves are projecting their insecurities onto a current situation and that what they fear has not actually happened anywhere else except in their own minds. Those who are on the receiving end though will get to a saturation point and they will then seriously get upset, with good reason.
They will probably set a boundary in place in an attempt to curb such attacks, which will then be interpreted by the person who is projecting, as rejection. They may storm off in a proverbial huff, end the relationship and sit an brew about it for weeks to come. This may then turn into a blame game and full victim consciousness may ensue where they again project that “all people are the same,” and “I should just not make friends,” and “after everything I have done for them, this is how I get thanked.”
This is a perpetual spiral of dread both in themselves and those onto whom they project their stuff. Until and unless those who project begin to understand how projection works and that it stems from within themselves, they will seldom be able to change their own behaviour and will thus continue to experience the same dysfunctional relationships over and over again.
As they say in the classics, one cannot heal until and unless one sees a problem.