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It’s Not YOU; It’s THEM! -  Cutting Through The BS of Psychological Projection

It’s Not YOU; It’s THEM! - Cutting Through The BS of Psychological Projection

By Coach Pav

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Forget that whole “it’s not you, it’s me” breakup line. Sometimes in life, it really is THEM, not you. 

 

We all have one too many gossippers or nay-sayers in our lives. They’re the people who try to put us down or place limitations on us. No matter what we do, we’re never good enough, smart enough, skilled enough, old enough, whatever enough. Not enough. 

I’ve encountered more than my fair share of these people throughout my life. They’d say things like “Oh, you can’t possibly do that; it’s too hard!” or “I know someone who did that and they failed miserably. What makes you think you’ll do any better?” Or the always helpful, “Are you sure you want to break up with him? You know, you’re not a spring chicken anymore. Where else will you find a man like that again?”

I’m sure you’re imagining people in your own life who have said things along these lines at one point or another. You might have taken their “advice” and lived to regret it. Or, maybe you ignored them, but now you have to hear about it every time you see them.

Here’s the thing.

 

These people aren’t concerned for your best interests. If they were, they’d shut up and listen to you! No, what they’re doing is projecting their own fears and insecurities onto YOU.

 

Maybe they tried to do something similar before and failed; your success would undermine their experiences and force them to accept their failure. Or, maybe they had a bad breakup before and haven’t found a way to move on; seeing you miserable makes them feel better about being unattached. 


Even if these people have had painful life experiences, you can’t let them bring you down.

 

You’re not responsible for their unhappiness. Accepting their negativity into your life will only cause you more heartache. The sooner you realize this and snap out of it, the better off you are. 

 

Understanding Psychological Projection

Sigmeund Freud was the first psychologist to coin the term “projection” to refer to the experience of placing feelings or emotions onto someone else instead of dealing with the unwanted feelings yourself.

Freud noticed some of his patients doing this. For instance, a woman who had slept with someone else would become suspicious that her husband was cheating on her and lash out at him. Instead of dealing with her actions (and the consequences they brought), she projected them onto her husband.

You might even be guilty of this, without realizing it. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you are.

 

It’s natural for us to project how we feel onto others at one point or another. Once you recognize what projection looks like, you can take steps to stop yourself from doing it to others.


Projection is a coping mechanism, a very unhealthy one. If you’re projecting, you can stop by taking a step back to assess the situation and start dealing with your feelings. However, it’s a lot more difficult to recognize when someone is projecting onto you because you aren’t necessarily privy to their thoughts and experiences.

 

People tend to project when they can’t admit they’re wrong about something.

 

For example, instead of admitting that her relationship failed and accepting the lessons she learned, your aunt might say, “you won’t ever find a man like that again!” when she hears about your breakup. It’s easier to put you down than it is to face her feelings of rejection, guilt, fear, sadness, and whatever else she might be going through. 

Now that you know...The next time someone is trying to project their own fears and insecurities onto you, "It's not you; It's them".

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