I had a student ask me today what I meant by “Projecting” as I’ve used the term several times recently and used it with the student as well who was projecting the wrong things on women. “Women don’t want sex, these women hate men, these women just like testing.” The student was the one actually portraying this behavior, but he was projecting these thoughts as if the women he was gaming were actually thinking them, when they weren’t.

Projecting is when your inner thoughts and feelings get projected onto someone else, or you feel they have the same feelings as you. For instance say you see someone post on facebook they are getting rid of someone in their life. If you are going through something similar and hurt by it, you will say, “I understand how hurt you feel.” even though the other person may not feel hurt in the least. Projection can also involve feelings of jealousy. A person acting in good faith, who has your back, tells you you are showing signs of having issues or problems. The natural defense mechanism that many people have is to say, “It’s not my problem, it’s your problem” and will project their insecurities on that other person even though they are giving them cogent advice without any insecurities or problems. It’s really hard to catch projection because it takes an outside observer to notice it.

My ex wife used to project all the time. “You are buying this camera because you plan on leaving me!” She was all the while finding justification to leave me, in order to protect herself from me leaving her, even though that was never the case. I started questioning myself when she did this too, and my outside observer (a psychologist) pointed out how she was finding ways to deflect her insecurities onto me so much so that I have been rather keen on finding people who do this. Such as a woman who says “All of the good ones are taken.” “The good one’s keep taking other women, it’s not my fault I can’t find one.” is the subtext of that statement and projects that good men can’t pick the right women. (When the true problem is that woman can’t pick nor attract a good man for the life of her no matter the blatant signs right in front of her.)

So when I give advice, your reaction is your guide. The hardest things to change that need changing are sometimes the things people react strongest to and say they don’t need help. For instance an alcoholic. They drink. Then blame their wife for being a nag and a bitch for telling them to quit that it makes them drink more. OR an abusive husband who says, “See what you made me do? I’m a dick and hit you because of you!” Sometimes all I have to say is “OPEN!” and guys go into their defensive shells and then say I’m a shitty instructor because all I kept saying was
“Open” when they were defending their shell of never opening. Or I tell people in my doctors office to lose weight. I get the answer, “Just because you’re thin you are being arrogant telling me to lose weight. Fat people have the right to stay fat.” Doctors as paid advisors have the right and expertise to tell you you need to lose weight and get healthier for your health because that’s what you hired them for. Calling the doctor arrogant is a projection that defends the person from facing the need and reasons to lose weight. (The arrogance truly lies with the fat person who is defending being unhealthy to a doctor!)

So projection is a defense mechanism where you throw your insecurities and fears onto an object or person. Where you accuse someone of feeling just like you do only to protect your ego from addressing your own needs or to create a narcissistic space that protects you from having to hear the truth and fix any problems with it.

In Shakespeare’s play and history, the Julius Caesar story is a prime example. Caesar had the state and senate’s success in mind, but Brutus and the senators felt he was getting “ambitious.” The true people who were getting ambitous were the senators themselves. But in order to justify their want for power, they stabbed caesar to death all in the guise of his “Ambition” despite his rule bringing some of the brightest times to Rome and the Senate. Many times projection causes a “Kill the messenger” mentality. Caesar was attempting to keep things as is, but saw ambitious factions in the senate. When he noticed, the ambitious factions accused him of ambition. Then Mark Antony’s famous speech about how Caesar was not ambitious, but the ones who stabbed him were. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” (Sorry that’s the shakespearean English major coming out of me)

So when receiving advice, whether asked for or not, you end up taking a longer time to improve from that advice if you start projecting to defend yourself from the advice rather than see it for what it is. Your wingmen will sometimes enhance that narcissistic space and become enablers. Clear the mind. Meditate, and see that the truth comes to you.