Projection: Don’t Take The Bait!

At some point in our lives, we have been the victims of projection. What is projection? Projection is a coping mechanism we use when our ego feels fragile. We do this by disengaging from the characteristics in ourselves we deem unattractive and then attribute these characteristics to another person. As human beings, we seek to cope with our insecurities by projecting onto others. Frequently, we are unaware of this behavior since avoiding focus on ourselves is the very reason we project.

Here’s an example: Let’s say recently you have been feeling guilty about not spending enough time with your mother. You’ve been wondering if you have been selfish. Your sister calls. You tell your sister that she has been acting selfish lately because she hasn’t spent much time with mom. In other words, the selfish characteristics you see in yourself are too painful to admit to. You decide to give the characteristics to your sister as your way to cope. Taking the focus off yourself and placing it onto your sister helps you to avoid dealing with the feelings you may have about your mother, your own selfish behavior, etc.

When we are the victims of the projections of others, we can react in a number of ways. One of these ways is a counter-projection. A counter-projection is the act of the victim projecting back at the projector as a way to cope. This is usually expressed as an explanation or retaliation.

Why would a victim respond with counter-projection? The victim could be coping with the frustration of being the victim or could be battling the fact that the projection could be triggering experiences of psychological trauma that is lying dormant in the victim.

So what is the best way to deal with the projections of others? As difficult as it may be, the best way to handle being the victim is to ignore the behavior of the projector. Entertaining the behavior will keep the behavior alive. The projector will continue to ignore their feelings and will continue focusing on others. Ignoring the projector will only leave the projector alone with their feelings to deal with.

It is very difficult not to take the bait of projection. It becomes easier if you realize that despite the fact that these projections may be directed toward you, they truly say nothing about you and your character.


Self-Worth vs. Self-Esteem

Hello all! I hope you are enjoying your afternoon. I want to discuss something today that I feel is of great importance.
The differences between self-worth and self-esteem. Although these two are related as cousins would be, they are not quite the same. I have heard many people state these phrases as if they are interchangeable though. So what are the differences? Self-esteem is based on the confidence we have in our abilities. While self-worth is how much we value ourselves or how much we actually believe we deserve these abilities. I like to use an example to demonstrate these differences. Let’s say you are a student who is studying for a test. The test comes around and you feel confident in your abilities to do well. You receive the test back and what do you know? You received a perfect score. It was your abilities that helped you get the score. But you can’t help but wonder if you truly deserved this score? Let’s say some of your thoughts could range from you thinking you deserve to pass but don’t believe you deserved a perfect score. Or possibly you may wonder why you got a better score than your classmate Sara , who clearly deserves more than you.
I have found through my practice that a lot of clients of mine who struggle with the need to reach perfection struggle with self-worth issues. Sometimes as children they were told that they were not good enough or didn’t deserve. These views were sometimes views other family members shared and were passed down to children when they were most vulnerable (usually before the age of 5 years old).
So as you can see, these two work together but are very different. An individual may have a sense of self-esteem but that won’t always translate to a high sense of self-worth.
So as I wrap-up, there is something I’d like to ask you? Sort of like some food for thought. Do you struggle with self-worth issues? Do you find yourself trying to figure out how to correct them?