Projection in Relationships - What Is It and How to Respond to It?

Do you think your woman has changed and lost interest in you? Well, you think so because she is gloomy and irritable. Maybe it only seems to you? The habit of attributing to others your thoughts, fears, and projecting insecurities can prevent us from being happy.

“You absolutely don’t understand the hints,” “you see everything, you just don’t want to admit it,” “it is so difficult to be with you” - if you have said something like this at least once in your life, then you are familiar with the psychological projection in relationships. To project means to attribute to another person feelings, thoughts, or intentions that actually belong to you. It is the protective mechanism of our psyche that we inherited from childhood: this is how we make the complex external world easier and more understandable. Projection is the inevitable companion of communication even when we are dating women online. But if we resort to it too often, it becomes a problem. So, what is projecting in a relationship? Let’s figure it out!

psychological projection in relationships

What Is Projection in Psychology?

Let’s start with the psychological projection definition. In the classical sense of the definition, projection is a psychological defense mechanism, used by people who ascribe their unacceptable thoughts, emotions, and desires to the environment. However, in a broad sense, the word “projection” is used for any attribution of something yours to other people or objects. We all do this sometimes.

Everyone knows well that people see in the environment what is in themselves. For example, if a person strives for good and joy, then the world for them is joyful and kind. If a person is a pessimist, then the world is gloomy and full of dark colors. However, many people forget about the reverse side of the coin called “projection.” When you accuse people of projecting their own qualities on you, remember that even if they do so, their projection can’t take place from scratch.

Wherever a person looks, everywhere he or she sees their own reflection. That is why projections prevent one from acting adequately on the situation. People who broadcast their negativity to others will respond not to others but their own psychological problems.

Why Do People Project?

All people act based on assessing the situation and their condition. That is, the action is half determined by the environment and what people see in front of them. If we see that people are shouting at us, we will act in accordance with this: shouting in response, closing, running away, beating, speaking calmly, trying to calm down, and nodding. Psychological defense mechanisms help us resolve internal conflicts and deal with anxiety, tension, shame, and other emotions. So, thanks to projection, people can transfer responsibility and guilt for some of their shameful (in their understanding) inclinations to another person, ascribe to him or her their qualities or feelings. It is especially easy to do when you are moving in together since this is a very nervous moment.

Why don’t we see these phenomena in ourselves? We can see them, but sometimes it can be painful to encounter them. And our whole being is programmed for a stable and calm existence, and all the events that concern us are pushed out by the psyche into the subconscious.psychological projection examples

The projection mechanism can be compared with the work of a film projector – it helps us see particles of our own personality, all that we deny in it. Any person strives for integrity, and with the help of projection, we can enter into dialogue with those parts of the self with which dialogue is impossible. Whether this dialogue becomes friendly is not important, the main thing is that it will take place. So, our personality, perhaps, like a mosaic, will collect unjustly rejected parts and finally become whole.

Psychological Projection Examples for Relationships

If there are too many projections in our communication, they create an atmosphere of mutual distrust and doubt. And the consequences will not be nice. Over time, you may feel that a partner neither understand nor know nor love you. Here are a few psychological projection examples.

1. You don’t like someone

When we are young, we can easily find friends and get along with almost everyone, and we understand that this is mutual. Having matured, we begin to choose a circle of communication more carefully. And sometimes if we don’t like someone, we convince ourselves that this person doesn’t like us. This helps us not reflect on negative feelings.

2. Failure

When we realize that we will fail in some business, we usually push someone to succeed to justify ourselves. For example, you like some woman, but you understand that she loves your friend. And in order not to look like a loser, you are trying to make your friend and this woman be together. It seems to help you overcome the failure in love.

3. Attraction to another person

We understand that this is wrong, so we project these feelings on our partners and convict them of treason. Thus, you deny this feeling in yourself, making someone else guilty. Sometimes we even blame our partners for something they didn’t do. So, there is distrust in the relationship. We can no longer communicate and trust each other as before.

How to Respond to Psychological Projection of Your Partner

Here are some tips on how to behave with those who are trying to apply projection to you.

1. Take the initiative in your hands

After hearing unpleasant phrases, immediately take the initiative into your own hands. For example, say this, “This is your opinion, I don’t think so, and, in general, this conversation is over, and I am not going to discuss it.” It works very efficiently and is really simple. In the case when you are tormented by doubts about your own rightness, listen to your inner feelings. Tell friends or psychologists about them. These people may help you gain a sense of reality that a projecting person wants to destroy.

2. Stop having false illusions about the possible changing of this person

To think that you can change your woman and make her fall in love with you is an even greater self-deception. Sooner or later your relationship will necessarily go into the category of co-dependent, in which the roles are divided into a tyrant and a victim. So, how to respond to projection in relationships? Just look at your partner soberly.

3. Don’t be afraid to seem strong

This is the next tip on how to get rid of projection in relationships. Firmness disarms projecting people and doesn’t allow them to use you in selfish interests. Therefore, set the boundaries of the allowed as early as possible. Let them know how they should treat you and what will happen if they violate these boundaries. Don’t make excuses for unacceptable behavior. This is how to respond to psychological projection.

4. Ignore them consciously

How to respond to someone who is projecting? Well, projecting others, people want to get a sense of self-worth, which is like a drug for them. They like when people project on suffering because of their words and find no place for themselves. Thus, people fully focus on them. That is what they are achieving. Therefore, you need to deprive a woman of attention, and then she will have to look for it elsewhere.

5. Keep your distance

Is abusing someone a form of psychological projection? Yes, it is. So, sometimes a breakup is the best way out. If you are in a long-term relationship, you may need the help of a specialist. However, the realization of the need to end a relationship is already an important step. No need to be afraid to leave such a woman for fear of loneliness.projection in relationships

How to Stop Projecting

There is also the other side of the coin, and it is you who project in relationships. You projected your whole life. Therefore, don’t expect that you can stop projecting easily. To do this, you will have to fully change your subconscious and eliminate everything that forces you to project from there.

1. Get to know yourself

Each of us has sensitive buttons that trigger the projection mechanism. Of course, it’s difficult to predict when they will work. But try to watch yourself. Learn to track your reactions when they arise. For example, you know that you tend to lose your temper when someone criticizes your family. You notice that your woman doesn’t wear a ring that was given to her by your mother. You immediately respond, “Oh, so it seems to you that my mother has no taste?” Well, work on it.

2. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are wrong

No need to be ashamed of projections, after all, this is a natural way in which our psyche tries to protect us. It is far more important to admit that we could be wrong. If you realized that you were angry at your woman for no reason, tell her about it and explain what caused your reaction. With the help of sincerity, you can correct the negative effect of the projection.

3. Accept yourself as you are

How to stop projecting? As soon as we gain enough dignity and self-esteem to fully accept ourselves, we can attract a woman who fully accepts herself. However, we can’t immediately attract the perfect partner since often attract the one who mirrors the problems that we recently “cleaned up.” Another soul will attract us to their life because we are advanced enough in the game to lend a helping hand on the unevenness of life.

4. Ask questions

We live at a fast pace and talk a lot. Such communication is a good ground for projections: we don’t always have time to realize what our partners say, but we quickly respond. If the conversation is about a topic that is sensitive to you or your partner, it is especially important to ask questions. For example, your woman is late from work. Maybe an urgent task fell on her, her boss didn’t let her go, and so on. Ask her about it. So you not only clarify the situation but also demonstrate your participation in her life.

5. Develop wisdom in yourself

This is how to stop projecting onto others. As we get to know each other, it becomes easier for us to understand where the borders go, what sharp corners should be avoided so as not to provoke a conflict. Such caution doesn’t humiliate us, but, on the contrary, demonstrates our maturity in relationships. Ultimately, the main thing is our desire to know our partners as they are and love them even more.

The ability to project or transfer one’s feelings to people around develops in a person from early childhood. And on the one hand, there is nothing wrong with it. With its help, the consciousness is trying to protect us from psychological trauma. But on the other hand, this ability makes it difficult to soberly assess the current situation, to see, and correct shortcomings. So, you need to work on it.

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