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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Projection  (Read 79551 times)
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« on: March 06, 2008, 11:18:54 AM »


In this workshop we wanted to talk about "Projection".  What is it? Why do BP's do it?  How does it affect NONs?  And, how do we deal with it?

In general, emotionally healthy people base their perceptions on facts.  Projection is basing your perception of reality on feelings.

Projection is a defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.  Projection is denying one's own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them, often in an accusing way,  to someone else.

Commonly the projection is an exaggeration of something that has a basis in reality. For example, the borderline may accuse you of "hating" them when you just feel irritated. Sometimes the projection may come entirely from their imagination: for example, they accuse you of flirting with when you were just asking for directions to the shoe department. ~ Randi Kreger

Some adults who enter into relationships with borderlines feel brainwashed by the BP's accusations and criticisms. The techniques of brainwashing are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to inconsistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well. ~ Elyce M. Benham, M.S.

I look forward to hearing from you all.



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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2008, 06:58:39 AM »

Projection is one of the "big three" behaviors of a BPD that are the most difficult to comprehend, IMHO.  Projection, cognitive distortions, and splitting being the "big three" to me. 

The danger in being on the receiving end of projection is that it can make one question our own perceptions of ourselves.  It's crazymaking, often guilt-inducing, and frustrating at best. 
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 12:24:34 PM »

What I find interesting is that in most buddhist literature and other spiritual studies there is an overwhelming theory that we ALL project. What do you hate about other people? It's something you hate about yourself I have always heard. I have heard it most recently make a little more sense - we judge others for their behaviors and attitudes because it relieves the judgments we have against ourselves.

My whole point being, don't we all project? Is it the degree to which borderlines project that causes the problem? The malignancy of it?
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 02:13:52 PM »

Projection is a defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.  Projection is denying one's own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them, often in an accusing way,  to someone else.

In my uBPsister's case it seens the projection then gives her the right? permission? to paint black, isolate and denigrate the person she is projecting onto. From the position of her most frequent victim, or at least the one with the longest history, so often when the dust cleared she would be the one guilty of whatever she was projecting. But by then the goal had been achieved and the target is perceived as "black" by others. She has been doing this since she was 3-4 years old and is an absolute grandmaster at it.

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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 06:14:32 PM »

I cannot express enough how much this website has helped me. My xbp did a lot of projecting but i did not realize this was going on so of course I had many moments of feeling like i was going crazy. I kept questioning my own behaviors and words and have even had thoughts of what is wrong with me? and i was always trying to analyze my thoughts and words better so i could get a good reaction out of him(driving myself nuts lol) Of course it never worked as he was always projecting, i just didnt realize it because i wanted the relationship to work.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 09:12:50 PM »

I've used the word in both ways, the one Skip so conveniently enumerated, and in the way Discohornet described it.  I think the difference is one of frequency, intensity, and intent.  For example, if my BPD mother is yelling at my young sister for being a "slut", I may look at her and tell her "You're projecting."  (Might get slapped, too, but back then I woulda considered it worth it.)  On the other hand, one of the reasons I selected my therapist was that she reminded me of a school counselor I'd longed to talk more to, and my favorite poetry professor.  Back then I couldn't have articulated exactly WHY, but it was unusually easy for me to transfer, or "project", those same feelings of gratitude, curiosity, and an expectation of my input being valued on someone I'd really just met.  To a certain extent, my training in forensics would argue that we ALL project - we all form first impressions of people in about five seconds, and since we're dealing with a very limited body of knowledge (appearance and mannerisms) then what is it that our impressions are based on?  However I think it's only pathological when it's consistently malignant and resistant to being changed as new information on a person would warrant it.  It's when it gets stuck on a vicious and unarguable setting that I think it becomes the projection we associate with Borderlines... just my thoughts, though.
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2008, 09:12:43 AM »

yes LavaMeetsSea.

I think it's the degree to which they project and the malignancy of it not to mention their lack of awareness of it.

There also seems to be two different things here in this thread.

1) Feelings are Facts.

2) Yucky Feelings can be lessened by projecting them onto someone else.

1 is perhaps the cause of 2.

The hardest part of 2 is that it happens very subtly most times. It's not like a BP would put on a green shirt and then turn to you and say why are you wearing  a green shirt? Rather the projection will usually be based on some ambiguous emotion or nominalization. For instance "You only care about me when it is convenient." was thrown in my face a good three or four times. My first reaction was to get caught up in the drama of the statement - what could she possibly mean by this, how could she think this, am I really that rotten? It is the verbal form of throwing sand in someone's face during a fight. But when I realized it may even go deeper than that, that she could be projecting onto me her own feelings of not caring unless it's convenient, that really made me do a double take.

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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2008, 05:11:12 PM »

projection is the hardest for me to get over, because i know when my bp projects something he isn't really saying all truth so then i am defending myself and then the problem begins, because when you are  >:D that is when the projection begins, for me like i would cook a good meal and instead of getting a thankyou i get we never have any good meals, i would like more, so this makes me angry and i am on the defence, when i should know he is just projecting due to he is upset about something else.   but being he is high functioning it is getting me to think is he telling the truth?  i can see more projection when he is angry like i said and then he projects things that i know isn't the truth instead of dealing with the actual truth or problem, and talking about it. like a normal person would instead they bring up all the bad or say things are bad and you know they aren't... 

Letting go of what was or what you thought was, and accepting what is, is all part of the piece to the puzzle  we need to move forward.

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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2009, 11:54:37 AM »

...People project often because they cannot consciously handle their own feelings.  An example:

  • I do not like another person. But I have a value that says I should like everyone. So I project onto them that they do not like me. This allows me to avoid them and also to handle my own feelings of dislike.

  • An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity.

  • A woman who is attracted to a fellow worker accuses the person of sexual advances.

The person doing the projecting is often in conflict with themselves.  Rather than deal with this conflict, they twist reality so they don't have to deal with their own dysfunction.


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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 01:47:12 PM »

Projection is a psychological defense mechanism.  When anyone (not just people with BPD) is dealing with emotions they cannot handle, sometimes it is a relief to "project" those feelings onto someone else.

For example, say I am having a very hard time dealing with my BPD relationship break-up.  And I really really want to contact my BPD ex but I know that has bad consequences.  But my feelings are a bit overwhelming to me.  A way for me to "cope" with this feeling is to "project" it on to my BPD ex.  And so even though there has been no contact between myself and my ex, I might think that her refusal to contact me is a kind of "re-engagement."  And I might say something like "her unwillingness to contact me is a way for her to re-engagement me."

So even though I am feeling like I desperately want her to "re-engagement" me or contact me, I will attribute those feelings and that intention onto her.  Which in this case can be helpful to me because it reinforces my resolve to NOT contact her.

My 2 bits, Schwing

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