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Author Topic: FAQ: Is idealization actually a "positive" projection?  (Read 7850 times)
CrackedEgg1
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« on: December 24, 2008, 04:49:00 AM »

Typically, we see projection in a negative light. For example, "He is controlling", "They are big fakers", "You never engage with the kids" tend to be viewed as "negative" projection, or in a way they way we would see them. In many ways, it is this negative tone they project onto others which portrays how they feel about themselves, such that they are the ones that are controlling, the big fakers and never engage with the kids.

Positive (if one could call it that) projection is when they project positive feelings in others as the BPD wishes they where. For example, my STBXBPDw will often project positive feelings into the kids. "They miss me", "They want to be with me", "They are looking forward to being with me". These projections are used to cast negative shadows against a 3rd party through the positive projection on another. What the BPD is really saying here with these positive projections is how she wishes the kids where feeling toward her and thus causing the hearer of such projection to view the other parent in a negative light.

Don't be confused, I'm not saying positive projection is good... .all projection is bad/negative. But, projection comes in all forms. The further I am "outside" the BPD hemisphere, the more I see things clearly... .the more I see the constant projection of my STBXBPDw, the anxiety disorder that controls her life... .and I see very little of her bipolar depression because I don't see her sleeping all the time and only engage with her when she is "talking and awake".
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MathCoreChick
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 05:08:56 AM »

i think of positive projection as a 'left handed compliment'.


you know, the 'you'd be so _________ if you just did __________' kind of thing.


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innerspirit
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2009, 07:03:45 PM »

What about the Non's idealization of the BP?  For me, there was a certain amount of trying to believe in Dr. Jekyll that kept me hanging on.  For that, the word denial doesn't seem exactly right -- it was more of my trying to weigh the pro's and con's until the con's obviously made the decision unavoidable.  (And in fact for a long time I was conned.)

Even though I've left the marriage, I still feel some of that tendency in general, kind of a Pollyanna idealism that prevents me from fully acknowledging more negative things and better protecting myself.  Seeing it now is part of the healing process I'm sure.

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WhyMe?
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2009, 07:21:46 PM »

When I was able to send my uBPDbf home so I could sleep alone, within 30 mins I'd get a text that said "My baby needs me" or "my baby misses me".

And I'd think "dammit, your baby just fell asleep and THATs what she needs!"

I did see through that every time and knew (before I knew what projection was) that he was saying what HE wanted. If it WAS what I wanted I wouldn't have asked him to leave in the first place!
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schwing
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 11:48:53 AM »

What about the Non's idealization of the BP?  For me, there was a certain amount of trying to believe in Dr. Jekyll that kept me hanging on.  For that, the word denial doesn't seem exactly right -- it was more of my trying to weigh the pro's and con's until the con's obviously made the decision unavoidable.  (And in fact for a long time I was conned.)

I think this is a big fat flea  PD traits.  Just like they split us either in "all positive" or "all negative,"  they can behave in such diametrically opposed behaviors that we start "splitting" them;  ie. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is hard for us to integrate their behaviors into a single consistent identity (ie, indentity disturbances) so we end up choosing the good side because it comforts us from the pain inflicted by the bad side.  In a way, we start using "splitting" as a coping mechanism also.

And consequentially if the relationship ends, it's not surprising that for a time, we "split" them "all negative" for a time too.  The splitting, projection, denials... .these are all coping mechanisms.

Schwing
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onAmission
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 01:16:25 PM »

Just like they split us either in "all positive" or "all negative,"  they can behave in such diametrically opposed behaviors that we start "splitting" them;  ie. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is hard for us to integrate their behaviors into a single consistent identity (ie, indentity disturbances) so we end up choosing the good side because it comforts us from the pain inflicted by the bad side.  In a way, we start using "splitting" as a coping mechanism also.

The splitting, projection, denials... .these are all coping mechanisms.

Schwing

I think that if we plan to continue a relationship with them, we HAVE to learn to "split" them into two groups. One group must be the person and the other must be the mental illness.

This allows me to stop taking the rants & insults so personally. I look at my BPDH when he is raging etc... .and I try to picture the huge letters "BPD" with eyes and a mouth on it. You know, kinda like the Sesame Street letters  Smiling (click to insert in post)  I also like Randi Kreager's idea of picturing him as a toddler in a diaper and bonnet with a cone in his hand and ice cream scoop on the floor. (you know - emotionally - a baby)

It's hard in the heat of the moment to do it but it has helped. Even better, I've been able to really forgive him and let go of anger over past hurts when I remember that it was not the man saying/doing those things, it was the mental illness.

Works a whole lot better than what I used to do which was stand there scratching my head trying to make sense out of having just be trampled by a man whom I KNOW really DOES love me deeply.

Now, I finally "GET it!"
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innerspirit
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2009, 04:46:35 PM »

I find myself agreeing with both of you, Schwing and onAmission. Am trying to figure out this reasoning as I write up this post.

Sure, splitting was a coping mechanism of mine as well -- it seemed the only way to make "sense" of outrageous behavior and not get absorbed into it, baited into an escalating scene, not to take it personally. "OK this is 'The Illness' talking now; one of us has to stay more in control."

It became exaggerated though -- day to day, I blinded myself to the other half of the guy and that in turn made the disruptions all the harder to take.  The projection and denial were maladaptive, sure.  Accepting that all the behaviors add up to STBXH as he is, that's the challenge. It's just mind-blowing that so few people are aware of his duality or would even believe it possible from "such a nice guy."

And yes, I know he still loves me deeply, but for me, I can't stay where I'd be so often trampled, as you say, with false promises of getting help and changing.

Did I read somewhere that the reason why Dr. Jekyll fails (metaphorically, in the novel) is that we all have to integrate into ourselves a darker side and handle it in a healthy way?
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LivingWell
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 05:13:34 PM »

Why not say it more directly ZZ, "They miss me" means they would rather be with me than you.
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savagepilgrimage

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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2009, 02:03:41 AM »

Just like they split us either in "all positive" or "all negative,"  they can behave in such diametrically opposed behaviors that we start "splitting" them;  ie. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is hard for us to integrate their behaviors into a single consistent identity (ie, indentity disturbances) so we end up choosing the good side because it comforts us from the pain inflicted by the bad side.  In a way, we start using "splitting" as a coping mechanism also.

The splitting, projection, denials... .these are all coping mechanisms.

Schwing

I think that if we plan to continue a relationship with them, we HAVE to learn to "split" them into two groups. One group must be the person and the other must be the mental illness.

This allows me to stop taking the rants & insults so personally. I look at my BPDH when he is raging etc... .and I try to picture the huge letters "BPD" with eyes and a mouth on it. You know, kinda like the Sesame Street letters  Smiling (click to insert in post)  I also like Randi Kreager's idea of picturing him as a toddler in a diaper and bonnet with a cone in his hand and ice cream scoop on the floor. (you know - emotionally - a baby)

It's hard in the heat of the moment to do it but it has helped. Even better, I've been able to really forgive him and let go of anger over past hurts when I remember that it was not the man saying/doing those things, it was the mental illness.

Works a whole lot better than what I used to do which was stand there scratching my head trying to make sense out of having just be trampled by a man whom I KNOW really DOES love me deeply.

Now, I finally "GET it!"

Those are both fantastic ideas for dealing with the blow-ups! I'm in the middle of one right now (via text message of all things; yeah, I'm rolling my eyes too) and I can't understand how he could be thinking/saying these things about me/us when he has to know they're not true.

Granted, we're working on an amateur diagnosis of BPD for now (he waffles between wanting to seek help, and saying he doesn't need any) but there ya go.
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Frog
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2009, 03:43:43 PM »

Here's my two pence (which used to be about four cents but the British Pound isn't what it used to be)! Smiling (click to insert in post)

My understanding of "projection" (i.e. Freudian Projection) is that a person attributes their own unacceptable traits to someone else, as a defense mechanism. During almost 10 years with DxBPDw I experienced this many times. At first, I was confused, then angry about it, and now I have a limited understanding and try to accept it (e.g. I get it, she's projecting). My more enlightened friends and family members also "get it" when it happens.

Could idealization be positive projection? I don’t think so and here’s why:

Projection, as I understand it, is a defense mechanism to avoid acknowledging one or more nasty traits. The idealization that I experienced from DxBPDw involved traits that she didn’t have nor claimed to have. For example, she would berate me for wearing the wrong shirt to a particular event (I’m a computer geek -  I don’t know the rule about long sleeves after Memorial Day… or is it President’s Day? ?) However, she would tell me, and anyone else who would listen, how wonderful I was when I glanced at a bill in a restaurant and could tell everyone at the table how much they owed and what the tip should be. She couldn’t balance a checkbook if she spent a week on it and employed a firm of CPAs.

Maybe these “mechanisms” are related but I don’t see projection the same way. For me, the brief interludes of idealization are what kept me in a very unhealthy relationship… glimmers of hope…





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1stof4
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2009, 06:00:34 PM »

What about the Non's idealization of the BP?  For me, there was a certain amount of trying to believe in Dr. Jekyll that kept me hanging on.  For that, the word denial doesn't seem exactly right -- it was more of my trying to weigh the pro's and con's until the con's obviously made the decision unavoidable.  (And in fact for a long time I was conned.)

I think this is a big fat flea  PD traits.  Just like they split us either in "all positive" or "all negative,"  they can behave in such diametrically opposed behaviors that we start "splitting" them;  ie. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is hard for us to integrate their behaviors into a single consistent identity (ie, indentity disturbances) so we end up choosing the good side because it comforts us from the pain inflicted by the bad side.  In a way, we start using "splitting" as a coping mechanism also.

And consequentially if the relationship ends, it's not surprising that for a time, we "split" them "all negative" for a time too.  The splitting, projection, denials... .these are all coping mechanisms.

Schwing

Dude . . . that is freakin' BRILLIANT.   xoxox
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WhyMe?
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2009, 06:37:46 PM »

What about the Non's idealization of the BP?  For me, there was a certain amount of trying to believe in Dr. Jekyll that kept me hanging on.  For that, the word denial doesn't seem exactly right -- it was more of my trying to weigh the pro's and con's until the con's obviously made the decision unavoidable.  (And in fact for a long time I was conned.)

I think this is a big fat flea  PD traits.  Just like they split us either in "all positive" or "all negative,"  they can behave in such diametrically opposed behaviors that we start "splitting" them;  ie. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is hard for us to integrate their behaviors into a single consistent identity (ie, indentity disturbances) so we end up choosing the good side because it comforts us from the pain inflicted by the bad side.  In a way, we start using "splitting" as a coping mechanism also.

I can see this and I have done it. At least I recognized it but it is hard to change the feelings. A day after he restrained me from leaving the room, he was being really nice and asking questions and asking if he could come over, not assume, etc etc. And I was answering, and then had to stop and think - WAIT! This is the same person that less than 12 hours ago would not let you leave a room to go to sleep, so that you could go to T in the morning! He kept you up for hours making it all about him!

It was an eye-opener for sure. But how to stop doing it is a whole other story! 
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2009, 02:45:24 PM »

I agree with Frog’s definition of projection, but I think sometimes a compliment is just a compliment, not necessarily idealization.For someone with BPD to imagine that his or her child didn’t miss them would be threatening. And even “normal” divorced parents hope their child misses them when they’re with the other parent. In other words, this is not a very “pure” example to discuss projection. And also for these reasons, it might be simplistic to assume the BP parent is “using” projection to “get back” at the non-BP parent. It’s complicated, like everything with BPD is. Randi Kreger
Here's my two pence (which used to be about four cents but the British Pound isn't what it used to be)! :)My understanding of "projection" (i.e. Freudian Projection) is that a person attributes their own unacceptable traits to someone else, as a defense mechanism. During almost 10 years with DxBPDw I experienced this many times. At first, I was confused, then angry about it, and now I have a limited understanding and try to accept it (e.g. I get it, she's projecting). My more enlightened friends and family members also "get it" when it happens.Could idealization be positive projection? I don’t think so and here’s why:Projection, as I understand it, is a defense mechanism to avoid acknowledging one or more nasty traits. The idealization that I experienced from DxBPDw involved traits that she didn’t have nor claimed to have. For example, she would berate me for wearing the wrong shirt to a particular event (I’m a computer geek -  I don’t know the rule about long sleeves after Memorial Day… or is it President’s Day? ?) However, she would tell me, and anyone else who would listen, how wonderful I was when I glanced at a bill in a restaurant and could tell everyone at the table how much they owed and what the tip should be. She couldn’t balance a checkbook if she spent a week on it and employed a firm of CPAs.Maybe these “mechanisms” are related but I don’t see projection the same way. For me, the brief interludes of idealization are what kept me in a very unhealthy relationship… glimmers of hope…

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I had a borderline mother and narcissistic father. Author of stop walking on eggshells, The stop walking on eggshells workbook, the essential family guide to borderline personality disorder, and the upcoming book stop walking on egg shells for partners
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