Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Blame / Psychological Projection: Or…“Excuse me, does your opinion make my butt look big?”

The other night I watched a woman trip over her own two feet, then turn to what I assume was her beleaguered boyfriend (know that I only questioned the boyfriend part) and loudly blamed him for her misstep.  J’accuse!  He weakly smiled and said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  Poor Sir Schmoe, you do know it wasn’t your fault?  I’m sure he thinks it was noble of him to take the blame, but I wanted to sidle up and tell him it was time we start separating the sheep from the scapegoats.

I look back and my own life and see how very much of it was spent carrying the karma of other people and how hard it was to give myself permission to shrug off some of what was wrongly placed on my shoulders.

The word blame, as a verb, means to “attribute or ascribe responsibility for/to” or “to transfer one’s thoughts and/or feelings onto someone else.”  Let me tell you, peeved little kids who don’t want to get into trouble say it even better than Webster — “MOM!  It wasn’t me!  <So-and-So> did <Such-and-Such!>

In psychology, there is a fascinating term for this: Psychological Projection.  To boil it down to the size of a BB, let me give you an example from my own therapeutic archives:

I once had dinner with a loved one who insisted that it was I, not them, responsible for consuming a gigantic slice of Gooseberry pie we were supposed to be sharing, when I’d actually only taken one tiny bite (not being the biggest fan of this particular type of pie – I’m an Ollalieberry or Cherry Pie girl ma’self).  For weeks after, I got to hear how terrible it was that I didn’t seem to be able to lose weight, but that it really wasn’t a surprise, seeing how much pie I’d eaten that one night. [Full disclosure, BTW – it is the toast & butter and cream in my tea n’ coffee that is my downfall, not pie.]

O__o  

Some people just cannot have a relationship with you unless they have you carry their bag o’ emotional funhouse compact mirrors whenever you’re together.  They deny their own attributes, thoughts and emotions by verbally turning them into YOUR attributes, thoughts and emotions.  Doing so reduces their anxiety, but I can guaran-dang-tee you, it will ratchet yours up.  Being on the mirror-holding end of Psychological Projection is no fun.  It can be draining and back-breaking work.  You will find yourself constantly putting on the gauntlets of “I never!…” and “No, I didn’t!…” not realizing that a whole lot of what was being heaped upon you had nothing to do with who you really are, what you think or how you feel.

Ain’t love grand?

There are those who project unconsciously and those who do so consciously.  Either way, it can effect how you feel about yourself, if done on a continual basis.  Well then, what can do you do to save yourself and reclaim your true reflection?  At the very foundation, you have to become aware of yourself.  The fancier word that the professionals use for this is: Individuation.  Individuation means pretty much what you think it means: finding out who YOU are, as an individual.

It is not nearly as easy as it sounds and will take much longer than one might think.  Maybe even a lifetime.  But, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out what you are all about.  There are lists to be made, pros and cons to consider, feelings and beliefs to be scrutinized.  These are all the things that go into the care and keeping of you, especially when you have a loved one projecting all over you.

As your friend, I would like to encourage you to crack open a journal (honestly, for less than five bucks you can find some really nice ones these days), grab a pencil or pen and start putting down on paper what you like, love and despise.  Compare it to what you’ve been told you like, love and despise.  The results may vary and be in complete contrast with what you really think or what you were told your thought you thunk.  Then, when presented with the strange and illusory fun house images of psychological projection in the future – you can have a better understanding that objects in that mirror are not exactly as they appear.

* * *

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

“Happiness is looking in a mirror and liking what you see.” – Anonymous

P.S. — If you’re not yet familiar with this marvelous emoticon:  O__o  Allow me to introduce to you the wonderful typed face of sheer confusion and/or disbelief.

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