In our previous article about how to spot projection of insecurities, we described projection psychology, its forms, types, signs, causes, and effects. Just to take a quick recap, here is a summary of it.
Projection psychology is a mental process of attributing one’s thoughts, emotions, and feelings to others to either make them responsible or accountable for them.
Types of projection psychology are positive and negative psychology.
Projection psychology comes in both conscious and unconscious forms.
Signs of projection psychology include; overreaction, distorted perception of reality, negative energy, unfair blame, attempts to change you, and self-victimization.
People that project their insecurities on others do it because of underlying insecurities they fail to deal with, trauma, denial, to cover up their bad traits, and as a defensive mechanism.
Among the effects of projection of insecurities on the victim include projective identification, guilt feelings, confusion, unstable relationships, and burden transfer.
Today we focus on the reasons how to deal with people who use projection psychology to project their insecurities on you or anyone else you may know of.
We all go through challenges in life, face issues, feel insecure at some point, and feel guilty about something. What differs amongst us is how we deal with those issues and insecurities within us.
Of course, it is healthy for us and only mature to confront our insecurities by accepting ourselves, mistakes and weaknesses. By taking full responsibility and accountability for our actions, behavior, and what we say.
That takes emotional strength and intelligence. For some people who lack the emotional strength and intelligence to face their insecurities, shifting the burden to others by projecting their insecurities on them, becomes their run-to option. Even when it is malicious, toxic, and not helpful at all.
Here is how you deal with such people.
How to deal with a person who projects their insecurities on you.
1. Distance yourself.
If you are consistently being bombarded with projections of insecurities, the best thing you can do is to distance yourself from the person doing it. You do not have to hate that person or cut them off, you can love them from a distance.
If it is your spouse or toxic parent, boss, or anyone you can not avoid crossing paths with, you can go on and explore other options as I mention below. Otherwise, if it’s someone you can avoid, distancing yourself will cleanse you of the negative energy they bring and shield you from it as well.
2. Affirm your truth.
When a person projects his or her insecurities on you, that person wants you to carry their burden for them by accepting their projection. Mind you, accepting the projection of insecurities can result in projective identification. A state where the victim of projection starts to identify with the insecurities projected on them.
If they are told that they are unworthy, they start to believe they are. Affirming your truth blocks the negative projections from sinking into your mind to affect you. For example, if the person projecting his insecurities on you tells you, you are not worthy, tell him you are happy with yourself and like yourself too.
This will make you brush off what they project on you and also show that person that you are not affected by it.
3. Reject the projection.
Oftentimes, the people that project their insecurities do it so well that you are left wondering if it’s really true what they are projecting on you. Take a step back and examine yourself. If deep down you know it is true. Confront that person projecting on you and tell them straight up that they are projecting.
For example, if one calls you toxic, calmly stand up to them and say, ‘’I am not toxic, you are projecting it on me’’. Say it once and do not waste your time proving it. If you try to prove it, you will appear defensive which can be used against you.
4. Keep calm and argue not.
The person projecting insecurities on you is filled with anger and bitterness for what is in them. The last thing they need is to project their insecurities on you and you stay calm or never get into an argument with them.
Your losing your control and arguing with them will confirm that the burden of insecurities and negativity being transferred to you has sunk in and not bounced back to them.
Stay calm and do not argue. You will easily manage the impact of projection and at the same time not take in the negativity they bring. Arguing will make you appear as holding the same insecurities projected on you.
5. Assert your position.
Most time the point of projection of insecurities is to squeeze you into a corner and make you a punching bag. Also, the intention can be to shade you as the antagonist. Refuse to take any of those places. Tell the person that is projecting that you are neither against them nor willing to be their scapegoat.
Refuse to be on the opposite side of them when they create a ”me versus you” situation. Calmly say, ‘’I am sorry you feel that way, I have nothing against you or any intentions to’’.
The person projecting will feel disarmed. When you refuse to play the game, they are left alone in the ring. If they are not narcissistic, they will be able to reflect and realize what they were attempting to do.
6. Ask them questions.
Most people that use projection psychology as a defensive mechanism, do it unconsciously. It becomes second nature to them in that even when it is obvious that they are projecting their insecurities on you, they will not realize it until you make them.
Calmly let them speak and ask for your turn. When they shut up, ask them questions that prove that you did what they are projecting on you.
For example, if your spouse accuses you of cheating yet you know you have not cheated, pause and calmly ask him or her why you are being accused of cheating. If the reasons given do not make sense, ask him or her if it makes sense to them.
They will be challenged to think and soon enough will realize that they are just projecting.
Do it calmly and respectfully to show that you are not affected by the projection because you know the truth.
7. Listen to the person projecting.
We are all different. Some of us are strong to deal with our insecurities. Some people do not have that strength. They will not even admit that they have any insecurities but will just project as a defensive mechanism.
If it is your partner, colleague, boss, child, or friend, listen to them attentively. Within their statements as they project, you might detect something they deeply are insecure about.
Once you figure it out, you can help them deal with it. Your spouse may accuse you of not caring yet deep down she is just insecure about not being loved enough by you. That way you can assure her of your love.
Your manager may be insecure about your increasing popularity at work and project incompetence or anything else on you. If you notice that kind of behavior, give him assurance that he is your manager and that you respect him.
8. Give them time to cool and calm down.
All narcissists project but not all people who project insecurities are narcissists. If the person projecting insecurities on you does not have a narcissistic personality disorder, give them time to calm down from the heat of the moment when they do the projection.
When they are calm, ask to talk to sort things out. They will have the empathy to hear your side and understand the impact of their projection.
9. Validate their pain and recommend therapy.
When a person projects his or her insecurities on another, he or she is silently saying, ‘’ I am in emotional pain and cannot handle it by myself’’. One way to help them alleviate what they are feeling is by validating their pain. It disarms them, lowers their guard, and opens up a way to find a solution.
Tell them, ‘’I understand your pain, I understand what you are feeling’’ and ask them to join hands so you can work it out. You will be perceived as mature, understanding, and someone they can count on.
That way the person projecting can get the courage to face his or her insecurities. You can go further by encouraging them to go for therapy to be able to deal with their insecurities in the right way and also avoid projection as their defensive mechanism.
10. Have a conversation with yourself.
We are not perfect human beings. Sometimes we may have elements of what we think is being projected on us. Yes, the person projecting may be prone to using projection psychology. For that, you may often take whatever they say to you for projection yet they may be right at times.
Having a conversation with yourself will enable you to reflect and get things right in your mind. To either work on yourself or confirm that it is just a mere projection.
You will also be able to identify the effects that projection brings like self-doubt, projective identification, etc, then you can work them out so they don’t advance in you.
Conclusion. That being said, people carry jars of insecurities and project them on others. Being safe from their negative impact is your sole responsibility. Self-awareness is key to protecting yourself from projection. If you know who you are, your self-image, your self-concept, your likes and dislikes, your strength and weaknesses, etc no one can project their insecurities on you. Cultivate self-awareness to be able to confidently identify projection in the event of it.