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How A Narcissist’s Projection Can Work For You

Most of us who have survived narcissistic abuse know at least some about projection.  Projection is when a narcissist accuses a victim of something that the victim doesn’t do, but the narcissist does.  As one example, my narcissistic mother accused me of lying more times than I can count.  Although in all fairness I lied some to her, I didn’t lie to her often, & when I did, it was out of self preservation.  She, however, has lied to & about me more times than I can count.

Projection is a very effective weapon for a narcissist.  It allows the narcissist to get upset about the flaw they are accusing another person of while simultaneously accepting no responsibility whatsoever for it or making appropriate changes in their behavior.  It also means that unless the victim is aware of the phenomenon of projection, the victim will listen to the narcissist & make whatever changes they need to in order to please the narcissist.  This means plenty of narcissistic supply to any narcissist.  Controlling a victim?  Turning a situation around so the victim feels responsible while absolving oneself of responsibility at the same time?!  This is a big narcissistic supply win!

Victims need to be aware of projection so not only do they refuse to accept this burden & blame any longer, but also so the narcissist in their life is deprived of getting their narcissistic supply.  Depriving a narcissist of supply is VERY important to help you maintain your sanity while in a relationship with any narcissist.

Another reason to know about projection is because it can help you to learn about the narcissist.  Remember what projection is- a narcissist accusing a victim of things that they are doing, not the victim.  A narcissistic wife who accuses her husband of cheating is most likely cheating or at the very least, has chosen someone she wants to have an affair with.  The narcissistic boss who accuses an employee of stealing from the company probably has stolen quite a bit.  A narcissistic parent who accuses their adult child of lying is most likely a liar.

If you pay attention to what the narcissist in your life accuses you of doing, you can learn what they are up to.  This knowledge can help you to figure out ways to deal with the narcissist because now you know just what you’re dealing with.

The next time the narcissist in your life accuses you of some outrageous behavior, Dear Reader, I urge you to listen to it.  Not because they are right, but because it can help you to understand what they are up to.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

What Is Reverse Projection?

Those of us who have experience with narcissists understand projection.  That is when the narcissist accuses you of doing what she is doing.  She lies regularly, but calls you a liar.  He is critical & judgmental, yet accuses you of the exact same behaviors while denying he is that way.

 

So what is reverse projection?

 

I’m honestly not sure it’s even a known psychological term, but the name does describe the behavior well.  Reverse projection is when the victim tries to project her own good qualities onto her abuser.  She tries to see the good in a bad person so hard, that she says the abuser is the good things that she really is.  She claims her abuser can be very caring & compassionate when the truth is she is the only caring & compassionate one in the relationship.  Or, she believes her abuser is as honest as she is, when the fact is the abuser is a liar.

 

I believe reverse projection may be pretty common in those abused by narcissistic mothers.  Not only have I done it, but have known other victims who have as well.

 

It seems to be a coping skill.  I told myself growing up that my mother was overprotective because she loved me so much rather than face the truth that she was extremely controlling, & not out of love, but because I was there to serve her as she wanted.  If the victim in the throes of abuse can believe the abuser is abusing them out of love or is basically a good person, it makes the abuse more tolerable.  Believing what is done is being done for you own good or out of love makes you willing to tolerate it because it’s a display of the love you’re so starved for.  You also take the blame off of them for abusing you, & accept it onto yourself.  You begin to believe you deserve those terrible things done to you, so in your mind, the abuser is absolved of responsibility.

 

While these things may help you to get through a traumatic situation, it’s not good to hold onto the beliefs!

 

Reverse projection means even if you’re no longer in relationship with your abuser, you may still thing well of her rather than face the truth- she abused you.  Being realistic will help you to accept that yes, you were abused, yes, things were bad & yes, you have been adversely affected by it all.  Once you admit these things, & only then, can you begin to heal.

 

And if reverse projection helped you to accept responsibility for being abused, that will create plenty of problems in itself.  It’s unhealthy to accept responsibility for being abused because you did nothing wrong!  Doing so creates a root of toxic shame inside, & toxic shame creates so many problems.  It destroys your self esteem, it sets you up to be abused by others, it makes you unable to accept help when you need it & more.  You also are carrying the abuser’s shame when it’s not yours to carry.  That shame needs to be laid square on the abuser, never on the victim.  Whether or not the abuser carries her own shame is up to her, but it is never your responsibility to carry it!

 

Accepting responsibility for being abused also takes it off of the abuser.  The abuser is the one who needs to be responsible for her actions, no one else.  Chances are, she won’t accept that responsibility.  She’ll blame you for making her do those things or flatly deny they even happened.  She may even accuse you of making things up just to hurt her, & make herself into a victim.  Even if she does such things, that still doesn’t mean you need to accept responsibility for her actions!

 

Whether or not you’re still in a relationship with your abusive narcissistic mother, I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start looking at her realistically.  Is she really caring?  Honest?  A good person who just has some bad moments?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at someone honestly.  In fact, it will help you a great deal!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Don’t Carry Another’s Shame

Toxic shame is often caused by abusive, parentalizing parents.  They ignore their child’s needs, feelings & wants to make their child believe she is only alive to take care of her parents’ emotional needs or provide that precious narcissistic supply.  She believes she has no right to wants, needs or emotions, & because she does have them, she often grows up with toxic shame that affects all areas of her life.

 

However, this is not the only way a person can have a root of toxic shame.  One way is when a dysfunctional person puts their shame on you.

 

This happens by projection.  Projection is when someone knows they are a certain way, yet blame you for being exactly that way while denying they are that way.  Narcissists are notorious projectionists.  They love to put their insecurities & flaws onto others, so they can get angry about them without accepting any personal responsibility.  As an example, one of my sisters in-law once told my husband I look down on their family.  She screamed at my husband about that during a phone call one day in I think it was 2002.  He was baffled as was I, since the thought of being better than them never occurred to me.  In fact, my husband & I agreed that it was the other way around- they look down on me.  That is projection.

 

Shame can be projected as well.  Narcissists are full of shame.  (Although they act extremely confident, it is just a show.  They are extremely insecure inside, which is why they act so confident.  They are trying to convince themselves & other people that they are as good, talented, beautiful, etc. as they claim to be.)  Projection is among their favorite coping skills.  To deal with this shame they feel, they will do their best to put it on their victim, so they don’t have to deal with it.

 

My mother did this a great deal.  When her abuse was at its peak when I was 17-19, she would scream at me, & tell me I made her act that way.  If I would just act right, she wouldn’t have to practice “tough love” on me.  All my life, if I was angry or even simply frustrated, she would accuse me of having “that Bailey temper” & shame me for having such a bad temper when the truth is she was the one with the wicked temper, not me.  Sometimes to this day, she still tries to shame me, even things beyond my control, such as if I get sick or injured.

 

Actions like that were her trying to put the shame she felt inside on me.

 

Can you relate, Dear Reader?  Did you experience your narcissistic mother trying to make you carry her shame?

 

If so, refuse to carry her shame any longer!  It’s not your place to carry her shame, to feel ashamed because of things that were beyond your control.

 

Make a decision that you will NOT carry her shame a moment longer.  If it helps, imagine taking a sack of some sort to your mother & laying it at her feet then walking away.  Sometimes visuals like that can help.

 

Ask God to show you ways you’re carrying her shame & how to stop it.  With me, I noticed that when I discussed things with my mother, I always phrased things from my perspective.  “I felt she was abusive when she…”  “I got thrown into a wall by my mother.”  God showed me that I was carrying the blame & all of the responsibility  for her actions, including her shame when it all belonged squarely on her shoulders.

 

I hope this helps you to be free of carrying around that toxic shame that isn’t yours to carry!  You deserve so much better than that!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism