Projection, Among Other Things

Projection, among other things.“Spot it, you got it!”

“Name it, you claim it!”

The first time I heard these two sentences was eight years ago in the rooms of A.A. I was newly sober & diligently working the 12-steps. In a rant, I vehemently assigned someone an unflattering label when my sponsor turned to me & said, “spot it, you got it!” Well. That stopped me dead in my tracks.

The theory behind these two sentences is that qualities we find off-putting in others, we in fact possess ourselves. So, for example, if I were to say so-&-so is selfish; well, it’s likely that I’m projecting what I don’t like about myself onto so-&-so. Now so-&-so may indeed be selfish, but so am I.

The thing is, projection is not just some made up A.A. folklore. It’s a psychology theory developed by Sigmund Freud, “the father of psychoanalysis.” It’s one of the more basic coping mechanisms we humans use.

Fast-forward eight years to my most recent therapy visit. I was called out on A LOT of shit; projection included. In fact, my therapist used one of those above sentences. She delicately prefaced others with, “I’m going to be brutally honest with you” & “what I’m about to say may be difficult to hear.” My experience has been that anytime she begins sentences with such thoughtfully chosen words, it’s serious.

When this happens, I know that I’ve not been seeing things clearly & she’s about to help me change that. Ohhhh, but she’s good. She doesn’t just come right out & tell me where the discrepancies lie. No. She gives me just enough fat to chew on, to take home & reflect on. She urges & allows me to find my own personal truth in the mess I’ve clearly made. BUT, she’s painstakingly honest in the process. That’s why I respect & trust her so much.

It’s like peeling back layers of the world’s largest onion.

It truly is like peeling back layers of the world’s largest onion. I swear. As soon as I start to get settled I realize that there’s another friggin’ layer! Are you SERIOUS?! It’s disappointing that I’m back here. Thankfully not in the same capacity. But still, I’ve returned to the place I was eight years ago because I didn’t fully learn the lesson.

When faced with adversity, that is the only time in which we truly find out if we’re who we think we are.

What’s most disappointing is that I’m realizing I’m not quite who I thought I was. At least not in the measure I thought.


I’m finding that not only am I disappointed at myself for my deficits, but also for the lack of awareness of them. I mean, did I honestly not know? Of course I knew, right? At the very least subconsciously. It was just easier to ignore them & act like they didn’t exist, or so I thought…

Something else I’ve learned recently is that it’s much easier to work on our character defects when we don’t have to… when we have the option. When we’re thrown to the lions & we have no other choice, it sucks majorly. ~Public Service Announcement

In the meantime, I’m also trying to take my own advice. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself & to appreciate this beautiful journey of self-growth, self-discovery, self-understanding, & self-knowledge. I’m smack dab in the middle of a huge self-growth opportunity. Admittedly, it’s more difficult to do than to say. But, I’m trying & I believe there’s something to be said about the awareness.

Since my therapy visit, I find myself looking at everyone differently. I now view each individual as a reflection of myself. I’ve yet to decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. It’s almost as if each person’s a subject in a study. I have this new curiosity for people. And of course, I’m hyper-aware of any & all annoying behaviors. Again, not sure if this is good or bad but I somehow justify it by telling myself it’s in the name of self-growth.

So this is where I am on my journey. Not quite sure how I ended up here, again. Apparently there are lessons I need to learn & I know from experience that until I do, I’m stuck here. The positive? On the other side awaits an improved version of myself. . . {who will always have plenty more lessons to learn}.

Where are you on your personal journey of self-growth?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow

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