One of the most dangerous things in human relationship is projection.
Projection is when we take the unconscious content we are unable to own, see or engage with from our own psyche and project them outward onto another. This can be the projection of character traits, behaviours, attitudes, prejudices etc.
These projections can both be negative in content; "Women are all terrible drivers" from men who have aggressive and dangerous driving habits, or positive shadow "what an amazing woman, she is so kind and courageous." from those who are struggling to own their power.
It's part of what makes me so determined to continue on with the work i do; engaging people with their unconscious patterns, supporting them to be revealed in ways that are constructive and nurturing.
Because this shit has got to stop. It's causing so much harm in the world right now. The high emotional tone, the willingness to condemn another to harm because of perceived superiority of position and immune systems... Projection is rife. Projection of all kinds causes harm, it stops us seeing what's really there - we don't see the real person or situation, we just see the projections we overlay on top of what's really there. Not only does it obscure our view but it stops us doing something constructive about it.
Even positive projection can be a problem.
Why is positive shadow so difficult to bear? Isn't it nice for people to think you are "all that and then some"?
To carry the weight of a projection skews our psyche. We're not able to turn up authentically. When we try to wriggle out from under projection, when our egos and Self are strong enough to navigate out from under the weight, the person projecting, when in the presence of a broken projection or a retrieved truth, often feels shocked, let down, angry.
I have carried positive projection. A local woman saw me; wild grey hair, creative and projected all kinds of perfection onto me. I was supposed to be some wise woman living close to the earth, perhaps with blackbirds doing my bidding. Anyone who knows me will know what a powerful and magnetising vision that is... i have often longed for the same thing BUT I was, at the time, a harried woman in the midst of a collapsing marriage with a daughter who was losing connection with her own strength and struggling. I was tired and lonely and distressed. I could not carry that projection. I actually didn't want, or have room for that and when i turned up fallible and hurt in real life she felt angry and let down. I didn't let her down, i didn't (well maybe in my imagination for a few moments,) collude or encourage the projection but man, did i still experience the fall off the pedestal.
To climb off gracefully is an art that for some might, well be full time. Our current prime minister was internationally lauded early in her career and now she is the victim of death threats and hate speech. It seems when she began to have to enact stringent (and bloody successful) measures to navigate covid, she went from being a wonderful person to being a communist and a tyrant.
Projections closer to home need our attention. We need to see where we are seeing the enemy within as our partner, our neighbour or some shadowy figure in the background treating us all like puppets.
Projections without the consciousness to work them, become weapons.
I believe we all need to be sheathing our weapons, withdrawing our projections as hard and fast as we can right now because we need each other to be visible, clear and true.
What are you doing to withdraw your projections? What have you experienced?