Blog Post

Psychological Projection Operating as a Source of Conflict

Jun 22nd, 2021

The Discuss Dramatica forums pose a question about a Motivation of Projection. With Illustrations of Projection covering everything from "figuring out how someone is likely to be exterminated" to "forecasting someone's future, " one wonders whether psychological projection fits into the mix.

The short answer is yes.

Psychological projection is defined as:

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project his or her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused may project feelings of confusion and inadequacy onto other people.

If I project onto you some vulnerability or negative feeling of my own, I am literally projecting my experience onto yours. When issues arise where I assume or imagine some behavior you are most likely go into do, I’m doing that based on my experience with myself. The motivation to damn someone before they’ve done wrong is an attempt to punish oneself for behavior that they themselves see as negative within. Unable to course correct or heal that personal trauma, they externalize and “take it out” on the other person.

If you look to the Parents of Projection (Issues in Dramatica), you'll find Sense of Self, Falsehood, Conditioning, and Destiny:

Sense of Self calls to mind negative self-imagery, as described in the example above. Falsehood encompasses the lies we tell about others, and ourselves, when projecting. Conditioning describes those projections brought about by a lifetime of managing internal pain through external means like personal and interpersonal physical abuse. And lastly, Destiny shrouds those negative connotations of being trapped in a body–or a lifetime–that desires something perceived as negative or illusory. That feeling of being unable to escape and the overwhelm that arises from a path not taken, or even accessible, can lead some to even consider taking the short road out of this life.

In short, a Motivation of Projection finds one driven to do something or be some way because of what will most likely happen based on prior evidence–within and without.