Projection: what I seem to be doing a lot of lately

I’m reading a book by John Ruskan called Emotional Clearing. A kind reader suggested I read it and I’m finding it extremely helpful. It actually goes along quite nicely with what I’m doing with my therapist—almost like a companion reader. Some people might find the book objectionable if they don’t believe in reincarnation as the author does, but I’m finding it very easy to put aside the stuff that isn’t part of my world view and find a rich source of insight nonetheless.

On page 40 and 41 in his book Emotional Clearing, Ruskan writes on Projection:

Projection results from an accumulation of energy generated by suppression. It is an automatic, unconscious mechanism, which assigns subjective value and identity to persons or events in the “outside” world. Feelings that are suppressed are then experienced indirectly through persons or events. In projection, suppressed qualities are attributed to others, or those qualities are experienced as being caused by or coming from others. Others are usually criticized for the very qualities that have been projected onto them.

In projection, we try to avoid responsibility for certain feelings.

When we project we unconsciously assign responsibility for our feelings to other persons or situations, thinking that they “caused” our experience. We generally choose persons or situations skillfully, to appear justified to others and to ourselves. We fail to see that the other is only “bringing up” suppressed material from inside ourselves. They are not the cause of our feelings, although they may be considered to be the stimulus.

If that feeling or reaction was not already latent within us, we would not have responded in that particular way. Think of how differently various people react to the same situation. In projecting, we see through distorting filters or our own suppressed energies. We do not see reality as it is, and we always react inappropriately.

For example if you have suppressed anger, you will see others as responsible for “making” you angry because of what they do. You will blame them. You will also perceive others as being angry and directing their anger toward you when you are not angry. You will be likely to condemn them for their anger. If you have suppressed sexual feelings , you will perceive others as making uncalled-for sexual approaches toward you, and you may judge them harshly. If you have suppressed your feelings of rejection toward others, you will think others are rejecting you, and you will blame them.

I see myself doing various kinds of projection all the time lately. All the “suppressed energies” were kept under a tight lid while on the drugs. They are all flying forth now. It’s amazing though. In just the short time I’ve become aware that this is what I’m doing I’ve been able to change some of the dysfunctional behavior attached to it.

I’m reading this book and it’s got a method of integrating these energies—I have yet to learn more about that. I’m also using Jayme’s method of embracing pain found here—I do a sort of meditation with it. And then my therapy too, aids this process. I feel pretty lucky to have the tools I need to take care of this situation, which was really making it hard to associate with anyone. In the last three days things have lightened up. We can really make ourselves miserable and taking responsibility for our misery is liberating. I imagine this will be slow going and will be a long term process, but I have a lot of hope that I am moving in the right direction.

9 thoughts on “Projection: what I seem to be doing a lot of lately

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  1. I like what you siad about projection. We all engage in projection. It often intensifies our bad feelings and takes us deeper into our illness. I find that I must be open to all ideas like this. I stayed sick for many years because I focused on blaming others, especially people in my past. When I started to focus on myself, I grew.

    Keep up your good work on yourself and on your site. I appreciate your many references to books and research. You are helping more people than you can ever imagine.
    Jim S

  2. Doe,
    thank you for your very encouraging comment about positive projection and I just bought the book by Miriam Greenspan on your recommendation. I, of course, liked the interview I posted, but you inspired me to buy her book. It sounds like what I need right now. I look forward to reading it.

    You know even though I’m going through all this crap, I keep on feeling like I’m getting what I need. The book I quote from above is one example and I trust now that this book too will speak to me.


  3. Projection is a very useful concept to realize. I have felt bad/shamed about the projection that I find myself doing (even though we all do it!), but someone pointed out to me that it works the other way too…We can project our positive qualities onto other people…when we are envious and see the beauty in other people–we couldn’t see these wonderful qualities we see in other people if we didn’t also see them in ourselves. I find that comforting, that it works the other way too.

    Gianna, awhile back you posted a great piece by an interview with Miriam Greenspan that was published in The Sun magazine. It inspired me so much, I bought her book. That book has been amazing–it is the most detailed, compassionate, reader friendly book about how to be-friend and embrace pain, and gives very clear instructions on how to do so…If you (or anyone else interested in the issue of not trying to “fix” your pain or get rid of it, but rather learn from it and let it transform you…) haven’t already bought it, I highly recommend it.

  4. Gianna,

    Your disclaimer does not in the least offend. I completely understand and do not advocate what I did to anyone.

    My new blog with only a few short entiries is at

    All the best to you on your continued journey.


  5. What I’ve noticed about myself in all of this med removal and life happenings is that i want it all now. once i realized i was thinking that way, i just let it go. like we fight and struggle thinking, and asking so much, we may miss some learning process in it’s path if that makes sense. i’ve always believed in embracing the bad and letting it go, it’s the only way i’ve survived my entire life. where i recently got into trouble was allowing myself to feel misplaced guilt and failure, when it is actually part of residual from someone’s else’s wake up call [the ex and bankruptcy]so i kept to myself, didnt have contact except via attorney, and won’t until paperwork is imperative to be done, and i tell this part because it’s about this topic. feeling the pain, embracing it, allowing the anger and stuff to come up and then letting it all go. it is all an energy force, and i’ve firmly used this as my life motto over the years. that all emotions and feelings and anxiety, etc are energy forces that can be channeled somewhere positive. even if it’s turning off the comp, putting the books down and standing outside and saying, “i;m glad i’m alive” and taking it from there.

    we are all energy forces and this is what is a shame about medications, is when they take away that fire from a spirit and soul. i also believe it may not be the age and resiliant ability to overcome med removal, i believe it is the amount of years one has been on that makes it difficult.

    continued good luck and peace to you Gianna,


  6. Cricket,
    You posted while I was writing my response to Tessa.

    You make me think of the word “energy” it seems like it can mean so many things…I’m going to think about it some…

  7. Tessa,
    I’m very glad you are healthy. And I hope you continue your journey towards even better health and wellbeing. I’m glad you find something useful here.

    To everyone else:
    Tessa is right that I don’t advocate her way of getting off drugs because it is very dangerous.

    People can have seizures and die coming off Lamictal cold-turkey. And with Seroquel people can have psychotic breaks coming off cold turkey even if they were not prescribed the drug for psychosis.

    Sometimes, however, if people haven’t been on drugs for a long time they can come off a whole hell of a lot faster than I am doing it and sometimes youth helps too. The younger someone is the more resilient they are.

    Cold-turkey withdrawal, though, no matter what the circumstances is never recommended.

    I nonetheless, am very happy for you. We are all different and our journeys are all different. I hope I don’t offend you at all putting the above warning. I want to welcome you to participate as you move forward as part of the journey is learning to live without the meds.

    And yes, the spiritual part coming back is thrilling, isn’t it? Even though I’m still on meds my spirituality is coming back I feel connected again.

    You didn’t leave your blog address….I’d like to look at it!

  8. I remember when I started higher dosage of my treatment for hypothyroidism. That treatment really unleashed some energy toward some things I needed to deal with. It felt good to have the new energy and perspective.

    I know this is different/opposite, but it’s kinda the same. Energy levels dictate so much, even thoughts and ideas.

  9. Gianna,

    I haven’t left a comment in a while but I have been keeping up with your blog. I echo the comments I often read about the importance of what you are doing here. I can well imagine what benefit it is to you but I don’t have to imagine the benefit you are providing to everyone who finds your words.

    7-8 weeks ago I was in crisis with my medications and found your blog. Against your advice and the advice of others I made an impulsive decision to quit Lamictal and Seroquel cold turkey. (More on the reason at my new blog)

    I was one of the lucky. After a week or two of sickness I was mostly out of the woods.

    Though you do not advocate my method, I thank you for your blog which got me to re-evaluate my diagnosis and the need to be on meds.

    After nearly a decade of being told I was bipolar and would need medication for the rest of my life, my self-image was very damaged.

    Now comes the hard work of getting to know myself, my feelings and my reactions without sedation.

    Now I have the chance to regain my connection to spirituality which I lost. –your comments on this issue have been helpful.

    Thank you Gianna. You are a gem.

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