It’s Day 391 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and spending the day at the pool yesterday along with this morning’s sermon reminded me of an important lesson on psychological projection. According to Wikipedia, psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which human defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. It incorporates blame shifting. The definition goes on to say this is a common process in everyday life. And I can sure attest to that. For years I’ve had a particular individual project the fact that they are overweight onto me. Granted, I’m not as petite as I was when I meant this person over a decade ago, but I’m an almost fifty-year-old woman who has had multiple pregnancies and deliveries as well as numerous female related surgeries, including a total hysterectomy. All of these factors have combined to make me about thirty pounds heavier. Thankfully, due to relatively healthy eating habits, giving up gummi bears several months ago, and dancing six times a week, I’ve managed to keep more weight from amassing. Though I’d love to for the scale to go down, I’m happy to maintain my current weight and not have it go up! Even with all of this in play, I don’t consider myself to be overweight to the degree that it warrants snarky, hurtful comments. Especially from one who is seriously overweight! This painful situation has been ongoing, but today’s sermon reminded me of a lesson on psychological projection.
The pastor reminded us that when others put us down, it’s usually due to their own low self esteem. I imagine this is the case with this individual who contrary to the psychological projection theory actually acknowledges the fact that they are overweight. In fact, they lament, I’m fat, on a regular basis. Lament is the right word –– they bellyache about the size of their belly and other body parts nonstop but don’t take steps to rectify the situation. This adds insult to injury for me considering how hard I work –– not at trying to be skinny again but at being healthy. Having others make lame excuses for the behavior –– like they’re only joking –– doesn’t help. Last I heard, a joke is only funny if everyone is laughing –– and I’m not. The tears that poured down my face this morning as the preacher discussed this made me realize how long I’ve kept this hurt bottled up.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan who knows she’s imperfect, I also know that I will about bite my tongue out rather than make a hurtful comment about someone’s appearance or anything else. And I’ve never done it with this person. Ironically, they are quick to “defend” the people they love and would try to annihilate me if I were to speak a word about any of them –– even in response to their constant verbal abuse. So I’ve taken some steps to set boundaries in the hopes that reconciliation can occur. If it can’t, it’ll just have to be. I’ll pray for them but keep my distance. After all, I wouldn’t miss having someone in my life who apparently hasn’t learned a lesson on psychological projection but is a master of it.
Have you ever been the target of psychological projection? How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about dealing with it?
Be savvy & chic,
~Pink Collar Coach