Psychological Projection

How to handle a buncha' nuts...
Years ago, we had a seminar at my place of work. My company hired two motivational speakers who came in and completely enlightened us on techniques about dealing with customers, especially difficult ones. I didn't think much of it because I immediately judged it to be this 'over-the-top' non-religious sermon on "YES-YOU-CAN-DO-IT" kinda jibber-jabber. But not even an hour into their spiel, I started to learn much more than I expected to. Keep in mind, this was a two week motivational course. They showed us how some people respond when dealing with circumstances that didn't please them, or didn't meet their needs -- or just crap they didn't want to hear or deal with. They taught you how to react if you received a call from an irate customer, or if you were dealing with an irrational or abusive jerk from hell. We were taught to never say, "I understand," because before you even say the second syllable of "understand" -- they're like, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING I SAY!" I tried it. Trust me, it always happens that way, almost verbatim. What you have to do is be on their side. Jump into their shoes without misrepresenting your own company. For instance, you would say, "Ugh, this is awful, sir. Let's see how we can fix this."

Never apologize. Ever.

Interesting, right? How can you buddy up with someone if you never apologize? This only applies when someone is downright wrong and accusing your company of a disservice or a charge they had no clue they were paying for. But in the bigger scheme of things -- like "LIFE" itself, it applies a lot more than you would think. Granted, if the company charged you $1,000 for a $25 service charge, yes -- apologize. You get my point. Anyway, applying this to life's circumstances means that when you apologize for something, this means that you have done someone wrong, right? Even with those stupid inspirational quotes that I disagree with a lot of, like, "Apologize even if you aren't wrong. Peace is better," blah blah blah. "Forgiveness is not for them, it's for you." NO. It's for them. Own your apology only if you are wrong. Forgive someone if you are OK and that should make them feel better.

What I also learned in this seminar was how people use psychological projection in order to raise a response through an emotional that the person is harboring.


What happens when you have a whole bunch of uncomfortable, embarrassing and annoying emotions that you don’t want to unconsciously deal with? According to famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, these emotions are projected onto other people, so that other people become carriers of our own perceived flaws. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, this form of emotional displacement makes it much easier to live with ourselves … because everyone else is responsible for our misery – not us!----read more about it here.

Whatever insults or assumptions come flying your way, just keep in mind it may be their own insecurities purging through their argument. Sometimes it's so transparent (especially if you know the person well) that it becomes obvious that they're totally digging for some sort of relation -- a tie that binds you two together that you can understand them better. It's a warped way to go about it, but it happens more often than not. Think about someone who bad mouthed you or spoke badly about you to somebody else. This happened to me recently actually. Usually, this person will use psychological projection in order to see how other people respond to their assumption about you, or perhaps to escape their issues so that now you're the main focus on these burdens they've carried for however long. Sometimes they don't even realize they're doing it.

Regardless, none of this is foolproof because none of us are mindreaders. But what we can do is try to understand someone who is flipping the frig out, who has loss completely control over their own emotions. We can respond in a different way. Most of the time, if I am overwhelmed myself and someone I know is flipping out on me -- I do the silent treatment and avoid. I know that's the childish way to handle things, but right now, as I'm still mourning the loss of my mother, this is the only way I know how to deal with such things.

What about domestic arguments, be it your spouse, child, parent or other -- how would you respond when your loved one freaks out over something that you felt was nonsensical? Would you underestimate their feelings or make them feel bad about their behavior? Would you become silent and try to avoid them? Or would you actually sit with them and get them to tell you why they feel the way they do? Sometimes, there's no talking to some people. They just love to argue -- especially if they're in a rage-like tantrum. Speak softly and hardly speak at all if you want to defuse things. Listen to what they're telling you. Most things they're accusing you of, they're guilty of themselves. Think about this: if a spouse is constantly accusing you of cheating, then what may be the issue here? Nine out of ten times, it means that the person who is accusing you of cheating is guilty themselves. Now that's just psychology 101.

This is just what I have learned through this one seminar. Even though this was more for work-related issues, this applied to my entire life and how to handle uncomfortable situations. And I promise you --I'm not perfect myself, but it helped me to not only understand where other people are coming from, it also helped me realize where I was coming from.

Cray knows cray...

So, my disclaimer on this particular article is: I am not a psychologist nor play one on TV. I am a patient who lies on a shrink's couch hoping to get some answers about life. Sometimes the best lessons are learned from the patients themselves. And now it's almost time for wine o'clock.

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