A common conflict that can arise within relationships is something that psychology refers to as projection.

Have you ever suggested that your partner is guilty of committing a type of behavior or acting out that you can recognize because at one time or currently, you have engaged in or felt the same, or even had your partner point out that they don’t think it is them at all but you?

If this is true to you, you might be guilty of projecting your fears and anxieties onto your partner. A more mature self-aware person might be educated and experienced enough to understand what you are doing, and if you are not projecting, it follows that they might agree with you that they are guilty of what you are pointing out, providing they aren’t in denial. 

Projection, on the other hand, may come from your own fears and insecurities. It is a way to cope with anxiety but can cause unpleasant friction in relationships that can cause them to run into trouble. The mechanism of projection works by keeping the feelings out of our own conscious awareness but seeing them in others, in other words projecting our “stuff” onto them.

How to recognize projection?

An example:

Have you ever thought about your partner or suggested to them that they are in the wrong by suggesting that they never open up to you but in truth, it’s you who is holding back and in a way you are saying perhaps you show me yours and I’ll show you mine, because your fears about being vulnerable or having some complexes have left you with a defense mechanism that might not be serving you too well.

Ways around it:

Communicate. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, authentic, regardless of how your partner may react to you. You don’t need to jump into the deep end and gush all your insecurities and experiences that have ended up making you feel flawed.  But remember there is no such things as perfect. Beauty indeed is in the eye of the beholder and making sure that your partner is a trustworthy sort with morals and integrity, you can begin to open up little by little. Dependent upon the feedback and support or lack of it you see in the other person might lie the measurement of what you want to reveal depending how painful and vulnerable you allow yourself to be to them. There is a difference between reputation and character and for a relationship to work, you need to be you, not who someone wants you to be or else you could be setting a stage for someone to fall in love with the idea of you, and through time, that idea will be unveiled and the true you will end up expressing forth in some other way.  All of us have baggage. Stuff we might be carrying over from other relationships or childhood. 

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