Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.
So am I guilty of psychological projection?
I have spent the last couple of days venting my anger on Facebook and Twitter and I have aimed it at people I know that finally used up all their straws. The last straw was when I kept getting emails aimed at liberals. The last pointed out several Democrats calling them stupid...STUPID! These people may be a lot of things but the last thing they are is stupid. And the intent was to let me know how they feel about my views. By default, I was stupid too. It made me very mad!
So I know you have all heard of the last straw...the one that breaks the camel's back. It is that last tiny bit of weight a camel cannot carry for even one more minute. So much chipping away at my views of what is right and what is wrong has finally pushed me over the edge. The last straw after so many straws was just too much. I was outraged and offended!
I have always thought that when a person, even myself, called another human stupid, we did it because it made us feel better about ourselves. Flawed as we are, we have finally found someone even more flawed. When we feel bad about ourselves, we need that boost.
We see it in the humans that are living at the bottom...poor people hate even poorer people because at least those people might be less important than they are.
I have always known since I was in college that being put down did not have anything to do with me personally. It had to do with the person that was doing that feeling less important than me.
I receive the "last straw" email stating the Hillary Clinton was a stupid liberal because she retold a story her mother had told her about her heritage and it turned out to be wrong. I could only think that the person that sent it to me felt inadequate and overshadowed. It was a family story for goodness sakes. We all tell those without a shred of evidence that they are true.
Could it be that ultra conservative men and women are afraid of powerful, smart people that do not look or act like themselves? I think it is so sad when women fall into that category in many people's mind. We can disagree but do we need to destroy those who are different to make ourselves appear more worthy?
I suppose in our environment today the same could be said for the Gay community. The Jewish people are still viewed with suspicion because they are very successful and of a different faith. Muslim, Mexican, Black...and a whole lot of others that I am not aware of are misunderstood and hated. The people that hate them are afraid of them. They may think that those people are taking something from them that they view as theirs and theirs alone or that they are taking part of their wealth because many are in need of support.
Here I need to admit that I do not like what our government is doing and I am in fact fearful that they will not protect us. I was thinking today as I drove down the road about something that was being done to a friend of mine and my first thought was that someone in government and in power could take care of that. Then the fear struck because I realized that the people I feared were the government right now. So I too have to fight the impulse to say things that I do not know as true about those people. The hard part for me is learning about them and even listening to their words. I feel a little sick as I get to know more and more.
I try to remain hopeful that in that conservative group of people there are honorable and good people. In the end what they do will matter more than what they say. Some will fall short but then don't we all?
It is just a thought! Am I guilty of psychological projection? Do you have any thoughts?