If there is one lesson I’d teach my younger self, it would be to understand the concept of projection.
A lot of the time, people project their own insecurities, fears, and desires onto others. It’s usually unconscious.
It’s actually very interesting to listen and observe people. You’d learn alot about them based on what they’re saying to/about you.
1) A girlfriend once told me that I don’t have to worry about her stealing B because she’s not that type of friend. She called me jealous and possessive. I can be. But not with girls like her. I almost choked on my coffee when she said it. One, I never had that thought in my mind. Two, she’d annoy B to death with her incessant dramas. She’s not his type. Three, she has threatened to steal one of my ex-bf in the past. That was when I realized she might’ve had the hots for B. It turned out that she does. Even B can tell.
2) A coworker talked behind my back and called me stupid. She legitimately thinks I’m stupid. I’ve been called many things but stupid is not one of them. Naïve, absent minded, an Aspie sometimes. She knew me a total of 3 days. Later down the road, I learned that she was forced to marry very early, the bosses were pointing out her mistakes and making her cry regularly. I realized ppl in her life were making her feel like she’s stupid/incompetent. I now feel sorry for her instead of hating her. I’m still not very enthusiastic about her existence though.
3) A friend kept insisting that I’d be a great mom and should have kids. I’d be a pretty crappy and abusive mom at this point in my life. She kept insisting it. I thought it was weird. I later learned that her son is all grown up now and she wants to have another kid.
4) One of my boss used to treat people like they know nothing. Her emails were always very condescending. If you already have low self-esteem, it would be very bad to have a boss like this. During our review, she spent the entire time talking about herself. I learned that she’s very insecure about her lack of education. She thinks she’s not as smart as other people. She definitely struggle with some self esteem issues.
5) A friend insist that I should go back to school and get a psychology degree. She thinks I have the brain and talent for it. I was very flattered. But I wasn’t interested in it. I told her in so many ways that I wasn’t gonna do such thing. But she just kept insisting about it. She was lost and wanted to pursue higher education herself. She actually didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She finally relented and said she might be projecting. I was also high when I told her to back off for the last time. I have zero tolerance for annoyance when I’m high. When I’m sober, I have like 10% tolerance for annoying people. But I’m very nice and approachable *asian peace sign* :D.
These are just small examples of projections I get from ppl all the time. When I was younger, I was very impressionable. Not to mention I had no sense of self due to having abusive and narcisstic parents. These kind of projections were very harmful to me. It prevented me from forming my own judgment of who I am as a person. I was primed for manipulation and abuse. And boy did ppl have a field day with me.
Now that I’m older, I’m much more aware of other people’s emotional pain. I’ve recognized that projection is a coping mechanism for whatever shit people are going through/feeling at the time.
It’s important that you recognize this and not take it on as your own. Sometimes, you’re perfectly fine or surviving fine. It’s the people around you that aren’t.
You’re the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with. Not all of us are lucky enough to have intelligent, kind, and logical humans around you as friends or mentors. If you’re REALLY lucky, you have them as parents.
I don’t. My mentors are mostly ancient and dead.
But yeah, understand that a lot of ppl project when they’re conversing with you. And you wouldn’t recognize this unless you understand and accept yourself for who you are (flaws, limitations, tendencies, strengths…. Etc).
With ALL of that said, I’ve also committed the crime of projection in the past. So I’m not an innocent victim of such behavior.