Wednesday, June 15, 2016

do abusers project their thoughts and feelings onto others?

name of cartoon: "Abusers Project Their Feelings
and Thoughts Onto Others"
image is © 2016 by Lise Winne
(for questions regarding use of images contact LilacGroveGraphics (att)

The answer to "Do abusers project their thoughts and feelings onto you?" is yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes (and what is more, just about ALWAYS, especially when they are being abusive or when they are thinking about abusing).

In fact, their accusations are usually so drastically different to what you actually feel and think, that how they read you can almost assuredly be their projecting their feelings and thoughts onto you, especially when they accuse you of something.

Projecting their feelings on to you, is just another part of erroneous blaming, which I go into detail about in this post (recommended).

Because I have written so much about projection in the Erroneous blaming post, the
Perfection in Abusive Relationships post and the Why Punishers and Abusers Use the Ungrateful Phrase post, this post will be a little more brief than those posts.

Projection, when used in conjunction with "a punishment" is always, always abuse. It is abuse because they are accusing you of certain personality traits, feelings and thoughts, and trying to make you believe that those traits, feelings and thoughts actually belong to you. If you don't believe it, they often escalate to doing everything in their power to convince you. If that doesn't work, they escalate to gaslighting you (see this post on the gaslighting technique, another form of abuse used in conjunction with their projections).

After making up things about you, they then use them as an excuse to purposely hurt you (purposely hurting someone else is the definition of abuse: go to my post on what abuse is and who it is perpetrated by to get a better understanding about what I am talking about). Note: abusers most often use the term "punishment" instead of "abuse" (most of them feel that "punishment" is a better term: it sounds more "acceptable" to them. Why? For them "punishment" refers to a child, someone insane or criminal. But make no mistake about it, "punishment" is always abuse and often unlawful unless the person administering the punishment is a court appointed judge or by an official in the US military services to a lower ranking military figure. Incarcerated individuals might also be "punished" with further "time", but this is an official with accreditation. Parents do not have a right to punish children over the age of 16, and even under the age of 16 certain kinds of punishments can cause them to lose their children or to be incarcerated).

From beginning to end, the whole process of projection goes from erroneous blaming, graduating to erroneous convincing, ending in the erroneous punishment.

Also the whole process is being used by them as an excuse to punish and hurt you (most abusers get off on watching their targets suffer).

Basically, if someone is screaming at you things that you are not feeling or thinking, such as that you are ungrateful, or that you are evil and have evil motives, or insulting you (usually with animal names: snake, serpent, rat, ass, pig, vulture, or the "it" label may be used, as David Pelzer was called in his years as a severely abused child), their observations are almost assuredly to be about them, or their plans about you. If you were a child who got smacked around or ostracized because of a look on your face, or for something equally erroneous, do not look at why you are being seen as villainous (do not make the mistake of thinking you have a target on your back), see it as their personality/feelings/thoughts projections onto you.

Why? Abusers do not generally ask you what you think and feel, instead they tell you what you think or feel. They want to be in charge of how you think and feel and supersede any of your own perceptions with their perceptions. Not asking you what you feel and think, and attributing qualities to what you think, is also one sign of an abusive person, before you get any deeper into a relationship with them. They are not psychic, not even a little, though they like to pretend they are (they are as far from being psychic or understanding as anyone can be -- their perceptions are almost assuredly paranoid and off-the-wall and about what they want to see).

You are being groomed to think that you are too stupid to know your own mind and feelings (most abusers label their victims as crazy, over-reactive and too sensitive, another gaslighting technique).

Why is it likely they are projecting when they accuse you?

1. Abusers do not take time to know their victims, except in ways where they can use information for the purpose of terrorizing, exploiting, backstabbing, arm-twisting, blackmailing and abusing ("punishing"). There is a phrase that Ram Dass is noted for: "If a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are his pockets" (a phrase he learned from a spiritual teacher). Abusers know their targets about as well as a pickpocket knows a saint, i.e. not very well, only as well as to notice he has pockets, nothing more, nothing less. He does not know him well enough to judge (and certainly not well enough to accuse). In other words, abusers are noted for filing away tidbits of information and using this information at a later date. This information is not at all inclusive: it is only to be useful, a tool for more prying, more labeling, more manipulation, more accusation, and in the end, only to be utilized for the purpose of abuse and gaining control over you; in other words, its purpose is NOT to build intimacy, understanding, mutual love and trust with a person.

2. Abusers spend a lot of time putting their targets through "punishments". Almost all abusers use verbal abuse and the silent treatment, a form of emotional abuse, at one time or another. A different version to the silent treatment is leaving you to be with a new love (triangulation). A person cannot know you when they put up a wall of "silence" between you and them, or when they are actively pursuing a better sycophant. None of these acts are about knowing you. Also, their minions and worshipers (generally referred to as flying monkeys in psychology circles) are not likely to know you either; in fact they know you even less than the abuser. The flying monkeys' main alliance is to the abuser, and they generally only come forward in your life to take pot-shots at you, to look at you suspiciously, to gather enough information where they think it will incriminate you, to help run smear campaigns against you and to help the abuser with bullying activities.

3. Most abusers have personality disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. People with these personality disorders tend to be self-involved and self absorbed. The least self involved and self absorbed is the Borderline, and the most self involved and self absorbed is the Sociopath (Antisocial). People with these personality disorders tend to attack wildly if they feel that others are viewing them critically, or less than perfect. Borderlines can control the impulse to attack and abuse best; whereas narcissists and sociopaths have extreme difficulty in controlling these impulses. Sociopaths do not even want to try to control this impulse, nor do they tend to respect the boundaries of others. While narcissists can commit crimes, their abuse tends to be non-physical (silent treatment, smear campaigns, gaslighting, goading, chiding, insulting, name-calling, vilifying, financial abuse, triangulating, emotional blackmail, terrorizing you when you are going through traumatizing life events, ignoring your special events such as graduations, birthdays, etc), whereas sociopaths are willing to take chances at physically abusing you, hoping they won't get caught.

4.  Since abusers are so self absorbed, self-admiring, labeling their targets feelings and thoughts without inquiring (as well as telling their targets what to think and feel about situations), they cannot know their targets in the slightest. The abuser, then, is projecting.

Please note: if an abuser tells you that you are evil and that you are planning evil deeds, run like hell. It usually means that the abuser is planning evil deeds against you, nine times out of ten.

When you train your mind to think of what they are saying as projection, this is an excellent way to keep safe from abuse.

Abuse almost always escalates, no matter how much you are explaining your side of things to them, no matter how much you try to defend yourself, no matter how much you try to get the abuser to understand your perspectives, no matter how kind you are to your abuser, no matter how much understanding and love you express to your abuser, no matter how much you do for your abuser, no matter how steadfast you are to your abuser, no matter how many orders you follow from your abuser. Abuse has nothing to do with you. And it's escalation has nothing to do with you either (again, it is like their drug, their high, and a high needs a bigger dose). Abuse has everything to do with them, period, never you, end of story.

The empath as the target for abuse and projection:

Empaths are usually the targets for abuse.

If you are an empath, you were chosen for abuse. Why? Because abuse is simply easier to instigate against people who care about the feelings, thoughts and needs of others. The abuser uses your concern for others for guilt trips to incite you to stay and work for them, caring for all of their needs, concerned with their judgments and thoughts about you, and keeping you thinking about them all of the time. You are also groomed to be unselfish at all times, to put their agendas always first.

Abusers also tend to use the lazy term to describe you (and their other targets), in order to keep you guilt-ridden if you take a time-out for self-care. The reason they want you to see yourself as lazy, is to guilt-trip you, and then thereby inspire you to work harder at what they demand of you. But if you notice their own actions in regards to laziness, they are almost always assured to take a lot of time for self care. Their time is spent delegating.

It is a form of slavery, or if they are giving you a little money, indentured servitude. Abuse is the whip to keep you complying with their needs and agendas.

And abuse in exchange for compliance can work for the abuser for awhile, especially if they use gaslighting to keep you in a state of confusion about their real intentions.

But once empaths realize they are being used, played for fools, deliberately gaslighted, receiving undeserved treatment, lied to, tricked, used in love triangles, slandered, abused, taken for granted, with nothing reciprocated, the agenda for the empath then changes too. Instead of complying, they think about escaping instead.

One reason why empaths make poor narcissistic supply more quickly than other types of personalities for narcissists and sociopaths is that empaths care about honorable actions like real love, real caring, real kindness, real peaceful conflict resolution, real team-work, and they realize that the narcissist or sociopath was fake about these things the whole time.

When empaths catch narcissists and sociopaths at dishonorable deeds, the abusers come under suspicion. Suspicion is not something narcs and sociopaths like, and it scares them, so they usually do a pre-emptive strike and reject the empath before the empath can reject them.

In some ways, empaths project too: they project good honest qualities on to others (sometimes before doing enough research into the person), though when empaths are lied to so much, it really isn't projecting after all, is it? It is being tricked and fooled and mind-fucked, thus the reason why therapists often refer to narcissistic and sociopathic abuse as emotional rape. Like rape, the empath is lured in by a sweet-talking impostor, someone who tells them they are loved and valued, but does not really mean it. They use the empath for narcissistic supply, and then dump the empath like so much garbage when the empath is not pleasing them. Being dumped is also referred to as the silent treatment (or ostracism if a family member did this to you). See my post on the silent treatment for more information.

Empaths value honesty, integrity, self reflection, responsibility for one's role in events, hard work, altruism, kindness, depth, enlightenment -- qualities that abusers generally do not have. Narcissists and sociopaths cannot keep their masks on forever (the masks tend to slip). So once they are caught at a lie, or some other nefarious act, an empath will feel shocked, and then eventually disgust.

Disgust is something narcs and sociopaths cannot deal with. Their usual way of dealing with being found out is to say, "I wish you hadn't done that", i.e. listened to someone else, investigated what they said, accused them of being duplicitous, and so on. Once they realize that you are investigating them and suspicious of them, they will usually go into a rage (over-react), and either do a disappearing act (the silent treatment), or they scheme at how to get rid of the suspicion much as a criminal tries to get rid of evidence.

Some of the other things they say at being found out is:

* "If that is the way you see me (or feel about me, or think about me), we're done."
* "There are consequences for that, and now you will have to pay."
* "I can't fathom why you would believe in that shoddy evidence over my own words! Why wouldn't you ask me first and let me explain?" -- and watch them explain away all of their misdeeds.
* "How could you do this? How could you do this to our wonderful life and to our home?"
* "How can you love me, and yet believe in these accusations at the same time? Don't you hold me in higher regard than that?!"
* "How can you not believe me? I am tired of being accused! This is so unwarranted! I need a break from you and all of your accusations!"
* "You actually believe what you are told? I can't believe you would do this to me! Accuse me like this! You need to sit down and get a hold of yourself! You need to get calm and take your mind off of this, or you might end up in an insane asylum. I'm worried about you."
* "You would do this to me, and to us? All of the love-making gone out the window because you believe in this tripe? If you think I am such a creep, then you should leave."
* "You wouldn't know the truth if it looked you in the eye! You're too crazy, and that is the end of this discussion!"
* "Look at what you have done! You have destroyed our relationship with this information!"
* "You shouldn't believe everything you are told. If you had listened to me, then we wouldn't be in such a pickle and I wouldn't be trying to get away from you."
* "You need to get a grip! There are some people who are out to get me! Don't be one of them! Support me! Stop believing in everything or you'll go crazy with all of this misinformation (poor thing), this witch hunt against us! They are seeking to break us up and destroy us! Just relax and believe in my intentions. Don't join those evil minions." -- downright creepy -- in fact, it is probably better to be rejected; this kind of phrasing at being caught can be a sign of a dangerous psychopath

Note: in the above statements, the abuser is trying to push responsibility on to you: for listening to and believing in evidence. The hallmark of abusers is that they do a teflon-like blame-shift to make others seem accountable in some way, even if they have to split hairs to do so. They then try to do elaborate cover-ups. Their first response is about how not to be accountable for what they have done. They try to make you accountable instead: for ruining the dream life you were supposedly trying to build together before you found out evidence which crushed your so-called mutual dream.

Fellow empaths will not act this way or treat you this way.

Alternately, some abusers cry rivers to convince you that they have changed and that you should stick by them despite the evidence you have uncovered. This is usually an act. Unless they are voluntarily going through a lot of therapy, or going through a long, difficult spiritual or karmic process, and not blaming you for any of it, they are not really sincere, or to be trusted. Also note: rehabilitation takes a long time, with advances and setbacks, and should be on-going.

Uncovering evidence is often when narcissists and sociopaths become dangerous, so be aware.

Some empaths may stay with abusers because of Stockholm Syndome, or because they believe they deserve it for something they did in the past (karma), or because of financial dependence, but the great majority of empaths do not stay with abusers, and know they did not deserve the abuse.

Empaths most often feel that they deserve reciprocity for being a good person. Most people walking around on the planet have good intentions, as well, so when empaths leave abusers, they will not have a hard time finding others who are as good as they are.

Narcissists and sociopaths do not have good intentions, but they pretend to for the sake of seeming normal in society. In order to feel above others, they usually dictate to others, and that means dictating what others feel and think, even. Since they have no real information, and cannot understand people regardless of whether they have information or not, they project onto people who they are.

They convince themselves that others are scheming ways to take them down, use them, lie to them, and abuse them ... all because that is the way they are. That is one reason why they play the victim after they have abused someone, and erroneously accuse you of motivations which don't exist, and why they punish so severely when you do not agree with their assessments of your thoughts and motivations. They are also so self-involved, where scheming to get something or arm-twisting their way through life is all that they focus on. If they cannot see others for who they really are, then they have to project to fill in the enormous blanks in their perceptions.

When empaths are out of abusive relationships, they are almost assured to be able to dust off their feet, and find other empaths who they can be in a reciprocal relationship with ... unless their self esteem is so shattered and shot that they find themselves in one abusive relationship after another, trying to figure out what they did wrong, which unfortunately happens to many of them.

When abusers are out of relationships with empaths, they are almost assured, over time, to be with other abusers (whether that be with a golden child-turned-narc, or a conniving spouse who won them in one of their super sick love triangle games, or another "suitor" who wants to surreptitiously get into their lives to get rid of the narc's circle of influence -- in other words, narcs tend to attract people just like themselves). According to psychologist Ramani Durvasula over half of favored golden children end up as bullies, and these are the children who tend to be in charge of the narc's finances and health issues when the narc abuser is old. One abuser is not going to care about how another abuser acts, so will endure the relationship with his own nefarious motives to get what ever goodies the abuser has.

Studies show that abusers never get over the relationships with the empaths they have sacrificed, whereas empaths usually get over their abusers, even if not right away, after separation (unless the empath is still stuck on ruminating about what they might have done wrong that made them a target for abuse). Also, with empaths living away from them, with histories, stories and evidence, abusers can become completely unhinged by paranoia. Their smear campaigns can become desperate and non-believable. They can also become jealous, because the empath will have what they don't have: a healthy life with healthy people, real love with other empaths, and real integrity.

Empaths can out-smart abusers (abusers tend to be personality disordered: borderlines, narcissists and sociopaths; the last two are not self reflecting types of people or willing to change except when they have no other choice at all: like when there are no more enablers, or they are destitute, or utterly alone, or sick with no one to help them, or a victim of war or violence, or the victim of a life-altering tragedy). Sometimes even homelessness doesn't change them (they can somewhat resemble The Lady in the Van if they can't find anyone to admire them).

The reason empaths can out-smart abusers is because they are not projecting. Since you know abusers almost always are projecting, abusers become pretty darned predictable. It is this predictability that makes it easy to guess their next move with accuracy.

They also generally only regard other people in terms of whether they can manipulate them (or not). They want to be able to talk people into things; it is what they live for. However, if it looks too hard for them, or they are dealing with someone who challenges them, who is onto their game, they tend to move onto an easier target. They like really insecure innocent people to pick on, and they can't stand smart, successful people. They are so enraged with jealousy most of the time, over someone, that they can barely think straight other than to be scheming retaliations and triangulations that they think will relieve them of feeling jealous. That is a huge vulnerability of theirs, it is their achilles heel.

The other area where they are vulnerable is in their paranoia. They tell so many lies and gaslight so much that they can barely keep anything straight. Having their lies and abuses exposed is their greatest fear, their biggest vulnerability. They can't even stand the possibility, so they try to bury one lie under another lie, or a bunch of lies. If they feel they haven't lied effectively enough, or deflected it, reworded it, played innocent and dumb, pretended they didn't hear right, blamed you for having to make them lie, used their lie to get into word salad arguments, or split hairs, or any of their other foolish and known strategies, they tell themselves 1. they managed to fool people somehow or 2. that the lie was no big deal  or 3. they count on people to be more empathetic than they are, and less punishing.

If you listen to narcissists' and sociopaths' opinions about your career or ambitions, they are always trying to give you advice that will set you up for failure, or they will come right out and say, "You really don't need to be working so hard. Success isn't all that important for you right now." Knowing they want you to fail (unless it makes them look good, is their other vulnerability -- and there are good strategies for bringing shame upon them for it, and shame is the last thing they want to feel; they do everything they can to run away from it).

When you know these predictables, it is always to your advantage. Since they are always trying to find some way, some little teeny tiny way to manipulate and tell people what to do, they can also be challenged in ways they could never dream up because they aren't creative in their thinking; they spend an inordinate amount of time in the attack/defend, controlling mode instead, another vulnerability of theirs.

I will talk about strategies in another post, but the real question is whether you want to even bother with it. Most people do not. Here is why:

They are sadists and they feel they have to win (sometimes at all costs). If you win anything at all they will always want to get back in the ring with you.

One analogy I have for this is this:

First ... let me preface the analogy by saying that most people regard abuse as disgusting. We don't like it when we hear people have been abusive to their child, or spouse, or to a co-worker. We tend to feel let down. When we find that a self-righteous holier-than-thou preacher has been cheating his whole life, we feel disgust at what he has done. When we find that a politician has been trying to cut back on funding social programs for the poor, but is caught at embezzling money from the government, we feel disgust. Let's face it: abusive people are disgusting: all of the gaslighting (disgusting), all of the triangulation (disgusting), all of the cheating (disgusting), all of the bullying, threatening, controlling maneuvers and trying to find narcissistic supply (disgusting), all of their erroneous punishments and blaming (disgusting), use of the silent treatment as a weapon (disgusting), feeling so puny and small that they have to insult other people in order to feel validated as a living being (disgusting); indeed it is a potpourri of unhealthy toxic pastimes, that it will leave any one of us who comes into contact with these people feeling sick, either mentally, emotionally or physically. It especially makes us sick because they feel good being abusers, and don't want to change. It reminds me somewhat of Pig-Pen of the Charlie Brown series in that Pig-Pen is oblivious to how he effects others with his cloud of dust. Abuse is right up there with porn movies featuring children. Ew! Just brushing past known toxic people on a street can make you feel sick to your stomach or give you a headache for a few seconds if you are highly tuned to your environment. So let us imagine a boxer that really, really stinks of the worst possible odor imaginable. Imagine all of these following toxic smells exuding from this person: vomit, poop, skunk, rotting garbage, dead animal, stale smoke, next-day alcohol, sulfur, decaying cabbage, and urine. Imagine that it is the strongest odor you have ever come into contact with. You are another boxer in the ring. You can barely stand his stench when you are on the opposite side of the ring. He is so disgusting that you immediately feel sick to your stomach, and then vomit when you have to proceed with the match by getting close to him. The stench is so overwhelming and noxious that you don't want to box. All you want to do is to leave him there in the ring by himself. The fight doesn't seem to matter any more; getting away from him is what really matters.

When you have dealt with enough toxic people, you eventually come to the conclusion that it is best to leave them alone.

The exceptions are these:
Are they causing harm to others?
Do they have access to children?
Are they in your workplace messing with your work, your career and your reputation?
Are they dangerous?

Posts on these 4 concerns will be forthcoming. In the meantime, listen to their projections to see where they stand in terms of these 4 issues.
For more information on what is abuse, who instigates abuse, and who tends to be the targets of abusers, go HERE.

further reading:

Why Abusers Who Punish Use the Ungrateful Phrase -- my own post which covers why the phrase is so common among abusers, and why it is often projection

a great little video-lecture on projection by Sacha Slone:

a video from Spartan Life Coach, Richard Grannon
(There is one thing he says that many therapists disagree with: that scapegoating and mobbing
one member of the family is common. It is only common in highly abusive families and alcoholic families. Most families do not come under that definition ... the rest of the video is worthwhile):
From Tom "Narcissism Survivor" (screen name), a survivor of narcissistic abuse
also talks about projection
(he makes special mention as to why many abusive parents who were sexually abused
as children, do not try to stop their own child from being sexually abused,
or to seek justice via police involvement, arrests and lawsuits --
it is to hurt them in the way they were hurt):
edit on 6/21/16:
This is someone I have been following on You Tube for a long time.
I have seen every video he has ever made. He is the first survivor to go public,
so he is a trailblazer in that regard.
When I announced on twitter about this post (and his video being part of it),
he wrote me back the following (I was so thrilled!):



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