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Can You Please Explain Projection to Me?

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From the U.K.: Can you please explain projection to me as I am having problems understanding projection as there appears to be different views on what it is?

I actually think I projected today when on the phone to my husband. I had helped a client get a mattress for her bedroom today and I called him and said “I’ve had a difficult day, I just need to help my client to get this bloody mattress up the stairs and I’ll be home”. But I don’t believe that I am narcissistic or that this was done in a horrible way. I wanted to help my client but also needed to get home asap. But I knew I needed to help get the mattress up the stairs first but I’d be late. so, I said “bloody” to my husband to make it seem like it was a nuisance but I actually wanted to make sure it was in the house so that she had somewhere comfortable to sleep that night.

Also, all the articles I’ve read say to go “No contact” with very difficult family who have narcissistic behaviours. But also contradicting this it says that many Narcissists will go N/C with people sometimes for no reason at all.

I’ve been accused of being cold and heartless by my family for low contact and now need to go no contact as they are incredibly narcissistic. So, all literature and articles I’ve read are telling me to do what a narcissist will do. I know why they’re saying it and actually understand but that too feels contradictory.

Any help in understanding a little more would be appreciated.


Can You Please Explain Projection to Me?

Answered by on -


┬áThank you for writing. It’s understandable that your efforts to get good information have left you more confused. Please don’t be hard on yourself. It is not at all unusual to find contradictory information and advice on the internet.

Projection, to put it simply, is reading our own issues into someone else’s behaviors. For example, someone who unconsciously feels superior to others may accuse someone else of acting superior during a conversation.

I don’t think your conversation with your husband was an example of projection. I think maybe you wanted some approval from your husband for what you had done — and perhaps an excuse for being late. That’s only human.

But if you often feel unappreciated or if your husband gets unreasonably angry when you are late, it’s another story. I don’t have enough information to comment.

Deciding to cut off from the extended family at this stage of your life (your 50s) is a huge decision. Often there are unintended and negative consequences. I feel it would be irresponsible for me to give you advice on the basis of a short letter. For that reason, I strongly urge you to seek out a local counselor who can hear your whole story and give you the advice and support you need.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can You Please Explain Projection to Me?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can You Please Explain Projection to Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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