Spotting Projection: Pinning the Tail on the Wrong Donkey
Here's a way to spot projection even when you haven't enough direct knowledge of a controversy to know through observation where the truth lies. It's something I suppose only a writer would notice about human dialog. One of those things we notice about the way people talk that we use to make fictional characters realistic.
Projection is of course intellectual dishonesty. People may project their own character off onto a another person, or they may project the character of one person in a conflict onto the other. In the second case, people are siding with the bad guy, such as the bystanders do when they blame the victim.
A sure sign is their diction - word choice. It's always ironic. Why? Because they're always busy "cleansing" their guy of wrongdoing with their talk.
So, to erase any glaring character flaws coming through in his behavior, they (perhaps almost subconsciously) dump a label for that very character flaw ON THE OTHER PARTY.
Do you see what they're doing? It's a little mental trick of wiping that dirt off the bad guy's image and smearing it on the good guy's.
The result is farce. Which easy to detect if you're paying attention.
For, if an honest person were talking, someone who honestly felt the other party was at least somewhat to blame, he or she wouldn't totally reverse reality this way.
This is how, for example, you get people characterizing the abuser as, of all the things, the victim. Enough to make the head spin. Getting things that backwards is no accident: it's projection.
We saw a perfect example in the case of the BBC's Raging Sweeney. Clowns called HIM, of all things, the "victim." Now, an honest person might be critical of the Scientolologist in that conflict, but no honest person (a person not thinking with lies) would get what happened THAT ass-backwards.
Of course, Sweeney played them like a fiddle for it, just like a narcissist does, by following his rage with a face-change into a "poor-little-ole-me-wouldn't-hurt-a-fly" act, but "I was so picked on that I lost my poor temper."
Not. He turned it on and off like a light switch, so he wasn't really provoked. But people invested in the message want to side with him, so they ludicrously misplace the labels of "abuser" and "victim" in this affair.
That isn't just wrong: it's a farce. That exactly REVERSES reality. They are just playing the shell game with labels.
To see through them, all you have to do is look at the video: which party is the abuser and which the victim couldn't be more obvious. That is something no honest person can get backwards.
So, projection is easy to detect if you just notice the labels people put on others. Just ask yourself which party that particular label is more fitting for. When you are hearing projection, you will immediately see that the person handing you this line is playing "Pin the Tail on the Wrong Donkey."
Here's another example. Another glaring thing about that video is that Sweeney just blows up suddenly, out of the blue. In other words, his rage is an outburst.
Therefore, no honest, clear thinking person would attribute the "outburst" to anyone but Sweeney.
But a projecter will. Since "outburst" is a perfect word for characterizing Sweeney's behavior, a projector will lay that label on someone else, instead. Projectors will call someone else's reaction to Sweeney, of all things, an "outburst."
Why would a projector choose that exact word? To remove it from Sweeney's account and put it on someone else's.
They are just pinning that tail on the wrong donkey.
Who are they trying to fool? Good question. Usualy themselves more than you.
Projectors thus give themselves away by always dumping the appropriate labels on the wrong party.
In this case, it's their way of cleansing Sweeney of his misconduct and smearing it off on someone defending against it.
They'll do the same with the hate. They don't lay that label on the bigot, they lay it on the offended party for answering the slur. The offended party must take the hatred of bigotry in good grace and with a smile or be guilty of ... you guessed it, "hate." Not a word from the projector about the hate in the bigot's slur.
What hate? He or she didn't detect any hate there.
One wonders what it's like to live in a head as cock-eyed as that!
In short, projectors are always getting the actor and acted upon reversed, the offender and offended reversed, the abuser and the victim reversed, the hater and hated reversed. That's why I call them clowns, for the original meaning of clown was someone with a foggy head.
Narcissists do this 20 times a day, and they are expert at manipulating the bystanders to do it, too.
So, watch for this in the diction of others. Pay attention to their diction, the labels they put on others. Is it a bridge too far? Does the word they choose to describe someone or something with seem peculiar? Do you wonder where it came from? Check it. Does it pin the tail on the wrong donkey?
Is it downright ironic in the light of what you know first hand?
If so, you are listening to someone deluding themselves. Don't let them delude you too.
An honest person may be wrong. But an honest person never reverses and makes a farce of reality.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism