the inspiration blog

Dealing with projections (or, the peril of being an authority)

Posted on: October 1, 2015

One of the really difficult lessons I’ve found, as I’ve grown my business, and gotten increasingly known, is dealing with the projections (sometimes extremely negative) that people have placed upon me. So: where do projections arise from – especially in regard to authority figures, such as teachers, leaders, coaches, etc.?

My experience is that projections upon authority figures usually reflect people’s issues with their parents. Like how Dad yelled, and how you felt angry/rebellious/blamed/anything… how Mom didn’t listen, and you had to try extra hard… that kind of thing then affects how we deal with anyone who we believe holds a semblance of power over us.

In this circumstance (and in many others), people begin to perceive themselves as victims, and to place all the blame upon the other. Of course, I have been at fault of doing this in the past. I’ve gotten better at it… and being on the other side of it has certainly accelerated my learning.

While this is still a working model, here are my thoughts on how to handle it.

1) Notice whether how you are treating authority figures, of any kind, is the same as you felt about (or wish you could have responded to) your parents.

2) Remember that they’re people too. They’re only “above” you if you choose to have that perspective.

3) Take responsibility for your own actions. When you go into blame, you are disempowering both of you, and creating a distortion of what actually happened. Instead, take responsibility for what you may have created by simply acting out old patterns, and placing someone in shoes that didn’t belong to them.

4) Choose to be vulnerable, and engage in heartfelt dialogue. Have an intention to create healing and connection, to see if the other person can talk on that level.

These are my initial thoughts. No, not everyone can meet you there. It’s a choice to step up, and to be a responsible person. Yes, sometimes to be more responsible than the person in charge – and at other times, to simply assert we are equal, and we are enough.

And yes, something pretty yucky happened that precipitated this post. (Keeping it confidential, since that’s the appropriate path here.)) Being on the receiving end  – and, in this case, not being able to do anything about it – I choose to take responsibility by choosing to treat all people as well as possible, and to return to a space of gratitude for my life.

Thanks for reading. I hope it’s of service. Please leave your thoughts below.

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