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The Verbal Vomit of the Psychological Abuser: Projection and Blame-Shifting [blogs.psychcentral.com]

 

“If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”Khalil Gibran

Definition of Projection or Blame-Shifting: (n.)  A term originally coined as a self-defense mechanism by Anna Freud when a person attributes their own unwanted thoughts, feelings, or motives onto another person (A. Freud, 1936). By projecting, or “blame-shifting” one’s undesirable mental/emotional notions onto another person, the individual is defended against having to be aware of and accountable to their own thought process. The object of the projection is then targeted for blame, since the unwanted thoughts/emotions are too threatening to be accountable to.

Narcissistic abusers are classic examples of individuals who deploy this type of defense mechanism but take it up exponentially several notches. Any human being can fall prey to a defense mechanism in the face of stress. Healthy people, however, can acknowledge where they need to access integrity and authenticity and explore uncomfortable feelings. Extremely narcissistic individuals are not capable of that level of insight and feel very exposed and vulnerable to shame and judgement, thus refusing to be aware of or show and admit their own imperfections and scary feelings within their inner psyche. Therefore, projection (or “blame-shifting”) becomes habitual as very common psychological abuse tactic against the psychological abuser’s target (family member, romantic partner, friend, co-worker) (Louis de Canonville, 2015).

Like a volcano burbling and and ready to spew hot magma, hissing and blowing steam, prepared to erupt at any given moment, narcissistic abusers have great difficulty when their false self mask slips. Underneath the mask lies a psychic void in which the narcissist seeks to extract ego fuel, or narcissistic supply, from his/her relationships and interactions (Schneider, 2017). When a narcissistic abuser feels exposed due to a short-coming of their own, this person will feel as if a narcissistic injury has been imposed upon them by their targeted object (person supplying ego fuel).  It’s hard to fathom that setting a healthy boundary with a narcissist is interpreted by the abuser as an egregious, blasphemous and slanderous statement they take very personally. A healthy individual would receive a constructive comment as an opportunity to learn, grow, make amends, compromise, and evolve with their loved one. A narcissistic person is threatened by any input which renders them any thing less than exceptionally unique and special.

[For more on this story by  Andrea Schneider, go to https://blogs.psychcentral.com...-and-blame-shifting/]

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