Projection and Relationship Self-Sabotage

Have you ever found yourself having an unusually strong reaction to something your partner did or said – one that was outsized or perhaps they didn’t deserve?

Sometimes, we unintentionally sabotage ourselves and our relationships by projecting or blaming our partners for our emotions. 

Projection is displacing one’s feelings onto another person, animal, or object, or attributing one’s own “unacceptable” urges to another. 

Some examples:

  • Being poor with finances but blaming your partner for the same behavior
  • Being attracted to someone else but accusing your partner of having a wandering eye
  • Feelings towards your parents being projected onto your partner 
  • Passing on messaging and insecurities to children (example: a mother who never had good luck in relationships tells her children to never date or marry and that love is hopeless)

Knee-jerk reactions can be a sign that projection is at play.

Try to take a pause – it’s possible that fears from the past are playing out in the present. It’s key to realize that you’re using a defense mechanism so you can slow down during conflicts, check to make sure you’re understanding each other, and consider couples therapy if needed. Your relationships are worth it!



Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash