How To Respond To Someone Who Is Projecting
When someone is projecting, they might not be thinking straight and will often say things they don’t mean.
However, just because they’re not feeling okay, doesn’t mean they get to say what they want.
It’s useful to know how to handle the situation carefully, whilst also keeping your integrity and protecting your feelings.
Follow our guide to find out just how to do this and how to move forward from the situation.
What Is Projecting?
Projection occurs when a person feels something that isn’t true about themselves but instead attributes it to another person or thing.
For example, if you feel like you are being treated unfairly by a friend, you may attribute this to them.
Projecting will usually result in someone taking out some underlying feelings on you or another individual when it might feel a bit unwarranted.
The first step in handling projection is to acknowledge that it has occurred. Once you have acknowledged that you have projected onto someone else, then you can begin to understand why this happened.
You need to look at yourself and see where you went wrong. This is easier said than done, however, because you don’t feel like you’re in the wrong at the time.
Letting Someone Know They’re In The Wrong
It’s always an awkward situation trying to get someone to realize that they need to apologize. An easy way to do this is to leave the situation for a few days so that everyone can calm down.
Too many things get said in the heat of the moment and may end up coming out wrong or hurting someone’s feelings unnecessarily.
A good thing to do is to go for a walk or go for a coffee and have an honest chat with the other person.
If you know them well, which we assume you do, then you will know how to talk to them and how to say the right thing.
Having a level of trust between you is essential so that you can start to break down any tension that may have formed between you.
By going for a coffee or a stroll, you’re adding a calm environment into what could be a normally hostile situation. This will, at least, encourage both of you to be civilized and keep you both in a nicer atmosphere.
Once you’ve moved past the situation, you can both enjoy the rest of your day.
Finding The Right Thing To Say
Once you’ve had a chance to cool off, you’ll be able to think more clearly. You should try to make sure that you’re saying the right thing, as well as making sure that you are being sincere.
The best way to do this is by asking questions. Ask them what they meant by their words and ask them if they would like you to repeat anything back to them.
If they agree, then you can take it from there. If they disagree, then you can explain how they made you feel and why you think it’s important that you talk about what was said.
If you’re having trouble understanding what they’re saying, then you can ask them to clarify. This allows them to explain further.
You should only respond to people who are willing to listen to you. If they aren’t willing to listen, then you’re only going to waste time and effort on someone who doesn’t understand what they’ve done wrong.
In this situation, it’s best to leave them to it and they may realize at a later date. If they don’t, then they need to know that you’re not spineless and that you will stand up for yourself.
What To Do When Someone Projects
When someone projects on you, it’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for what happens. You didn’t create the situation and you shouldn’t be held accountable for it.
It’s important to remain calm when dealing with someone who is doing this and remember that you’re going to feel fairly stressed. However, this will pass within a fairly short time.
The best way to deal with someone who is projecting on you is to ignore them. Don’t engage them in conversation unless it’s necessary.
If they continue to project on you, then you can politely tell them that you’d rather not discuss it. They aren’t thinking straight, so engaging them in conversation may make the ordeal worse for both of you.
It’s also important to remember that you can’t control another person’s actions. You can’t force them to stop projecting on you and you can’t change their behavior.
All you can do is let them know that you won’t tolerate it and that they need to apologize or make things right again. If they refuse, then maybe you might be better off finding someone who will care about your feelings.
Why is Someone Projecting at Me?
There are many reasons why someone might be projecting on you. Some of these include:
- They have low self-esteem.
- They want attention.
- They want validation.
- They want to hurt others.
However, it could be something completely different, in which case, the best thing to do is to talk to them and try to understand why they are acting the way they’re acting.
We could all sit around all day and try to wonder what other people are feeling, but that would only result in added stress and confusion for us.
Some people have a difficult time expressing themselves and others find it hard to read other people’s emotions. These people often end up projecting onto others.
This means that they attribute their own emotions to another person. For example, if they feel angry, they may take that anger out on you, despite doing nothing wrong.
The important thing to do in this situation is to be the bigger person, make sure that you don’t stoop to their level, and make sure that your integrity stays intact.
Always stay calm, it’s easy to say things you don’t mean in the heat of the moment, which can make the situation harder for the both of you.
At the end of the day, all you can do is try and make the other person see how you’re feeling and make sure they see your side of the situation. If they can’t do that, then it might be best to leave that person to their own devices.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT (license:115130)
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: December 2, 2022