Projection in Coping with Stress

Not The Best Coping Strategy

Using projection in coping with stress is not an ideal strategy for several reasons

  • it is an automatic process whose job it is to keep your attention away from unpleasant thoughts, ideas, impulses, or personal responsibility

  • it does this by keeping them largely out of conscious awareness

  • it severely limits learning from your experiences

  • if someone else tries to point it out to you, it most likely feels like they are attacking you or trying to "pass the buck" right back at you.

  • because of the way it functions, it is particularly corrosive to relationships.

Sending A Person You Suspect of Projection
to "Be Fixed" Rarely Works.

Apparently we all use projection to some degree or other.

This can range from

  • the relatively mild such as assumptions that we make about how other people and/or groups feel in a given situation based on our how we would, 
  • all the way to "knowing" that other people don't trust us because we know for sure that we don't trust them.

People generally don't know they're doing it and if someone tries to tell them about it, it feels like the person pointing it out is the one doing it; a real "catch-22" situation if there ever was one. 

Perversely, better this maladaptive strategy is working, the harder it is for person using to see it for what it is.

What Coping Styles Are Better Than Projection In Coping With Stress?

There is no way to live without stress, and the more we're stressed, the more extreme our attempts at coping become.

Perhaps the best approach is to consciously develop ways to respond to the inevitable stressors most effectively and resulting in the most positive feelings possible given the situation.

This is the realm that comes under the general topic of Stress Management which is discussed on this website and can be reached by CLICKING HERE.

Humor Can Go A Long Way In Coping With Stress

For a light hearted example of using humor, listen to the old Ray Stevens song below  "Making the Best of a Bad Situation" --

Other Higher Adaptive Level Coping Styles

  • anticipation - using mental rehearsal before an event to experience emotional reactions, and consider various possible outcomes, responses, or solutions.

  • affiliation - turning to others for support.

  • altruism -  deciding to focus on the needs of others in a positive gratifying way,  (not self-sacrifice or martyr.)

  • humor re-framing the situation in humorous terms.

  • self-assertionexpressing his or her own needs and desires clearly, but not in an aggressive or manipulative way.

  • self-observation reflecting on his or her own thoughts, feelings, reasons, and actions in the situation to decide what to do and/or say.

  • sublimation -  directing antisocial or possibly damaging feelings or impulses into socially acceptable behavior (contact sports is a common example.)

  • suppression -  purposely putting disturbing thoughts and impulses out of mind by focusing on other things.

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