For most of my life my relationships have been full of conflict. This started at a very early age. I was always pissing someone off and that was incredibly upsetting because more times than not, it was never my intention to anger anyone. I was often just being myself.. living life and minding my own business.
Over the last few years I have learned a lot about myself and human nature and now I better understand why people have always gotten so angry with me seemingly out of nowhere. – I’m an empath. I can feel other people’s emotions without those people verbalizing what those emotions are. I can also tell when someone isn’t being honest.
For a while I just called myself Highly Sensitive (HSP) because I was still rejecting parts of myself and felt embarrassed about being associated with anything to do with the paranormal or any kind of psychic ability. I was very much caught up in self hate at that time. A friend of mine who is a spiritual teacher says that denying parts of yourself is the definition of self hate and I remember his words every time I start to reject another part of myself because I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m tired of it.
Because I was unaware of my ability, I acted as a sponge and I would absorb the negative emotions experienced by others. People would often find a way of making me responsible for the things they refused to own about themselves and I truly believed something I had done or something about the person I am had caused their anger. So I would start scrambling to make them happy and make up for whatever it was they said I’d done to upset them. I would accept full responsibility and I would apologize profusely. For the moment my accepting responsibility offered the projector a sense of cathartic release. They felt better because I took on what was theirs to deal with.
Their relief was only temporary though and my job was never done because each time the person’s issues would resurface to be dealt with, they would hand them to me and again, I would accept responsibility. I developed a habit of over apologizing. I would make minor mistakes or feel that I had inconvenienced someone so I would apologize just in case. I would apologize in an effort to fend off another episode of projection, which often manifested in the form of emotional abuse. I would apologize to people who weren’t even upset with me and when I was told there was no need to be sorry, I would apologize for apologizing.
It is true that people are often guilty of the things they accuse you of and Highly Sensitive People and Empaths are often a target of emotional abuse and projection because somewhere along the way most of us turn into people pleasers and we are so eager to please that we will readily accept what others say we have done wrong. Anything to avoid dealing with another person being mad at us.
I woke up from all of this realizing I didn’t even know who I was because I had been carrying other people’s shit for so long. I also realize the covert nature of this type of abuse. Many of the people who came into my life pre healing phase were able to get as close as they did because they would sprinkle bits of care and concern in with their abusive ways. I believe a lot of them had even convinced themselves that they were helping me. A common trait among people like this is the self righteous air they have about them. It was especially present after they had succeeded in their attempt to make me responsible for their negative emotions.
The worst mistake we can make is to begin defending ourselves to the person projecting. They will never see the error of their ways. They can’t even accept their own emotions. How could anything we say to them in the moment they are projecting change that? They are usually triggered and in a highly emotional state although on the outside they may be cool, calm and collected… even telling you to calm down or accusing you of attacking them.
I recently noticed a pattern in what I will always remember as the last time I allowed someone to blame me for their negative feelings. Trigger, behavior, reward. Our brains are hard wired to seek rewards.
-They become angry or upset (trigger)
-They begin ranting about all the things you do that upset them. Go on about how you will never change. Point to all the things you do to upset them. (behavior)
-Finally when you give in and begin apologizing, they may say something to comfort you like: “It’s okay, just don’t do it again.” They seem calm and you think you have resolved it. This is the cathartic release the person is experiencing because you have absorbed their negativity. But here’s the thing, despite your promise to never again do whatever they say you did to upset them, you will do it again. Not because you are a bad person but because in reality, it had nothing to do with you.
Being a receptacle for another person’s unwanted emotions isn’t just detrimental to someone’s healing, it allows the person who is projecting their issues to continue denying responsibility. So for my sake and the sake of every other wounded individual I come across, it’s over. Enough is enough.
*I do not mean to come across as if I have never done anything wrong or that there have not been times that I have been guilty of hurting someone. That is not the case. In my ignorance I have hurt people and I have experienced deep remorse when I realized the harm done. I’m completely willing to take responsibility for my actions and wrongdoings but I am no longer willing to be held responsible for the things that don’t really have shit to do with me.
When we have an issue with someone, when something about another person upsets or angers us, instead of using the opportunity to make ourselves feel superior, we could see it as an opportunity to look inside and see what our ego would like to remain hidden. No matter how much we may insist that it is not us, it’s them, if we are the one raising the issue, it’s us.
To read more about Psychological Projection you can visit the links below…