It’s impossible to get through life without having to protect yourself from the manipulation and persuasion of others. People are constantly projecting their own wishes and desires onto others. They want you to change, to be more the way they expect you to be. Psychological projection occurs when someone identifies in others the attributes they themselves possess. There can also be a certain amount of blame shifting going on with this psychological process. For example, someone who is consistently rude may accuse you of being rude. It’s a psychological defence mechanism, and it’s unhealthy.
I want you to know that you have every right to reject the ‘baggage’ other people try to throw at you. You may not even realise that it’s going on at times. If you feel anxious in someone’s company or feel pressure to behave in a certain way when you are around them, it’s highly likely that they are projecting on to you. You can choose whether to go along or refuse to be persuaded to do things you do not agree with.
When someone else tries to fundamentally change who you are, alarm bells should be going off. If someone tries to shame you into acting the way they want – be very wary. The odd attempt is no big deal but if you notice a pattern of regular manipulation, be very sure to decide what you want to do about this. Throw it back, tell the person that you are not going to change for them and that they need to accept you for who you are. End of story!
Maintaining clear boundaries in life is essential of you want to protect yourself and your values. Know what you will and won’t accept and don’t let yourself down by blurring these boundaries when under pressure from someone manipulative.
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