We can’t change what we can’t see, and most people don’t want to see what they most need to change. I often say I help others see the invisible. When I help, my clients see what is in their blind spots. I shine a light on the dark corners of their mind and bring into their awareness what they need to see so that they can change the behaviors that are not serving them to heal.
Let me begin by explaining resistance. I define resistance as the gap between what our mind thinks and what our heart knows. When the mind and heart are in alignment—in sync—there is no gap; therefore, no resistance. When our mind thinks it knows (in other words, it holds a belief) and it is not in alignment with the knowledge in our heart, there is a gap; hence there will be resistance. The bigger the gap, the bigger the expression of resistance will be.
Resistance can show up as procrastination, avoidance, heaviness, depression, fear, anger, resentment, frustration, boredom, doors being closed, a busy signal on a phone call, computers crashing, blame, guilt, feeling blah, sadness; the list goes on and on. Essentially, resistance is the suspicion that something is off or not going the way we planned or intended. Resistance is not wrong or bad; it is simply an invitation to pause and reflect. In other words, resistance is our friend pointing us to what we need to see to align with what we know in our hearts.
When we are afraid to look within or we are really attached to our thoughts and beliefs, we are resisting. When we resist something, we will use projection as the mechanism to avoid the thing we are resisting.
We use projection when we don’t want to face something within ourselves. We project or cast blame out onto others or out into the world so we feel better. The challenge is that projection offers only temporary relief as a Band-Aid on the wound that never heals. There is no change occurring. When we project and cast blame outwardly, we are avoiding taking ownership for our own stuff, which leads to guilt and feeling bad again, so we project once more. It is a self-defeating cycle of projection that leaves us running on a hamster wheel and keeps us separate from everyone.
Bear with me on this one. You may feel detached, uninterested, and highly resistant to this piece. When I first heard about projection it was difficult to wrap my head around it, probably because I had such strong resistance to taking a good honest look at how I used projection in my own life.
How Resistance Works
In a nutshell, here is how it works.
We feel bad and we want to feel better, so we judge and project blame onto someone or something. We feel better temporarily, until guilt sinks in, then we feel bad again. When we feel bad, we want to feel better, so we judge and resist and project and the self-defeating cycle continues.
If our own stuff is projected outward onto someone else, we can’t see it so we can’t heal it. Our ego-mind will project what it doesn’t want us to see and heal. As long as it is over there, it is out of our reach to heal and remains in our blind spot.
Let me give you an example of projection from my life to help paint the picture. I had been in a long-term relationship for about five years when things started to get difficult. We were growing apart and we had different interests. I was unhappy in our relationship, but I wasn’t willing to let it go. When I look back, I can clearly see the pattern of self-sabotage that played out in that relationship. Essentially, I would make it so hard for my boyfriend to be with me that I was sure he would want to leave, he would break up with me, I could blame him for leaving, and I would be the victim.
The Unending Projection Cycle
Let me explain it in terms of the projection cycle.
I would feel bad because I wasn’t happy in the relationship anymore and I felt it was meant to end. Then I resisted that because I didn’t want to be the one to do the breaking up. I didn’t want to look like the bad guy. At that point in my life, I was comfortable playing the victim.
I would project and blame him for not spending enough time with me or not paying enough attention to me or spending money on alcohol and cigarettes.
I would feel better temporarily because I cast the blame on him.
Then I would suffer from guilt and try to make up for it by being nice, cooking him dinner, or buying him a beer. That usually backfired because it was coming from a place of fear, not love. I would feel bad because I still had underlying guilt, which was really my resistance to facing the fact that the relationship was meant to end but I didn’t want to be the one to end it.
Then I would project blame again and convince myself that it was his fault. If only he would change then the relationship would be good, and I would be better. And the cycle would continue over and over again, with me subconsciously hoping that finally he would break up with me and I could be the victim, which of course only led to another projection cycle.
After our eventual breakup, I recognized this victim mentality within myself and was able to write a letter and take full ownership for my part in the relationship’s demise. I shifted from being a victim of life to feeling empowered by life. I was willing to feel all my past hurt and trauma and heal the self-destructive patterns around that relationship and others.
I saw clearly that I was choosing partners who, I thought, needed me to save them. For the longest time, I was attracted to guys who either abused alcohol or drugs, were mostly unemployed, or those I thought needed me to help them heal their past hurts. The choices all stemmed from my feelings of abandonment around my dad’s absence when I was young. I wanted to rescue them and be the hero so I could feel better about myself. I couldn’t save my dad, but I could try and save them. Of course, that never worked. I always ended up hurting them and myself more in the end.
When I finally created awareness and broke this pattern, I met my husband. He is a gentle, kind, loving, supportive partner and such an incredible gift in my life. When I changed my perspective, let go of being the victim, and opened my heart to another way to be in a relationship, I saw him, I really saw him and the rest is history.
Break The Cycle
So we can begin to see how the projection, blame, and guilt cycle can keep us looping in repetitive self-destructive patterns in our life. We need two things to break the cycle of projection. The first is awareness and the second is willingness mixed with some courage. If we don’t practice awareness and we aren’t willing to see our part in the pattern, we will be stuck on the hamster wheel of projection forever. The moment we become aware, even just by being introduced to this cycle, change has already begun, and the resulting courageous willingness can carry us through to a full circle of healing.
I spoke about awareness when I introduced the Five A’s of Change on Day 3 “Born Innocent, Programmed Guilty.” It would be worth reading or reviewing that tool again as it can lead to faster results in unwinding from this cycle. You can break the repetitive pattern within the cycle by becoming aware of it at any point.
You can become aware of when you are feeling bad.
Or when you are aware of casting blame on someone or something else.
You may become aware of feeling bad and suddenly feeling better when you cast blame.
You may become aware of feeling guilty.
Anywhere in the cycle, there is the potential to create awareness and stop the cycle. Once you have awareness ask yourself what:
Am I trying to avoid feeling?
Are my judging thoughts?
Thoughts of blame are playing out in my head.
The work it takes to break these cycles is so worth it. The miracles and freedom that result are life-changing. Soften your mind and open your heart. Then you can be free to love and be loved. You deserve a life you love.
Stay tuned next week for chapter 6 ~ Mirrors Can Either Free Us or Feed Our Judgments
***This is an excerpt from Sue Dumais’ book “Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan” (published in 2018)
Published on atfortyfive.com with permission from © Sue Dumais
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