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Meeting 1/25/21: Projection in Codependency

Our meeting last night covered a topic that is definitely trigger inducing. By its very nature, requires that we focus on one of the ugliest sides of codependent .characteristics, it is PROJECTION. In our CoDA Book Page 119 it covers the topic and explains, “Projection is a type of denial we use to cope with our recognized/unrecognized and or unresolved issues, both present and past. It is as if we are a movie projector and a present life situation and or another person functions as the screen. We may project a painful memory or a disowned characteristic onto this “screen” and convince ourselves that what we are “seeing or experiencing” is reality.” You can continue to read about projection through page 120 in the blue book. To further our understanding of what exactly projection is by definition; “Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves by attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused will project their own feelings of confusion and inadequacy on other people.” (Wikipedia)

The most impactful recent projection I had was with my in-laws around getting their covid vaccinations. They had been talking to my husband and I stressing how much trouble they had in getting registered for the vaccine in their area. In my disbelief, I immediately got online and starting literally jumping in their “hula-hoop” as if it was suddenly my obligation to get them vaccinated and to make sure they had all the details I could find. I wish I could say I immediately recognized my overstep, I was full on engaged with my codependency on every level, “controlling party of one”...yes that would be me. I had to get all exasperated and the all too familiar of “this is out of control” and suddenly the situation was unmanageable and my every emotion was in full-blown 911 mode before I had the awakening. This took place on a phone call and my husband had taken over the call for a bit while I managed to get my shit together and wake up to me sitting in the “codependency gutter”. I immediately was able to make amends to them both on the phone by owning that I needed to apologize for projecting onto them and for stepping into their business. I shared my feelings about my fear for their safety and stressed that my love for them is still no excuse for crossing their boundaries. I owned that my OLD WOUNDS from loosing my parents were absolutely triggered in this situation and that my fear of loosing the two of them brought me to the 911 level of urgency and immediately the codependent in me stepped in to control and outcome. I honored that they are capable of handling their health and their business and it was not my place. I honored that I they have the means and the ability to do what is best for them, and then I said I will from this point forward stay out of the conversation completely. WOW what a freaking relief it was...they were also healthy enough to allow me to speak and held space for my sharing and amends. I am beyond grateful to have two amazing humans that are now my second parents. I also know I treasure having them in my life and they will be in it for as long as they can be. My attempt to get them a vaccine does nothing to extend their life...their life is for them to manage. I can love them and let them make their own choices, it is not for me to decide how or how long they will live. I graciously stepped out of their hula hoops and back into mine...the perfect fit and exactly what I am capable of managing...little ole me.

The article we read is below as always.

In Service- Kimberly

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Jan 27, 2021

Thank you so much for this topic. This will be a challenging one for me to unpack because I feel I suffer from projection behaviors in many areas- while some are obvious to me- I suspect there will be other areas of my life that the projection is more covert. Thank you for sharing your personal experience, Kimberly. It is comforting knowing I am not alone.

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