5 Psychological Defense Mechanisms You Probably Use Without Realizing It
This one happens a lot with people who have trouble understanding and coping with their own emotions. Have you ever wanted to backhand a five year old for looking at you with a smug expression on his face? What about wanting to call your wife a b*tch because she was a little slow making dinner for you? Can you think of a time when someone has given you a gift out of the goodness of his heart and you wanted to say, "That's not enough, give me even more!"
Those are all awful thoughts, aren't they? But even good men have fleeting thoughts and emotions that contrast with their deepest values. Mature men and women shrug those reactions off and go on. Projection is an alternate strategy that misattributes those unpleasant feelings to the other person. This can be a particularly damaging defense mechanism as well because most human beings see what they're already looking for in the first place. Once you classify another person as "selfish," "a bully" or "angry," your mind will look for evidence to prove itself right and disregard contrary actions that undercut the label. This is what destroys a lot of relationships just as thoroughly as The Matrix Revolutions destroyed the quality of the Matrix trilogy.