All About Me (Again)

According to Sigmund Freud’s theory of personality, I am told, defence mechanisms help the ego cope with anxiety. I’ve always thought of defence mechanisms rather like A A Milne’s poem “The Knight Whose Armour Didn’t Squeak” – people aren’t supposed to know you’re wearing them.  I thought it might be quite fun to take a little test to see how much I knew about defence mechanisms – at the very least the case studies might be instructive and I thought I might learn something about anxiety management. There were only two requiring factual recall it seemed, I guessed one and knew the other but I really didn’t think that that part counted for much. With characteristic Promethean hubris, I tried the hardest one and got 80% and a rather niggardly comment ‘Fair”. I didn’t know what ‘reaction formation’ is and I still don’t. So, I knew something about the car, but this is of no value unless I can actually drive it. None of the case studies seemed to me to be anything other than reasonably clear-cut, and life, at least my piece of it, does rather lack the unambiguity the studies presented me with.

All jolly good fun, but it didn’t help me with what I really wanted to know. I have been ‘accused’ – I wonder if that’s the right way to put it – of something called “projection” which I had understood to be a defence mechanism, and was thus hoping that the quiz I took would be helpful. It wasn’t, so I had to go and look it up, because I hate being ignorant (isn’t this ”intellectualisation”?)

Wiki gave me the following.

“Projection is a primitive form of paranoia.  Not a tempting opener…It also reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the undesirable impulses or desires without becoming consciously aware of them; attributing one’s own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts and emotions to another; includes severe prejudice, severe jealousy, hyper vigilance to external danger, and “injustice collecting“. It is shifting one’s unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses within oneself on to someone else, such that those same thoughts, feelings, beliefs and motivations are perceived as being possessed by the other.”

I sat down, like the prophet Ezra, appalled. I do hope that any friends who notice this about me, plus examples, might be kind enough to gently point them out. Thank you.

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9 thoughts on “All About Me (Again)

  1. Sometimes Wiki sucks, being the collective opinion of Web Experts on any given topic, but in this instance, that's a concise and accurate definition of projection. I might use it my ownself as appropriate. Thanks. =)

    The process of getting to know one's true self is by turns both liberating and appalling. Welcome to life as a human being. lol

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  2. P.S. I took your quiz and got 90% – which is not unexpected in my case. One of the questions was about a defense mechanism I'd never heard of…I'll have to brush up, obviously. I think I got different questions than you… nothing about intellectualization or projection. =)

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  3. “Welcome to life as a human being. lol”
    I wasn't quite sure what to make of this. I was rather under the impression that I belonged to the same species as everyone else. But then, since my life is being lived very much in a parallel and often disconnected Universe these days, perhaps not, after all.

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  4. Apparently I must put “Sarcasm alert” when being facetious or attempting to be witty.
    I suspect your intellect has allowed you to visit other galaxies where numbers are the medium of communication, but this in itself does not remove you from the common pool of humanity. Having personal knowledge that you are the real thing I humbly apologize for implying you might be anything other than human. =)

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  5. Sweet. Made my day…As a Klingon, this is praise indeed. I am aware of slight but distinct whispers of paranoia these days, but there's probably a reason, if I could just put my finger on it….

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