Feb 04

Manipulation Games 7: Projection

In the Projection Manipulation Game people are not able to see the problematic behavior in themselves so see it as if it were others’


Connor is one of the sweetest guys in the computer industry. He jumps at the opportunity to help whenever he is needed, he is persistent to find any computer bug, and he is on top of his profession: not even the smallest error can elude his expert eyes. Cherry on top: he is quite charming most of the time.

The only thing that makes life embarrassing around him is that he cannot get enough of himself. He is eager to talk about his experiences and brags about his successes. At every turn, he challenges his colleagues, gives unsolicited advice and finds the smallest mistake. There is no way he would have the slightest interest about anyone else’s life or opinion, let alone rewarding any higher achievement.

One day he surprised me with a fuming blast of how much his colleagues are competitive and selfish, they don’t pay attention to each other; they don’t know anything about each other and always wanted to seem smarter than the others.

I was looking at him with wide eyes and opened mouth. I would have liked to ask him if he knew he was talking about himself, but he obviously did not. I was playing with the thought to confront him with his usual tendency to do the same, but then I bit my tongue: why risk a friendship for doubtful insight?


He’s not alone. One of our ways to protect our ego from harsh self-criticism is to project our own un-accepted characteristic to others. Every one of us has some blind spot: we don’t acknowledge that we were envious; we haven’t noticed that we were hostile, selfish and the like. A Hungarian proverb states: “He can see the splinter in another’s eye but cannot see even the beam in his own.”

There are people who elevate these practices to art. They have some dysfunctional issue but they truly believe that the others have it. This way they might see the other’s selfish, controlling, unfair, manipulative or even racist attitudes.

With this projection, they have the potential to create many victims especially with people who enjoy joining them in accusations.

If they don’t get what they want, they criticize, and apply pressure. They might even seek to destroy and take revenge.

They project the responsibility onto others. Although their whole world is about them, others are responsible for the pitfalls.

Although they create lots of havoc around them and leave victims in their wake the real sadness in their story is that they have strong hate, but mostly they hate themselves.


More Manipulation Games:

Manipulation Games 1: The “One Upmanship Expert”

Manipulation Games 2: The Dependent in Charge

Manipulation Games 3: The Constant Victim

Manipulation Games 4: Iron Fist

Manipulation Games 5: Triangulator

Manipulation Games 6: Flirt

Manipulation Games 8: Best Defense Is Offense

Manipulation Games 9: Intentional Misinterpretation