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Concept.png Projection 
(Psychological concept)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
A concept similar to double standards and hypocrisy.

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 and 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. It also manifests on an institutional level. The concept is similar to double standards and hypocrisy. It is called a primitive defense [1] , because toddlers overcome this mechanism by the age of 1,5 in normal development. It is a typical mechanism in severe personality disorders, exercised transiently when power over others permits such a regressed reaction.

Defense or offense?

Projection is defined as an unconscious mechanism which takes place in fantasy in traditional psychoanalysis. There are several problems with this notion. First, some people (psychopaths) are unsatisfied with fantasizing and cross a critical line: they want to see these protections in reality, often deceiving themselves about their own input to the unfolding drama ("make it happen on purpose"). Second, the distinction between the automated, but conscious bad habit of constantly blaming others ("blame-a-holic") and unconscious projection is difficult to make and coexists more often than not. Third, the damage done to the enemy image (scapegoat) will be visible to the projecting party and often be intended (i.e. conscious) thus presenting hostility, i.e. an intent to cause harm to others. Forth, conscious and unconscious processes may alternate and influenced by will power (psychological compartmentalization). Last not least, traditional psychoanalyst's notion is abused by criminals to play the victim and deny responsibility. [2][3]


While projection might be called a defensive operation, i.e. getting rid of something one doesn't like (by throwing it - unconsciously, of course - on someone else), pseudo-projection is definitely offensive in nature. While ordinary projection implies some sort of cooperation by not setting firm boundaries, the aggressive pseudo-projector does not care about the target's suitability to carry his payload. Nor does he externalize unwanted psychic material or necessarily be aware of this "as-if" quality. [4] Instead he seeks to mold the target to fit a role suitable for his gratification, aggressively breaking down the target's boundaries or barriers using manipulation, con games, deception and/or brute force in the process. The two variants are not mutually exclusive.

Selected examples

A lot of the Integrity Initiative's documents reveal projection, describing the group's plans to carry out what it charges Russia of doing, such as spreading misinformation.


The commercially-controlled media were aggressive during the COVID-19 event in suggesting that dissidents from the official narrative were "unscientific", while many of the people so charged were in fact highly qualified scientists. They promoted policies such as the mandatory curtailment of freedom of movement of the wearing of masks as if a scientific consensus existed that these policies were helpful responses to a pandemic, when in fact no such consensus exists.

Andrew Cuomo, as New York Governor issued a lot of dictates of dubious legality during the COVID-19 Event. Describing sheriffs and police officers who refused to carry them out, he termed them “dictators”.[5]



Page nameDescription
"Fly the plane"To "Fly the plane" is, knowingly or unknowingly, to open oneself to blackmail by a deep state group. Derinved from the Lolita Express, it applies much more widely as a metaphor.
"Russian Propaganda""Russian Propaganda" is much talked about recently by NATO-aligned countries.
Center for Countering Digital HateFront group to coordinate internet censorship, i.e. to "deplatform"/"demonetize"/shadow ban dissident opinion on YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Apple, Paypal etc.
Conspiracy theories/Academic research/ProjectionAcademic studies of "conspiracy theories" are interesting examples of psychological projection.
Institute for Statecraft/ProjectionLeaked materials from the Integrity Initiative reveal a lot of attention paid to "Russian Propaganda", with little or no serious effort to try to understand the truth or falsehood of what its pronouncements.
PropOrNotA spooky group which kicked off the steadily intensifying "Fake News Website" campaign
Victim blamingAn activity carried out to salve the consciences of the victimisers.


A Projection victim on Wikispooks

Integrity Initiative"Military-directed" "extremely shady covert disinformation and anti-democratic deep state outfit" that promotes Russophobic propaganda. Exposed by a set of 7 caches of documents, posted online. Later deleted its website.


Related Quotations

Enemy image“[P]rojective identification ... in which all bad is located in another person who is then annihilated, only evacuates these feelings temporarily, and is ultimately destined to fail.”Anna Motz2008
Wounded Leaders“Where dissociation becomes habitual, as when it is used to maintain identity and combat perceived threats of annihilation, such as when a child has to fend for itself over long periods of time without protecting parents, it can become a chronic mental state. This extreme degree is unconscious dissociation, which employs the psychological mechanisms of disowning and projection. Splitting as a defence of the fragile or invaded self is well known in psychoanalysis.”Nick Duffell2014
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  1. Kernberg, 0. (1984). Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  2. Samenow, S. E. (2014), Inside the criminal mind, Broadway Books. avail. online as audiobook.
  3. George K. Simon, Ph.D., Character Disturbance. The Phenomenon of Our Age, Parkhurst, 2011
  4. Meloy, J. Reid, Ph.D., The psychopathic mind: origins, dynamics, and treatment, Jason Aronson 2002. See chap. 5: "Unconscious Defense and Conscious Choice": Imitation and Simulation and Meloy's differentiation of object percepts and object concepts. Avail. online at