This recent status got a lot of reaction from everyone and I was inspired to expand on it.
So what do you do when someone brings their baggage to your doorstep? When they fling their crap your way, or as some followers of psychology would say, “they project”.
Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.
An example of this behavior might be blaming another for self failure. The mind may avoid the discomfort of consciously admitting personal faults by keeping those feelings unconscious, and by redirecting libidinal satisfaction by attaching, or “projecting,” those same faults onto another person or object.
I got the above definition from Wikipedia.
So yes, I get it that when this happens they are most likely projecting. And some who are open to hear me might be able to stop and take a look at themselves if I firmly say, “You’re projecting!” If their words don’t affect me much, they might be the ones walking away frustrated. But….
But in the heat of the moment of an interaction with someone who is at my doorstep unpacking their bags, my logical knowledge that they are most likely projecting could go out of the window if the words coming out of their mouth seem to kick me hard in the belly.
And I am left there standing with a swelling urge to knock them across the head. This is what can happen when someone dumps their baggage on me.
In this moment, it doesn’t really matter if they are projecting because I’ve been triggered. My emotions have been activated. I feel angry, or even sad. I want to lash back.
This trigger moment is what I find so important when it comes to talking about baggage,flinging crap, or projecting, because What do I do when someone flings crap at me? What do I do when I feel my own suitcase opening up?
First and foremost I need to bring it back to me and not THEM.
I try like hell to become aware of my own emotions and beliefs that are coming up in the moment.Rather than focus on THEM, I have an internal dialogue in my head recognizing and admitting whats going on as they are talking. It goes something like this:
THEM: ”Patty blah blah blah, you know you always blah blah blah, and you never blah blah blah and why don’t you blah blah blah and if you just wouldn’t blah blah blah there would not be a problem!”
ME: “Oh, this is where I feel guilty, or this is where I feel like I’m a bad person, or I’m not good enough,or I’m not appreciated…damn I’m so mad this stuff is coming out of their mouth, oh yeah this is where I need to prove myself right., this is where I probably would have blurted out f**k off”
When I do this, and it happens in a few nano seconds in my head I am more able NOT to take the action I will regret. I am more able NOT to invite them in and engage further.
At times I have felt completely crazy as I have gone through this dialogue and simultaneously let anger or any other emotion pulse through my body WITHOUT engaging in a word with them. But it has become such a good way for me to become more aware of myself and manage my choices.
Engaging with someones baggage is a choice! Picking up crap and flinging it back is a choice!
It’s kind of funny that the number one thing people write in their profiles on dating sites are: WANTED NO BAGGAGE.
I’ve got news, we all have some baggage.
Maybe a more accurate description should be: WANTED: PERSON WHO KNOWS HOW TO MANAGE THIER OWN BAGGAGE.
Maybe if we were all better baggage managers, having baggage would not be such an issue?
I’m not perfect, and I can’t promise that my insecurities won’t be triggered from time to time, but a huge part of my personal growth journey has been me always and eventually taking it back to me. Once you have that kind of awareness about yourself, you can’t go back to blaming ( although sometimes I might really want to) I will take it to me.