Ideas and Musings, My Noodle

The Dark Side of “Perception is Projection”

In my on-going and apparently never-ending effort to help myself become my best self and to overcome my own past and all the crap rummaging around in my noodle, I signed up for an NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) class on

Aside: If you know the system, you can regularly get 75-90% off all the classes.

I’d taken a Hypnosis class a couple of years ago, and despite being convinced that one of the instructors had NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), I learned a lot and it made me interested in learning more about NLP, CBT, and a host of other acronyms. So, when NLP popped up on my Crackbook feed for 83% off, I jumped on it.

I’ve just started the course, and I’m barely in an hour, and it’s already gotten me thinking.  In this case it’s the idea of “Perception is Projection.”

The Basics, As I See It

It seems to me that there are two layers to the idea “Perception is Projection.”

My current state is how I see others:

If I’m really upbeat, that’s what I’m going to see in others. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (if doubt comes up at all), and attribute everything in a positive manner. It’s like the whole world is infected by my good mood.

I’ve seen this in action and have used it on purpose.

Story Time: I remember one day working as a bartender at Michael’s in Omaha, I was having a bad day. And it seemed like everyone else was also having a bad day. The employees, the customers, the weather. It was going to hell. Then, I decided to see if I could affect the situation. I forced myself into a better mood, started smiling at everyone. Within a half hour, everyone had calmed down and we were all having a better time. I’m so powerful!  LOL.

But the other side is true too.  If I’m wallowing in crap, which seems to be my default setting lately, then I see the same thing in everyone else. I take things more personally. I’m suspicious. I think everyone is out to get me. And that’s what I see. And I react to it.

I’ve seen this too, many times.

How I see others affects them:

This layer says that I can affect the belief system of another person. If someone is doubting themselves, or having trouble seeing their own value, the fact that I don’t doubt them, that I do value them, and I show it, can be enough for them to change their belief system and start feeling better about themselves.

So, if you come from a bad background and believe that you’ll never amount to anything, but you find someone who does believe in you, like a teacher or a mentor, your life can be turned around.

Or in my case, your daddy tells you you’re stupid and incapable of learning, well, you believe that too.

Story Time: When I was 16, my mom flipped out and bought all of us kids plane tickets to San Diego. She sent us to our dad. Well, dad was not in a situation where kids were welcome so we had to bail. Next thing we know, we’re on our way to Arizona. I’m driving the van, dad’s driving the motorhome.

Now, I’m a 16-year-old city girl and I don’t really know anything about the “brights.” So, they were on while I followed the motorhome. Dad pulls over, I pull over. He reams me a new one about the brights being on. Instead of just teaching me about lights etiquette like a normal dad, he tells me I’m too stupid to learn. 

He pulled the motorhome deep into the desert and then left me and my brother Kelly there as he took the van down the highway with my brother Rick. A few hours down the highway, he pulls the van off deep into the desert and leaves Rick there, alone in the van at night, to drive the motorcycle back to us so that he can drive the motorhome up to the van. Rick was 12. It took a long time to get where we were going.

I keep telling myself that dad was the worst father there ever was and that his opinion means nothing. But hell. I’m so worthless that he had to risk the lives of his boys to get us to Arizona.  That’s hard to get over.

So, 2 layers, and they both make sense to me.

The Dark Side

Yes, it makes sense. And so many people are building philosophies, starting businesses and living their lives accordingly. But there is a Dark Side to this.

If you live with a positive point of view, or a negative point of view, and can only see that in others, how can you be sure you are actually seeing the other person? If what you see is merely a projection, how can you connect with anyone?

Story Time: I was at Ecstatic Dance Seattle on a Sunday morning, and I was not in a good place. I was dancing and as I was dancing, I was also crying. So much pain. As I was dancing, people kept coming up to me, smiling in my face and laughing. No one saw my tears. I never felt so alone in my whole life.

Now I get it. Perception is Projection. No one sees me because all they ever see is a projection of what is in their mind.

It takes a lot to connect to another person. If you live completely in the positive, and you are no longer linked to your negative side, you can’t see another person’s pain.

No One Can Help

I have a long history of being fired by therapists and other helping professionals. I think the Dark Side is the reason why. Here’s how I see it:

A person goes through a lot and comes out the other side a more positive person. They live in the Light. They decide they want to help others find their way out, so they become therapists or other types of practitioners. They take classes, learn many things, and develop many tools.

Then, they meet me. I am mired in crap and have spent the last 15 years trying to tunnel out of it. It’s old crap, ancestral crap, and it’s not easy. They get frustrated. They tell me “If only you would X, Y, and Z.”

I tell them that that’s why I’m there. To learn to X, Y, and Z. (I’m the one they rarely meet because it’s a miracle that I’m alive in the first place.)

“I have trust issues.” I tell them. “I can’t help you unless you trust me.” They respond.

I’m fired again.

I think that because they have changed their lives to live completely in the positive, they have forgotten what it took to get them there in the first place. They don’t like that place. They meet me and in order to help me, they have to remember, and they don’t want to do that. So, they fire me, and blame me for it.

The Now

I call it “The Inbetween.” It’s the thing that happens to a person that can take them from the dark to the light. It’s the epiphany. It’s the “Aha” moment. The thing that finally clicks.

Therapy, in general, can only help if you’ve had that moment. They are not set up to help me get across the Inbetween. Even this NLP course says that I’m restricted only by my own belief system. (I hope this course covers getting across that threshold. Or maybe something will be said that clicks. I hope it happens.)

But I only paid $24 for it. So, just making me think is enough to cover that cost. Hey, I got a blog post from it! And probably a few more.

Now, if only I can find a professional who is courageous enough tap into their dark side so they can help me. But I can only take so much rejection. Maybe I am hopeless and can’t be helped. Maybe they were right to fire me.

But, I don’t believe that, I can’t believe that…