Projection

Just as infants use introjection to take in both good and bad objects, they use projection to get rid of them. Projection is the fantasy that ones own feelings and impulses actually reside in another person and not within ones body. By projecting unmanageable destructive impulses onto external objects, infants alleviate the unbearable anxiety of being destroyed by dangerous internal forces (Klein, 1935).

Children project both bad and good images onto external objects, especially their parents. For example, a young boy who desires to castrate his father may instead project these castration fantasies onto his father, thus turning his castration wishes around and blaming his father for wanting to castrate him. Similarly, a young girl might fantasize devouring her mother but projects that fantasy onto her mother, who she fears will retaliate by persecuting her.

People can also project good impulses. For example, infants who feel good about their mother's nurturing breast will attribute their own feelings of goodness onto the breast and imagine that the breast is good. Adults sometimes project then own feelings of love onto another person and become convinced that the other person loves them. Projection thus allows people to believe that their own subjective opinions are true.

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