7 Signs Someone Is Projecting Onto You: Are You Bearing Someone Else’s Burden?


Signs Someone Is Projecting Their Emotional Baggage On You

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and it felt like they were accusing you of things that didn’t seem like you? It’s as if they’re dumping their own issues on you, leaving you scratching your head, wondering what is happening. Well, this is just one of the many signs someone is projecting their emotional baggage on you.

You’re gradually realizing that you are being blamed for things that’re not your fault at all. You are being accused to be the kind of person you are not. It’s as though they’re running their private movie theater, and you’ve become their projection screen.

But before we get into the signs someone is projecting onto you, let’s first try to understand what is projection.

Related: How Paranoid People Use Projection As A Defense Mechanism

What Is Projection?

Imagine you’re sitting in a theater, enjoying some popcorn, completely engrossed in the movie. All of a sudden, the characters begin to do things completely unrelated to the plot.

Well, that’s projection, only it happens in real life. When people project their issues onto you, they act like the directors of their own dramas, and make you the main character without your consent.

It seems as if they offload their hang-ups, worries, and unresolved issues onto you, and then pretend as if that’s how YOU feel! You’re forced to shoulder the burden of their emotional baggage. What a wild ride, right?

Signs someone is projecting their issues onto you

Okay, now that we have talked about what is projection, let’s find out more about what causes psychological projection.

What Causes Psychological Projection?

  • Emotional Hot Potato: At times, some people can’t deal with their own intense feelings, and they end up dumping those feelings on you because it’s easier than facing them.
  • Blame Game: This is similar like the previous one, but it’s about blame. They are incapable of accepting their faults, so they point fingers at others instead.
  • Insecurity Alarm Bells: Deep down inside, they are extremely insecure about themselves, which leads them to project their fears and insecurities on you, to feel better temporarily.
  • Mirror, Mirror: When they notice qualities or actions in you that are actually theirs, they don’t admit it. Rather, they turn the tables and suggest you’re the one with those traits.
  • Ego Protection: They sling their faults onto you as a defense mechanism. It’s similar to putting up a wall to avoid seeing their faults and drawbacks.
  • Emotional Baggage Overflow: What causes psychological projection? This! Unresolved past experiences and traumas can lead to projection as a way to cope with the pain they’re carrying.
  • Control Freaks: Some people have an intense need for controlling others, and that’s why they use projection. They do this to show their authority and dominance.
  • Fear Factor: Fear can trigger projection, as it allows them to distance themselves from their fears by projecting them onto someone else.
  • Emotional Displacement: Sometimes, they may harbor negative feelings for someone else, but there’s now way they can let it out. So it’s safer to project onto you, because chances are there won’t be any consequences.
  • Unconscious Defense Mechanism: Projection can happen unconsciously, as a defense mechanism to protect their self-image and avoid confronting their own issues.

Now that we know what causes psychological projection, let’s talk about the signs someone is projecting onto you.

7 Signs Someone Is Projecting Their Issues On You

1. They invent their own version of reality.

This is probably one of the most obvious signs someone is projecting onto you.

Whenever you try to have a conversation with them, they’ll only hear what they expect or wish to hear, not what you’re actually trying to say. They take certain things you say and twist them into something entirely different, so that it suits their narrative.

Even if you’re a very laidback person, they will accuse you to be fussy because that’s the type of person they are or have dealt with before. For instance, no matter how regularly you assure them you’re “fine,” they will stubbornly believe you’re not.

Related: Narcissistic Projection: 6 Things You Should Know About This

2. They are always playing the victim.

Blaming others is a popular game for those who are experts at projecting. In their eyes, they can do no wrong, and it’s always your fault. Do you think they are confrontational and difficult to deal with? Well, you are like that, not them!

For example, you’re trying to explain why you’re upset. Instead of listening to you with an open mind, they’ll manipulate the conversation, and make it look like you’ve wronged them instead.

They even concoct stories out of thin air to justify their stance as the aggrieved party. This lets them bask in self-sympathy and also point the finger at you for their distress.

3. They are experts at overreacting.

When someone has been deeply hurt or even scarred by a past relationship, they might react too strongly to certain words or actions from you, especially if these touch on their past wounds.

Psychologists call these sensitive spots “triggers.” It’s a common response for humans, but it can do serious damage to your relationship. Even though you are not intentionally hurting them, they might still get affected heavily and overreact to the smallest of things.

In such situations, they might project their unresolved issues and emotions on you, and expect you to be take accountability for their pain.

Signs someone is projecting their issues onto you

4. They exhibit absolutely nonsensical behavior sometimes.

One of the biggest signs someone is projecting onto you is this. They will dump their feelings on you because they live in their own little world; logic won’t get through to them or force them to face reality.

They might not even realize that THEIR behavior is the problem, not yours. They will remain blissfully oblivious. Those likely to project will act in ways that just don’t add up. No matter how outlandish their claims might be, they’ll cling to their version of the story until the bitter end.

5. They are constantly playing the blame game.

If someone keeps throwing the same accusations at you or someone close to you, it’s very clear that they are projecting their unsaid emotions on you.

It’s a fact, some folks will try to mess with your head by shifting their feelings on you, in the hopes that you’ll feel sorry for them, and stick around forever. You become an easy mark for them this way, because you are not just trying to understand their POVs, you are also hella confused about everything’s that’s going on.

Related: Is It Me Or Them? 3 Signs Someone Is Projecting Insecurities Onto You

6. They fear that their history will repeat itself.

No matter how much they may desire you or even love you, they will stick to the idea that the relationship you have with them will end up like the ones before you. Since they have several unresolved issues and failed relationships in the past, they continue to bleed through in this current situation.

If they’ve cheated on their previous partners, they might constantly express fears of you doing the same only because it’s what they did themselves.

7. They spend too much time discussing their exes.

It is normal and even healthy to talk about old relationships – but up to a certain extent. It’s good to know where your partner has come from and the experiences they had in their past romantic relationships, but constantly talking about your exes is not normal.

When you realize that they seem obsessed with their previous relationships, you will realize that they might not have moved on from them, and are still stuck in the past. This is one of the major signs someone is projecting their feelings and thoughts on you.

Signs someone is projecting onto you

Now that we know the signs someone is projecting, let’s talk about what to do when someone is projecting onto you.

What To Do When Someone Is Projecting Onto You?

Dealing with projection is like handling a hot potato – no one wants to get burned! If you’re getting fed up of being on the other side of projection, then try to see yourself from their eyes and try and find out where their actions are stemming from.

Sometimes, there can be many deep-seated reasons behind psychological projection, like personal struggles or traumatic experiences. Being empathetic can help you respond compassionately rather than defensively.

At the same time, do not let someone else’s projection dictate how you feel about yourself. Learn to understand when someone else’s problem is being dumped on you and establish healthy, strict boundaries.

You do not have to absorb their negativity or take responsibility for their emotions. Stick to your own truth and take a stand for yourself, whenever things start to feel like too much.

Related: Why Do Narcissists Project Their Wounds Onto You?

If you notice any of these signs someone is projecting onto you, then you know what you need to do to handle it. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

what is projection

— Share —

— About the Author —


  1. Romey Sewnarain Avatar
    Romey Sewnarain

    I work for a female doctor 63 years of age, she is a narcissist.

    The description above is exactly what I have been experiencing. It’s sad. Im starting to doubt myself she is a monster to me,

Leave a Reply

Up Next

How To Successfully Go No Contact With Toxic Parents? 8 Tips To Follow

Best Tips For Going No Contact With Parents Who Are Toxic

In real life, is there an unfollow button for people, especially parents? If you are going no contact with parents, below are 8 tips that could help you make up your mind.

The hardest thing you’ll ever do is close the door on your past. It will also be the most empowering.

You don’t just wake up one day and decide to cut your mom or dad out of your life – it’s a decision that comes after years of trying everything to preserve the relationship.

But something in you finally snaps – you see that the cost of this connection is too high, and maybe for the first time in your life, you choose yourself.


Up Next

Dive Into The Mind Of A Distancer: The Partner Who Pulls Away

Discover The Mind Of A Distancer: Things To Know Well

Pursuer distancer relationships cause a lot of heartache, especially for a pursuer. Learn about the mind of a distancer to understand your own or your partner’s behavior so you won’t take it personally.

As codependants, we usually gravitate toward insecure relationships where we’re a distancer or a pursuer. We may be a distancer in one relationship and a pursuer in the next. This is due to early attachment problems and dysfunctional parenting.

Reacting makes it worse! A distancer reacting by withdrawing or the pursuer reacting by pursuing exacerbates conflict and unhappiness.

Understand The Mind Of A Distancer

Up Next

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? The Surprising Ways You Might Be Gaslighting Without Knowing It

What Is Unintentional Gaslighting? How Good Intentions Can Go Awry

Ever found yourself questioning your own reality after interaction with someone you know? Unintentional gaslighting can sneak into conversations, leaving you feeling disoriented and invalidated, even when no harm is intended.

Accidental, unintended or unconscious gaslighting in relationships can make you doubt your own thoughts, feelings, or even sanity. Someone’s words or actions can make you feel uncertain, dazed & confused without even realizing it.

Gaslighting, a term derived from a movie titled “Gaslight,” refers to the act of manipulating someone into doubting their own experiences and perceptions. But what is unintentional gaslighting?

Let’s explore this lesser-known concept and shed light on

Up Next

Lost Connection: How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage And Find Hope

How To Heal From Emotional Neglect In Marriage: Tips

Do you know why some marriages appear to be thriving while others seem to be crumbling? What is it that creates such distance among spouses? While there can be various reasons behind marital distress, one often overlooked but significant factor is emotional neglect in marriage.

Emotional neglect can quietly erode the foundation of a relationship, leaving both partners feeling lonely, disconnected, and unfulfilled. Let us delve into the depths of emotional neglect in marriage, exploring what actually is, signs, underlying causes, and most importantly, how to heal and nurture a healthier emotional connection with your spouse.

What is Emotional Neglect in Marriage?

Emotional neglect in marriage refers to a pat

Up Next

Vulturing: Beware Of This Latest Toxic Dating Trend!

What Is Vulturing Dating: Toxic Signs To Be Wary Of

In the world of dating, there are more online trends than you can swipe in a day. The new one on the block is called vulturing dating. Let’s find out what it means in a relationship.

So, What Is Vulturing Dating?

Among the colloquialisms of modern dating, this one is called “vulturing.” In a similar vein to the predatory bird it’s named after, vulturing entails someone hovering around people who are on the brink of ending their relationship.

They wait until they can swoop in with malicious intent on damaged hearts — sometimes as soon as possible after their former partner cuts them loose and they’re emotiona

Up Next

Conditional Relationship? 8 Red Flags Indicating You’re in a Relationship with Strings Attached

Conditional Relationship: Signs You Are In One

Relationships can be an incredible source of happiness, love, joy and contentment. However, not all relationships are the same; while some might feel as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold night, some are like an annoying sweater that doesn’t fit well. Being in a conditional relationship can make you feel like the latter.

Conditional relationships, in particular, can make you feel unsure and alone, because the relationship and the “love” comes with strings attached. So, how can you know if you’re in a conditional relationship or not?

We are going to talk about the signs of conditional love, what does cond

Up Next

How To Deal With An Obsessive Ex That Won’t Leave You Alone: 5 Steps You Can Take

How To Deal With Obsessive Ex: Urgent Steps You Can Take

Dealing with an obsessive ex is one of the most horrible experiences one can go through. What are the best ways to handle obsessive people? What are the effective steps you can take when it comes to dealing with an obsessive ex? Let’s find out!

There are certain people who just can’t handle being dumped. They go crazy. They hate losing their “control” and “power” over their partners.

Recently my good friend ended an abusive relationship. Thankfully he realised he was in a relationship with a narcissist and that his only way forward was without her. Soon after the relationship ended, he found a new partner — he was ecstatic, he was just about to ride off into the sunset with his sweetheart.

There was one issue — his e