Why we project our fears on other objects

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Projection of fears

I am not a big fan of Freud's theories for i disagree with some of his discoveries. This however doesn't cancel the fact that Freud has made some great discoveries that many principles of modern psychology are dependent upon.

Freud talked a lot about a concept called projection. He said that we all have fears but sometimes we feel like denying those fears. When we try to deny our fears we usually feel very frustrated as we find no way to release our anxiety and worrying.

In such a case a person might project his fears on other objects in order to release some of the frustration he is experiencing. So for example a man who has a tensed up relationships with his father , and who fears him, might actually start fearing wolves.

While it might seem rational to be afraid of wolves still it doesn't make sense to always obsesses about them even if you are safe at home. In other words the irrational fear of wolves in such a case is nothing more but a safe way the mind uses to release real fears. See why some people see ghosts while others don't

What are the rules for projection?

So are there any rules for such projections?
In some cases it might seem like the person is choosing objects ,or animals, randomly but when you look closer you will discover that this person chooses things that share similar traits with the thing he is afraid of.

For example the man who is afraid of the future or uncertainty might start fearing ghosts and darkness. In such a case both darkness and the distant future share similar traits such as lack of predictability and a high degree of uncertainty. See also Fear of darkness in adults.

When the subconscious mind of a person finds the right object that is similar to the real thing the person is afraid of in a way or another then it might project its fears on that thing.

Now this brings us to a popular example which is the fear of cats. So many women fear cats even though cats are actually extremely helpless.

Those women might actually be afraid of other females or in some cases they might be afraid to be replaced by those females. In such a case those women might project their fear of other women on the helpless cats.

Of course each person is a different case but this example shows how a person might choose a helpless object just to release some of the fears he is already experiencing.

Why this kind of projection happens?

So why don't those people just get afraid of the real things alone instead of trying to project their fears on other objects?

There are so many answers to that question but the most common reasons are not being able to tolerate the emotions or trying to deny them. When the emotions become so intense ,because a person is trying to deny their existence, or when they become more than what a person could handle then this kind of projection might happen.

Now what about you?
What are the animals you are afraid of?
Try to look into those fears and analyze them from this angle. If you did so you might learn new things about your own personality.

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Want to know more?

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Why do pampered children fear ghosts when they grow up

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