Years ago, I remember recognizing projection for the first time as an adult-child. I was in a state of panic and traumatic events played out in my mind like an old movie. I could hear the familiar voice of my mother telling me things that I believed in for so long. Her voice carried weight in my life and I desperately knew it was time for a change.

What is projection?

Projection is when you take your emotions, thought, or will and you place it onto someone else. If a mother is scared that her child will one day leave the nest, the mother may say anxiety provoking statements such as “it’s a scary world out there!” If the mother is afraid of being hurt emotionally by people or making friends of her own, she might use a statement such as “You might get hurt by your friends, they really are no good for you”

Why toxic mothers project onto their daughters?

Emotional Distractions

Many mothers who project, have unresolved emotional issues and trauma. In my post, How God’s Word is Planted in a Mother’s Heart, I discuss some of the emotional distractions that mothers will use to cope with their emotions.


For instance, some mothers will repress their true feelings (their authentic self) because they are unaware that these feelings exist in their mind. This behavior is often learned in childhood( the child is unable to handle the stressors of trauma). She learns at a young age how to push uncomfortable feelings into hidden places of her mind to protect herself.

Unresolved trauma can lead to projection. Mothers who project are not aware ( repression) that they are putting their uncomfortable feelings onto their children. They will make themselves stop feeling with distractions ( work, shopping, etc.) to avoid the discomfort. If left unresolved, the mother may experience deep depression with the inability to connect with her child. At this point, a mother may regress to infant-like behavior ( e.g., wetting the bed) and self-medicating with pain-killer medications to sleep at night or to not feel emotional pain. If unchecked this can lead to heavy addictions.

Spiritual Reasons

The Roots of Projection

Spirit of rejection

Spirit of offense

Spirit of fear

The bible talks about different spirits that can operate in a person’s life ( spirit of rejection, spirit of offense, and spirit of fear). I believe that these spirits are the roots of projection. These spirits can take hold of the heart and lead a mother to a place of deep insecurity, hopelessness, tremendous fear/anxiety, and feeling abandoned in life.

For the Lord will not abandon His people,
Nor will He abandon His inheritance.

~Psalm 94:14

The devil wants to destroy the foundation of eternal relationship with the Father. He does it by pestering with open wounds such as rejection wounds. The rejection wound if left untreated by the watering of God’s word and the presence of the Holy spirit will cause a mother to reject her true self in Christ Jesus. It will distort how she relates to her children because rejection keeps you in a cycle of never feeling like you measure up to the expectations of people. So you may overcompensate out of fear by people-pleasing, hiding your true feelings and identity, or fearing that others will leave you or ignore you.

The enemy will also pester the open wounds of offense of what someone said to you. Have you ever replayed the events or words someone said throughout the course of the day?

The spirit of offense can cause blinds spots to the schemes of the enemy. The enemy can use anyone to disturb open wounds in your soul.

I remember one night, I had a dream of my mother cutting open my forehead with a scalpel. I saw the events of the offenses of my boss playing repeatedly in the dream as she operated on my forehead. When I interpreted the dream, I realized that my boss was projecting insecurity and fears similar to my mother (the words of my boss cut into my mind like a scalpel).

Dream interpretation:

Operation procedure= the spirit of offense that was operating

Scalpel= words that cut like a knife to create an open wound

Forehead= the housing of my thoughts, will, and EMOTIONS

How to master your emotions over projection

Recognize your trigger points

It is important to recognize your trigger points when it comes to mastering your emotions. Take an inventory of times when you projected your feelings onto someone. For instance, stressful situations may make you fearful or criticism could trigger rejection.

Stop re-playing the events in your mind

I had experiences of re-playing traumatic events in my mind. I did this to try to solve emotional issues, but this caused me to go into a downward spiral of trying to relive past experiences. It is important to accept what has happened to you and make meaningful action steps towards how you react to your feelings. Stop the play button on these events or the projecting voices speaking in your life.

Deal with your emotions

Face the difficult feelings in your life instead of running away from them. Remember that your feelings are just feelings. You give them power over you when you allow them to rule over you.

Continue reading on emotional trauma series:

How To Overcome Emotional Pain

How To Overcome An Emotionally Dismissive Mother

How To Self Care Your Emotions Now: Emotional Boundaries

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