How Can I Tell If I Am Projecting My Shadow?

the shadow knowsHi Elsa,

How can a person tell the difference between an actual external conflict and projection/unprocessed shadow work that we’re reacting to? When do we try to solve things externally and when do we look within to what the situation is revealing about our psyche?

Southwestern US

Hi, Dreamland. What a great question!

Every interaction with another person will reveal something about ourselves. It’s impossible you’re always going to be the one standing in the light, though many people believe this about themselves. Discerning is a struggle, but I can think of some clues…

If your reaction to someone is extreme and/or out of bounds in some way, it’s a good bet, you’re triggered. This doesn’t mean the other person is innocent. It means you’re triggered! There is a reason why you’re triggered and ultimately, if you want to live a peaceful life, it’s your issue to resolve.

Secondly, if you constantly meet people who do X to you, this is strong indication of an internal problem.  Examples…

“All I ever meet is married men.”
“Everyone betrays me…”

This is very common. It’s common to hear someone complain about another person when their own failings (they are blind to) are gigantic in comparison.  It’s also common a person nitpick every person they meet. They literally shake your hand as they try to discern how they’re superior and you’re inferior.

If this is your MO, it’s a strong clue that you need some place to hang your garbage.

Astrology is enormously helpful in illuminating blind spots. I’ve been known to say that astrology would show your own ass. And it will.

How often do you project your negative qualities, or find fault with others to avoid self-examination? Do you struggle with this at all?

Got a question?  Ask here! Please mention your location. I think this adds something to these posts.

35 thoughts on “How Can I Tell If I Am Projecting My Shadow?”

  1. Negative qualities…? Oh, no. No, no, no. Those I own. I’ll even take possession of negative qualities I don’t have. *smiles* But I project my positive qualities all over the place! And, really, that’s just as bad. I need to work on that, but I imagine it’s just as hard for me to see as it is for someone who projects their negatives. Yanno?
    Projection is projection is projection.

    I’m very good at knowing when I’m being negatively triggered and introspecting until I find the cause, the root, and dealing with it. What I need to do is learn to recognize when I’m putting someone on a pedestal that they may not deserve to be on. *nodnodnod*

    1. Projecting positive qualities – wow, I just realized something here. Thanks, SaDiablo. That’s exactly what I am struggling with too.

    2. yeah, it’s pretty dangerous, you can fool yourself into thinking people are a lot better than they are and that can bit you (me) very badly… nevermind not realizing the quality of your own strengths

  2. This is a really great question, and answer. I DO struggle with the question, and, it’s important to know the struggle IS mine. My husband said yesterday, “You study all the time. (He’s right!), now it’s time to spread that around.” We’re getting ready to do that, and I took my first step outside the cave, and listened (really listened) to the stories people were telling. Then I listened to the ones I was telling. My biggest problem is in defending my family from what I perceive as attack. I’m a mother pig when it comes to defending family.

    Is it projection or is the issue my personal problem? The struggle is the heavy 8th House signature. I have to remember the legacy has much to do with my ancestors saying, “Ah, this may be the one to bring the good, beautiful and true.” Legacy and evolving from the shadow.

  3. I’m curious about how Neptune affects this equation. Don’t you have Neptune, Elsa, and people project themselves when they think they ‘see’ you? So, how can you tell when it’s you vs when it’s them?

    1. In regards to Neptune, it’s usually OBVIOUS. For example, they tell me I have two sons, when I know I have two cocker spaniels.

      The person is confused. I consider this a separate issue from “projection”.

  4. So what if you are in fact ‘blind’ to your specific issues that you supposedly project?

    Should I be looking in my empty (except for Chiron) 7th? Or at my Uranus in the 1st?

    1. Thank you! Video wasn’t working but I read the comments through to the end.

      This must be something I am in need of work on because for some reason I cannot ‘see’ it at all. Checked out my oppositions again…I am always remembering my Sun/Moon opposition, but forgetting my Moon/Mercury, Chiron/Ascendent, and Uranus/Chiron oppositions.

  5. Empty 7th house but its in Cap. I married a man with a Cap moon and Pluto in his 7th 🙂

    Very interesting! Love this …..

    (video worked for me, but I have seen it as I have watched them all)

    1. Okay, the default browser I use is Safari (and that’s where it didn’t work) but then I tried it in Firefox and it worked fine. Sorry!

      Yes I’ve watched that video before. So I would take it that even though my 7th only has Chiron (in Taurus), I would possibly be projecting my woundedness onto potential partners, but in a Venusian manner?

      I’ve been thinking more about my oppositions. This may help me with a breakthrough with my communication with others, if I can get the basics of this in place the right way…

  6. If your reaction to someone is extreme and/or out of bounds in some way, it’s a good bet, you’re triggered.

    Thank you for teaching me to recognize this a couple of years ago Elsa. It has helped me enormously. You all have talked me off several ledges 🙂 Anyone that takes the time to read here will walk away with rewarding and helpful knowledge that will help them every day!

  7. Feelings of anger that prompt you to be overly critical and judgemental are usually good indicators that something is affecting you from within, in dealing with a certain person or situation. This can be experienced through overreaction or in a quiet, but venomous way – even passive-aggressive. (Been there … 😀 I have many oppositions in my Chart).

  8. I have this victim complex. I think that’s its the world against me sometimes. And that I am up against everyone’s shit. But really I’m projecting all that for some kind of defense mechanism. My sister knew this before and she called my bluff. But being a moon in aries that she is and me being a moon in pisces how in the hell am i supposed to process her lament over my pity parties? she blows up on me its funny. anyway yeah i do that, everyone does. maybe as long as the sun and moon exist and we have bodies we might do that stuff.

  9. I sometimes wonder if everything isn’t just a projection. A dream within a dream… I am you and you are me and we are all one and all one giant projection. I wonder if everything we experience-negative or positive- isn’t just a reflection/projection. I wonder what the purpose is, but then I remember it has to be for Love.

    1. Love this, PIseas!

      I have Neptune (and Saturn) bound up with Mercury and I often wonder the same thing… then realize it doesn’t really matter, in the long run. We have to live it as best we can (yes, with love!) whether true or illusory.


    2. Sounds like the be ginning of The Beatles’ “I am the Walrus”! – I’ve also been wondering this – and haven’t they scientifically proven now that it’s all a Hologram??….

  10. This sentence said it all for me: “It would be virtually impossible to always be the one standing in the light, though many people believe this about themselves.” Expect for me, I’m always the one the shadow is put on. I seem to trigger people left and right.

    As for being triggered, I’ve always tried to see it like that person is a mirror of something in myself that I need to deal with/work on. That has helped me a lot with learning to own my own shadows.

    1. This is helpful, Angie. I saw that happening yesterday. When you don’t get out much, and then you do (I’m talking ‘me’ here) the mirror is BIG. Thanks! Maybe now I can get back to sleep:/

    2. Same here. I touch some kind of pain in people. Not purposefully of course. There is sooooo much I keep inside because I’ve been so misunderstood in the past. Even when I’m trying to help someone I’ll get shit thrown back at me. And of course this has made me look at myself. I used to think that I was a really horrible person and that I deserved everything I got. I examined my shadow because I was in so much pain from it. I had to find relief and understanding.

      The conclusion I came up with: well everyone has a role to play on this earth. Mine is something like a guide through the dark side. Ive come to terms with that. I live on the fringes and I’m cool with that. And I’ve learned to not accept people projecting their shit on to me. I’m not doing them or me any favors if I absorb it for them. And I have a right to my own feelings as well. Someone posted on the blog one time that she’s “not running for congress”. I loved that she said that. In other words, I don’t have to be endlessly gracious.

      Do I still hesitate to speak about what I see? Hell yes. I admire you Elsa for being able to do it. I know if you didn’t care you wouldn’t say anything. Maybe I’ll get there someday. I don’t have a very thick skin right now.

  11. Avatar
    Warped by Wuthering Heights

    SaDiablo, you’ve been on my mind, good to see you again!

    I have Uranus/South Node, Pluto/Vertex, and Juno in 7th. Once idealized/obsessed over a man with Sun conjunct my Pluto/Vertex. Did the same with another with Chiron conjunct my Uranus/SN, and Sun conjunct my 5th house Jupiter. Life forever altered by each due to my triggered response.

  12. Avatar

    I think the only time I’ve been willing to look at my own shadow is when I had someone or something in my life I felt wasn’t worth losing. But that hasn’t happened much.

  13. Avatar

    I think if you’re done with a person or situation anyway, you’re less inclined to examine your own part in a situation because you no longer care. But it’s helpful information to have for next time.

  14. With a 8th house Libra moon that is square mars I think – yes! Lots of stuff that’s been projected onto me.
    Also, Pluto is conjunct Saturn in the same house as well.

    I have realized my pattern is to find abusive/immature men to act out my patterns from verbal and emotional abuse – I find immature men and hope to “fix” them, like I couldn’t fix my dad so that he could finally love me. But in the end I end jo being cheated on, lied to, controlled, manipulated and the men end up leaving because they couldn’t express their anger to me (Mars in Libra…sigh!!)

    So, I have a pattern I need to break. I am simply bound to resolve this matter – or I will end up being cheated on again and agin!
    I’m so afraid of this pattern, and how it has been ruining my life the past 10-13 years…

    I need to fix ME – not the men…

  15. I tend to attract female friends who are very outgoing and jovial (Jupiter in 7th), they become very close to me to the point of being my “best friend”, but eventually our relationship falls apart because they become abusive towards me (Pluto in 7th). The house is in Scorpio, so the abuse of power is overwhelming. I have a similar relationship with my sister.

    1. How can I fix this pattern? The moment I feel they cross the line I stop considering them my friends. Although not directly or in their face, because the way they act is never clear so I can tell them the reasons as facts. So we just become more and more distant. But the problem is, every new place that I go to, I instantly “click” with this type of women. I notice that they are not abusive towards their other friends. It’s just me, because I allow it maybe. Although I don’t know HOW is it that I allow it. I wish I could find the way to get rid of the “ABUSE ME” sign I have on my forehead.

      1. Macateta – I realised recently that people I thought ( for Years…) were “friends” were regarding me in a slightly different manner ie. I was somehow filling some kind of other role – convenience? making them feel special? – I’m not sure what exactly…but I now see it wasn’t “friend”….I felt really hurt and betrayed the most recent time I realised this – in fact, I had to walk out ( literally) as I felt as if I had been physically slapped…..I had regarded this particular woman as a good friend for over 20 years….and I have had no contact since – this has happened a lot in the last few years – Pluto going through 4th, maybe – it really has been a sharp Learning Curve…

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