Reverse Projection

Reverse projection is a slang term referring to the distorted way targets of abuse see their abuser. Reverse projection is when targets project all of their good thoughts, feelings, and actions onto another who doesn’t think, feel, or act this way. Reverse projection differs from the psychological term of projection in that, when someone is projecting, they are unconsciously putting their uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, or actions onto another. 

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Example of Reverse Projection

John and Lisa have been married for ten years. Even though John has a history of aggression and abuse, Lisa continues to think that deep down, John has the same morals and values that she has, and given enough love, therapy, religion, or rehab, he would treat her like she treats him. Lisa is projecting her good qualities onto John, even though his actions have shown that he does not share the same morals and values as Lisa.