Reverse Projection

By Dana Morningstar

This is a slang term that refers to the distorted way targets of abuse tend to see their abuser. So while the psychological term “projection” refers to a person projecting all of their uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, or actions onto another who doesn’t think, feel, or act that way, 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.


Example: John and Lisa have been married for ten years. Even though John has a past 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.

Dana Morningstar is a former psychiatric nurse turned domestic violence educator who specializes in abuse awareness and prevention. Her passion is working with survivors of abuse to reclaim and rebuild their self-esteem, boundaries, confidence, and identity. She is an author of multiple books on the subject, and also has a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, as well as several online support groups, all of which you can find under the name “Thrive After Abuse.”

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