Projection is a defense mechanism in which individuals attribute characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person.
For example, someone who is rude may accuse others of being rude, or someone who is being unfaithful may accuse another of being unfaithful, etc.
Jesus addressed this when he told people to get the log out of their own eye before trying to get the speck out of someone else’s eye.
The apostle Paul addressed this in writing to the Romans: “Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.” (See Romans 2:1, Msg)
You may be projecting if you are feeling overly hurt and defensive and are quick to judge, blame, criticize, and attack someone else.
Carl Jung said that projecting our shadow unto others is at the root of most conflicts.
If someone is projecting their own issues onto you, try to understand why and show compassion. Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it shame? Is it guilt?
People tend to get defensive when you confront this type of behavior. Choose your words carefully and be gentle.