My Photo




  • FREE e-Letter

    Tips from
    The Queen of Rejection®

    Your First and Last Name:
    Your Email Address:

Entries categorized "Psychologial Projection"

Disloyalty, Betrayal and Secrets, Too

By Elayne Savage, PhD

#178 Betrayal.jpg © Can Stock Photo : Elnur

© Can Stock Photo / Elnur


Loyalty and Betrayal (and Secrets, too) have been a popular topic with friends, colleagues and clients lately. There must be something in the air.

Topics of Loyalty, Betrayal and Secrets have captured my interest for decades – they have such a strong connection to the many facets of Rejection.

So I’m excited about Jonathan Karl’s soon-to-be-published book Betrayal, due out in November!

In graduate school, I was totally intrigued by Invisible Loyalties, by Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, focusing on how loyalty and betrayal messages travel throughout the generations in our families.

More about “Invisible Loyalties and the Ledger


He describes an invisible ‘ledger’ of justice and injustice, fairness and unfairness, trustworthiness and untrustworthiness and loyalty and betrayal.  

My first reaction: OMG that’s my family! I have never thought about things this way.

There are so many messages we take on in our growing up years. Messages about our world, the people in our world, our sense of safety and security in our world and our ability to trust.

And experiences with the disappointments of Loyalty, Betrayal and Secrets can big time affect our ability to trust.

I see it this way: Too often we might find ourselves feeling disappointed in people or events.                                      And all too often, Disappointment feels like Rejection.


When Disloyalty Rears Its Ugly Head


Sometimes someone takes it personally if the other person neglects to agree with them or take their advice. This feels like disloyalty to them – a betrayal. In other words: “If you're not for me, you're against me.”

Some folks even encourage others to choose sides. And because blind support becomes a proof of loyalty to them, if it is absent they they feel betrayed and take it personally.

Sometimes in interactions with other there is just no room for mistakes – even the smallest gaffe can quickly become distorted into “proof” of disloyalty and emphasizing what a bad person that person is.

Some folks seem to have a need to lash out and punish others for a mis-step, kind of like when a dog has an 'accident,’ rubbing its nose in it "to teach a lesson."

Then again, sometimes it emanates from being vindictive and retaliating in just plain mean-spiritedness

Are there other kinds of Disloyalty experiences you are aware of?


Making Someone ‘Bad and Wrong’


Wrapped up in our need to make others bad and wrong might be connected to our inability to take responsibility for our thoughts or actions.

Some of us never heard our parents take responsibility or apologize. To each other. Or to us. For anything.

Some of us struggle with taking responsibility for actions because we confuse it with the idea we might feel blamed (or even shamed.)

And if we cannot tolerate these feelings in ourselves this can lead to psychological projection – the tendency to see our own shortcomings in others.


Psychological Projection


So basically Psychological Projection is a tendency to mistakenly imagine certain traits exist in the other person when we cannot acknowledge them in ourselves. This is because these disowned parts of ourselves make us uncomfortable because they are emotionally unacceptable to us.

Projection is how many people deal with all kinds of unacknowledged, unacceptable feelings including anger, fears, insecurities, aggressiveness, independence, badness, vulnerabilities, competence, or dependency.

(For more on Psychological Projection, see link below)


The ‘Attack-Defend’ Dynamic


When we feel a finger is pointed and we feel criticized or blamed, the tendency is to protect ourselves and retaliate. And the Attack-Defend’ dynamic springs into action. Somebody feels attacked, takes something personally and sometimes the other person becomes ‘the enemy.”

The person who feels attacked and vulnerable often defends against the attack by attacking back - sometimes desperately and ferociously:  

Lashing out













You may recognize these responses as rejecting behaviors.


Some Tips for Tapping Into Your Resilience


I like to remind myself of the old Saturday Night Live joke about finger pointing. When someone is pointing a finger at you, try to remind yourself that three fingers are pointing right back at the person pointing. The SNL folks got it right.

  • It helps to put things in perspective by asking yourself:

       Am I taking this personally? How?

       Is there any cause for me to feel threatened?

       Am I feeling rejected in some way?

       Where did this reaction come from?

          Is it something “old”?

         (From Don’t Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection)

  • Try repeating:

      "This is not about me.  This is most likely about the other person and they are probably talking about themselves.

      What might they be saying?“ Could they be coming from a place of fear and needing to protect themselves?

  • Too often a situation in the present reminds us of an experience from the past. Do you know what that experience might be? Is it superimposing onto your present experience?

The context and people may be very different from what is happening now, however the experience continues to reside in your neural pathways and becomes visceral.

  • Can you remind yourself to try to separate the ‘then’ from the ‘now’ so you are creating some distance? So you don't find yourself taking things so personally and overreacting.
  • By ’walking alongside yourself, noticing and naming’ your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, you can remind yourself you do have options for your reactions.


‘Make a Choice to Make a Change'


Think about it this way: we cannot really purposefully change a behavior if we cannot see it.

So by ‘noticing and naming’ you can call up the image of yourself coming to a fork in the road. And you can chose to move forward along a new path. You can ‘make a choice to make a change.’

More on Finger Pointing, Taking Things Personally, Rejection and Projection


© Elayne Savage, PhD

Until next month . . .



Elayne Savage is the author of ground-breaking relationship books published in 9 languages.

Both books are now available on Kindle!



You can use the articles in 'Tips from The Queen of Rejection'® as long as you include an attribution and, whenever possible, a live link to my website. I'd appreciate if you'd notify me where and when the material will appear.

The attribution should include this information: Elayne Savage, PhD is a communication coach, keynote speaker, and trainer, practicing psychotherapist and author of Don't Take It Personally! The Art of Dealing with Rejection and Breathing Room - Creating Space to Be a Couple.

To find out more about my speaking programs, coaching and consultation services visit: // or call 510-540-6230 if you or your group can benefit.

Contacting Elayne
I welcome your feedback as well as suggestions for topics you'd like to see addressed in this e-letter.
Here's how you can reach me:

For more communication and rejection tips, you can follow me:

November 30, 2023

August 31, 2023

December 31, 2022

November 23, 2021

August 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

January 27, 2020

November 27, 2019

March 31, 2018

January 30, 2018

November 21, 2017

June 13, 2017

August 31, 2016

November 21, 2015

September 16, 2015

June 29, 2015

January 31, 2015

November 24, 2014

October 18, 2012

January 26, 2012

December 15, 2009

October 28, 2008

November 16, 2007