Remember the psychological game of projection discussed earlier? Specifically, that Cain projects his character flaws onto others in an effort to dump them? For decades a woman named Piper was conditioned to believe that Cain’s character defects were her flaws.
Due to her overweight, she was judged abnormal, lazy and lacking in will power. Unfortunately, society as a whole passes these same judgments about obesity, but Cain illuminated Piper’s imperfections to deflect his own shortcomings.
She recalls how strenuous and exhausting it was as a morbidly overweight child to walk eight blocks uphill to school. About midway she struggled for the next lungful of air. When she was very young, she simply sat down on the grass or sidewalk for a spell to catch her breath. Because Cain was interested in one agenda——his own—with no empathy for her, he projected his impatience, calling Piper lazy and deciding that she only wanted to play.
These myths went unquestioned, perpetuated within the family. Yes indeed. Piper was lazy. She just liked to have fun. No one ever considered that she was, in fact, carrying two people uphill every day due to her size. She wasn’t lazy, she was out of breath. The truth was, Cain didn’t like to be inconvenienced—ever. “But I grew up feeling as if I had to strive twice as hard as anyone else to verify that I wasn’t lazy,” explained Piper. Now, as an older adult suffering many health issues, she says it makes sense why her body wore out at an earlier age.
About a decade ago, while she worked tirelessly on a project, her mother announced emphatically, “You certainly aren’t lazy!”
“It seemed to be an original awareness for her,” explained Piper. “I was momentarily astounded, knowing how hard I worked on everything all my life. But finally, she felt vindicated because her mother had seen the real Piper. This mother had automatically accepted Cain’s opinions and impatience without ever editing them for accuracy. Piper had been viewed by her family as lazy for half a century simply because a cainist had little tolerance for anyone but himself and projected his limitations onto Piper.
All of which sets up the Enabler for further cainistic connections and abuse. This abuse is familiar, therefore, she draws the same exploitation into her life time and again. And it isn’t just laziness that’s projected. It’s any affirmative attribute which threatens Cain’s weak ego.
If she’s empathetic, then he announces that she’s too dramatic; if she’s adventurous, then she’s unstable and doesn’t comprehend risks; if she’s spiritual, then she’s gullible; if she’s smart, she isn’t nearly as smart as he is. Piper remembered feeling absolutely dumb all through school and was shocked when she went to college and landed on Dean’s list and received multiple compliments from professors about the term papers she wrote.
If Cain can’t compete with a quality or talent, such as being inventive or artistic in a certain area, then he dramatizes his shortage. Now, the Enabler’s creativity is nothing compared to Cain’s unimaginative side. His inability usurps her abilities. It’s astounding how many ways he can nullify the Enabler to regain center stage.
She must relentlessly insert a question mark behind everything he says about her and to her. Otherwise, she will breathe life into his self-absorbed, trumped-up proclamations, giving him the power of projection to devastate the very fabric of her existence.