human design projector bitter recognition invitation
The Dark Side of the Projector

Why talk about the dark side? What do we accomplish with that? Isn’t this discouraging? Why not just look at the good parts and empower those?

I have seen a lot written and said about the great things about the Projector. My most read article is full of recognition and encouragement for Projectors. Because we deserve it – we need those kinds of messages spread far and wide. I don’t think there will ever be enough said to empower the abilities and awesomeness of Projectors.

At the same time, I also believe it can be empowering to talk about the uglier side. Because by shining a light in the dark, we can transform it.

We are going talk about behaviours Projectors often have and where they come from. I am going to be dramatizing and exaggerating them to put them in the spotlight. Let’s have a good look and see what it happens when we talk about it. I won’t be sugar-coating anything, but I also won’t leave you behind sitting in the dark.

I emphasize the dark side, but we are multi-dimensional beings. The dark side exists along our light side and many other shades of grey. None of this is completely true for anyone. But it is at least a little true for everyone.

If there are things you don’t relate to or disagree with, feel free to disregard it. This text is written at one moment in time from one perspective. It is not an absolute. You are the only authority on who you are and what is true for you.

If you are not a Projector, and you recognise some of these things in yourself, that is because we all have a little Projector in us. Most of the gates in the bodygraph are Projector gates. We all have at least some Projector energy in our system.

Recognition is Life

The Dark Side of the Projector originates in our deep desire for Recognition. Recognition is the most powerful word in Projector language. We need it more than we need food in our belly and air in our lungs. But unlike those things, it is incredibly hard to come by.

We live in a world that has built an economy around depriving each other of recognition. We earn recognition by complying and lose it when we don’t display desirable behaviour.

Most projectors learn how to behave exactly in the way that is expected of them. We study the world around us and copy the behaviour of those who are praised the most. Our life becomes a performance, doing what we are supposed to do and saying what others want to hear. Those things will get us what we need the most: approval – confirmation that we are doing it right.

This is not just to feel like we have a place in the world, we do this to have a source of energy. Disapproval means that those who we need to be able to experience the fuel for life will move away from us. They will not share the spark that lights our fire. We need them to be able to be active consistently. We cannot keep the fire burning all on our own. We can do some things by ourselves, but with others we can go much further and that is what we and others have come to expect of us. Going through life alone is unimaginable.

To be sure that people want to connect with us, we become whoever they need to have around. We say what they want to hear, do want they want us to do. Whatever it takes to be able to tap into that energy source that they gatekeep.

We become a version of ourselves that we no longer recognise. We become what we need to be to survive.

This is the emerging of our dark side. When we have figured out that being who we are doesn’t work, and we become someone we don’t want to be. This is when the bitterness sets in.

A Bitter Taste

You have probably heard of bitterness as the Not-Self Theme of the Projector. The Theme for every type is a like a signpost for recognising when we are not being our true self. Being an alternative version of ourselves always results in our Theme emerging.

Bitterness for Projector is a kind of furling into ourselves. It emerges when we don’t receive the recognition we so long for. We don’t feel seen for who we are and dissolve into blame. We can no longer believe in the value of our contribution. The excitement to share what is within us rots. All we have left to share is this sour version of what was once so pure.

The space that would have been filled with recognition is now filled with sadness, disapproval, worthlessness, and shame.

It leaves us with a deep feeling of being unwanted. This feeling unwanted settles in our foundation and follows us around our whole life. So many decisions we make are unconsciously based on this feeling unwanted.

It becomes a natural state of being. “They don’t want me anyway, so I will just…” becomes a way of justifying a range of behaviour that doesn’t serve us or anyone else.

We know deep down that we have so much to give, such value to contribute to the world. That is where we get our excitement to share. When our perspective does not get the recognition it deserves, the excitement to share then becomes covered with the layer of bitterness and turns into passive aggression.

Instead of saying what we want to say outright, we wrap it up in a disguise and serve it up when the other least expects it – preferably when they are vulnerable and distracted. Then, instead of helpful, it is harmful.

“Unsolicited advice is always criticism.”

We don’t care, because at least we got to let out what was swirling around in our head. We can safely blame the other for not hearing us, because technically we did tell them. What we forget is that advice that is not asked for is always perceived as criticism. So even if we imagine that we mean well, we only do harm.

This us how our feeling of being unwanted ends up becoming a reality. Every time we share something the other cannot or does not want to hear, it is confirmed. Every rejection we experience hammers this conviction into our subconscious. Once, we were optimistic and excited, but we slowly turn pessimistic and sour.

The spirit in our soul cannot be dimmed, however. We are alive and we are determined to make the most of the amazing potential living within us. We keep going, we keep trying, we keep finding ways to show up and show ourselves. When our Spirit is strong, we learn from every interaction. And at some point, we will start getting the timing right. As many rejections as we have experienced, they do not even compare to the successes.

What is Success?

When we do receive genuine recognition it makes up for all of it. It lights up our entire being and we can take on the world. This is often another point where it goes off the rails.

The person giving us recognition quickly becomes the momentary centre of our universe. We project on them that they will be able to give us everything we have always longed for. And, completely subconsciously, we come up with a strategy to get it from them.

The strategy is to give them the thing we want. We want recognition – and might that just be exactly the thing we are so good at giving! We aim our focused, absorbing beam of auric inspection onto their G center and stare directly into their soul. Soon enough, we have figured out who they are and what they need. We then proceed to unleash the full force of our amazing talent on them.

We are so excited; we completely forget to ask whether they are even interested in what we have to give. Are they even ready for it? We want recognition, so surely, they will want it too – right? Right…? Alas. Unless someone specifically asks for our perspective, they usually are not ready to hear what we find at the depths that we can penetrate to. They probably like to hear their hair looks nice, or that they have a beautiful smile, but it is rare that people are ready and willing to dive deeper beneath the surface.

All those things we just dug up from the depths of their being, they are not ready to see any of it. Sure, they might need to become aware of it to be able to fulfil the highest potential that we see in them, but they are just trying to survive for now. They don’t have the space to integrate the intense homework we are about to unleash upon them.

All that delicious recognition we were looking forward is fading before our eyes as the face of the person opposite seems to look more scared than grateful. We forgot to tune our instrument before we turned the speakers to full volume. And now the audience is telling us to please stop playing. Even after we spent all our lives perfecting our music! It is not fair, that is for sure, but unfortunately this is often what happens.

This is why Projectors are told to wait for the invitation. To wait for the other person to open their heart for us. To wait for them to ask for our perspective. Then they will be much more receptive when we do give it to them.

The Twisted Magic of the Invitation

Yet not even an invitation is a magic solution for our energy management challenges. Invitations can unfold flawlessly and give us everything we need. They can, but they rarely do. There is so much to learn during this lifetime, and an invitation is usually the place for us to do it. We step into the space offered to us and use it to play out some inner conflict that has been stewing in our blind spot for a while.

While we each are unique beings who write our own script, we usually follow the same story line. The invitation comes and we are ecstatic. We anticipate that we finally get to do what we have always wanted to do, we immediately step on the gas and go all out. We give everything we can give. We work harder than anyone else. We do all the things nobody else wants to be doing.

We are asked to do the dishes and we end up cleaning the whole kitchen. Everyone loves a clean kitchen, right? Surely, they will be grateful and shower me in appreciation. Right…? From personal experience, I can tell you that they will raise an eyebrow and say, “that was a bit much.”

Giving all that we have every time we receive even the smallest hint of an invitation means that before far too long, we burn out. We can keep it up for a while, but sooner or later we collapse. Only then do we feel how exhausted we are. The invitation never included the energy for all that overachieving.

An invitation has very specific parameters. There is a tank of fuel for exactly the journey it is intended for, and not a bit more. We were invited to do a specific job, participate in a specific activity, in a specific way – nothing more. But because we thought this was the chance to finally bring all that we have been saving up in the time that we were waiting for an invitation. We took it way beyond the original intention.

We used up all the energy in ways that it was not intended for. And it ran out before we were able to do the job we were asked to do as perfectly and extensively as we had imagined.

And now we have to retreat. It feels like have fallen down in the middle of the stage and the audience is muttering disapprovingly as we are being dragged off stage. We go right back to the same old bitter monologue. “I cannot do it anyway. I am not good enough. It was never going to be what I thought. Nobody likes me anyway.”

The Projector Way

The invitation may have been a great success – we probably accomplished so much before we burned out. Still, it is stored in our memory as a failure and as a confirmation that we are not enough. It contributes again to reasons we believe we need to be different from who we are – because what we are clearly doesn’t work out.

When we believe that we are lying to ourselves. The collapse didn’t happen because we were who we are, it happened because we didn’t trust that our way of doing things is enough. We pushed ourselves. We competed with others. We did more than we wanted or were capable of. And we thought of all of that as “the best way of doing things.” We thought that that is what “doing your best” looked like. We were wrong.

The Projector way is slowly, easily, thoroughly. With lots of rest, attention, and space for making mistakes. Projectors can have powerful bursts of efficient activity, but they are not made to sustain those for long periods of time.

A Projector can sit for six hours, work for one and do as much as a Generator does in seven hours. I say that not to compare the quality of work that each deliver – because both will produce something different, and they cannot be compared – but more to illustrate that the working process looks different. A Projector trying to be a Generator or a Manifestor will never succeed, but a Projector learning their own way of working always will.

We just need to invent it from scratch. Each Projector has their own unique way of doing things. On top of that, Projectors have not been around for very long and nobody knows for sure how they function. Our society is not built to accommodate them. That is the reason Projectors struggle so hard to be themselves. Not because they fall short in any sort of way.

The alternative version of ourselves we created to survive has been very successful at finding a way to fit in. The only reason it doesn’t work is because we have something better to do and something more to be. The time for survival mode is over. That is why it is so important to look at the habits and behaviours of the alternative version and to start calling them out in ourselves. We can transform them and invent the way we function as ourselves, for ourselves. The world is changing, and there is more and more space for human beings who do things differently. Now is our chance!

Facing the dark side

If you are ready to face your dark side, take responsibility for all of who you are and start the healing process, these are some things you can do.

  • Decide that it is okay for you to get it wrong, to fail, and to hurt people sometimes.
    • The dark side will only let itself be known when it feels safe. Otherwise it will continue to hide away and deny that it exists. It has come into being to avoid disapproval so if you are set up to disapprove of it, you will never see its true face.
  • Have brutally honest conversations with people are you that you feel safe with. Without blame or shame, discuss what you struggle with in the other. The truth lies not in the what you hear the other say, but in the response you have to it.
  • Embrace what you say with loving awareness. Why do you say what you say? Where does it come from? Investigate it honestly and without judgement. Especially random comments here and there can show you a lot of what is going in on within you.
  • Book a reading to dive deeper into both your light and dark sides.
  • Contact me if you need any support in this. I am here to listen, answer questions, and share my perspective on what is bothering you.


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Ariane – Human Design analist & coach

Ik ben hier om te begeleiden en te inspireren. Human Design kwam in 2009 in mijn leven, nog voor mijn eerste reis naar Azië. Het is zo een altijd-aanwezige lens geweest waardoor ik diepere lagen van het menselijk bestaan zie. Na het afronding van mijn universitaire opleiding Culturele Antropologie, was ik van 2014 tot 2018 in opleiding bij Alokanand Diaz (Human Design Republic) en de International Human Design School.