Co-dependence & the False Self

have me trapped in the mirror

PREVIOUS: Co-dep & Roles #1

SITE: False Self, Real Self – the games we play with our identity”

✤ Anatomy of Emotional Warfare (key player is the False Self)

✤ 3 Reasons to Embrace Your “False” Self

BOOK: Is it Love or is it Addiction? ~ Brenda Schaeffer

We focus all our attention on the needs, feelings & problems of another person – instead of ourselves – including the ones we think they have, in order to make that person love us AND never leave us.  So we feel guilty when we don’t tend to their wishes, needs or demands!

The False Self  (FS)
✶ We developed it in our dysfunctional home, where we came to believe we needed someone & something outside of ourselves to be complete, to feel safe, to have any worth at all, even to give us permission to exist!

✶ Basing life on a False Self robs us of our dignity & individuality! It’s what the Adapted Child ego state becomes when we’re not properly nurtured in childhood, & which ends up running our life until we do FoO work in Recovery   (CHART  ➡️)

• The concept of the FS was developed in the 60s by Dr. Donald Winnicott, who specialized in Object-Relations psychology.
The FS is motivated by a basic need to survive, starting in infancy – an unconscious choice to change our behavior, repress our emotions & push aside our own needs – in order to fit in with others who cannot accept us as we really are.
It comes out of a desperate attempt to control a person or situation that is actually out of our control

• It includes 5 USES and 5 levels ⬇️, the most extreme being when the True Self is completely hidden, while the FS appears authentic to the person & everyone else, & may be successful in the world but fails in intimate relationships
➼ In contrast, the True Self is the core of we who are, unshaped by upbringing or society, the person we were born as & still exists inside

☔︎ Attachment Trauma = a developmental shock that may become hard-wired into child’s brain & personality structures. Desperate longing & emotions addiction becomes a defense mechanism against the anxiety of too early or difficult separation from mother.

☔︎ Toddlers = Defiant & oppositional behavior persisting beyond age 3 may indicate an attachment disorder.  Child can develop other “upper defenses” to maintain this separateness, & support the inflated False Self.

☔︎ Co-dependent = Children create a False Self (FS)as a reaction to not having enough emotional & social support in order to become emotionally & psychologically separate from parents (grow up)
☔︎ Counter-dependent = child block feeling of shame for only being loved conditionally or not loved at all.  The FS prevents being totally traumatized by abandonment & abuse. This defense typically shows up as the child (& later the adult) seeming to be strong & capable, while not feeling that way inside

☔︎ Addictions = Later on – addictions the are associated with separation trauma (upper drugs, work, quick sex, traveling & over-consuming…. ) are inadequate & unsatisfying substitutes for deep union with the Divine, just like the unavailable emotional connection with the mother.
Unfortunately, it often takes people a long time to discover that unresolved developmental trauma is the cause of many of their adult problems.

(MORE.… a Case Study

CHART a. False Self created by absorbing Negative Introject



 CHART b. True Self as the integrated authority of a fully developed, emotionally intelligent grownup (by Roland J. Schuster

Also read  “What Represents True Self“?

NEXT: Roles & Co-dep Part 2

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