Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Human beings manage their concerns and fears unconsciously. By bringing those fears and management strategies to the surface, we have an opportunity to consciously change how we unconsciously view and react to the circumstances of our lives.

As children, even in the most loving and supportive homes, there were times when our needs weren’t met. We experienced scares and hurts. Some were neglected, abused, or abandoned.

We are all capable of processing and recovering from the impact of unmet needs and trauma. In safe, loving environments with patient, capable, and attentive caretakers, children feel and express emotions that are appropriate to their experiences. They are helped to make sense of what has happened. Their sense of value and worth if validated and the child fully processes painful experiences.

Photo by Fabiano Cardoso from Pexels

But when it doesn’t feel safe to fully release emotional energy and express natural curiosity about painful and scary experiences, the pain gets stuck and the experiences go unexplained..

This leaves the child with the ongoing burden of unexpressed emotional pain along with the challenging task of making sense of what happened. This burden creates an emotional wound that keeps the child tethered to the past until it can be resolved.

Sensing that they have no power or control to prevent more scares and hurts, children take responsibility for what happened. They blame themselves, concluding that they somehow caused the scare, hurt, or traumatic experience. This self-blame gives them a sense of power and control in otherwise powerless and sometimes hopeless situations.

In this way, children form shame-based beliefs about themselves.

Of course, we were all children. No matter how capable and attentive our caretakers were, no one escapes the experience of an unmet need, getting scared without comfort, or being hurt without protection or safety.

Our identities – how we viewed ourselves, gradually shifted from worthy and valued to unworthy and deficient.

By blaming ourselves for painful circumstances when we were young and dependent, we created a Shame Identity of “not enough-ness” or “too muchness.”

We feared others would also realize there was something wrong with us – that we weren’t enough or that we were too much.

So, we tried to hide or overcome our shortcomings.  We created a False Identity to present to the world; an identity that we hoped the world would accept and approve of. An identity to keep us safe and help us get what we wanted in life – love and acceptance.

The strategies we used to hide and to try to overcome our faults were designed to keep our Shame Identity hidden from the world.

But, in the process we lost the free and easy sense of who we really were – we hid our True Self from ourselves.

Bill Tierney

Bill Tierney

Personal Development Coach and Certified IFS Practitioner

Helping people reclaim their true identity – helping them realize who the are and who they are not – enables them to tap into innate resources that are their birthright. As long as a person is cut off from these resources which include wisdom and courage, life can feel overwhelming. But accessing these resources helps identify our true purpose and passion.

Using over 10 years of life coach training, four decades of personal development experience, and my training and experience as a Certified Internal Family Systems Practitioner, I help people rediscover their true identity.

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