The False Self
All work on self discovery and recovery comprises this psychological concept of "false self." It lives a life of not following the truest and deepest inclinations of one's core being.
Dependent or non-autonomous, the "false self" is unable to disengage from social, cultural, and instinctual conditioning. It can not make choices that reflect one's true self, identity, and personal mission.
Nora is a 50 year old patient who sought therapy for her low self esteem. In our sessions, she continually anguished over her health, the approval of her husband and children, and what people say about her physical appearance.
She suffered from depression, anxiety attacks, and exaggerated concern of other people's opinions. Hypersensitive, she bordered a lot toward hypochondria and eating disorders. As a result, she caused her self unnecessary trouble and wounding in her relationships.
Upon deeper probing, I found out how much Nora was hurt and traumatized during the normal formation of her persona since childhood. Her mother treated her as if she's one of the house maids when she was a little girl onwards.
She received verbal, physical, and emotional abuse from her mother for so many years. Her mother definitely failed to respond to her basic needs. To survive, Nora's only choice was to hide who she is and use defensive, rigid adaptation defenses.