Kelly grew up in a house where everyone walked on eggshells around dad. Dad’s anger could erupt at any time, and it would usually be directed at Kelly. He told her it was her fault. “If only you didn’t make me so mad…”
And it was her job to pick up the emotional pieces of his explosion. Kelly learned early on what she needed to do to be loved and accepted: please and appease dad, and make everyone else feel better. And she has been living the “please and appease” strategy in every relationship and job ever since, to cover up her sense of “it’s my fault.”
Your actions will either be an authentic expression of who you are
or a creative cover-up instead.
1) Something happens that gives me the message “Something is wrong with me.”
2) With the sense that something is wrong with me, I fear I won’t be loved and accepted if others find out.
3) I create a cover up way of being to compensate for and hide my defect so that I will be loved and safe in life. My survival depends on it.
All the cover ups are variations of our attempt to be loved, accepted and safe. They become our way of being in the world, the way we show up; and they work. That’s why we keep using them. But reality is that they are actually using us. And they cost us in the quality of our lives. Eventually the cost begins to outweigh the benefit. You may be noticing that in your life already.
- I’m not _________ enough
- I’m broken
- It’s my fault
- I’m not worth it
- I’m too _________
- I don’t matter
- I’m not wanted
- It’s not okay/safe to be________
- I’m not seen or heard
- I’m bad
- I have to fix everything and everyone
- I must protect myself and never let anyone close
- I’m not allowed to excel or stand out
- I must be the best/dominate/win
- I must take a back seat/play small
- I have to make/keep them happy
- I must be perfect
- I must be independent/never needy
- I must be dependent/always needy
- I have to earn their love
- I must be whoever they want me to be
1) When did I first have the sense that something was wrong with me? What was the exact story?
2) What did I do (continue to do) to compensate for that perception of myself? What is my cover up?
3) What is it costing me?
The only real fraud is the thought that you are a fraud.
Next week we’ll focus on choices you can make in light of discovering your old story to empower you in writing your new one.