(assuming) the motivations
and actions of others ("Pat's not calling back obviously means she's
angry and punishing me.");
motives, events, and attitudes that dont exist ("Don't lie
to me, Manuel. I
you're having an
complex situations to only two options - black-white or "bipolar"
thinking. This usually comes from subselves' fear of the unknown and the
protective need to control by reducing
uncertainties and ambivalences to manageable "yes-no" /
"right-wrong" / "good-bad" / "your fault-my fault" terms.
Chronic black-white thinking seriously hinders effective problem solving.
explain why things are, rather than accepting some painful truth ("I drink because
you're always harping at me, Noriko");
event-impacts on one's Self and/or on others ("I think Jackie's
to her Dad's leaving us. Her nightmares and school troubles will soon be over.")
and/or feelings ("No, I've completely recovered from Mom's death. I'm done
grieving, thank the Lord."),
amnesia. Typical people ruled by
false selves describe a wide
range of "blanks" about important childhood periods, events, and people. This
often comes from an unconscious avoidance of the pain, rage, and sadness
associated with childhood traumas like abandonments, humiliations,
abuses, losses, and terrors.
strategic amnesias may also come from an inbred horror
of seeing our key early
caregivers as flawed, cruel, selfish, weak, uncaring, and/or abusive
(wounded) people who really
couldn't nurture us well enough.
Typical "amnesia" symptoms
sound like "I can't remember my life before age nine / what
usually happened after I came home from school / any birthday
parties for me when I was a kid,". Excessive amnesias can
promote vague or sharp feelings of personal anxiety, "incompleteness," or
"wrongness." They're specially common and dramatic for
survivors of chronic childhood
More common reality distortions...
shameful thoughts, fantasies, wounds, or desires on others - "You're
the one with a toxic-anger problem here, kiddo, not me!"
and catastrophizing - "You are always late!" / "You
never tell me the truth!" / "The way you spend,
we're going to be bankrupt and live on the street for the rest of our
("wishful thinking") - "Well other couples may have major
stepfamily problems, but our love, experience, and commitment will protect us from that!"
distortions, and fervently denying our denial and underlying psychological wounds. This is the master reality distortion.
How can you tell if someone is ruled by subselves who
need to protectively distort reality "too much"? Option -
use this as a checklist for yourself or someone else.
Typical Symptoms of Excessive Distortions
1) Vehemently insisting that events, feelings, conversations,
and decisions that others witness didnt happen, or happened at a different time,
place, or circumstance (I / you / they) never (said / did / thought / felt) that!; I am
not a workaholic!)
2) Fervently declaring that major disappointments, losses, or traumas
arent that important, and/or dont effect (or
3) Genuinely believing a key relationship is fine when others
see major problems; or perceiving major problems when there
are none ("I know you're thinking about leaving me!").
Believing a partner is (not) having an
affair when they
arent (are). (Also a
avoiding responsibility for one’s life, health, decisions,
behaviors, and happiness: adopting a
"victim" role and insisting I cant help it. (wounds: excessive
Self-distrust + reality distortion)
6) Mis-assuming and "mind-reading"
- often reading incorrect meanings into others
statements and/ or actions (You are angry at me. Dont you deny
it!”), and denying or rationalizing that. A common example is
mistaking informational feedback as criticism.
7) Projecting ones own shameful traits onto others
(Youre the liar here, not me!) This is also a symptom of toxic
(excessive) shame and guilt.
More common symptoms of false-self
8) Refusing to see flaws,
weaknesses, and/or these psychological-wound symptoms in ones
self, or in a
revered partner, parent, hero/ine, or child.
9) Rationalizing that clearly abusive, criminal, self-harmful, and/or
unethical acts are really OK, because
10) Minimizing ones own needs, risks, feelings,
consequences, responsibility, and/or those of others [no big deal (to me)!
and Youre making a big deal out of nothing!] The flip side
of this is a chronic tendency to
catastrophize (imagining the worst, and acting as though it were certain.)
Lying excessively or chronically, and denying, minimizing, joking, or justifying
that. This is also a symptom of excessive fears, shame, and guilts.
inner-wound symptoms like these as trivial and unremarkable:
So whats the big deal?
13) Having distorted or no clear ideas about what emotional, spiritual, and/or
and child or self
14) Tolerating any of these
abuses without complaint.
15) Believing and justifying distorted concepts of
high-nurturance parenting and relationship goals,
priorities, and techniques.
16) Insisting My childhood and early family were fine /
wonderful / healthy / loving / functional /
" when they clearly werent.
17) Believing My parent/s really loved me, and
being unable to describe how they demonstrated that; and/or amplifying,
distorting, or inventing parental behaviors to prove their love.
18) Consistently idealizing outcomes,
and/or expecting unrealistic attitudes, behaviors, or outcomes from people
19) Interpreting people,
relationships, and events as manifesting "prophesies" in a sacred
or occult text, rather
than seeing real causes and effects.
20) Believing that Satan, the Devil,
"demons," "evil spirits," or malevolent ghosts are causing personal
or global troubles, vs. psychological, social, genetic, and environmental
There are many other symptoms - these are illustrative.
In general, the more symptoms
above that you or another person have, the higher the odds you or s/he is
psychologically wounded (dominated by a well-meaning false self). Recall:
this is one of several wound-assessment
checklists in Lesson 1.
People with this common psychological wound...
by discounting, ignoring, or denying potentially harmful things; and/or
stress themselves and others by inventing or
Do you know someone who distorts a lot? How do you react to that trait?
Typical responses can span resignation, irritation, arguing, anxiety,
distrust, confusion, doubting, discounting, avoidance, not listening,
criticism, concern, preaching, and/or lecturing, All of these stress
relationships, lower family nurturance levels,
and hinder effective communication. Do you agree?