"We are what we repeatedly do."
Your personal identity is dynamic, not static.
You are always in the making, and
never fully made. If you wander from your purpose,
if you lose your sense of life,
you may feel emotionally
empty or many unpleasant emotions. How do you get back?
Sense of Life - Sense of Self
Few recovery programs work. The effects of recovery programs
rarely last. Altering thoughts or behaviors alone rarely provides a
basis for lasting change. Willpower and hypnosis are not enough.
Medication and drugs may only delay relapses.
Many problematic behaviors indicate a loss of personal
identity. If important inner resources or qualities,
or "parts" of you are missing, hidden or distorted, you may
act and react in robot-like ways. Do you want to recover your lost or
When I realized that I was
going to live my whole life with someone I don't like
... myself ... then getting your identity work made sense.
I'm just sorry that I waited so long.
Be Yourself - Remember Who You Are
Does, "Be yourself" sound easy? If you were raised
in a family and community that prefers pretence to real people -
you may have hidden the 'real you'. Did you build masks and hide
your emotions, unusual ideas, difficult questions and your need
for truth? Were you taught to hide yourself? We often call
this identity loss.
Depersonalization is a fancy name for identity loss, which is
sometimes called a coping mechanism or defense mechanism
for escaping intolerable situations. Yet a strong sense
of self is usually essential for achieving your life goals.
People who are lost in life reflect this in their relationships. Our
identity work helps people manage existential issues:
- Immaturity - part of you is stuck at some young age
- Identification - you believe that you are someone else
- Identity Bonds - your behavior is bonded to other people
- Lost Identity - you lose or diminish contact with your
sense of self
- Identity Conflict - you simultaneously identify with two
or more people
In our systemic psychology, Lost Identity refers
to chronic dissociation (imagine a stereotype professor deeply engaged
in solving a complex problem). Identification refers to the
unconscious acceptance of another personality (a medieval term was
possessed). Identity Conflict refers to bipolar behavior
or mood swings (e.g. classic ideas of split personality) and
Identity Bonds refer to beliefs and emotions that enmesh or
entangle you with other people's goals and agendas.
Some common indications of people who are lost in life are:
- Lack of emotions, empathy & love
- Chronic inner conflict / self criticism
- Impulsive motivations to immature behavior
- Dissociation (the lights are on but nobody's home)
- Emotional outbursts & mood swings without apparent
- Body language gives very different messages to
- Psychosomatic symptoms (medical issues without medical
Emotional Outbursts & Mood Swings
Some common factors affect how people express emotions:
- Fatigue: Tired people may not respond or
- Physiological: Emotional displays are often
affected by who is noticing.
- Relationships: Emotions are often influenced by
- Drugs and Medications: Inappropriate medications
and some food allergies can trigger strong emotions.
Emotions affect relationships. Whatever the causes, feelings of
frustration, defensiveness, depression, etc, can sour relationships.
Negative emotions expressed by a partner or parent may trigger
unpleasant changes in other family members.
Many people try to make sense of an empty or senseless lives by
identifying with other people. These people may feel normal, just
and right, even when behaving in ways that other people call
abnormal. They may justify their
behavior with words that don't make sense. They may experience strange
negative emotions or psychosomatic symptoms.
Do you feel that something
or somebody guides or directs your behavior?
Do you feel negative emotions that do not make sense?
Personality identification can strongly affect your thoughts
- Do you express chronic fear or anxiety?
- Do you express chronic anger, fury or rage?
- Do you express chronic sadness or melancholy?
The symptoms are often easy to perceive – a person identified with
a victim is generally suspicious and may compulsively annoy or torment
people; a person identified with dead person is generally melancholy
and may be obsessed with death; and a person identified with an abuser may feel
motivated to hurt other people.
Identified people often feel the emotions of their role models. Expressing
these emotions can be a massive relief, although there may be unpleasant
consequences. Identified people often describe "feeling right
in a wrong world".
You said that my symptoms indicated
that I might have identified with a dead person ... Yes, my dead grandpa
felt totally me - he felt more me than myself.
Do you feel deep inner conflict? If you have identity conflict
you may feel normal, just and right, even when switching between two
distinct personalities. Such deep conflict is a common result of a people
(usually as children) trying to make sense of two powerful conflicting
influences (usually their parents).
If you have identity conflict, you may make
decisions or promises,
and quickly forget, deny or rescind your decisions or promises.
- You cannot focus on one thing for long (attention deficit)
- You show profound mood swings (between two different personalities)
- You may forget or deny promises or decisions made by your
These symptoms are so common that they may be difficult to notice.
In a simple conflict, two sub-personalities (parts) may simultaneously
express different motivations. A complex conflict refers to
conflicts that have three or more simultaneous parts or motivations.
Maybe see: Complex Conflict.
People with identity loss may say that
they feel empty - or that their emotions make no sense.
Work and life may feel empty or robotic.
They may have few goals,
and wait for direction from other people, or
from "voice-like" thoughts.
- You cannot define your own goals
- You have little motivation - you must be
asked or pushed
- You may feel an empty space or
black hole in or close to your body
- You express few or no emotions and appear
preoccupied or distracted
Many existential issues are easy to recognize. You
probably know people who lack purpose or who are so distracted
by their daydreams that they have trouble making decisions
or completing tasks.
Contact us if you want to resolve identity issues, such as:
We can help you find yourself and pull yourself together.
Online Help, Relationship Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright ©
Martyn Carruthers, All rights reserved 1999-2015