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Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

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Solutions for Identity Issues (2)
Recover your Self - Heal your Soul © Martyn Carruthers

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Do you take drugs instead of improving your relationships?
Selling drugs is much more profitable than healing relationship issues.

Continued from part 1: Recognize Identity Loss

What are Identity Issues?

Identification refers to confusing yourself with a compensation personality,
lost identity refers to dissociated behavior and identity conflict refers to
chronic conflicts or mood swings between two identifications. Bonds
refer to strong feelings of connection to other people.

Identification: I don't know what possessed me!

Most people learn life skills by identifying with role models, and many people act as if they remain partially identified with one or more those people. Identified people may feel normal while acting in ways that most people would consider abnormal.

Do you sometimes think that you donít belong in the world? One solution is to identify with someone else, perhaps trying to feel like you belong by feeling other people's emotions. If so, you may behave in predictable ways. Three common issues are:

My wife is always frightened. She acts like all people are criminals.
I keep her away from my employees and my customers.

I always felt that someone was close to me, directing my behavior.
I felt protected - but my sadness never made sense.

My anger to my husband started before I met him ... my mother was a victim
of my father ... he was horrible to her and I have always felt angry with men.

Identified people may say that they feel most alive when expressing the emotions of their role models (recall your emotions while watching a thriller movie). Identified people may deny reality and say that they are right in a wrong world. Expressing their emotions may be a massive relief, whatever the consequences.

During our last session you asked me about my dead grandfather ...
yes, my dead grandpa felt totally "me" - he felt more me than myself.

I always felt sad. You suggested that I ask my mother if she had an
abortion ... she told me that she had three abortions before I was born ...
I cried all night! I always wanted an older sister.

Identity Conflict - Split Personality

Do you sometimes experience deep conflict? Part of you wants to - but part of you doesn't? If you have identity conflict, you may feel normal, just and right, even when switching between two personalities, each with different goals, beliefs and values.

Some people with extreme identity conflict may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. People who forget their prior behavior when changing persona might be labeled multiple personality.

All my life I felt conflicted ... I always tried to do too many things at the same time.
I would make decisions or promises in one mood, and change them in a few hours.
I know that drove people crazy. Thanks for helping me sort it out.

Identity conflict can be easy to recognize. Do you have strong mood swings; or do you break promises? Are you unreliable? Do you deny or minimize statements or decisions you made in your "other" personality side?

Deep conflicts are common - even normal! Do you switch from grumpy to friendly ... and back? Do you avoid making clear decisions? We help people end indecision, endless conflicts or mood swings. Here's a transcript on complex conflict.

The Lights are On - Is Anybody Home?

Do you know people who are so preoccupied that they cannot make decisions? (They may be a salesman's dream - they can be told what they want.)  We refer to extreme cases of emotionless, robot-like behavior as "Lost Identity".

People trained to be overly compliant when young may become obsessive-compulsive adults. If they were punished for expressing emotions, they may avoid feeling them. Later, they may try to fulfill their empty lives in therapy groups or cult-like organizations.

I just felt empty and my work was robotic. My wife and I divorced but
my marriage seemed pointless anyway. I don't really make decisions,
I just follow other people's orders, like I always have.
Birmingham, UK

People who feel disconnect from their core values (or sense of self) may feel  disconnected from their families or communities. This seems especially common amongst military personnel and ex-convicts. We help people find and reconnect with themselves as a basis for connecting to other people in healthy relationships.

Identity loss is common - even normal in some groups. Do you know people who ...

  • express no or few feelings
  • have few interests and hardly participate in life
  • are extremely reserved or generally preoccupied
  • have little motivation - they must be told what they must do
  • are addicted to movies: anger, sadness and fear are luxuries!
  • cannot define their own goals - they want to be told what they want

Part 1: Recognize Identity Loss

Reclaiming your Personal Identity

Do you spread your life energy across too many projects and difficult people? If you donít reclaim your energy, you may feel overwhelmed, exhausted or over-extended.

Then, a crisis, disappointment or other loss may push you over an edge into what is often called a nervous, mental or emotional breakdown.

Do you lose touch with yourself? Are you caught between busy schedules, family problems and other relationship challenges? Do you feel lost occasionally? Why not use our guided self-discovery as a way reclaim your personal identity?

We help people pull themselves together. We help people recover
and integrate parts of themselves that they denied, hid or split off.

Do you want to manage unpleasant feelings and
transform unpleasant emotions into life resources?

Online Help: Relationship Counseling & Systemic Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 2003-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email