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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Solution Based Recovery: Our fears and distortions about ourselves generate painful feelings. Feelings of shame, anxiety and despair.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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 These feelings are too painful to tolerate on an ongoing basis. So during the same days and years that our distortions about ourselves are ...

 These feelings are too painful to tolerate on an ongoing basis. So during the same days and years that our distortions about ourselves are being born, we also develop a strategy for protecting ourselves from the pain of these distortions. We do this instinctively, with little or no awareness of what we are doing. In the same years that I was coming to believe that I was a bad person, I was developing the strategy to prove to myself and to others that I was a good person. I would protect myself from the fear of being bad by trying to be both good enough to be loved and good enough to be seen as loving.

Over time our protective strategies become more and more set in place, forming what we might call a defensive structure. This defensive structure takes on a life of its own. It becomes the way we define ourselves—the way we present ourselves to others and to ourselves. We begin to think that our defensive structure is our true self. But in reality it is a false self. It is a false self in which we invest a great deal of energy, because we believe that any hope for ever feeling any kind of worth is tied to it.

Our defensive structures consist of a variety of patterned responses and choices we make from day to day. We might try to please everybody. Or we might try to prove that we know a lot. Or we might be passive and withdrawn. We might push ourselves to constantly overachieve. Or we might not ever try to achieve much at all. We might clown and chatter about nothing. We might become addicts, or compulsive caregivers or highly religious people.

We become very attached to these ways of being in the world, even when we realize all the trouble that these defensive structures create in our lives. We are attached to them because they protect us from feeling the shame that comes out of our fears and distortions about ourselves.

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