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The True and the False Self

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Published on Apr 19, 2018

A good life is one in which we can dare to show our True Self and do not mind too much occasionally having to wear the mask of a False Self. But for this to be possible, we need a certain sort of childhood - as the masterful British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott helped to explain in his theory of the true and the false self, outlined here.
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FURTHER READING

“One of the most surprising but powerful explanations for why we may, as adults, be in trouble mentally is that we were, in our earliest years, denied the opportunity to be fully ourselves, that is, we were not allowed to be wilful and difficult, we could not be as demanding, aggressive, intolerant, and unrestrictedly selfish as we needed to be. Because our caregivers were preoccupied or fragile, we had to be preternaturally attuned to their demands, sensing that we had to comply in order to be loved and tolerated; we had to be false before we had the chance to feel properly alive. And as a result, many years later, without quite understanding the process, we risk feeling unanchored, inwardly dead and somehow not entirely present…”

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CREDITS

Produced in collaboration with:

Katherine Blanchin
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