The Fatal Flaw

How Is Feeling Flawed Holding You Back From Being Your True Self?

Many of my clients come to me because they experience a lot of stress and anxiety and want help learning how to manage it more effectively. As therapy progresses, it becomes evident that the deeply held feelings they have about themselves create or trigger their anxiety.

Uncovering these self-perceptions often takes time because they’re usually unconscious, only showing themselves when the anxiety starts to ramp up. As we work together, those buried beliefs begin to appear.

Some of the common themes that I hear from my clients include:

The fatal flaw is just a feeling

The fatal flaw is just a feeling

  • I am not enough.
  • I will always disappoint those who care about me.
  • I am unlovable.
  • There’s something in me that’s broken or flawed.
  • If they knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.
  • Others will never see me for who I really am.

If You Feel Flawed, You’re Not Alone

My clients are often surprised when I tell them that their experience is not unique. Many of my clients hold similar beliefs about themselves.

In fact, at times in my life I’ve struggled with feeling deeply flawed as well. I used to tell myself that there was something wrong with me. I thought it explained why I had difficulty creating meaningful connections with the people in my life.

Feeling this way can cause a lot of pain. My clients tell me they believe that feeling broken or flawed is just who they are, and that it’s unlikely to ever change. That leaves them feeling sad, lonely and different from others. Therapy helps them better understand what occurred in their life to make them feel that way, and then we work on incorporating strategies in daily life to help them connect to more deeply with their true selves.

How To Handle The Feeling Of Being Flawed

In an article that Dr. Jonice Webb shared with me for this blog, she describes this experience as The Fatal Flaw. She describes “The Fatal Flaw: A deep-seated feeling that something is wrong with you. You are missing something that other people have. You are living life on the outside, looking in. You don’t quite fit in anywhere.”

Dr. Webb shares that “The Fatal Flaw is just a feeling.” In order to manage the feeling, we have to take charge. Here are some steps you can take that can help:

Talking about your feelings can help

Talking about your feelings can help

  • Notice when The Fatal Flaw shows up.
  • Name the feeling when it happens.
  • Talk about it with others. (This can be the hardest part but you might find that others feel the same way.)
  • Be compassionate with yourself when you feel flawed, different or damaged.
  • Seek therapy to help you begin to get more in touch with all of your feelings. Listening and understanding what you’re feeling and why helps to create a deeper connection with yourself. That connection with your self can lessen and often rid you of that fatally flawed feeling.

What I’ve learned in my own work and working with my clients is that learning to name, trust and truly feel your feelings helps you to feel more connected with your Self. If you’re constantly pushing away, ignoring or avoiding your feelings and thoughts, you’re never getting in touch with you, all of you — the good and the bad, the scared and the lonely, the excited or elated, the angry and the hurt — all of your beautifully imperfect parts.


Elizabeth Cush, LCPC is a therapist and the owner of Progression Counseling in Annapolis, Md. She helps busy, overwhelmed men and women manage their anxiety and stress so they can live their lives with more ease, contentment and purpose. If you'd like to know more about how individual and group therapy can help ease anxiety and stress call me 410-339-1979. 

Photo by Naqi Shahid and  Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

 

How to Take Control of Your Fatal Flaw

I recently communicated with Dr. Jonice Webb, the author of Running On Empty. I was inspired by her book, asked if I could share one of her article abouts Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). She generously offered to share this article about "the fatal flaw," one of the psychological effects of CEN. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and visit Dr. Webb's website if you'd like to know more.

By: Jonice Webb, PhD

The Fatal Flaw:

A deep-seated feeling that something is wrong with you. You are missing something that other people have. You are living life on the outside, looking in. You don’t quite fit in anywhere.

CEN can cause anxiety and stress

If you grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), chances are, The Fatal Flaw is at work in your life. If you pushed your feelings away as a child, you now lack access to them as an adult. You sense deep down that something is missing (it’s your emotions).  And your life lacks the richness, connection and meaning that your emotions should be bringing to you. This is the basic cause of the Fatal Flaw. Most people who have it are not aware of it, and this gives it incredible power.

Seven Effects of the Fatal Flaw:

  • You are not in touch with your gut feelings, so you don’t trust your gut (even though in the majority of CEN folks, it’s most often right).
  • It undermines your confidence to take risks.
  • It makes you uncomfortable in social situations.
  • It keeps many of your relationships at a surface level.
  • It makes you question the meaning and purpose of your life.
  • It makes you fear that if people get to know you well, they won’t like what they see.
  • Therefore you are quite fearful of rejection.

These seven effects will gradually wear away your contentment and your connection to life and happiness. So it is vital that you take control of your Fatal Flaw.

Six Steps to Break Down Your Fatal Flaw

  1. Recognize your Fatal Flaw: This will take away its power.
  2. Know that your Fatal Flaw is not a real flaw. It’s only a feeling.
  3. A feeling can be managed, so start to manage it. Pay attention to when you feel it, and how it affects you.
  4. Put it into words and tell someone about it.
  5. Override it every time that you possibly can. Do the opposite of everything your Fatal Flaw tells you to do.
  6. Start breaking down the wall between you and your feelings. Welcome them as the vital source of information, guidance, and richness that they are (even the painful ones).

Yes, your Fatal Flaw is powerful. But so are you. You have a great deal of personal power that is being drained by your Fatal Flaw.

So today’s the day. Declare war upon your Fatal Flaw, and start using your weapons of awareness, your emotions, your intellect and your words.

This is a battle that you can win. I promise.

To learn more about the Fatal Flaw, what causes it and how to overcome it, visit emotionalneglect.com and see the book Running on Empty. (link to: http://www.drjonicewebb.com/the-book/)


Elizabeth Cush, MA, LCPC, is an Annapolis therapist helping people manage their stress and anxiety. Progression Counseling, offices in Arnold and Annapolis. 410-340-8469