Mental illness, trauma, and emotional neglect can all cause you to develop maladaptive behavioral traits that are meant to protect your true self. Yet they don’t destroy your true self. Those negative traits just bury the true self down deep. And therapy can help you meet your true self.
For me, the negative behaviors that buried my true self were walls that were built around my personal life. I didn’t open up to people because my anxiety convinced me that those people were eventually just going to leave me. The problem is that this isolation, while protecting my true self from being hurt, also fed the anxiety and depression that were causing the behavior to begin with. This is frequently the case with some of these negative behavioral traits.
Luckily, there are a number of therapy styles that are particularly adept at this, some of which I’ve talked about in this series. And while you might think you might be able to discover your true self naturally, the fact is that sometimes the walls built by your trauma or mental illnesses keep you out as well, and you need the help of a therapist to help break down those walls.
For example, when you get to questions that are meant to get you to look past your walls, your natural reaction might be to pull away. This is because confronting these negative feelings and traumas can be scary. Healing can be scary when you’ve known these behaviors for so long. And sometimes you need a mental health professional to help you realize that it is safe to look past those walls, that you are stronger than your demons, and that the real you is there, waiting to be found.
So if you feel like you have a hard time knowing who you truly are, a feeling I unfortunately know all too well, then perhaps talking to a therapist can help you meet your true self.