It is helpful for me to think of the False Self as unhealthy styles of relating to others that were born out of moments when I experienced harm, betrayal, shame, or loss. Moments when I felt unprotected.
In order to protect myself from further harm or pain, I unknowingly put in place defensive structures to keep myself safe and to arrange for love and connection.
I learned to hide how I was truly feeling.
I shut down and stayed quiet.
I kept my thoughts, opinions, and feelings to myself. They were safer locked away.
I made myself small and manageable, complacent, and “nice.” I became a good girl.
I lightened relational tension by being funny. If I could distract someone from their anger or from their demand to be right and agreed with, then I had a better chance of staying safe and keeping the peace.
I believe it is important to consider our styles of relating - our False Self - with curiosity and kindness. After all, our young selves endured quite a lot. We were trying to survive, trying to stay alive, and desperately needing to be loved and protected.