A girl called Deena feels that there’s no possible way that anyone’s ever going to love her for who she is, just as she is. That’s not something she’d want on the top of her mind all the time, so she’d probably have that one buried fairly deep. A good analogy is, she’d have it covered up by layers of dirt, so she can’t see it and it’s easy to deny, and that also means she can get by largely unaware of it and that’s probably the point.
Let’s say, today she feels a bit down and she doesn’t even know why, something in her makes her want to be reassured, of what she doesn’t even think too much about, but she’s driven by it and yet she doesn’t even figure that she is. So she walks into a bar full of people and she doesn’t know these people but they are potential targets to fill her need to be reassured. But she can’t acknowledge that need, because that would take away her self belief in her own likability, a belief that’s in stark contrast to how she really feels about herself. Yet it’s there because it gives her a false sense of confidence that others have in the past responded to, so it’s serving a purpose.
So, she walks in with this false confidence, and because she believes in it, she’s sure these people are going to like her, because one of her layers of dirt is that she’s smart, she’s savy, you know, she’s done a bunch of stuff, heard a bunch of stuff and has also read a bunch of stuff, and that’s got to be impressive. So that’s her identification, and her payoff is the feeling of confidence, and that makes her feel good, but more importantly it helps her keep her grief covered up nice and tight, it helps her ignore how she really feels, it helps her to not be herself. And that’s makes sense, as why would she want to be herself if she feel deep down that herself is not worth loving?
The thing is, these poeple in the bar aren’t impressed. They’ve seen her type come by before and they know her game. Some of them let her know what they see, and that’s no good on her end, she feels as if she’s being attacked, her identification’s not working here, she’s beginning to see herself in the mirror, and she doesn’t like how she looks. She’s either got to be completely honest with herself or start to employ another tactic in her quiver and that’s what she does, because that’s the easy option and it’s worked before, so in the back of her mind she’s thinking it’s going to have to work again. This option is another identification, she identifys with the victim, the girl who is innocent but is always being attacked, the girl that’s hardly done by in life, who is misunderstood but is really well meaning, if you only got to know her. So that’s her stance and she’s hardly aware that she has it, because she’s just focussed on getting her pay off, that she feels she’s OK and she doesn’t have to see what’s under the dirt – one layer has been striped and she’d be damned if she’s going to have to strip another one again! Because again, it’s worked in the past, it’s given her attention, sympathy and reassurance, and that’s exactly what she’s here to get.
So this time a few in the bar respond, they can see something’s got through, she’s crying, she’s cowering, she’s telling her story and saying she’s sorry and a few are patting her on the back. But after a while, this routine’s being stretched out a bit too long and a few of them smell a rat. She’s not being loud and carrying on too much, so they kind of just let her be in the corner of the room with a few other sympathizers. So she’s not really breaking any of the bar rules anymore, like – she’s not forcing her false self assuredness on to anyone and she’s learnt a few things along the way, so there’s no reason not to just let her be. Occasionally too, she’s helping to clean up but the neediness sometimes overwhelms the assistance she’s trying to give, so often it’s just a “thanks, but no thanks” for which she then she takes her usual seat in the corner.
But over time the dirt is being lifted and the real stuff underneath is finally coming to the surface, which of course was the whole point to begin with.
(NB This story I wrote about myself but have replaced the identity with a woman named Deena)