Who am I without my stories?


Part of my “story” is that my mom turned me over to the state when I was 15, so I got put in foster care which brought with it a lot of abuse and difficult experiences. For years, I’ve clung to the story that if even my mom didn’t want me, who would?

Since then, I’ve lived my whole life worried about being rejected, and I choose to cope with it by being a people pleaser. My thoughts: Maybe if I can do everything exactly right, I can prove my worth, and they will want me. I didn’t know these were my thoughts though. It was just a strange attempt at survival and led to a lot of controlling relationships that ended in exactly what I was trying to avoid — feeling unwanted.

Now that I’m aware of that thought, I want to change it.

Unintentional Model:
C: People pleasing
T: If I do everything right, it will prove I’m worthwhile and they will want me in their life.
F: Anxiety
A: Work hard but never feel like it’s enough.
R: I’m never enough and still afraid, and people leave me anyway.

One thing I’m really struggling with now that I’m aware of these thoughts (and trying not to people please) is that I feel the need to “stand up for myself.” It’s like people pleasing is one extreme, and being aggressive is the other. I know you’ve said people pleasing is a lie, and I feel like being aggressive is too. I don’t want to lie. I just want to figure out who I am and be that person. I want to meet my own needs and not care what anyone else thinks about it.

I’ve done the work on feeling abandoned by my mother for one of the weekly assignments. I see the good that came out of it. I know that decision was more about her and less about me. I often feel if I let go of the stories that have always defined me, I’m left with the emptiness of not really even knowing who I am without the story. How do I figure that out?