The Self-Image Problems of the Chosen Child
(The child within a relationship of enmeshment with a parent.)
From pages 38 – 43:
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This is a gross condensing of the main points of the text!)
Fluctuating Self Esteem
“There have been times in my life when I've been really full of myself – almost as if I had a superhuman powers, fell as if we were operating in two different leagues. At other times, I've felt completely worthless – almost as if I was an imposter. There seemed to be no middle ground.”
Widely fluctuating self-esteem is a common problem for may adult Chosen Children. For some, the high side of the mood swing can be traced to the euphoria of winning the exclusive love of a parent. Being a parent's favorite can give the illusion of being able to conquer anything or anyone in any setting... This dizzy swing of feelings from invincibility to inadequacy is prevalent in Chosen Children.
Fear of Rejection
“There are times when I feel worthless – totally unworthy of love. I isolated myself for fear of rejection.”
Some Chosen Children are plagued with the feeling that they're unlovable. At first this may seem a contradiction in terms: How can a child be a parent's favorite and still feel rejected? The answer is that being enmeshed with one parent often provokes the resentment of the other parent. It's a decidedly Freudian equation: to win Daddy's love is to risk Mommy's wrath. The left out parent's anger can take many forms...
“When I was growing up, I never felt like one of the group. Sometimes I just felt I was better than everyone else; other times I felt inferior. It was a long time before I had a sense of equality or belonging.”
Spending less time with other kids than does the typical child, the Chosen Child has littleopportunity to feel part of a group. The problem is compounded for the only child or for the child who is resented by siblings, for the girl or boy grows up with only a limited sense of kinship and belonging.
As a result of this social isolation, the child is denied the leveling influence of peers. Children are very direct in their feedback; they socialize one another with sledgehammers. While this interaction may be painful at times, it does encourage children to act in socially acceptable ways. A child who is isolated from others may hold on to personality quirks that prove a liability later in life.
A Feeling of Inferiority
“I feel like a failure. I keep setting goals for myself and failing to achieve them. Nothing I do is ever good enough. Not in my eyes. Not in other people's eyes.”
Children who grow up with an Invasive Parent can have an unnaturally low estimation of their abilities, especially if the parent was critical or abusive. Children believe what they've been told, and if they've been told over and over again that they're in the way or no good, they will take the message to heart.
Surprisingly, children who grow up with adoring parents may also feel that they don't measure up. [The child compares self to the adult and cannot match his skills.] This low self esteem continues into adulthood, and the boy [in the case study] grows into the kind of man who constantly belittles his own accomplishments. No matter what he does, he is never good enough.