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To put it a little differently, to feel they’re good enough to receive as much approbation from their caretakers as possible, they’re compelled to “handicap” both their thought processes and behavior. As they age, they can’t really allow themselves the freedom to evolve into their true adult self.Instead, they grow into an abnormally cultivated, outwardly virtuous, false self, while yet being plagued by nagging doubts about how good they they are.

Without realizing just they’re not very happy (for superficially, their lives may be going reasonably well), in virtually every instance they haven’t addressed—or even been aware of—their core wants and needs.And to the extent that they these belief structures and roles, their flourishing as the unique humans they were meant to grow into will be seriously stunted.Their emotional survival programs, at odds with their innate “wiring,” will doom them later in life to be self-denyingly—and not very happily—“virtuous.” Child development research has shown that young children define themselves as good or bad on the basis of how they see themselves reflectedtheir parents.Growing up in a dogmatic household, in which she was also homeschooled—further extending her parents’ control over her development—Margaret, who was quite precocious, readily picked up on all the subtle cues and clues of which behaviors could lead to a spanking—and compromise her parents’ seemingly tenuous acceptance of her.By nature, she was actually a high-spirited and willful child, so blind “obedience to authority” was something she had to painstakingly cultivate.

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