Feeling Worthless Is Not Being Worthless 

A feeling of worthlessness may be strongly perceived or hidden in the back of your mind, quietly but effectively cutting you off from the strength that you need to carry you beyond your fears in a positive way. Everyone who allows themself to accurately feel their emotions has fear as a companion several times within an active lifetime. However, when one regards themself as worthless we begin to see fear intruding into most of our life as a chronic soul-constricting force that we cannot talk ourself out of.

Like any feeling of inferiority or worthlessness the actual dynamic purpose of the feeling may be a result of negative experiences but is also a distorted defense against the expectation of bad feelings. If a person is frustrated by their life experiences they may unconsciously try to prevent themself from experiencing what they imagine will be negative by not trying; not trying may be a way of preventing success, which may actually be more threatening to some than failure. Some people were given the idea that they are not supposed to be the one in their family who is allowed to succeed. Succeeding may be unconsciously seen as a way to lose the love of the parent who unwittingly gave them the message that they are not supposed to be the "good" one. The parent may unconsciously be cutting off their child's success by downgrading all their efforts with complete unawareness that they may be projecting their low feelings about themself onto a particular child who represents them or some unconsciously despised person in their own background.

The unfortunate target of negative parental attention may integrate this sometimes wordless perception of their parents disdain into a feeling of worthlessness that actually was in part formed so as to prevent them from disobeying what they may have unconsciously perceived as the parents wishes for them, and indeed if the parent needs them to be a scapegoat then that "scapegoat" may cooperate by being what they sense their parent needs them to be.

A person may have developed a sense of worthlessness because they were unable to stop their parents from behavior that upsets them, such as drinking, compulsive gambling, violence, economic failure, depressive episodes, suicidal gestures, or an inability to show love for anyone. The adult target of these feelings may experience a lack of being able to control their parental environment and may not realize the impossibility of such a task, but like children often do, they may blame themselves.

Our unfortunate parents as well as other childhood influences may have unwittingly passed their negative concept of themselves onto their children, but unlike them we do not have to remain as unfortunate as they were. We can discontinue that legacy of low self esteem. We can do something to improve our concept of our worth and prevent the passing on of our concepts of ourselves to our loved ones.

Insight oriented psychotherapy is never quick but it can be deep and life changing. The process involves the changing of our philosophy of life. Love of others begins with proper love of ourselves.

Dr. Lehrer, Psychologist
Associates in Psychotherapy P.A.
(908) 654-3677
(908) 654-4118