Panic anxiety management skills allow many of us to be free of our anxiety disorder. The skills can give us a control over our lives that we have never had before; but sometimes even this isn’t enough. A little-known aspect of the working-through process can hold us back, and be the final factor in the perpetuation of the disorder. It is our lack of sense of self.

Although this aspect is not related only to anxiety disorders, it can be the single most important issue in the disorders. Despite our ongoing attacks and anxiety, it can be the one issue we are most concerned about. It is as if we intuitively know the root cause of our suffering.

The lack of identification goes beyond our cry of ‘this is not me’. When we say ‘this is not me’ we are referring to the image we had before the disorder. Despite the image we had of ourselves, we have always known that we never felt any sense of who we are. We never had a real sense of self. This essential element was always lacking in our lives, and it is from this that our feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence and lack of self-esteem arose.

We counteracted these by our need to be perfect. Over the years we adapted and modified our behaviour to what we perceived were other people’s expectations of us. We became who we thought we should be, and in doing so suppressed much of who we could be. Our identity became dependent on other people’s perceptions of us. The more dependent we became, the more we had to suppress our real self, even if we didn’t realise we were doing it. The more we suppressed our self, the more inadequate we felt. The more inadequate we felt, the more we felt the need to be perfect.


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