Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Abba's Child - The Imposter

This is from the second chapter of Abba's Child.

Manning writes about the "Imposter"...the self that creates a facade to hide brokenness:
Imposters are preoccupied with acceptance and approval. Because of their suffocating need to please others, they cannot say no with the same confidence with which they say yes. And so they overextend themselves in people, projects, and causes, motivated not by personal commitment but by fear of not living up to others' expectations.

Imposters draw their identity from what they "do" as well as from their relationships with others (the need to please others). The true identity of being "Beloved" does not play into the Imposter's view of self. My "Imposter" is focused on how I can get the next word of approval from somebody. Now there is nothing wrong with being affirmed and getting approval. But how much of my time is spent seeking this approval, when I already have it? I find myself a glutton for approval...even when God or my closest friends or family tell me repeatedly that I am worthy, I keep seeking after approval as if they told me the opposite.

Manning breaks down the reality of the impostor:
The sad irony is that the impostor cannot experience intimacy in any relationship. His narcissism excludes others. Incapable of intimacy with self and out of touch with his feelings, intuitions, and insight, the impostor is insensitive to the moods, needs and dreams of others. Reciprocal sharing is impossible. The impostor has built life around achievements, success, busyness, and self-centered activities that bring gratification and praise from others. James Masterson, M.D., stated, "It is natural of the false self to save us from knowing the truth about our real selves, from penetrating the deeper causes of our unhappiness, from seeing ourselves as we really are - vulnerable, afraid, terrified, and unable to let our real selves emerge."

So we are not only hurting ourselves by building this false self but also others. It can also hurt to see ourselves for who we really are, but peeling off these layers can be freeing. It is my first reaction to thrash the Impostor inside of me. But Manning says that is not the way to go about healing wounds:
Peace lies in the acceptance of truth. As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others - and this is the natural prerequisite to for our presence to God in prayer.

God is compassion. Therefore as His sons and daughters, we need to be compassionate to ourselves. And if I do not forgive myself, how can I truly forgive others? I can come to love my true self, because that is the self that God created and loves very much. This is not the narcissistic love of self brought about by the Imposter, but the self-confidence of knowing to Whom I belong. The more I realize how I am loved by my Abba, the smaller the imposter becomes.

1 comment:

Bill Reichart said...

I appreciate your thoughts as I was doing some research on the "false self". This may be of interest to you but at our men's breakfast a couple of months ago, we started a series about the "false self".

Love to hear what you think.