I came across this very interesting quote from pages 85 – 87 of Michael Wells ‘Sidetracked in the wilderness (Devotional Life Press, USA, 1991).
“Because we are all the things that we described at our worst moment, it become evident that no one will accept or love us. This realisation creates considerable discomfort, since acceptance and love are our deepest needs. Therefore, to milk love and acceptance out of others, we run to an imaginary sewing machine to make a “success suit” that looks exactly like the impression we hope to make on others, put the suit on, and button it to the top so no one can see what is really under it. … One proof that what we are at our worst moments is our true condition ist hat we have tried to cover it up with the success suit. Another proof is that people can control us through this identity. For example, a man is attracted to a woman because she continues to affirm that his success suit is the real him. He is manipulated and contorted through all of her positive statements that allow him – even if just briefly – to believe the lie that he is something differnt from what he feels. So the man marries the woman, and after a few months of marriage she relizes that she can also control him by hinting that his true identity is what he fears he is at his worst. He is now being controlled by negative statements. However, at the same time, his secretary at work is telling him how wonderful his success suit is. Who would the man rather be with? Perhaps he leaves his wife and marries the secretary, and after a few months she begins to control through confirming what he is afraid he is; but never fear, a new secretary is lauding his success suit, and so the cycle continues. If he did not believe that what he is at his worst moment is his true condition, he would not be upset and angry when someone hints at that being the case. How a person responds to negative evaluation is a sure test of who he believes he is. If when told he is a failure someone reacts in anger, it is because he believes that he is a failure. People in the business of covering up their true identities hang on every word and event, and manifest great hostility when anything confirms their fear of who they really are.”