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  • Writer's picture Zalman Nelson - Therapist

"I Feel Flawed and Defective"

Updated: Jan 2

i feel flawed i am flawed

The Defectiveness Life Pattern is typically identified by the presence of strong feelings of being inwardly flawed and defective, that no one can really love you because of how flawed you are.

As a child, you were not respected and accepted by your family for who you were. Instead, you were intensely criticized for your flaws. In response, you blamed yourself for being so flawed and came to believe it was your fault that you received such rejecting treatment. And then, because you found it so difficult to believe that you would be loved, wanted, and valued by the people close to you, you started to expect rejection.

Defectiveness and Shame

A Life Pattern is a pattern of false beliefs about yourself, that started in your childhood and has been with you throughout life. It began with something that was DONE to you by your family or other children. You were abandoned, criticized, overprotected, abused, excluded, or rejected – you were damaged in some way.

The Defectiveness Life Pattern is most connected to the emotion of shame. It's what a defective-feeling person experiences when their defects are exposed. As such, you'll do almost anything to avoid the feeling of shame, and go to great lengths to hide your Defectiveness.

Out of the 11 Life Patterns, nearly half of people have Defectiveness as one of their primary Life Patterns. From the outside, however, they look very different and cope with feelings of shame in different ways. Some lack confidence and look insecure, surrendering to their defectiveness. Some look normal because they escape and avoid their defectiveness. And some look so good you would never believe they had defectiveness because they go on the offensives and counterattack when their Life Pattern is exposed.

How You Learned to Feel Flawed and Defective

There can be several experiences in childhood that impacted you deeply and caused you to react in a way that you developed your sense of being defective.

1. Someone in your family was extremely critical, demeaning, or punitive toward you. You were repeatedly criticized or punished for how you looked, how you behaved, or what you said.

2. You were made to feel like a disappointment by a parent.

3. You were rejected or unloved by one or both of your parents.

4. You were sexually, physically, or emotionally abused by a family member.

5. You were blamed all the time for things that went wrong in your family.

6. Your parent told you repeatedly that you were bad, worthless, or good for nothing.

7. You were repeatedly compared in an unfavorable way with your brothers or sisters, or they were preferred over you.

8. One of your parents left home, and you blamed yourself.

Feeling Flawed and Defective in Relationships

Defectiveness has a tremendous effect on your relationships. It typically prevents people from us making intimate connections, because they are so convinced they are bad, unworthy, and have something seriously wrong with them. "Who would want to get close to me," you wonder. "They won't be interested in getting to know me if they see the real me." As a result, you keep silent, rarely express your true feelings and needs, and end up feeling lonely. In addition, you carry deep feelings of shame that make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, very self-conscious, and tremendously anxious around others.

People struggling with feeling flawed and defective tend to devalue themselves and allow others to mistreat them. They're hyper-sensitive to criticism and rejection, and they tend to take the blame for problems that are not their fault. In relationships, they usually choose critical and rejecting partners and stay in dysfunctional relationships because they are "lucky" that someone puts up with them.

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