Jack was a 48 year-old attorney with low self-esteem, who thought he was never good enough. His parents and siblings were all successful. Jack himself had been to the best schools, and was well respected in his field. His parents loved him, but had consistently high expectations of him. He felt it would never end, and that he’d never be able to please them. He’d never talked to them about it. He had this “tape” that ran through his head whenever he felt challenged. He worried that he wouldn’t do an adequate job, and that others weren’t really pleased with his work. He was afraid he’d eventually be exposed as a fraud.
We practiced cognitive grounding exercises. But Jack was skeptical. After getting so frustrated one day, he finally decided to give it a try. He discovered it worked. He found himself thinking about his upcoming golf game, instead of being caught up in the “tape” in his head. His self-esteem and confidence gradually returned. He eventually realized he could relate to his parents as a grown-up, successful adult, rather than as an inadequate little boy.