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True Self vs. False Identity Orientation

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Part 1- Who You Are Not…

We often hear the phrase “Become Your True Self” to heal your body-- but we are often resistant to change. Why is that? Why don’t we actually want to live a life of deep authenticity and alignment? Many wellness experts will tell you that vitality is directly linked to your ability to be true to yourself and meet your needs. Yet people often live their whole lives not doing what they really love and behaving in a way that is not their true nature.

The truth is we are usually stuck in a false version of ourselves that was carved through a "protective identity" we created a long time ago. What is the protective identity? When we have enough experiences that inform us that who we truly are feels unacceptable, vulnerable, isn’t what others might like, etc, then we will start to modify our behaviors as young children to match what we believe will give us love or attention from others. And sometimes we just protect ourselves from feeling the disappointment of love or not having life go our way.

On top of masking our true desires and not letting our essence shine freely, many of us also experienced trauma and hardships that led to our identity patterns being further diverted away from our True Nature. A “protective identity” might start to form and run the personality.

Now most people don’t do much to shed the snakeskin of protection and false identity to reveal their True Nature, unless they are either really motivated or they are really sick and have no choice but to go on the "hero's journey" of deep change.

After working with people with various health issues and protective identity patterns for over 20 years, I have learned a few things about the type of people that find healing and transformation, and the type of people who often spend their whole lives in resistance and inauthenticity. In this blog series I would like to bring light to the issue of our identity patterns that run the brain chemistry and subsequently affect the body.

The first part of change is to become aware of what is not working. So that’s what this article will focus on. I’ll introduce the main “archetypes” of false/protective identity patterns that I see working with clients and highlight some of the patterning behind them. Once we “see” our patterns, we can interrupt them and shift them... but only if we want to behave differently. That’s the other secret of change. You actually have to want to behave differently than you are. And when we are working with identity, we are hardwired not to change. We are hardwired to preserve that identity because it was a solution for survival IN THE PAST. Reread that last phrase and really understand it-- it’s critical. Without really knowing, at your most fundamental level, that the identity patterns you are running now are outdated solutions to try to protect your true self essence from harm, you will not change. You will run yourself in circles.

Our liberation comes by realizing there is no need to protect your true nature because you are inherently imperturbable. The solution from the past is no longer valid in this current timeline, so you can shift your personality pattern into a more health-producing frequency. We will talk more about that in the next blog.

So let's get to know our “false selves” a little better. Please know that of course no one fits into a box and you might not identify with any of these patterns, but I am going to attempt to highlight the most common protective identity patterns that cross my path as a physical therapist and transformation coach. I see all of these patterns as a creative solution based on limited perspectives and that each identity needs to be held in the light of compassionate awareness. As you read below, please refrain from judgement, and just witness the attempt of creating an identity pattern that has a unique solution of safety in each of the types.

It’s common to have a blend of the different descriptions below. Do not be disheartened if some of these feel like you. Rather, allow the awareness to sift your True Self up from this pattern as you see the solution you created is not serving your highest good. It can be liberating to recognize our false self, because that’s the beginning of transformation.

“Fix It” Personality Pattern: This person describes the innumerable tools and people they have tried or are currently using. Often there is a manic “hope” when they discover a new thing that “they haven’t heard of before,” as if they have found the magic elixir. There is a sympathetic overdrive often at play and vigilance is a key trait. Other parts of this identity that are strong are the perfectionist, controller and pleaser traits. This identity often feels that if they “try hard enough, they will succeed at healing themselves.” And ultimately they are stuck in a control pattern where they are in a cycle of being seduced by hope that this next thing is the magic trick and if they work really hard at applying it they will be okay. Often play and pleasure are a low priority with this pattern, but the person can seem really upbeat, enjoyable, and even “healthfully optimistic” to others. There is usually a drive of fear and threat behind these behaviors of motivation and diligence. The phrase “I’m trying so hard to heal” is common.

Primary shift for "Fix-it" identity goal- Moving the motivation to a “creating vs. fixing” focus because you realize you are better off and safer by using your energy for creating and playing, rather than fixing. Getting to the place where you no longer believe you have to be fixed even though that feeling of “I am not okay” may still be present.

"Sensitive Empath" Personality Pattern: This person lets me know right away that I have to "be careful with them because they are easily triggered.” They walk around life on eggshells and often their loved ones have to revolve their lives to accommodate all the sensitivities resulting in a resentment pattern in their relationships. There is never enough caution and one can never appease the requirements to keep this personality feeling safe from triggers. They are deeply triggered by even mentioning anything that their filter might find as a threat as their system is constantly interpreting everything and everyone as dangerous or being inconsiderate of their needs. A feeling of helplessness can be an overarching theme. This personality pattern often exhibits a lot of gifts as well as being energetically sensitive and intuitive, however there is often a distortion to what they “intuitively perceive” because their filter is set to “danger”. The challenge with this type is believing that all of the threats and sensitivities must be eliminated before it is safe to live life. Fragile, yet often very sweet natured at the core is the way I experience this pattern of safety seeking identity.

Primary shift for "Sensitive Empath" identity: Becoming a resilient, empowered empath by deciding that “sensing the environment” is not the best use of one’s gifts and energy and that they can handle imperfect environment of living on earth and imperfect human behaviors and emotions of others.

“Shutdown” Personality Pattern: This person often has a tremendous amount of resistance to life. Often their whole body is either braced or collapsed. Hopelessness is the dominant feeling and a sense of dread pervades their inner world. Motivation to stick with any program is often an issue as they fear they can’t be helped and don’t expect things to work out for them. This person has lost their sense that life has a place for them to be involved with and that they are needed in the world. Allowing connection and love can feel very vulnerable and it is often difficult to produce elevated emotions of any kind.

Primary shift for "Shutdown "Identity": Finding a way to contribute to the world. Service to others as a sense of purpose and belonging, and that “hope” can be found in bringing their love and light into the world to help the world be a better place.

“The Special One” Personality Pattern: This is a tricky one to unravel, and often the most difficult in my experience. This person truly believes that no one has the situation they have, their body is different from everyone else's, they are often a “know it all” and cannot be easily taught. They have incredible artistic gifts and usually were really good at whatever they were passionate about. This person spends a lot of time in self-contemplation and analysis of their inner world and everything is about their relationships. Yet they suffer and struggle and are often divided inside as the sense of being special is juxtaposed with being stuck in a situation they resist that won’t resolve- so they can’t get their “gifts into the world” like they want to. There is always some reason why they aren’t doing what they truly love even though they have a ton of passion for living. Comparing their trauma and body issues to others is a major pattern. This comparison also keeps them from bringing their gifts into the world. A feeling of jealousy of others “doing what I want to do but I can’t because I have this 'special' condition” keeps them from living their purpose and is common.

Primary shift for "Special One" identity: Gaining deep realization that they have self-created their separation from the world. This is keeping them from a feeling of belonging. They are limiting themselves through comparison, and they are liberated by getting their gifts into the world, without comparison- although they may continue to coexist sometimes with the old feeling of “I am suffering” alongside being out in the world.

After reading through these, I hope this doesn’t feel like a defeat, but rather a realization that these traits are just a habitual identity pattern. And the pattern is driving the brain and the body to react in a way to maintain that pattern. We can “create our brain state.” That’s what I teach, and I know that anyone can do this work. Subjective awareness of oneself is the beginning of self-mastery. “Know Thyself”, said the great Joseph Campbell. This creates more of the “curious observer” in you, which is needed to shift identity/brain patterns.

A last word to give you hope about shifting identity patterns. Did you know that there are cases of multiple personality disorders where one identity has diabetes and when another identity takes over, the diabetes vanishes! That’s right, it doesn’t exist. It’s all about brain firing patterns, and our firing pattern is dominated by our identity. This is why you can feel better or worse around different people who you have a different personality expression with.

The formula for experiencing liberation from your old identity patterns that I teach in my Primal Trust Mentorship is this:

Primal Trust + True Self Expression = Transformation

I see transformation begin to happen through an identity reorientation. The past is not you. You are all grown up. There is an adult main personality to unlock inside of you that is the key to accessing your True Nature. And your True Self identity has a brain firing pattern that unlocks your self-healing mechanisms!


As you become aware of being in a protective identity pattern simply say “This identity was created as an old solution to protect myself. This is not who I truly am.” Your True Self is not protective, scared or limited in any way and just wants to bring your gifts into the world. You have new solutions and new perspectives that you didn’t have when you created those outdated personality archetypes long ago. It’s time to teach your past parts who you really are and what you really love. Follow this statement up by asking: “What solution does this personality offer me?" Or, "For what purpose am I behaving this way?” These questions simply help you understand why a part of you thinks you are better off and safer with these behaviors even if it negatively affects your health and relationships.

My next 3 month Primal Trust mentorship, where we take a deep dive into these issues to be able to better customize your brain rewiring practice, will begin on April 20th, 2021. See my website for details.

About me: I’m a neuroscience coach, physical therapist, and consciousness educator with a background dealing in complex health/trauma conditions. I have a unique ability to easily see patterns and help people sift their True Self out of the rubble of a protective identity that no longer serves them.

I weave multiple approaches together such as brain retraining, neuroscience, polyvagal theory, somatic movement, child attachment theory and quantum energy medicine in my programs.

My mission is to work with those called to the healing and transformational journey and help them discover their true, multidimensional nature so they can live a life they love.

Free Resources:

Join my free 3 day resiliency training Here

More free coaching and brain rewiring attunements on my YouTube or Instagram @drcathleenking

Next Primal Trust Mentorship- April 20, 2021. Join Waitlist To Enroll on April 1st:

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