Questions 1 & 2

IO - Impressing Others

A distinction needs to be drawn between our healthy intention to make a good impression and the compensatory activity that leads us to invest ourselves in being impressive to feel secure. The maladjusted coping mechanism functions more like a survival mechanism than a social preference. In other words, when we don’t come out “looking good” we become measurably anxious. Impressing Others becomes an imperative. The conditional assumption associated with this mode is: “As long as I come out looking good, then I’m all right. If I don’t come out looking good, then I’m not all right.”

This coping mode may compensate for feeling chronically ashamed or defective or inadequate. The person using this mode will continually judge whether he or she is being impressive in the eyes of others or not. This judging activity is fear driven. It can be highly distracting from what may be actually happening interpersonally. The coping mode leaves us more self-conscious than we should be and sets us up for feeling disconnected and anxious.

However, even if you do not feel especially anxious, simply using this compensatory mode means that you are already reacting to what you fear. Thus, your behavior is already fear driven. Reacting to our maladjusted schema, for instance, with fantasies of Being Impressive is actually a form of worrying. It is unconsciously assuming that we actually have the negative quality that we fear. Worrying in this fashion can become so habitual that a person assumes that this is normal and harmless. The truth is that any activity that validates a false, deprecating presumption about ourselves harms us.


Record your answers to the following questions in your JOURNAL:

This Compensatory Mode is active in my life. The evidence that confirms this is as follows:

This Compensation Mode is not active in my life. The evidence that refutes this is as follows:

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