In adolescence, a lack of healthy connections to those around us becomes ripe ground for identity damage. This was the case for a woman we ministered to who grew up somewhat shy and lonely. As young girl, she made excellent grades and found approval from her parents, who were emotionally distant perfectionists, in doing so. When she entered puberty, girls became more mean, and boys ignored her because she wasn’t pretty. She felt she wasn’t good enough unless she made straight A’s. This caused a 13-year-old part to break who felt she had to be perfect to be worth loving.
The part’s insecurity prevented the woman from successfully navigating relational challenges in her adult life. This was carried into her marriage. The part caused her to be overly vigilant about every word she spoke, believing that if she said the wrong thing, her husband would not love her. When her words caused a disagreement, the part became very angry at herself, causing the adult woman to lash out at her husband and at herself in adolescent self-hatred and anger. The part would cause the woman to sometimes hit herself saying, “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” when her words pushed her husband away. Marital disagreements were very difficult to solve because the woman’s inner self-blame and self-hatred carried on long after the marital spat should have been over.