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Life of the mind: Role reversal

“Perhaps all your efforts to hide your vulnerability behind an aggressively capable façade are so convincing that people imagine you don’t need help”

Sitting with my legs crossed (back pain is a major problem for therapists), I listened to a patient tell me she’d failed to be perfect—again. She said something stupid at a party, hadn’t phoned her mum, got caught crying by her son. “You seem to have an idealised perfect woman in your head. Someone who glides effortlessly through life, saying the right things, behaving in a morally exemplary way, displaying no emotion. Then, every time you compare yourself to her, inevitably unfavourably, you hate yourself,” I said. “It must be exhausting.” My patient laughed. “It is!” she agreed. “And…

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