Monday, June 16, 2008

The Impostor - I

For the last three months I have been working on my next blog. My desire is to write about what so many before me have written about.

Brennan Manning calls it the Imposter. Susan Howatch calls it the Glittering Image. John Eldridge calls it the Poser. The man who counsels me calls it the Idealized Image. James Masterson calls it the false self.

This has been the most difficult subject that I have ever tried to tackle writing about. It has been so difficult for me because this is where so many of my issues actually lie. I have learned a great deal from those who have written and taught on this subject, but when it becomes personal, it becomes challenging. ..thus the writing has been hard.

I am still working on this writing, but for today, I have chosen to simply quote Brennan Manning from his book ‘Abba’s Child’ from the second chapter entitled: The Impostor.

For those of you who have not sat down with Manning’s ‘Abba’s Child’, I encourage you to do so. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

For those who are not sure what your impostor looks like, perhaps this will begin to shed some light on things for you.

For those of you who don’t feel that you have an impostor, that’s probably just your impostor trying to convince you that he/she doesn’t really exist. This might be a great quote to start with:

“It is the nature of the false self to save us from knowing the truth about our real selves, from penetrating the deeper causes of our unhappiness, from seeing ourselves as we really are – vulnerable, afraid, terrified and unable to let our real selves emerge.”

Again, to all I highly recommend Manning’s book. I have learned and continue to learn so much from his writings and others like his.

So, on to some of Brennan’s writings…

“Impostors are preoccupied with acceptance and approval.”

“To gain acceptance and approval, the false self suppresses or camouflages feelings, making emotional honesty impossible. Living out of the false self creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image* to the public so that everybody will admire us and nobody will know us.”

*A personal comment here: I have noticed that in my own life, my impostor has even learned how to NOT present the perfect image when around those who have an understanding of the impostor, in order to present the perfect ‘broken image’ to those who place high value on brokenness.

My impostor is smooth and amazing.

More quotes:

“Our false self stubbornly blinds each of us to the light and the truth of our own emptiness and hollowness.”

“The sad irony is that the impostor cannot experience intimacy in any relationship…the impostor is insensitive to the moods, needs, and dreams of others. Reciprocal sharing is impossible.”

“The impostor must be called out of hiding, accepted, and embraced. He is an integral part of my total self. Whatever is denied cannot be healed. To acknowledge humbly that I often inhabit an unreal world, that I have trivialized my relationship with God and that I am driven by vain ambition is the first blow in dismantling my glittering image. The honesty and willingness to stare down the false self dynamites the steel trapdoor of self-deception.”

“As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. “

As you can see, these past few months have been rather heavy. It’s been good though. It’s been very good. I intend to continue processing what I’m learning about my impostor and hope to write soon.

On a lighter note: Yesterday was Father’s Day and my amazing bride bought me a brand new Drew Brees jersey. The cool thing is that she bought all 3 of my boys little Drew Brees jerseys too, so we’re all looking forward to football season in a big way. I also took my boys to see Kung Fu Panda yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was a great Father’s Day.


Rebecca Allen said...

Hey, Brian! I love this. Really. And the really cool part is that I borrowed this book from a friend's library just last week. Haven't started to read, but now I will for sure! I first encountered this subject when I read "Changes That Heal" by Cloud and Townsend who also wrote "Boundaries." Great stuff. I am thinking about how it is so hard to be real, honest, and truthful because we so badly want to be loved. I also think that because we know that relationships can be disposable all to often, it makes it even harder to be real, scarier to give of yourself; long-term commitment isn't just a given, and I think part of it is just simply the way our society is set up--travel is so easy. . .you can see people trying to make community happen on facebook. It is a special thing when you have people in your life who will "bear with you" over the long-haul. And I am so thankful for those people I can practice being real on. :) So those are my thoughts for now.

Greg Prosch said...

Brian, I know my response is a bit belated but I wanted you to know that I really liked what you shared. The section at the beginning of the book where Brennan defined and discussed the imposter was good stuff. I realized some time ago the irony of spending all my time creating an amazing impostor that everyone loves only to realize that nobody really loves me.

Simone said...

This is great, on top of authority issues I now have to look at my impostor. Thanks for writing this, I now have more to think about and I am glad that I am being challenged and brought closer to God through my weaknesses.