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Our Destructive Self and Our True Self, 1/3 By, Judith Duval

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Have you ever had the following experiences?

  • You argue with yourself, stating: “I am so mad at myself for having done that.”

  • You say something disappointing and looking back, you think: “That’s not who I really am.”

  • You flat out regret having let your fear get in the way of…something.

In these moments, what we are identifying are instances when our Destructive Self has taken control of the steering wheel of our life, sending our True Self to the back seat.

“No one can hurt you as much as your own mind, untrained. No one can help you as much as your own mind, well-trained.”


Who is our Destructive Self?  There are many different definitions and names for this Self.

Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott calls it the “False Self” and defines it as “…a defense, a kind of mask of behavior that complies with others’ expectations.” This video, (particularly the bit that starts at 2:49 minutes) explains a bit more about his research. Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra calls it the “Ego,” the Self that “…camouflages itself by labels, definitions, evaluations, analysis and judgments" – an identity composed of the opinions of the world.

What I have seen through the years is that our Destructive Self is, simply, the voice within us that speaks from our insecurities, anxieties and fears. It manifests as a voice that encompasses all of our previous disappointments, hurts and criticisms.

Our Destructive Self can seem to be protective of us and our lives. Indeed, it is capable of surfacing important information for us to consider in our choice-making in life. Yet, left unchecked, our Destructive Self can become unhealthy and toxic, destroying us, our lives and the lives of those around us.

It is the voice of our Destructive Self that often tells us things like:

  • Our partner doesn’t love us when they are short in their communication,when in reality they are preoccupied with work.

  • Our colleague is trying to take our job, when in reality they are attempting to be helpful with a project.

  • We must play small in our lives because of the unknown (our Destructive Self keeps us from taking risks because it is scared; when we don't take risks, we live a very small, limited, narrow life).

Now, if we do not want to react from our Destructive Self, where do we want to react and make choices from? Our True Self. When we live from our True Self, we can make better choices each time the opportunities arise. We all know who our True Self is. It is driven by our values and ultimate purpose, which, I believe, is to love–expressed in myriad ways. It is content, yet strives for something greater than itself. It is what we ultimately are, deep within ourselves. We had a powerful connection to it when we were younger, before inevitable experiences began creating our Destructive Self.

We carry our Destructive Self with us wherever we go and, if we are not mindful, it will be the Self we react from with our family, friends, at our job or in our community.

We have all felt what it is like to make a choice from our True Self. When we make a choice from this place, there is a deep knowing within us that is almost indescribable.

Our goal is to realize when our Destructive Self is present and doing the listening, speaking and behaving in our lives. This Self will keep us from having happy, fulfilled lives. We want to minimize, and at times, silence the voice of this Self, and strengthen and empower the voice of our True Self. 

In my next post, I will teach you how.

All the best,



Psychotherapy, Donald Winnicott.

Judith Duval

Judith Duval is an entrepreneur and TV personality. Her namesake company seeks to educate, teach and inspire others, especially Latinas, to make better choices, through TV, radio, web and speaking engagements. Judith kicked off her career in Finance (JPMorgan and Citigroup) and Strategy/Business Development (Bain & Co. and Sephora). She has combined this experience with a leadership background (CTI Co-Active Coaching & Leadership Training, Landmark, Gallup, among others). It is her passion for the advancement of all that has led her to her current endeavor as an entrepreneur within the wellness and media industries.

Judith was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

You can learn more at

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