Are Your Self-Files Corrupted?

Too many of us live our lives based upon faulty programmed information which we've psychologically downloaded in our early years, and have since been using as the template for all of our activities and interactions.

Like Comment

My laptop crashed this morning – well it is nearly 10 years old, but I've become very attached to it. I went into a bit of a panic thinking about all that I have stored on there, and how I'd cope without it. I also thought that a virus might somehow have got past my internet gatekeeper software.

It's probably an occupational hazard (from being a psychotherapist) but I then wondered about the parallels between corrupted files and the ensuing systems crash we might experience as humans.

To continue with this technology metaphor, too many of us live our lives based upon faulty programmed information which we've psychologically downloaded in our early years, and have since been using as the template for all of our activities and interactions.

We've become so accustomed to using this each day that and we don't even realise the files were corrupted before we innocently downloaded them onto our personal hard-drive. We didn't know how wrong the messages were that we'd heard about ourselves in childhood. Neither do we realise how well we've then deeply internalised these, and have been trusting this faulty data to run all of our other programmes from these corrupted files ever since!

The files that relate to ourselves in relationships, as a parent, employee, business owner, or friend; and the 'self esteem and self-concept' programmes might all be corrupted by a nasty virus that was passed down to us.

How can we tell?

If we've had an inking that we are the common denominator in what keeps going wrong for us in our lives – or we've had feedback from a trusted source that this might be so.

I recall having such a 'chat' with a well-meaning boss in my first job in the Civil Service when I left school. He alluded to me 'wearing a heavy sodden raincoat from the past' that was weighing me down and now affecting the way I related to my colleagues.

The raincoat analogy didn't seem to fit me at the time but with hindsight I can see that he was trying to tactfully make a very good point. (It was in the days before the technological age or any reference to computer jargon.)

It's always a good time for a self-appraisal and a tune up – to remove any obsolete files and to update the others to have better functionality.

We know that we have corrupted self-files when we have difficulties with T.E.S.T.I.N.G.:-

  • Trust – too much, not enough, or it's often misplaced
  • Expectations - that others will serve and take care of us. We have a sense of neediness and entitlement, and to get lots of attention and reassurance. Or we may expect to be alone, unsupported and neglected
  • Self-esteem – we believe deep down that 'there's something wrong with me' and we feel inappropriate shame and guilt, and we fear being truly seen and exposed as a fraud
  • Tuning in – we expect the negative in what people say and do, without checking it out first – and over-react to what we think is meant or intended by them
  • Image – we focus upon any flaws or defects we may have, and allow these to obscure our beauty. We cover up our vulnerability with a false mask, or with excess weight
  • Not being playful – we see play and fun as a waste of time. Over-monitoring ourselves to ensure that we don't look silly of foolish
  • Groundless fear-based thinking and decisions. It's wise to be realistically cautious but not when it prohibits relationships and vitality

What's in the corrupted files?

Any corrupted files have been passed on and handed down to us from other people- principally our parents - from their own store of corrupted files.

They may have done a bit of cleaning up, so that what they passed on wasn't as bad as the files they'd inherited – and they probably feel that they'd done a good job. Many parents didn't realise that the files they handed down still had viruses in them – others didn't care.

The messages in the corrupted files were:-

You're not wanted – you are seen as a burden and a nuisance, and you then live your life trying to please others so that they will want you to stay around, or by being super independent and keeping people at a distance

You're mixed up – you received messages about yourself and life that were unpredictable, confusing and contradictory. You don't know what to do for the best and feel baffled by people's behaviour. You wonder if you are the crazy one.

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't – those 'double-bind' scenarios that left you feeling like an outsider in life, as if you're always walking on eggshells or quicksand. You can't trust yourself or your own feelings to guide you.

Image is everything – the false persona that 'everything is fine', which fools most of the people most of the time. You may avoid letting anyone get too close in case they see that you're wearing a mask. You try hard to avoid shame, failure or embarrassment. You don't know who you are let alone how to share your inner self with anyone else.

Never mind about you – your feelings don't matter – you don't know how to share yourself in an emotionally intelligent or intimate way. You are overly independent and can't ask for, or accept, help from anyone. You feel a numbness and an emptiness that you try to fill with physical pleasures of material stuff – neither of which work.

How can we update the system?

If you now suspect that you have corrupted files then now is the best time to clean them up!

Find out what's in your Self-Files and how much of it needs attention – either an update or a delete.

It's very difficult to access your own hard-drive – or sub-conscious belief system - because it's been firmly in place since you were six years old and thinks it's doing it's job properly by making you react and behave as you do.

It needs exposing by metaphorically taking the back off and cleaning off the visible dirt first. You may need some expert help – someone who knows about this stuff and which files need attention first. The domino effect starts with one domino.

Becoming aware is the first step towards changing things for the better (I refer to this in my process called S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life © which focuses upon Self-awareness- Education-Learning new skills – Emotional Intelligence & balance – Control, clarity & choice – Transformation.)

Those old corrupted files can be identifies and transformed – and need never be passed on to anyone else!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR – where you'll find a full page of FREE RESOURCES to help you to understand the effects of your childhood emotions, and how they still impact your life.

You will also find 5 self-help online courses - to improve your relationship with yourself and your past, with your partner/spouse, your children, and in your work/business life - helping women to understand and manager their emotions, boundaries and behaviours - and to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better at home, and in their career or business! - a series of 10 self-help online workshops - of Psycho-Emotional-Education - to help you with a wide range of life difficulties (e.g. anxiety, stress, anger, depression, relationships, self-esteem and confidence, happiness, mindful living, self-awareness and development) - changing the sub-conscious belief system and S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time

Maxine Harley

MIND HEALER & MENTOR - Psychotherapist (MSc), Author, Columnist & Blogger. Please see and, S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life Company Ltd.

I help women to FEEL better - so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! As a MIND HEALER I specialise in helping women to recover from a troubled childhood and toxic parents, to heal and transcend their emotional wounds, re-parent their inner child, and make peace with their past. This enables and empowers them to become better parents, partners, professionals - and all round happier calmer people :-) As a MENTOR I offer different levels of therapeutic self development - including MINDING YOUR BUSINESS, MINDING THE GAP, and MIND MASTERY...please discover more at


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
about 6 years ago
I love this post. Thank you Maxine. x
Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
about 6 years ago
Thanks Suzy - that means a lot coming from you ;-)
I thought you were great at the Action for Happiness event on 21/9...a 'natural' and a fab advocate for the changes that matter :-)
Go to the profile of Michael Gaston
about 6 years ago
I am trying to work through what you have outlined here in your post. It is not a trivial process. I have been trying for the past few weeks -perhaps months- to gain insight to what is needed. However, I believe I need a professional. The stakes are simply too high.
Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
about 6 years ago
I hope you've found this (and my other articles) helpful Michael. I agree that the stakes are high - and so are the rewards of cleaning up the corrupted files. I wish you well in finding the right sort of professional therapist who will be able to help you on all levels. Kind regards, Maxine Harley