What’s Your Fatal Flaw?

-Jonice Webb, PhD

Thousands of fine people walk through their lives harboring a terrible secret.

A secret that is buried deep inside them, surrounded and protected by a cocoon of shame. A secret that harms no one, but does great damage to themselves. A secret with immense power and endurance.

It’s their Fatal Flaw.

A Fatal Flaw is a deep-seated, entrenched feeling / belief that you are somehow different from other people; that something is wrong with you.

Your Fatal Flaw sits beneath the surface of your conscious mind. Outside of your awareness, it drives you to do things you don’t want to do. It also stops you from doing things you should do.

Rooted in your childhood, it’s like a weed. Over time it grows. Bit by bit, drop by drop, it quietly, invisibly erodes away your happiness and well-being. All the while you are unaware.

The power of your Fatal Flaw comes partially from it being unknown to you. You have likely never purposely put yours into words in your own mind. But if you listen, from time to time you may hear yourself expressing your Fatal Flaw out loud to someone.

I’m not as fun as other people.

I don’t have anything interesting to say.

When people get to know me they don’t like me.

I know that I’m not attractive.

No one wants to hear what I have to say.

I’m pathetic.

Your Fatal Flaw could be anything. And your Fatal Flaw is unique to you.

Where did your Fatal Flaw come from, and why do you have it? Its seed was planted by some messages your family conveyed to you, most likely in invisible and unspoken ways.

The Flaw                                                             The Roots

I’m not as fun as other people. Your parents seldom seemed to want to be with you very much.
I don’t have anything interesting to say. Your parents didn’t really listen when you talked.
When people get to know me they don’t like me. You were rejected as a child by someone who was supposed to love you.
I know that I’m not attractive. You were not treated as attractive as a child by the people who matter – your family.
No one wants to hear what I have to say. You were seldom asked questions or encouraged to express yourself in your childhood home.
I’m pathetic. You were somehow shamed as a child for simply being who you are.

The Good News

Yes, there is some. Your Fatal Flaw is a belief, not a truth. A truth cannot be changed, but a belief most certainly can.

How to Get Rid of Your Fatal Flaw

  1. Recognize that you have it, and that it’s not a real flaw. It’s just a belief / feeling.
  2. Find the words to express your own unique version of “something is wrong with me.”
  3. Identify its specific cause in your childhood. What happened, or didn’t happen, in your childhood to plant the seeds of your fatal flaw?
  4. Share your Fatal Flaw with another person; your spouse, a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist. Describe your belief, and talk about it. 
  5. Watch for evidence that contradicts your Fatal Flaw. I assure you it has been there all along. But you have been blinded to it by your Fatal Flaw.
  6. Track your Fatal Flaw. Pay attention, and take note of when it “speaks” to you.
  7. Start talking back to your Fatal Flaw.

I am fun to be with. I am interesting. People like me more as they get to know me. I am attractive, and I have important things to say. I’m not pathetic at all, I’m just me.

You’re Fatal Flaw is actually neither fatal nor a flaw. It’s not even real.

It’s only powered by your supercharged belief that it is both.

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