29 thoughts on “When You Sense, Deep Down, That Something Is Wrong With You

  • August 5, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I find it very difficult to be aware of when my FATAL FLAW is around. If I could know and recognize this i would be able to address it, let alone put my thoughts and feelings into words.
    Number 5 really puts a light on things. I like when you give more of those examples that I can I relate to and see myself and the FATAL FLAW at work.
    Any more of those behavioral suggestions would help me alot.
    Thanks so much so your research and books that help me understand this black hole of unhappiness that I find myself in.

    • August 5, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I’ll try to write another post about this Kristine with more examples. You can become more aware of your Fatal Flaw by paying attention and watching for it. The more you try, the more success you will have. I’m glad you’re digging yourself out. You are worth the effort, I assure you.

  • August 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    If you think you are uninteresting, that you are not really worth getting to know because you are too serious, with nothing exciting to say; what feeling could that be? Couldn’t it actually be a character flaw? Thank you for your articles.

    • August 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      I don’t think so. People are never that black and white, like one person is interesting and another is not. Everyone is unique and can find their people that they click with. But the belief that you’re uninteresting prevents that from happening.

  • August 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Perfect timing! Last night I was invited to a get together, but spent a significant amount of time feeling that I shouldn’t go because I didn’t really belong. I went through multiple reasons why I was different and why I didn’t belong there. Finally I told myself, 1. I was invited. And 2. If I was invited, I belong.

    I had to override the feeling telling me not to go. I love that this feeling I have often was just now given a name, and that this article has reinforced that I need to fight that fatal flaw feeling.

    • August 5, 2018 at 4:49 pm

      Great job Anne! You figured this out already. Just keep doing what you did last night. All the best.

  • August 5, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    I’m reading your book and also look forward to reading your emails/blogs. In the past when I’ve spoken about how I feel, after I feel such shame for exposing myself. I find this very difficult to manage and I feel scared if I tell anyone about me, that they’d not like me and think I’m stupid and weak.

    • August 5, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      Dear Christine, that sounds like your fatal flaw at work. Keep taking risks because you’ll start to see it isn’t true.

  • August 6, 2018 at 3:24 am

    What if your “fatal flaws” are real–but not fatal?
    For instance, I know I have several significant flaws that have negatively impacted my life. The only way they would be fatal is suicide (highly unlikely) or death due to stress or a related health issue.
    I have spent years “joking” about my flaws by telling people I’m a “latebloomer” (at my age, I think that excuse has expired). Secretly? My life is not a life–it’s an existence.
    Here are a few flaws of mine:
    1. Being on disability for major depression, ptsd, and anxiety disorder. Trying to return to the workforce part time after years of this but now, despite having earned two degrees in the interim, no one will give me a chance it seems.
    2 Obesity, hypertension, pre-diabetic, hyperparathyroidism, mental health struggles, in need of dental work badly, and diagnosed this year with a precancerous condition which resulted in a minor surgery in February and then a total hysterectomy in March.
    3. Anxiety so bad at times I have panic attacks and isolate
    4. No driver’s license (ever) or vehicle.
    5. Several important dreams are no longer attainable. I have always wanted marriage and children. I am older now and can’t have children.
    6 Strong abandonment issues that surface from time to time as well as trust issues.
    People describe me as a wonderful person, great friend (I have a few friends), an excellent writer, articulate, self aware, good sense of humor. I am NOT normally one to complain or engage in self pity, but I do feel that others lives are much more fulfilling than my own and that they are better than I am in many ways.

    • August 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Dear VR, all we can do is our best with the hand that was dealt us. If you focus on small things — for example work on catching yourself every time you start to self-efface and stopping yourself from doing it, every little change is a step toward another. It’s not too late and you can still make some significant changes in how you feel. I also encourage you to work on getting in touch with your real feelings. Sending you all my best wishes.

  • August 6, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Wow, at 51 just finding this out is like the fog in my life just cleared. I stumbled across your work while researching narcisstic abuse, I immediately ordered the book and if
    there’s anything in synchronicity, just as I finished this helpful article, the doorbell rang and the postman handed me a package that was too big for my postbox, it was your book!!!

    • August 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

      That’s beautiful Kat! That is synchronicity indeed. I hope you enjoy Running on Empty!

  • August 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Although I do relate to your CEN theory and exhibit counter-dependency behaviour I’m not entirely sure wether my “fatal flaw” is actually undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. It makes me mad not to know, but I’ll never get an official confirmation (too expensive/underdeveloped diagnostics). Ugh. I think I just wanted to vent 😉 Meanwhile, I’ll continue reading about CEN and ASD thinking “that”s so me” …

    • August 6, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Hi Jenna yes you will probably never know. But if you work hard at getting in touch with your feelings each and every day it might make a difference either way. I hope you’ll do that!

    • August 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      I feel the exact same way. Sometimes I wonder if i have a tough of Asperger’s, or if its actually just CEN. I clearly identify with CEN, as my family did not deal with feelings AT ALL in my childhood – they were to be ignored and buried. But I also rate borderline on ASD scales… It makes me wonder if the CEN doesn’t cause some of the same issues for people as high-functioning ASD..

      • August 8, 2018 at 10:02 am

        Hi Nicki and Jenna, yes I do think CEN can appear to be aspergers when it is severe enough. I encourage you to not get caught up in diagnosing yourself but instead focus all your energy on getting in touch with your feelings.

      • August 9, 2018 at 7:27 am

        Dear Nicki, I second Dr. Webbs opinion on this particular question – because please keep in mind that the diagnostics for ASD in women are antiquated. In fact, the only thing we could do to make sure we have it would be: giving birth to a son with ASD – preferably one who shows the “classic” signs most drastically. Need I say more …

  • August 6, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Don’t 7 ways apply to everyone to some extent?

    • August 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      No not at all. But when you feel this way from birth it’s natural to assume everyone else does too.

      • August 7, 2018 at 11:35 am

        1) When there is so much information available, why rely on one’s gut? Maybe, when information is not available.
        2) It depends what one gets for taking risks. Potential upside vs potential downside. it’s not always clear.
        3) Comfortable in ALL social situations? 100%? No exceptions?
        4) Maybe not many but some. It may be necessary for some relationships.
        5) Is everything clear right away? People asked this question for ages. Goals and priorities change, often subject to external circumstances.
        6) Well, nobody is perfect.
        7) Maybe around some corners. Sometimes, rejections do happen.

      • August 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        Hi Peter, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make with your list. It doesn’t sound like it grabs you by the gut like it does people who do have the Fatal Flaw. Maybe that means you don’t have it. It certainly does not apply to everyone.

      • August 8, 2018 at 11:53 am

        That’s my question. Just because all 7 ways apply to a person to some extent, does it mean he/she have the fatal flaw? Maybe, I don’t understand the concept. Sorry.

      • August 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm

        No, not exactly. If you grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect, you feel these 7 Ways define you in a very important way.

  • August 7, 2018 at 12:56 am

    I told my therapist recently that it just FEELS like there is something really wrong with me. He asked “what would be wrong with you?” My answer was I don’t know how to be human… I can pretend I know how to act but really don’t. At the age of 50 my father died and the wall blocking my emotions broke down. While learning to identify and accept feeling my emotions my therapist has identified emotional abuse, emotional incest, repressed anger, and complicated grief, and fear of abandonment as my issues to resolve. Luckily as well as being my therapist the last three years he has been my psychiatrist for eighteen years for depression and anxiety. I feel safe for the first time ever and couldn’t do this without him.

    • August 7, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Dear PJ, I know it must have been hard to have your wall fall away. But it’s actually an opportunity and it sounds like you’re making the most of it. Good work! Keep it up.

  • August 8, 2018 at 2:12 am

    I had parents that did not express emotions other than anger, rage, condemning, demeaning, et ceterea.
    My Dad was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when I was about 6 years old. He was hospital, for a short stay, but I was really too young to realize what happened. I learned (through my Mom and life experience), that he was living a life the best that he could be. He took Thorazine and Stelazine for life. Mom told me that he was raped (by his Mom), when he was 16 years old.

    My Mom was diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic when I was about 30 years old. That would have made her 50. She heard voices, saw hallucinations and could not function in life because her thought patterns were not real. She would believe things that were only “real” to her. She thought my boyfriend was her boyfriend and we were living together which was not true at all.

    She was (once), admitted to a psych unit and she fractured off, not knowing who(m), I was and even called me someone else’s name. This lasted (to her), for about two weeks, when they sent her home. I did not know “if” she would return to herself, ever again, but she did.

    I look back (now), and I see that I was abused by my parents. They would NEVER let me talk when I had a problem, or wanted to work something out. I was sent to my room, and then we never EVER talked about what happened. I was spanked (once), but I don’t remember what it was about.
    If only I had been given the chance to talk things out, I think I would be a very different person, now. My parents (both), hid from their feelings, so they could not help me with mine. Neither one had the emotional make-up to help me with growing up!

    I don’t hold grudges and don’t hold it against them. Never have, but I’m sure it has damage me in the long run.

    • August 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Dear Kathy, your childhood sounds very lonely and very emotionally neglectful. Your parents were struggling, yes. And that makes it hard to acknowledge how very deeply their lack of emotion skills and lack of warmth and care has harmed you. Acknowledging this and beginning to take it on can be your first steps to healing. Sending you all my best wishes.

  • August 15, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I definitely have CEN as it struck such a cord with me the first time I saw you use the words Dr Webb. I recognised myself straight away. I have done a lot of healing before this through therapy and self awareness and do feel a lot more now than I used to.
    I am very aware though that I still have a huge pit of pain deep within me which I know would destroy me if I ever delved into it. These emotions are much too intense to ever let out even under therapy I think. As I am in my 60’s now I think I have gone as far as I can and don’t want any more trauma in my life. Is this the wrong decision for me do you think? Should I go ahead and try to go deeper? Am confused.

  • August 19, 2018 at 1:14 am

    This is such an important to take about. As a child, I remember thinking that I was this strange pariah of a person who was so much different than everyone else. And because of that, I always felt like others were in a position of strength and a position of superiority above me, while I was a lesser life-form. So, I would always trust that others knew better than I did because they seemed more confident… and often were even if they didn’t know better.

    This was before I was old enough to see commonalities between myself an others. But when I became a pre-teen I realized (at least intellectually) that people generally had similar insecurities, and I was able to function a lot better. Having said that, there is still a subtle sense of inferiority and self-hatred that looms below the surface, where I judge myself as less worthy than others. But as I become more and more aware of it, so much of that issue has let go of me.

    But I truly think it’s one fo the biggest epidemics that we have as people. We feel like we’re invalid in some core way, and we are afraid that we will be shown our invalidity and that we are truly inferior. So, we come to avoid social situations or taking risks, for fear of those painful emotions.


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