Subconsciously accepted requirements to feel and behave in certain ways, and achieve certain results, in order to feel approved of, as a substitute for feeling like a “real” person.
The literal translation of the term “Ego-References” is “Self-identifiers”, but please not that we are not referring here to the sensing of the authentic Self but, since that sense for the Real Self is absent, to a Substitute for it. In other words, for a person who was deprived of the opportunity to build a Healthy SoS in early childhood, the qualities that the Ego-References represent, are qualities that identify their fake Sense of ”Self” (Substitute SoS).
The degree to which a person is able to live up to these requirements determines the degree to which they experience their fake identity (“Feeling-good-about-self”).
Those required qualities are conditions such as: always being cheerful, never being late. Living up to these conditions is highly emotionally-charged because they are (subconsciously) experienced as requirements which must be met or fulfilled, for Fear of Annihilation.
For the young child, being able to live up to these conditions allows them to experience a sense of truly existing because of a sense of merging with the approving caretaker. For the older child or adult, being able to live up to the high standards of the parent or caretaker that leads to approval, which then results in “Feeling-good-about-self”. This serves as an unhealthy way of experiencing themselves as a real person.
So, Ego-References are subconsciously-accepted, absolute requirements to feel, be, or behave a certain way, or achieve a certain result, in order to gain approval and feel they are OK. This feeling translates into a fleeting sense of being allowed to be in existence and serves as a substitute for a sense of feeling like a real person.
Ego-References are subconsciously accepted conditions, such as always being cheerful) or always being on time. Living up to those conditions or fulfilling those requirements brings the feel-good vibes from the caretaker, which were the child’s only (positive) chance to feel like a real person.
I say positive chance, because some children actually achieve this feeling in the opposite way: by being a pain in the butt to the parent! These are the so-called Reactive Ego-References, that are addressed in my book: The Motivation Cure, The Secret to Being Your Best Self!
As a person grows older and the situation staying the same, meeting these conditions or fulfilling these requirements is burdened by a huge emotional charge. In fact, they turn into addictions and are subconsciously experienced as matters of life or death. Unless the Ego-References are achieved, the person’s fleeting, superficial, unhealthy experiences of being a Self or an independently existing person are not available, and the terrifying Black Hole comes too close for comfort.
Trying to live up to the Hidden Agenda’s behind each Ego-Reference is the motivation behind many actions in daily life. Ultimately the Hidden Goal is to provide the person with an experience that resembles a Sense of Self. This Substitute for the Natural Sense of Self is what comes as close as possible to what should have but never developed in the course of childhood: feeling accepted and taken into account as an independent and autonomous human being, which equals a Natural-Sense-of-Self.
Living up to your Ego-References is meant to be a tool to solve the problem of a Lack of SoS but it is addictive and toxic to the person’s life. On top of that, all this strategy does is providing a substitute for a person’s true Sense of Self, but it seems to be the best Mother Nature could come up with at the time!