A strong perception of being overlooked, not being seen and heard, not being taken into account, not having any impact in your environment, which is experienced as non-existing.

Black Hole

Metaphor for an intolerably terrifying emptiness or invisibility as experienced by a person with Lack of Sense of Self who doesn’t feel like (being considered) a “real” person and which, like a force of nature, sucks in behavior and motives to fill itself.

Direct Motivation

Motivation that is ordinary, simple, and based in the present.

Direct Relationship with Self

A way of relating to your own being that includes body awareness, which means that you sense your Self without having to refer to achievements or other people’s opinion about you.

Distorted Mirror

The process by which the primary caregiver is unable to effectively acknowledge their child(ren) as a separate being(s), as the caregiver is too wrapped up in his/her own problems and emotional neediness. The child inevitably and naturally concludes that she IS the way she sees herself reflected by the caregiver.

Early Childhood Survival Strategy    (ECSS)

Conclusions drawn subconsciously by infants/toddlers/children about how to get their needs met when they do not feel acknowledged as separate (unique) beings by their caretakers. This process becomes the foundation for an unhealthy way of experiencing the self.

Ego-References    (EgoRef)

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.


An unhealthy relationship between child and primary caretaker. The child’s identity and motives are merged with the adult’s, which leads to extreme dependence on approval.

Fear of Annihilation

Terror of being unheard and invisible.

Feel-good-about-self”    (Fgas)

A fear-based emotional state (or thought) of the absence of feeling compelled to produce certain results, gained from accomplishing what leads to approval from your parent, which serves as a temporary and unhealthy substitute for your sincere sense of being alive (as a “real” person.

Focus Mode

Relaxed movements of the eyes, with the ability to stay fixed in the same place for extended periods of time, and which indicates a grounded mood or person who does not have a Substitute Sense of Self.

Healthy Sense of Self (HySoS)
The ability to experience and be present to your own person and to your own life and recognize both as uniquely owned by YOU. That includes the right to live and be as Your-Self and experience your innermost core as your ultimate home from where you live your life.

Hidden Agenda

A subconscious purpose that drives your actions or behavior, which is not the obvious, ordinary, expected purpose but is geared toward performing an Ego-Reference to perfection. You perceive this as necessary to feel safe and on your way to achieving your Hidden Goal and “Feel-good-about-self.”

Hidden Goal

Your subconscious ultimate objective of getting the approval of your caregiver. This approval functions as an unhealthy substitute for feeling valued and related to (acknowledged) as a “real” person.


Any obstacle that can lead to anger or rage, which can be a gateway to violence or its counterpart, depression.

Indirect Motivation

The motive for doing something is not what it appears to be; instead, the real motive is to get the temporary emotional state that is the substitute for a lasting sense of being a “real” person.

Indirect Relationship with Self

Sensing yourself as a “self” only via achievements or the responses of others, giving you a transitory good feeling instead of a healthy abiding sense of being who you are.

Inner Conflict

Two or more competing and incompatible inner mandates to work toward experiencing a Substitute Sense of Self. This leads to high anxiety because the competition causes a no-win outcome.

Lack of (Natural) Sense of Self

Characteristic of people who never developed a natural, ongoing inner knowing that he or she feels truly alive as a “real,” independent human being.

Magic Formula

A way of remembering the gist of the SoS Method, whereby you move away from the addiction to “Feeling-good-about-self” by crossing out the judgmental word about and placing good in parenthesis, leaving “Feel-self” or “Sense Your Self.”


The subtle, mutually subconscious process by which the primary caretaker conveys to his or her child a sense of either being a means to fulfill the caretaker’s emotional needs or being a “real” and unique person—this sense functioned as a mirror for the child during infancy and was accepted as the truth of who he or she is.


In general, it is what creates an incentive or urge to do or avoid something. Motivation is the drive that determines behavior.

Motivation Check

A crucial tool for getting clear about the crooked nature of your (Indirect) Motivation which serves to (a) detect Indirect Motivations and Hidden Agendas in your self and (b) to record and become familiar with what your Ego-References, Hidden Agendas, and Hidden Goal are.

Natural Sense of Self    (NatSos)

The subconscious sense—developed normally in childhood—of being alive as a “real,” definite person, who has an unconditional right to exist as you are, regardless of what others think, feel, or say about you.

Quality-of-Life level    (QoL level)

A normal, healthy degree of emotional reaction that is in sync with the degree of intensity of the actual effect of events or behavior of others on your life, and that is an indication of a Healthy Sense of Self. This is distinguished from emotions that strike down the level of your sense of existence as a self because you are dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self.

Real Self/Authentic Self

Your Self is experienced in the healthiest, most integrated way as an independent and autonomous being; actions and awareness are based on living experience, not contaminated by pathological motives.* See Natural Sense of Self.

*Not so much meant in a spiritual sense but more of a reference to the whole person you really are.

Restored Sense of Self™    RestSoS

The result of a healing from a SSoS and which consists of a steady awareness of being one’s very own person, who is free to live life based on one’s own essence, preferences, abilities and limitations. There is an inner knowing of being separate from any parent or caregiver and free from any dependency on achievements or approval. There is an abiding sense of being (unconditionally) alive and “real.”

Scanning Mode

A person’s eyes moving around restlessly searching for opportunities to “score” (see below) which would fill the need for approval and feeling good about themselves. Scanning mode use of the eyes indicates activity aimed at achieving an unhealthy way to experience one’s Self.

To score

Being successful in using a Vehicle to improve on an Ego-Reference; a success that feels like gaining points toward the goal of getting parental approval, which results in a “Feel-good-about-self ” as a Substitute Sense of Self.

Sense of Self    (SoS)

A conscious or subconscious awareness of existing independently as a unique and potentially autonomous human being and of what intrinsically comes with it in your daily life.

Substitute Sense of Self    (SSoS)

A psycho-emotional structure that develops as the backbone of the psyche of those children whose caregivers relate to their children as an extension of themselves, and that leads to a compulsive drive for achievement-based approval.

Substitute Sense of Self–oriented Goal   (SSoS-or. Goal)

A person’s subconscious, ultimate goal of convincing the parent to change his or her negative opinion about “me” into a positive one, which then gives “me” a feeling of being a “real,” normal person.

Substitute Sense of Self–oriented System    (SSoS-or.Sys)

The entire subconscious complex of needs, behaviors, motives, habits, beliefs, goals, and fears­ that generates achievement-based approval, which functions as an unhealthy base for being.


An activity or behavior used to display the performance of specific skills or character traits rather than being used for the obvious, ordinary goal of the action or behavior. The performance is ultimately aimed at getting approval (Fgas).

Virtual, Internalized Parental Voice (VIPV)

The often-repeated verbal and non-verbal messages through which parents talk to their children becomes (almost) hardwired in the child’s mind so that it is perceived as an unquestionable truth (about and) by the child.