Let Go Of The "I Am Sick" IdentityAre you currently struggling with a chronic disease and/or experiencing daily symptoms such as pain or fatigue? That can be disheartening and exhausting for so many reasons, and I completely resonate with you and see you.

Now, besides feeling physically crummy, let’s take a step back and observe how you are feeling emotionally. What is your emotional identity?

This is an interesting topic I’d like to discuss today, as it can help exponentially in healing! 🙂

Our “Identity”

Before we get into the idea of “sick/victim” identity, here is a great explanation of what our personal identity is comprised of – and some great points for us to consider:

“Personal identity is our concept of how we think of ourselves. While our personal identity is how we perceive ourselves, our social identity is how others perceive us. People recognize us by our characteristics within our town, school, career, or another community context.”

Our identity can be molded by social aspects such as our parents, peers, and role models – especially as children. Kids often define themselves by how their parents see them, so it’s safe to say that as children our identities begin a molding process that can be greatly influenced by social interactions – whether good or bad. While in “normal” circumstances this may be a good “molding” experience, unfortunately when any abuse happens negative beliefs and our core identity (see image below) get severely affected, instilling in us a negative identity!

The image below shows the series of events that occur when have or are creating an identity as babies and children:

social identity map

Core Beliefs

If you notice in the image, right in the heart of everything, is the core. It is also referred to as core beliefs. This amazing PDF from TherapistAid says it best:

“Core beliefs are a person’s most central ideas about themselves, others, and the world. These beliefs act like a lens through which every situation and life experience is seen. Because of this, people with different core beliefs might be in the same situation, but think, feel, and behave very differently. Even if a core belief is inaccurate, it still shapes how a person sees the world. Harmful core beliefs lead to negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whereas rational core beliefs lead to balanced reactions.”

Core beliefs are the central part of how we see ourselves and others, so this lens (negative or positive) will affect our life decisions, how we feel, everything!

Facts About Core Beliefs
• People are not born with core beliefs—they are learned.
• Core beliefs usually develop in childhood, or during stressful or traumatic periods in adulthood.
• Information that contradicts core beliefs is often ignored.
• Negative core beliefs are not necessarily true, even if they feel true.
• Core beliefs tend to be rigid and long-standing. However, they can be changed.

Here are 4 examples of Common Harmful Core Beliefs:

harmful core beliefs

You can easily see how our beliefs create a snowball effect, so to speak, on how we think, feel, and act. Now most of us do this subconsciously! We don’t even realize that these negative beliefs are pushing out the more positive beautiful life we could have if we changed the way we think.

The image below shows an example of the thought, feeling, and behavior pattern based on core belief:

pattern core belief

The ‘I’m Sick’ Identity

So with all these beliefs in play, what can happen (amongst other things) is we take on a sick/victim identity. The problem with this is that once you take on that identity, how in the world can the body heal?

Let me explain:

Your body listens to what you tell it. If you continue to identify yourself as a sick person, your body will manifest that – which creates more illness. Any symptom/disease you make your identity is never good for the body. It’s imprinting that’s what your body is, rather than saying this:

“____ is just a temporary thing I may have, but I AM not ____.”

It would be like me saying:

“I am or I HAVE ulcerative colitis,” which involves a whole mind/body attachment.


“I have symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis right now, but am working on supporting my body through this.”

What a huge difference in that statement, right? Imagine what a difference this makes in your body! A shift happens where your body can now relax and heal knowing you’re supporting it. You may have Crohn’s symptoms, but Crohn’s does not define who you are. See the difference?

In my blog post on healing in layers, I identify certain ailments or diseases I struggle with, but I ALWAYS keep in mind that I am not my disease. So, I use phrases like:

“I don’t like to label symptoms or my body, but I just wanted to show you how all these things arose and happened in my body while I worked on treating it…”

Why We Identify With Illness

Even to this day, people who knew me as a kid like to identify me as “the sick girl with Colitis” – because, for so many years, that’s all they saw! But once I taught myself how to break my own sabotages and attachments to illnesses, I could politely respond to those people in a new way.

Once you are aware of this pattern, you will see it in people all the time – and the victim role usually comes with that. It took me a long time to break free of my chains, so to speak, because my core beliefs were so damaged by my life experiences.

Creating a New Identity

It may seem impossible to eradicate the damage done to you which instilled these negative belief systems, but it is definitely possible – and oh so worth it!

The first step to creating your desired identity is to really find out who you are. Who are you without all the negative stuff that was imprinted on you? This may be scary, because if we are so used to a belief system of illness/victim, we may be so attached it becomes terrifying to take on a new identity – even if it’s one that’s healthier for us.

That’s totally normal. Remember, as humans, we like what’s familiar. Even if the familiar is unhealthy, we are used to it and may feel comfortable remaining in it. I totally get you! This is a great Lazer Tapping session with Jini which really helped me work through these emotions.

When it comes to the attachment to illness/sick identity, again, remember that you are NOT your illness. I encourage you to build on all the other parts of you that aren’t intertwined with your sickness. Build on your creativity, on your passions, hobbies – what sets your soul on fire? What can you do that truly makes you feel happy and alive? Doing these things will instill more self-confidence in you, which will help you let go of the “I am sick” identity.

Take a step back and reflect on who you are and who you WANT to be…

Building a Strong Sense of Self

I want to leave you with four tips that can assist you in building a stronger sense of self – which in turn can help you listen to your gut:

  • Define your values. Values and personal beliefs are fundamental aspects of identity.
  • Make your own choices. Your decisions should, for the most part, primarily benefit your health and well-being.
  • Spend time alone.
  • Consider how to achieve your ideals.

You are so much more than your illness, so create the self that YOU want to be! And while you’re having fun finding yourself and creating your new identity, please let me know your thoughts on this post. Did you find this helpful or inspirational? Is there anything you’d like to see me write on next? Drop a comment below and share with me!

Until next time – happy healing, and remember to always listen to your gut! 🙂