Gabor Mate and false attributes.

Iñaki Escudero
The Rebel Within
Published in
3 min readMar 11, 2024

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“Everything has an evolutionary purpose. That purpose has wisdom behind it. The wisdom is to ensure our survival.”

So when a child gets angry because a father doesn’t spend enough time with him, there’s wisdom in that child suppressing the anger because without that love, he can’t survive.

It’s the same with the inner voice of “I’m not good enough.” It might come from how our parents made us feel, but it goes deeper than that.

When the father mistreats the child, the kid has two fundamental assumptions you can make: One is that my father is incapable of loving. I’m all alone in the world. The second one is because I want to believe that the parent is safe and wonderful and perfect, it’s then easier to blame myself. And if I work hard enough, maybe I can justify my existence and earn the right to be lovable. So there’s this survival purpose to this belief that you’re worthless even though it’s so debilitating later on.

All these adaptations always have a purpose.

So if you didn’t get the attention you needed, guess what you’re gonna do? You’re going to be consumed by attracting attention. You’re going to attract attention in several ways. One is by physically being attractive, and you may spend half your life in front of a mirror and doing plastic surgery.

If you didn’t get the approval that was your expectation, you’d be always out there trying to get people’s approval.

If you weren’t valued for who you were you’ll be measuring up to other people’s expectations to be valued.

If you weren’t made to feel special for who you were, you might be very demanding and go into politics.

If you weren’t esteemed for who you were, you’d want to impress people with your attributes.

If you didn’t feel important just for who you were, you might become one of these people who are always helping other people. Now you’ll be important.

If you weren’t liked for who you were, you might become very nice so that you’ll never present your real emotions and what’s really going on because that’s not nice.

If you weren’t loved for who you were, you might become very charming.

If you weren’t recognized for who you were, you might seek status. Now you get recognition.

Our whole society runs on those false attributes. And these attributes are just displacements over genuine needs, and then we identify with them, and these traits are runaway addictive because they don’t satisfy.

Addictions work because it’s hard to get enough of something that almost works.

Gabor Maté is a highly respected and influential physician, author, and speaker who has made significant contributions to understanding the role of childhood trauma, stress, and emotional factors in addiction and various health conditions. His compassionate, trauma-informed approach to addiction treatment has gained widespread recognition.

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Iñaki Escudero
The Rebel Within

Brand Strategist - Storyteller - Curator. Writer. Futurist. Marathon runner. 1 book a week. Father of 5.