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SUCCESS SUBSTITUTE

Fr Jim Cogley


A brother and sister who were close in age grew up in a home where the parents were as emotionally distant from their children as they were from each other. Hard work, education and being successful were highly prized. The daughter took the academic route and tried to get ‘there’ by degrees. He became a very successful business man by hard graft. Later he sold out at the same time as his sister retired, both having made an enormous contribution to society. Quite early into retirement they felt as if their well-constructed world was collapsing and seemed to be having a crisis of identity. Over a painful period they both realized that unconsciously their careers had become a substitute for their true identity. In order to be validated and have worth they had been looking for career success to give them what they needed. Now entering into a new phase in life, with careers behind, the emotional bankruptcy of childhood, that had lain dormant for so long, had finally resurfaced. It was the beginning of a painful journey towards reclaiming their true identity.

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