When we feel exiled from the world, from our families -- just can't seem to find our "tribe", the people who accept us as we are, it leads to exile and what Estes calls The Ugly Duckling Syndrome. I have a feeling many of my readers will relate in some way to this excerpt.
The ugly duckling goes from pillar to post trying to find a place to be at rest. While the instinct about exactly where to go may not be fully developed, the instinct to rove until one finds what one needs is well intact. Yet there is a kind of pathology sometimes in the ugly duckling syndrome. One keeps knocking at the wrong doors even after one knows better. It is hard to imagine how a person is supposed to know which doors are right doors if one has never known a right door to begin with. However, the wrong doors are those that cause you to feel the outcast all over again.
This is the "looking for love in all the wrong places" response to exile. When a woman turns to repetitive compulsive behavior--repeating over and over again a behavior that is not fulfilling, that causes decline instead of sustained vitality--in order to salve her exile, she is actually causing more damage because the original wounded state is not being attended to and she incurs new wounding with each foray.
The solutions to these bad choices are severalfold. If the woman were able to sit herself down and peer into her own heart, she would see there a need to have her talents, her gifts, and her limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted. So, to begin healing, stop kidding yourself that a little feel-good of the wrong sort will take care of a broken leg. Tell the truth about your wound, and then you will get a truthful picture of the remedy to apply to it. Don't pack whatever is easiest or most available into the emptiness. Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker. ~Women Who Run With the Wolves