This is a large and somewhat complex question. but basically, we are informed by our experiences from birth onwards. This presents a number of difficulties to those who, for instance,were adopted as that sort of information may not be available to them. It may well be that this particular group of people have lost their identity in terms of their original name for instance. This all adds or detracts from a positive sense of self.
Some Clients and others have told me that they never really had a sense of self when growing up as they had had that taken from them by the parenting they had received. Some Clients tell me that they had lost any sense of self in their relationship/s.
All of these scenarios may lead to significant issues of self esteem, lacking in confidence, confusion, a feeling of being lost and grieving for the self that is no longer available to them. They may also feel disconnected, detached, insecure, angry, depressed and anxious.
As babies, we may not understand or consciously remember the things that happen to us such as our birth or what happens to us in the 1st few weeks of life such as a loss of attachment, but that will have a direct effect on our sense of self throughout our lives. Some people may be disabled to the extent that they are unable to cope, others less so. Depending on the damage that has been caused informs how much and the type therapy required.
Knowing who we are is vital so that we can be effective people in our own and other peoples' lives.