When we are ready, the Holy Spirit will take us on a journey of discovery. He will show us how and why we made the illusion. He will induce or persuade us, with His reason, to give up all of our miscreations.

How and why did we make-up the personality self?

We wished for specialness. That could not happen. We were all the same and perfect. So we fell asleep and dreamed it could. The Holy Spirit told us it was just a dream. Wake-up and come home. The ego told us that we had attacked God and He was after us. We believed with the ego. Why? That was the way to get our wish of specialness fulfilled. And fear was born out of our belief in it.

The stark terror of God’s punishment or rejection was unbearable to us. But our solution, a making of a world where we could hide or be God ourselves, did not alleviate the panic but simply covered it up. We believed the ego that we had attacked God, sinned, or substituted another will for God’s. We then declared ourselves guilty, unworthy of love and deserving of punishment.

We could not live with the unbearable thought of guilt, so to cover up the delusional thought of guilt, we made up the more palatable story that we were either a martyr or an atheist. We obliterated the idea that we had attacked God. We replaced it with the story that we were wronged, unjustly persecuted and needed to defend ourselves and the equally unbelievable story that we were God. And so the personality self, woven from the fabric of guilt, was born.

All personality selves are based on the foundation of the atheist and the martyr. The atheist fears abandonment. The martyr fears retribution. To deal with the fear of abandonment, the atheist tells himself that he cannot be abandoned because God does not even exist. As a matter of fact, he is God or creator. To deal with the fear of retribution, the martyr tells himself that he is the unjustly accused defender of righteousness.

Every personality self is a combination of the atheist and the martyr, vacillating between the two to varying degrees. Together they are the definition of guilt; unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. The atheist feels unworthy of love and therefore fears abandonment. The atheist tries to fix himself, others and his environment in an attempt to avoid abandonment due to his unworthiness. The atheist is more outwardly focused. The martyr feels deserving of punishment and therefore fears retaliation. The martyr builds fortresses and other defenses to keep himself safe from potential incoming attacks. He attacks justifiably and is attacked unjustly. The martyr is more inwardly focused.

At the core of both the atheist and the martyr is the panic of the separation. The atheist and the martyr, which jointly make up the personality self, are just covers, distractions from the fear. We made the distractions because if we felt that fear constantly, we would not abide it and that would be the end of the game of separation. The personality self is a defense against the truth.

The Course is littered with references to the atheist and the martyr dynamic. A random example…

Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable? (T-4.IV.11:8)

In this example the dis-spirited is addressing the martyr aspect of the personality self. Further study reveals that ultimately, faced with the “wrath” of God and seeking but not finding safety, the martyr will eventually crawl into a hole and give up. The unstable addresses the atheist aspect of the personality self. The atheist will work themselves into an absolute tizzy trying to fix themselves, others or their environment to the point of obsession or instability to avoid abandonment.

There are countless other references including the discussion of the leader and the follower. Why get into this seemingly in the weeds exploration of how the personality self was made and why? Because that is how we are going to undo it with the Holy Spirit.

Who does not believe they are their personality self with special wants, needs, opinions, values, goals, relationships and bodies? This is a cornerstone of the ego belief system. If we will let Him, the Holy Spirit, will show us how the personality self was made and how the ego uses it to keep us enslaved. And ultimately we will learn how it is just a program running in our minds. When we realize this, we will embrace the personality self’s nothingness and let it go. Besides what do we have to do for the next million years?

On with the story…Having made the personality self, we could now use it as a device to learn self-reliance and specialness. We had sinned or substituted another will for God’s. Whose will did we replace God’s with? Ours of course.

Every personality self has its own truths and unique characteristics that witness to the “reality” of separation and differences. The personality self arrogantly and laughably thinks, just like the ego, that it actually causes things to happen by its thoughts, actions or words. What an excellent ego tool we made! A constant blaring testimony to our grandiose and little seemingly individual and separate selves. Grandiosity is an attribute of the atheist and littleness an attribute of the martyr.

This personality self we miscreated, thinks it knows everything (because we told it that it did), guards its specialness ferociously and has a face of innocence and normalness that it presents to the world. Underneath is a lonely, frightened, unworthy, vulnerable, powerless and self-loathing child. But that is another part of the story of our making of the personality self. Stay tuned!