I think that it's important to share some of my experience, strength and hope with them. And to let them know that they are not alone in their feelings. So I found the following particularly profound. It reminded me of what it was like for me just before I understood surrender.
"Don't be fooled by me. Don't be fooled by the face I wear. For I wear a mask; I wear a thousand masks I am afraid to take off, and none of them are me.
I give you the impression that I am secure, that confidence is my name and coolness my game, that the waters are calm and I'm in command, and that I need no one. But don't believe me please.
My surface may seem smooth-- underneath I dwell in confusion, in fear, in fear of being found out. That's why I frantically create a mood to hide behind, a calm, sophisticated front to shield me from the glance that knows. But such a glance is my salvation and I know it. It's the only thing that can assure me of acceptance and love. I'm afraid you'll think less of me, that you'll laugh. Laughter would kill me.
So I play my game, my desperate pretending game, with a front of "having it together," but a trembling child hides within. And so my life becomes a front. I chatter to you in a cool tone; I tell you everything that's nothing and nothing of what's everything and what's crying within me. So when I go into my routine do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen to what I am not saying.
I dislike the phony game I'm playing. I'd like to be real and spontaneous, and show you who I really am. You've got to hold out your hand even when it may seem to be the last thing I want, and need. Only you can awaken the aliveness within. Each time you're kind and gentle, and encouraging, each time you try to understand because you really care, my heart begins to grow wings-- small wings, very feeble wings.
I want you to know how important you are to me, how you can be a creator of the person that is me if you choose to. But it will not be easy for you. A long time of feeling inferior builds strong walls.
The nearer you appraoch me, the harder I may strike back. It is irrational, but I am irrational. I fight against the very things I cry out for. But I am told that love is stronger than walls, and therein lies my hope. Please try and beat down those walls with firm but gentle hands-- for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I? You may wonder? I am someone you know very well, I am every new comer you meet."
From the book called "Stepping Stones To Recovery from Codependency" by Katie C and Deb M