Winnicott used the term of False Self to refer to two situations: In the first one it is the structure that protects the self, it is the social façade. In the other situation the child will develop a personality (a false self) due to disturbing reactions from its surrounding and not based upon its own talents and possibilities. This happens when during the earliest life there is a lot of infringement that disrupts the continuity of being.
The care taker who isn’t good enough, doesn’t adapt to the needs of the child but he/she forces the child to adapt to his or her needs instead. The child that adapts, develops a self tuned into the needs of the other and neglects his/hers own needs. This is not an authentic self but a false self. The false self exists in different degrees. When due to the false self a connection with the real self becomes impossible, life becomes meaningless, the idea that nothing matters and that life isn’t worth living appears.