The false self develops to protect the dehumanized person whose heart and soul have been annihilated through trauma. To do this the false self grows up too fast and becomes precociously adapted to the outer world (Winnicott, 1960) in order to resist any unguarded spontaneous expressions of authentic self in the world. The chameleon-like nature of the false self enables the survivor to be whatever the abuser wants it to be. Most commonly this is manifest in fierce independence, self-sufficiency, invulnerability, and pseudomaturity. This false self often presents as a solid exterior which appears calm, contained, secure, and functional but is actually a veneer for the fragile, labile, insecure, helpless and developmentally immature true self.
Christiane Sanderson, Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma (via disabledbyculture