My wife comes from a background of a controlling, abusive mother who always told her that she was incapable, and then a controlling, abusive (now former) husband who always told her that she was incapable. She is also on the Autism spectrum, in the region that was, until recently, known as Aspergers Syndrome. This only served to give "justification" to those highly influential people; "You can't do x, you are disabled."
Needless to say, this could not be further from the truth.
Without those toxic influences in her life, she has been able to excel. Not only has she completed a degree under her own steam while in full-time employment, but has also pivoted her career into an entirely new field. Nonetheless, the negativity from her younger years persists in her mind, so she still thinks that she is incapable.
I try my best to encourage her, and to help her see herself how I see her; as a strong, talented, amazing individual who has so very much to offer. Thanks to those early influences, however, most of my attempts are taken as personal attacks; it feels like she thinks I am yet another person who is telling her she is not good enough, when I am trying, and failing, to tell her the polar opposite.
We were recently trying to think of ways that we can earn a little extra for the rainy day fund in our spare time. Unlike me, who has not a single artistic bone in my body, she is creatively gifted. As such, I suggested that she could think about putting together creative products, such as eBooks, online courses or graphic designs. Her immediate response was, "I am not good enough to do that. Why are you having a go at me because I'm not good enough?"
I was not trying to attack her and she absolutely is good enough.
I have been through imposter syndrome myself so, while mine was self-imposed rather than externally inflicted, I believe I may have some small idea of what she is feeling. I do not, however, have any idea about how to help, which makes me so sad that I am powerless to help the person I love most in this world. I just want to make her happy.
How do I encourage her without it coming across as an attack?