MASKS OF PERSONALITY: KNOWING & COPING
Each person masks their emotions differently. Please note during one’s childhood, an individual does learn to behave a certain way when they do receive approval from those around them and then go on to develop a mask. The individual is not at all conscious of the role they have adopted and projecting outwards to people they have met along the way. In some cases where an individual is highly and deeply conscious, they may not even know or be aware that they are wearing a mask. Wearing a mask does take away energy from our consciousness and, in the long run, it does wear out our energy! Please make good note that a person’s mask is completely noticeable when he or she is sick or more so weak as the said individual will no longer have the power or vigor to keep the mask on.
What is Masking then?
Masking is all about covering up one's own natural outward appearances, mannerisms, and speech in any dramatic and inconsistent ways that are firmly depending on the classified change situation. People with Personality Disorders suffer from low self-esteem or do have an inconsistent self-image which categorically shifts depending on their inner emotional and psychological climate. That can consequently change rapidly if they are susceptible to several mood swings, they may even represent themselves publicly in quite a lot of inconsistent ways.
This practice of altering and adjusting our behavior or even mannerisms are familiar to most people. It is inevitable that almost everybody, be it consciously or subconsciously, puts their best foot forward when they want to make a good and say a solid impression on family, co-workers, authority figures, or even large social groups. Most of us do adjust our behavior for varied contexts such as cheering at a basketball game as opposed to sitting in an official meeting. However, in some people with Personality Disorders, there is a marked and clearly noticeable inconsistency, that involves rapid cycling followed by an acute and drastic intensity of Masking which is beyond typical and archetypal!
People are far more complicated than the various masks they wear in society.
How Masking Looks
Sudden and drastic changes in voice, vocabulary, or geographic accent;
Situational changes in one’s physical mannerisms;
Wearing different clothes – thoroughly copying the appearance of another;
Using different names, depending on who is being spoken to;
Change in taste of food, interests, etc;
Rapid as well as inexplicable changes in political views and/or religious beliefs
We understand how dangerous masks can be. We all become what we pretend to be.
How Masking Feels
It can sometimes even go on to feel a little frightening and intimidating to watch someone close to you morph and transform right before your eyes when the phone rings or when someone else comes into the room.
It can also be common to feel and gauge they are being hypocritical or even fake. You may feel angry or agitated if they are nice or say humble and even practically accommodating and adaptable to one particular person while they show a drastically lesser attractive side to you. It is very common for non- maskers to hope that the person who is masking will be found out or disclosed eventually.
Sometimes, it does feel quite embarrassing to be a family member or spouse or partner to someone when their Masking is way too obvious to so many others. You may even feel humiliated and mortified to be associated with them and fear plus fright, a loss of respect, contempt, or even ridicule plus deride of others!
We understand how dangerous masks can be. We all become what we pretend to be.
How to Cope with Masking
While it may be very tempting to pull off the mask, it is important to remember and recount that each person has a convincing right to their own thoughts and beliefs. It is also important to remember and reembrace that your matter is yours, and their matter is actually theirs, and you must technically remain more focused on yourself and your own behavior. Wherever say a person’s masking does not affect you or even harm you, it is best said to leave it alone; however, if a person’s masking does create harm or hindrance for you (for example, involves either emotional abuse or physical abuse), it is important to invariably get yourself towards a safety net.
What NOT to do
Don’t try to Thought Police or pull off another person’s mask.
Don’t waste energy in trying to figure out which version of a person is the “real one”. Please note that the real person is not either the “good one” or the “bad one”; it is in fact the sum total of them all.
Don’t stay in a room or a situation where you are being hurt or abused by another person. Politely and calmly do move over to a safer and calmer place.
What TO Do
Talk to others who do understand Personality Disorders about the situation. Chances are they will recognize Masking.
Try to keep a stable and consistent view yourself and deal with the person as the sum of all their parts - not just the side you are seeing at any given time that is considered to be good or even bad.
Focus on your own behavior and build healthy relationships with others who will deal with you consistently and even respectfully.
A mask is what goes on to wear in order to hide from the real internal ourselves.
Seven Masks We Use to Hide Our Faults:
1. THE PERFECTIONIST: I must do everything perfectly. Then perhaps no one will go on to notice that the rest of my life actually happens to be a complete mess. The Perfectionist works so very hard in order to overcompensate and take excessive measures that he or she may even have total “control issues.”
2. THE LIFE OF THE PARTY: I tell you jokes; you laugh (with me and not at me) and then you will not notice my mistakes. The Life of the Party does love the limelight when the response is so positive, and people do not see the clown within them actually crying.
3. THE INTELLECT: I want you to see how actually smart and sharp I am, so I will outwit and outplay everybody in the room. The Intellect does work so hard to be brilliant and ingenious, that he or she sometimes does happen to fall apart after an intense and vigorous brainstorming session.
4. THE LOSER/THE BLACK SHEEP: It is entirely my fault is the tagline! I am always the outcast, no matter how hard I do try to please you or impress you. The Loser/The Black Sheep secretly does hate being labeled but is categorically resigned towards a life of underachievement and more so compiled by self-pity.
5. THE SPACE CADET: I have been called an “airhead” my entire life because I have constant trouble paying attention to anything. The Space Cadet is astoundingly wounded by several false accusations, but has specifically learned to play dumb and speechless, in order that people do not expect much from him or her.
6. THE SUPERHERO: I do get a feeling of complete happiness and refined contentment when I help other people that is the bigger the crisis, the better for me. Generous to a complete fault, the Superhero does win “friends” by being totally indispensable but never ever goes on to ask for help for themselves.
7. THE REBEL/THE HOTHEAD: I will always happen to do it my way. If you do not like it, tough luck! What is wrong with you? The Rebel/Hothead does push people away with many angry remarks or even proclaimed arrogance, using it as a die-hard protective shield against criticism as well as manifested intimacy.
All these folks do yearn for more than anything else as it is to be completely loved for being who they actually are. No mask. The first step to loving your Authentic and Veritable Self is to come out of that closet without any disguises and concealment.
However, there are some caveats:
Know and embrace your masks. When a mask has been in place for a long time, you do forget that you are actually wearing it. Your masks have well protected you in the past, but do learn to release them with thorough love.
Be realistic. Dropping disguises all at once is too drastic. Some of them may still go on to serve you and even revisit you on occasion. Make sure you do choose to use a particular disguise and impersonation, and that you are not just going back to the old and patterned habits again.
It takes time. If you have lived in your mask for a while, your close associates may not go on to appreciate your Authentic and Veritable Self at any cost. Do not let that dissuade and deter you from making the necessary and change. Be totally candid and forthright about your changes and surround yourself with various types of people who do love you for who you truly can be.
Let your Authentic Self shine. The vast potential can be invariably tapped only when children and adults do unlock their Authenticated Selves in totality. Remember that you were born to be extraordinary. So, live your life with the utmost gusto!
Learn to be what you are. This is the first step towards truly becoming better than what you are already.
Written by - Trishna Patnaik
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