Since I did the Hoffman process introduction day, I have been thinking about the roles that I used to play as a child. The reason for this is that this one was one of the things that we looked into.
I came to see that I was often the peacemaker, the helper, the responsible one, and the undemanding one. Playing each these roles was a way for me to receive approval and therefore, to survive.
The False Self
But, while playing these roles allowed me to survive, the downside is that I lost touch with my true-self. I behaved how other people wanted me to behave, or how I thought that they wanted me to.
Who I really was ended up being covered up and I continued to behave in the same ways as an adult. Playing these roles was what felt safe and it was what was normal, so my behaviour didn’t just change as time went by.
A Time and A Place
Now, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and a place for me to be a peacemaker or to help others, for instance. What it comes down to is that this should be something I choose to do as opposed to something I always do.
When this is the case, I am behaving like a conscious human being, instead of a programmed machine. This is a bit like how there will be times when it will be necessary to wear a jacket, but it would creates problem if a jacket was always worn.
Over to You
So, now that I have spoken about a number of the roles that played as a child, let’s bring the focus over to you. Can you think of any of the roles that you had to play when you were younger?
And once you have done this, can you see how you still play these very same roles as an adult? For example, you might have been the victim, the disappointment, the rescuer and/or the burden.
The Past is Present
The years will then have passed and, regardless of whether your parents are around, you could have re-created your early environment. You won’t be in touch with your true-self, meaning you will be behaving in ways that don’t reflect who you really are.
Behaving in these ways won’t allow you to live a fulfilling life, but they will allow you to meet certain needs. These needs are likely to be just out of your awareness, and, if you were you change your behaviour; you are likely to feel uncomfortable.
Deep down, you might believe that your life will come to an end if you were to change your behaviour. Thus, even though playing a role – or a number of roles – will stop you from being able to express yourself, it will be what feels comfortable.
A fear of being rejected and abandoned could come up if you behave differently, causing you to believe that you are doing the wrong thing. This would have probably been what happened during your early years if you altered your behaviour and it would have put your life under threat, but now that you are an adult, it is less likely that anything bad will happen.
If a friend was to reject you for behaving in an authentic manner, it will create the space for you to attract a new friend who can accept you are as you are. Letting go of someone who can’t accept you is far better than staying in contact with someone who you have to put on an act around.
No longer playing different roles is, of course, a process and not something that happens overnight. This is why it is so important to be patient and persistent.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.