If someone was to take a step back and to reflect on how they behave around others, they could find that they have the tendency to lose themselves and to be who other people want them to be. It could be as though a button has been pressed, causing their behaviour to completely change.
As a result of this, they will lose touch with their true needs and feelings. However, while this will be so, the people who they spend time with could believe that how they come across is actually who they are.
How It Looks
When it comes to what they are like around others, they could be easy-going and happy to go along to get along. One is then not going to stand out and make much of a mark; they could simply fade into the background.
There could be people in their life that are happy to have them around, knowing that one won’t overshadow them. Also, as one loses touch with their needs around others, these people won’t feel inconvenienced by them.
On the Sidelines
What this will show is that during these moments, one will be physically in the company of others, yet they won’t be emotionally with them. The emotional part of their being will have been covered up.
This part of their being will be hidden behind the mask that they wear; the mask that prevents them from revealing who they truly are. So, as they are unable to fully show up around others, they are likely to lead a lonely existence.
One is then going to have people in their life and they won’t live a life of isolation, but their life is still going to lack the level of human connection that they need. Regardless of whether they are by themselves or around others, they are still going to be alone.
For them to connect, let alone deeply connect, to their fellow human beings, they will need to drop their mask. The part of them that has been cast aside, their emotional self, will need to be reintegrated.
This is why it is not enough for someone to just spend time around others; they will need to fully show up in order for it to have a deep effect on them. Of course, one is a ‘social animal’ and being around others is essential for their wellbeing, but they also have deeper needs.
This could be seen as the difference between a food item that has relatively little nutritional value and one that does; the former is better than nothing but it is not suffice. The question is: if experiencing life in this way is not serving them, why don’t they their change their life?
An Automatic Process
Firstly, one could be in a position where they are not even aware of what is going on, which is why they haven’t done anything to change their life. Experiencing life in this way will just be what is normal.
Still, what they could be only too aware of are the consequences of living life in this way. Along with feeling frustrated, angry and hopeless, they could often feel invisible and as though they don’t exist.
The Downside of Self-Awareness
Even if they are aware of what is going on, they could feel powerless to do anything about it. Thus, being aware of what is going on can make their life even worse, as they will know what is going on but have no way of doing anything about it.
Being completely oblivious about what is going on would still cause them to suffer but it might be more bearable. To get out of this self-created prison, they will need to understand why they wear a mask around others and to look into what they can do to actually change their behaviour.
If they were to take a closer look into why they hide themselves around others, they may find that they have a strong fear of being rejected and abandoned. This will probably show that they believe that there is something inherently wrong with their true-self
Therefore, for them to not just be accepted by others but to have other people in their life, they will need to play a role that will prevent others from realising how flawed they are. If they don’t play a role, they will believe that they will be ostracised by their fellow human beings.
Based on what is taking place within them, hiding themselves around others is going to be hard but it would be even harder for them to reveal themselves. Hiding themselves will be seen as the only way for them to have people in their life and to survive.
Ultimately, one is a human being and, just like their fellow human beings, they are not inherently flawed. So the next question is: why would they believe that there is something inherently wrong with them?
Back In Time
What this may show is that their early years were anything but nurturing, with this being a time when they were treated like dirt. Perhaps this was a time when they experienced some kind of abuse and/or neglect.
As they were egocentric at this stage of their life, they would have taken what took place personally. It was then not that there was something wrong with their caregivers; it was that there was something wrong with them.
A False-Self Was Born
What these early experiences would have taught them is that in order for them to survive, they need to hide themselves. It wouldn’t have been possible for them to get rid of their true-self, so the next best thing would have been to disconnect from it.
Losing touch with themselves and putting on an act would have been a matter of life and death, and something that happened automatically. Instead of being brought up to focus on their inner and outer world, they would have had to solely focus on what was going on externally.
Further, as their interpersonal bridge would have most likely been severed during this time, they would have been filled with toxic shame. If they feel hot in the face when they think about revealing themselves or being seen, it will be toxic shame.
If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, 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.