When it comes to feelings, there can often be a disparity between how one feels and how something actually is. And feeling invisible is the perfect example of this. Part of being human is to have a physical body and yet at an emotional level, one can feel that this is not the case.
One can feel that they are invisible to others and to the world. And regardless of their physical impact on life, the experience of not being noticed exists. For the person who does feel visible and takes it for granted; being invisible will be hard to comprehend and may even be dismissed and minimized.
What this shows is that it has nothing to do with how someone looks in the eyes of another person or how much room there body takes up in the world; it comes down to what’s going on internally.
This is likely to be an experience that is simply accepted as part of life and something that is normal. If the feeling has been around for a certain time, it is inevitable that one will feel that there is no other way.
And this will of course lead to al kinds of other feelings, thoughts and emotions and will shape how one sees themselves and others. Ones behaviour will also be a reflection of this feeling of being invisible.
One’s self image is unlikely to be empowering or functional. For if one is invisible, it means that they don’t exist; therefore a whole host of other consequences will appear. Having a healthy sense of self worth, self value, self esteem and self empowerment is unlikely.
This will make ones internal experience and external experience one of pain and suffering. Feeling hopeless and that one doesn’t have an effect on their environment is then part of life.
The Inner And The Outer
So not only does one feel invisible around others, but their internal experience is also making them feel the same. Now, it could be said that one feels this way due to their experiences of life. And this is partly true of course.
However, in order for one to feel invisible in the first place one has to already know what it feels like to be invisible. Because, if one didn’t know what it felt like to be invisible on the inside, it wouldn’t matter what happened externally.
This shows that one feels invisible based on their interpretations of what they see and not due to the experience itself. The external experience then validates what one believes within.
So it could even be a positive or neutral experience and based on this interpretation, one can still feel invisible. As it is the mind that defines if one feels invisible or not and has nothing to do with body.
The challenge is that these interpretations are going on automatically and are rarely conscious. And behind these interpretations are the ego minds associations. In order to interpret something in a certain way, one has to have created associations around it to begin with.
So, what this comes down to is that for the person who feels invisible, their ego mind is at the root of it all. These associations will shape how one feels, thinks, behaves and perceives people and the world.
The Ego Mind
And the ego minds main function is to do with keeping one alive and it does this through familiarity. If something is interpreted as familiar to the ego mind, it then becomes what is classed as safe.
The challenge is that what the ego mind classes as familiar and therefore safe could be extremely dysfunctional and damaging to one’s life. At one stage in life, these associations may have kept one alive, but now, they are leading to unnecessary pain and suffering.
These associations could have been formed in later life, but they were most likely created during ones childhood. A traumatic experience or an accumulation of seemingly insignificant experiences in adulthood could have created these associations.
But as the childhood years are so powerful in forming how one sees themselves as an adult, this is the area that generally has the biggest influence.
It is during this time that one’s boundaries and sense of self are formed. And these are the main factors that define whether one has these associations and therefore feels invisible or not.
As a baby ones identity is based on being connected to the mother and as the mother responds to the baby’s needs; the baby begins to see that it is separate from the mother. This is achieved through the mother giving empathetic care to the baby. And through the mother respecting the baby’s space, the baby will begin to form boundaries.
The baby will be mirrored, heard, regulated and responded to. This will cause the baby to learn that is has an effect on its environment amongst other things.
However, if one received unempathic care as a baby and then when they were children, the above is unlikely to happen. Here ones needs would have been ignored and replaced with the caregivers needs. Their personal space would then have been compromised and lead to one feeling wide open. At the extreme this would be classed as abuse, but it doesn’t have to be extreme to be abusive.
As the caregiver didn’t respond to the baby’s needs, it will not develop the understanding that it has an effect on the environment; there are of course extremes to this. It may be a one of experience or a build up of experiences that are not too traumatic.
And if the caregiver doesn’t respond to the baby, it will begin to feel that it doesn’t exist. It may be a result of being completely ignored or ignored at certain times. These experiences will then lead to the ego mind concluding that one is invisible and the associations will then follow.
If these associations were formed during ones childhood, it is unlikely that one had the awareness or the ability to question them. And this means that they were taken personally and as a reflection of who one is. Ultimately, all they reflected was where the caregiver/s was at.
As one let’s go of the past and the associations that go with it, ones sense of self will begin to form as will healthy boundaries. This may require the help of a therapist, coach, mentor or trusted friend. Reading and becoming aware of certain things may be enough for some people though.
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.