To be fully alive and enjoy all that this bountiful world can provide,you need to examine yourself by asking, “What specific mask am I wearing,and how is it holding me back?” Which of the five most common mask discussed below fits you?
The Victim Mask
This powerful mask can lead to a miserable existence. The individual behind this mask feels that life is unfair. He or she plays the martyr role. “If you knew my story,you would understand and have pity on me.”
This individual likes to blame and complain instead of taking responsibility. Often,he or she is stuck in backward thinking.
- It could have been so different if I’d had a better education.
- If only my banker had supported my idea.
- My husband should have made me happy but now I’m all alone.
The individual who puts on this mask believes he or she has no choice. He or she gives his or her power away and see his or herself as less than.
In addition,he or she feels that his or her situation is irredeemable and he or she is helpless to change it. What sort of energy does this person gives out? You are right-negative. Infact,if you spend too much time around someone like this,you will feel your own energy being drained away. It’s exhausting.This shows up in the powerless language been used.
- I can’t
- I should
- I have to
Despite this,some men or women wearing the victim mask have the ability to attract rescuers and caregivers. Some of whom are wearing the victim Mask. When these people are around,they love to talk about their problems. The victim blames others for his or her unhapiness.He or she indulges in pity parties and often uses the guilt card as an ace to help him or her gets what he or she wants. Aging parents often do this; it is a difficult situation for adult children to resolve.
Here’s how to remove this mask:
- Start with a change of attitude. Dare to change your perspective on life. You have options- become creative. Make a list of ten options that will improve your situation. Go ahead and take the first step.
- Carefully monitor your language. Shut off all negative self-talk. Those coulds,shoulds,and can’ts. Instead,substitute with affirming statements. “I am worthy”, “I am lovable.” “I deserve a better life,” “I can do all things because I have the strength within to do it.” You will not see radical change overnight. It is a process. It takes time to integrate these believes at an emotional level.
- Look for inspiration. Get excited about designing a new plan for your life. Realize that other people have transformed their lives after enduring tough challenges. Look outward. Find one person who will not tolerate your victim attitude and ask for positive support.
The Approval-Seeker Mask
Are you hyper-vigilant about what others think of you and how to please them? Do you seek approval about your figure,the clothes you wear,the size of your home,the car you drive,and how much money you earn? Be honest- will you do almost anything to get the approval of others?
Somewhere along life’s path,the Approval-Seeker bought into the idea that it wasn’t okay to express their true thoughts. Instead of inner validation,they seek solace by attempting to please everyone else.
To you,is appearing more important than being?
Behind this mask is a pleasing and agreeable individual. He or she has difficulty setting boundaries because the needs of everyone else appear to be more important than him or her. His or her unconscious stance is, “You count,I don’t.”
Almost everyone wants to be liked but when this desire overrides everything else,however,the life becomes focused on how other people react and respond to him or her.
Before I give you some tips for removing this mask,first,it’s important that you distinguish between approval-seeking behavior and been acknowledged for something that deserves recognition. If for example,you organized a family reunion for one hundred people because you simply wanted to help,not for any self-serving reasons,then by all means take the applause and feel good about it.
These tips will help you give up the Approval-Seeker Mask:
- Get in touch with your emotions. Respect your feelings- they belong to you and are real. You do not need to apologize for having them. Practice speaking openly and honestly. Let your behavior reflect this.
- Allow others see you as you really are,not as you manipulate them to see you.
- Take care of yourself first. Only then will you be more available to others. This means setting new boundaries that permit you to do this consistently.
- The Busy Bee Mask
More than any other,this mask gets the most use. The individual wearing this mask is constantly picking up,dropping off,making to-do lists,volunteering,being productive. He or she is always on the move.
To help you,answer these two questions:
- Can you sit alone and do nothing?
- If you stopped doing,would you still feel worthy.
The thought of wasting time being unproductive is abhorrent to the Busy Bee. This individual never gives his or herself free time and fears having nothing to do. This mask is a clever defense mechanism that helps him or her avoid facing his or her true feelings.
Now think about this: what if the sheer pace of your hectic schedule burns you out? What then? You ‘ll be forced to stop.Life has a way of throwing little curve balls when you least expect it. These curve balls show up as heart attack,divorce, or business failure,to name a few.
When you are forced to stop and think,you have a great opportunity to face your underlying emotional pain. You can examine yourself by asking:
- Why am I living like this?
- What am I running from?
- What am I afraid of?
Slow down and question your need to be so busy. There are three possibilities:
- You are passionate about what you do.
You love your work and it energizes you.
You also take breaks and you understand the importance of balance.
- You simply need more help and support. Your To-Do List is real and everything on it requires attention. The problem is that nobody is sharing the load with you.
- You have an unhealthy compulsion to be busy. You drive people crazy when your busy motor is in overdrive.
The first two points have nothing to do with the Busy Bee Mask.You are a busy person,and you may need to do something about reducing your load,and while you may need to do something about it,you don’t need to figure how to remove the Busy Bee Mask. But if you saw yourself in the third possibility, discovering what is behind the compulsion is critical. What pain are you seeking to avoid? What belief system did you adopt that said life was all work and no play?
- Everyday,challenge your compulsion to be busy. The mask will gradually lose its power over you.
- Schedule some quiet time for yourself. Start with ten minutes and gradually increase it. Sit alone in complete privacy. Release any emotions that surface. Later,capture your thoughts in a journal or verbalize them. Yes,it’s okay to talk to yourself!
- Remove inessential items from your to-do list.
The Intellectual Mask
Have you ever been trapped at a party enduring a lengthy overly cerebral discussion full of obscure facts and figures? Incredibly boring,the talk amounts to analysis to the point of paralysis. And throughout the entire episode, not one flicker of emotions escapes from this bland conversationalist. If you have,you just had an encounter with The Intellectual. The individual who hides behind this mask prefers thinking to feeling.
He or she is rigid in thinking,wrapped up in concepts and analysis. Because he or she lacks an emotional connection,he or she has difficulty relating to others at work especially if he or she is in a supervisory role. As well,his or her emotional void often cause problems within his or her family,where he or she may be perceived as cold and detached.People who wear the intellectual Mask are not generally big on hugging!
This individual likes to be super-objective,living a life that is structured by rules and regulations. He or she can rationalize any situation to make a point,and in the process ensures that associated feelings are kept hidden. Individuals who wear the Intellectual Mask may have developed the belief that showing emotion is a sign of weakness and therefore should be kept under control. The intellectual prefers the boardroom and the classroom to the social world of people and their problems.
If you are struggling with this,here are a couple of suggestions:
- Identify your emotions in general conversations. Become familiar with the all-important feeling words. I feel happy. I’m bored. I’m feeling angry. Instead of saying, “The new promotion I received is recognition for my ability to conduct accurate research,” you can say, “I feel honored by promotion because it recognizes my ability to conduct accurate research.
- During conversation,use your mental acuity to discern what the other person is feeling. Make it a game,if that stirs your intellectual juices. Provide accurate feedback that shows you really understand what the person is saying. And yes,that means taking a genuine interest,even if it is a new sensation for you.
Here are two examples of good “feelings” feedback:
- Sounds like you ‘re pretty excited about buying this piece of property.
- That must have been really scary.
The Rescuer Mask
Each time a cry for help goes out,the Rescuer will be the first in line. This individual is perceived as a caregiver because he or she has the compulsive need to help others. The Rescuer looks for people to save. He or she believes they can’t do without him or her so he or she wants to take responsibility for them. His or her mantra is, “They need me.”
In the course of helping, however,the Rescuer can be overbearing. He or she doesn’t realize that his or her own inherent need to be needed is helping to keep people stuck.This shows up in many simple,everyday situations.
“I’ve given up on John ever learning how to pack a nutritious lunch. It’s easier for me to do it for him.”
Do you play these games,too? Are you into judging what is best for others instead of letting them have their own experiences? Rescuing mothers are overprotective of their children,a habit that often causes future rebellion. If you want to avoid the terrible teens,back off when they are young.
Do you ever feel resentful doing so much for others?Remember,we are talking about extreme behavior here,not the normal,healthy,giving nature that well-balanced people demonstrate.
Do you give beyond the point of love? Are you always putting the needs of others before your own needs? Many people answer these questions with a heartfelt yes! Here are some suggestions to help you remove this mask.
- Understand that each action you take is motivated by intention. All behavior has a purpose.Ask yourself: am I doing this to fulfil a personal need( to be loved) or am I doing it from unconditional love,expecting nothing in return? If you knew you would be loved anyway,would you still be a Rescuer?
- Next time you jump into rescue mode,slow down and ask yourself, “Does this person need to be rescued,and is it my responsibility?