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Wearing Masks....

So I learned very early that I had a specific job in my family. I was peace maker or people pleaser.

So I learned very early that I had a specific job in my family. I was peace maker or people pleaser. I learned that it was better to stay quiet, or on the sidelines than to force up and state what it was I needed. This was my early programming, and like I stated before, I had and have a wonderful family, but circumstances of our family dynamic dictated our situation. Having young parents and a sister who was born with physical and mental disabilities, you learn pretty young where you belong in that family unit.

So how does that manifest?

Well I felt that everyone was more important than me. So I manifested as the adult that everyone else besides me was important and I was secondary. Of course, I know now that isn’t true. But almost every relationship in my life, showed up that way for me. I put all my romantic relationships and their needs before mine. I put my parents needs before mine, my siblings feelings before mine, even friends and their needs before my own. It was expected, I can’t get mad at them. I set it up that way.

This is where wearing masks comes into the equation of our lives. Do you know what masks you wear? My masks manifested as the quiet one, the peace maker, the pleaser, the-my opinion doesn’t really matter so you make the decision. I was always cool with it, whatever anyone wanted; I didn’t want to make waves. I was the one who would allow everyone around me to have their freak outs or melt downs. I allowed everyone to bitch, moan and complain whether I felt like hearing it or not. I suffered tremendous guilt if something was asked of me that I didn’t really want to do. So I learned how to tell little white lies instead of honoring the fact that saying NO was actually ok, just because it was, and I said so.

Just so you know, I am still working on that one. It takes a bit of practice and honoring yourself to master, especially if you are a people pleaser.

The people pleaser mask is a great one to have. It means that you put everyone else before yourself because you need to be validated by others and what they think. It means telling the universe that what you need doesn’t really matter, so the universe responds in kind. Basically it says, you spend all your time and energy on everyone else so here you go, more situations that show up for you that allow you to play that role.

I will give some examples. Your spouse or partner always knows that they can get angry, withdrawal, rage, bitch, moan, threaten, shut-down, make excuses, break promises….etc. (fill in the blank) and YOU will shake it off, allow it, and basically make it all better. Your mother, father and siblings know they can complain, make you feel guilty, feel obligated to get YOU to do whatever it is they want or need, regardless if you want to or not. Everyone reading this… You know who you are!!

Your friends call you whenever, day or night in their own drama about their relationships, family, finances, children or whatever the story is at the moment. You will drop everything to lend money, give advice, pick up their children if they need you to, or listen incessantly as they complain about their spouse/relationships/finances/family..etc... And you might just not have the energy or the means to do it, and that’s ok. But YOU don’t have the courage to speak up and say “I just don’t have it in me at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care, I love you but I am not emotionally or financially available right now.” One of the best things about being authentic is not only are you honest and take care of yourself, but when you are ready, you have more of yourself to actually give and you give because you want to, not because you feel obligated. Doing for others when you feel obligated always leads to hidden resentment and anger. Not only are you angry with them for asking, but you are angry with yourself for doing something which you don’t really want to do.

The fixer is very close to the people pleaser but the fixer usually comes in doing the same things, after a situation has happened. They are the ones that clean up the messes. They put out the fires, pay the bail or bills, help with the mortgage right before it foreclosed on, get the cars out of being impounded, let the family or friends live on the couch….etc..etc… but basically it is the same thing. The pleasers are just more active in trying to prevent all of this along the way. The fixers come in at the end and rescue everyone involved. Do you really want that job any longer?

So what is the answer? Do you tell a loved one, whether spouse, parent, sibling, friend or even child, NO? Yup that is exactly what you do!!! Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and that loved one is be your actual self and do what is good for you!!! By doing that you are being authentic and that translates to everyone involved. Also it allows the person to take responsibility for their own life. For the pleaser, peacemaker or fixer, this is very, very difficult but it really is the best gift you can give to everyone, including yourself.

I just want to talk a little bit about how wearing these masks manifest inside the person who is wearing them. I can tell you because I have been there, did it, and still trying very consciously to work on it.

Basically it manifests very quietly. You look like you have everything together and no one would ever expect you to lose it, but lose it you do! You simmer and it comes out in passive-aggressive ways. You pretend nothing bothers you but deep down it does, so you figure out sneaky ways to punish people. You shut down, reject the people who love you, or you figure out sly ways to manipulate them. You find great ways to make them feel guilty… of course this is all underhanded. They don’t even know what hit them, how could they? They think everything is always ok with you, because that is the mask you wear. You have showed them that you are always in control and things just slide off your back, but that isn’t the truth and you know it.

I tried to convince myself, but I knew I was lying. We always somehow know, whether we want to admit it or not. That is usually the way it manifests, always quiet but secretly seething inside. Unless, you get really lucky, and are sent a person who totally pushes your buttons to the point of exploding and completely losing it. That person is your greatest teacher, your biggest pain in your ass, and probably the person who figured out a way to dig right inside your heart, pull it out and pounce on it like a lion who is feasting on a sweet little gazelle minding their own business. HA!!! Not so much my friend, this is the person who can teach you the most about yourself. That person and I’m sure everyone reading knows exactly who that is; is the one we need to look at. Because that is the person, who will show you exactly how you wear your masks and where it manifests in your life.



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