We listed 9 Emotional Masks people wear in this blog post. Read that first to get an overview of each of the masks, and see if you can recognize which mask you tend to wear.
Here we talk about a few examples of people wearing emotional masks, and what that could look like.
Example of a Humorist
The person that I love the most when I think of stand up comedy is Mr Robin Williams. Oh did I love this human! Robin Williams made human beings of multiple generations laugh in moments of darkness and despair. Robin Williams brought laughter and joy to the lives of people who desperately needed it. I know a personal example. I was 10 or 11 years old and I moved to the country of Iran after living in the United States for the previous five years. I’m in Iran and I’m just depressed. I’m in an all boys school wearing a uniform. I can’t read the language, I can’t write the language. I just don’t want to be there. It’s oppressed, it’s Islamic, it’s just horrible. I want to be in the US and I remember we got this bootleg video of Miss Doubtfire and I probably watched Miss Doubtfire a thousand five million times. That’s not even a number but God, did it take me out of my mind, and God did it make me laugh, and boy, did it bring me some joy in those moments. And when you look at Robin Williams’ life behind the camera when no one’s around he struggled with major depressive disorder. When you look at Robin Williams’ life he struggled with cocaine abuse and alcoholism. When you look at Robin Williams’ life it was far from funny. He struggled and he’s open about it and ultimately it led him to believe that the depression was so severe that a person that successful and well known had to take his own life because he couldn’t live another day feeling the way he felt.
Example of an Overachiever
I can identify with this – I told you we’re all guilty of these, and Bam! here I go – the Overachiever. It’s oftentimes because we have this innate inadequacy. We don’t feel good about ourselves and who we are and how we live, so we overcompensate with accomplishments. We overcompensate with making sure that we are doing the best of their abilities at all things we can do and we’re burning at the both ends of the candle and we’re just always on the go and we’re trying to get good grades and we’re trying to be good at work and we’re trying to do good at relationships and they’re trying to be the best at everything. Because we feel that by doing so we can receive the love, the recognition, the acknowledgement, whatever you want to call it, of the world, and when we don’t get it it’s an empty feeling.
Example of a Martyr
I was at the grocery store like A Mother’s Market where for the most part people that go to Mother’s Market are a little bit more health conscious, they just think a little bit differently, they’re willing to pay a premium to get a product for their health and this and that. We’re just standing in the checkout lane, and bless their heart, there’s one person working over there and I’m in the line and it’s probably going to be like a six to seven minute line. And the person in front of me is just losing their mind like, “This is ridiculous. We have stuff to do, we got places to go. I’m here right now trying to get this stuff and this is literally what’s happening. They’re making me wait for 5 minutes. I mean, how hard is it for them to get another cashier in this place and make this go by faster? I’m missing out on the opportunity to go do XY and Z.” It’s like, “Yo dude, chill out! just wait for five minutes, grab your groceries and walk out, be grateful you’re buying groceries.” But that mindset doesn’t just apply to the register at a grocery store. It applies to their loved ones and their relationships and their children.
Example of a Bully
I experienced bullying when I was a child growing up. I remember vividly going from the US to Iran and sitting in school and it was just tough. They make fun of you for being an American. I’m like, well I was born in Iran. They make fun of you for not being able to read and write or the way you speak has a certain accent to it, or sounds cute or funny. And then when I came to the US in my high school years, my formative high school years, sophomore, junior year, nobody was overtly outright mean to me but I would get really bad comments and stuff. Like if you look at my face up close I don’t know if you can see I have all these like acne scars on my face and I think this camera is a little polished so it’s removing them but I was to the point that I was afraid if someone touches my face, my face was going to bleed. I had so much social anxiety. I have this thing called Vitiligo which is like these little white dots or spots that I have on my hand and I get made fun of for those. Or people wouldn’t want to touch my hand because they thought it’s contagious and this stuff just hurts.
Example of a Control Freak
I call them helicopter parents. They’re just always around and it’s like they want to know every little detail and for them they’re like, “I’m doing it because I love my kid,” and they know their kid says, “I can’t stand my mom or dad. They just control every aspect of my life.” So the intention is good: “I love my kid.” The actual interpretation of what they’re doing is, “This person just doesn’t trust me. This person hates me. This person is just XYZ.”
Example of a Self Basher
I tell parents all the time, “Be careful of what you tell your children, because one day it will become their inner critic, the inner voice inside their mind.” So, if you always tell your kid, “You’re not good enough, you’re not doing it right, you should have done it this way,” do you really think they just take that and say, “Oh thank you so much, I appreciate you Mom, I appreciate you Dad, for telling me that. I didn’t do it good enough.” They start to internalize that. “When they told me that, it means I’m not good enough. I’m inadequate. I’m not smart. I’m not worthy. I don’t deserve.” And guess what that inner critic becomes? Their inner voice. And it starts to become their identity. They over-identify with it and believe the BS that they’re telling themselves. And they bash themselves and they bash themselves and they bash themselves. “Oh I can’t do it anyways, what’s the point? Why even try? I’m stupid.”
Example of a People Pleaser
There’s a lot of people in the recovery rooms that say, “Hey, I’m just like a chameleon. I could be anything I want to be. I could talk anyway I want to talk. I can do what I got to do because that’s what I am.” No, that tells me who you exactly are not. There is no sense of self, there is no truth, there is no realness, authenticity to you. If you could be whatever color paint that you have to be to look a certain way on a wall, what does that say about you?
Example of What One of these Roles Looks Like
My favorite show growing up was this thing called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and it was Will Smith and he was a child from Philadelphia, from like the hood. An adverse childhood experience was when his dad abandoned him when he was a child. He eventually moves over to Bel-Air where he had an aunt and uncle somehow but his dad pops into his life after a lot of years, like 14 years of not being there. So the dad comes into his life and Will Smith is like a freaking humorist, the humorist mask. He’s a funny guy. This scene is going to show you what’s underneath it and how he quickly taps into that mask before underneath it comes out. So his dad comes and one more time his father says, “Hey sorry son, I gotta go.” So his father comes in and and they’re about to go on this road trip for a few weeks and he’s so excited he comes and he’s like, “Dad, I’m here,” and his dad’s right about to walk out and he says, “Hey son, something came up and I gotta go again.” And immediately Will just goes, “Okay whatever, take care!” He’s like, “We’ll do it some other time.” He’s like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. We’ll go,” and the dad walks out and Will turns around. His uncle’s there and his uncle’s like, “Hey Will, I’m so sorry that your dad did this to you again.” And then Will says, “Oh it’s not a big deal. Actually I’m happy that he’s gone because all the girls in school at summertime, they’re going to be wearing nothing, they’re going to look good, I’m gonna go play ball, I’m going to party, I’m gonna have a good time,” and then he’s like, “Will, it’s okay to be mad,” and he says, “Why should I be mad? It’s not like I’m 5 years old and I’m waiting at the window asking my mom when dad’s going to come home. It’s not like I had 14 birthdays without him. It’s not like I learned how to do all these things without him,” and he starts to get angry and then he starts to say, “I’m gonna graduate college, I’m gonna have myself a bunch of families, a bunch of kids, and I’m never gonna be what this guy was, because he never taught me what it’s like to be a dad.” And then it’s a really overwhelming scene and then he just starts crying and he says, “Why can’t he just love me?” So immediately when he got hurt he started cracking joke joke joke joke joke. Underneath it was, “Why can’t he just love me?” And I want you guys to know that whichever one of these masks we share today, underneath it there is a wounded self. This mask is protection.
“We all have three faces. The first face is the face that we show the world. The second face is the face that we show our friends and family. And the third face is the face that we show to nobody, in that third face is our truest self.”