The Person Behind the Mask

​I have recently gone through hell and back with someone who I believed to be one person, who changed in an instant. The change was shocking, scary and cruel. But it was something I am thankful for. Why? Because it helped me to learn a lot about what I want and need, and what happens when you challenged another person’s mask by putting up healthy boundaries. I saw the real person that had been hiding behind an emotional mask.

The Emotional Masks We Wear

Many people wear emotional masks to hide feelings that they don’t want to deal with. Emotional masks are worn due to fear. There are many reasons for this; some people come from family backgrounds that have never supported or encouraged open expression of emotions. Or sometimes a person has been through trauma or difficulties in the past and feel like they can’t express, or don’t want to express the emotions associated with the event.

Sometimes people who stop showing their own emotions to people around them, stop recognising their own emotions completely. Emotional masks are a common way to avoid dealing with these difficult emotions. These aren’t actual physical masks I’m talking about. So, what exactly are emotional masks? Here’s a few examples:

  • The Controlling Mask – A controlling person might be someone who has been betrayed in the past. The have suffered a lot of pain because of these experiences. This insecurity has caused them to develop behaviours which control other people. This prevents them from being hurt or feeling the pain of betrayal again.

  • The Bully Mask - A person who is very insecure about themselves may hide behind the bully mask. They might name call and insult others to bring other people down and make them feel better about themselves.

  • The Dependent Mask – A dependent person may have suffered serious feelings of abandonment. These wounds prevent this person from opening up and becoming close to anyone. This prevents them from experiencing abandonment again. The core of this mask is not being able to trust those closest to them to never abandon them.