Masking true identity

Masking aka camouflaging is a social phenomenon whereby people learn, practice, and perform certain behaviours and then suppress others in order to feel accepted by other people.


This image illustrates how masking appears to others on the outside (left) but on the right how it may feel to them on the inside.

Just like Peter Parker the intelligent science enthusiast, who appeared socially awkward, The persona of Spider-Man gave him the confidence to be bolder during social interaction.

The signs of this social survival strategy can vary from person to person, but masking can include behaviours such as:

➡️ Hiding your true feelings and mood

➡️ Forcing eye contact during conversations.

➡️ Imitating other people’s expressions and body language.

➡️ Developing rehearsed responses to questions.

➡️ Scripting conversations

➡️ Trying to focus on a conversation but zoning out.

➡️ Taking on the role of a completely different character in social situations.

Masking is an uncomfortable and exhausting experience because there is the requirement to:

➡️ Research social rules and norms

➡️ Learn social cues from other people and television.

➡️ Observe other people’s social interactions.

➡️ Practice ways appearing relaxed and engaged.

➡️ Monitor their own body language and facial expression during the conversation.

This can lead to:

➡️ Mental exhaustion.

➡️ Anxiety and/or depression.

➡️ Loss of identity.

➡️ Withdrawal or burnout


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