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The Masks

Everyone loves to play dress up as a child to wear a mask and go out where no one will know you. Whether it be a clown or scarecrow or skeleton or monster at Halloween they hide who we really are.

There are other types of masks. Ones that are put on so tightly sometimes an individual doesn't even realize they have them on. They are created as we grow and change shape and form closer and closer to us. Unfortunately there are some people to whom these masks become real and after a while they can't tell the difference in the mask and the real person behind the mask. Preacher's kids and preacher's wives are extremely susceptible to these although they may be found on many others as well.

The Servant's Mask is perhaps the most common of all masks. As a child we are taught that to be a servant to others is extremely important. It is better to consider other people's needs ALWAYS before our own. It is better to give than receive. If you are/were one of those lucky enough to live in a preacher's home you were taught that sometimes your parent couldn't get to a ballgame because they were helping someone and that was of more importance than seeing you play. You were taught you had to give up your bed and sleep on the couch or maybe on the floor if your parent brought home someone who was down on their luck. You were taught you were older and it was your responsibility to give in to younger brothers and sisters if there wasn't enough to go around. Of course you were always praised for this which led into the formation of the Servant Mask. By wearing this mask you could achieve the praise you wanted so much from your parent or other family members.

Another common mask is the Comedian Mask. This often forms in families where there is anger. One learns early on that if they can get someone to laugh it often defuses the situation. Rarely is it found alone but often in conjunction with other masks. The Comedian Mask is often a self defense tool which is very absorbing and can very easily overtake someone until they feel that the only way they are accepted is as a comedian. Of course as a comedian they can never show hurt and those feelings are always turned inward often in a self destructing way until they are so emotionally distraught that it is difficult to pry that mask away to learn who is behind the mask.

One mustn't forget the Independent Mask. This is sometimes called a Self Sufficiency Mask. Those who wear this appear on the outside as a a completely pulled together person who can handle anything on their own. They don't need anyone for anything and would never want anyone to guess that they are human with human needs. The oldest child is the one most likely to have this mask. They have developed this mask from years of being told go ahead and do it. From years of being pushed aside and forced to learn things on their own because parents or others were too busy dealing with younger siblings.

The Sacrifical Mask develops from being told you are not worth anything. In an effort to achieve some sort of happiness the person who wears this is often willing to endure anything just to have someone who will love them. They often have a very low self esteem and feel they aren't worthy of having what they so desire. Thus they are willing to sacrifice almost anything in an effort to get what they desire. This mask becomes so firmly attached that it may be many years before the slightest corner of it will start to loosen. It is often found glued together in conjunction with the Servant Mask and/or the Independent Mask.

On the flip side of the coin we have the Helpless Mask. This is a mask that has developed from years of being told you can't do this or let me do that for you. These are most common in people who were the youngest child or the only child. It is a way of getting attention that was received when younger but dwindled as one got older. By keeping this mask on it assured one of constantly having the attention they had and making others feel needed.

The Instigator's Mask is one that isn't very popular but it is there none the less. This is often worn by someone who has grown up in a home where the only way of getting attention was causing trouble or a fight. If they could get the siblings or cousins to fight with each other especially without getting caught as the troublemaker, they had a feeling of accomplishment. As this person grows up their mask develops because they are never the one actually fighting and get praised for it. This can be an extremely hard mask to recognize but once it is known can be dealt with.

There are many other masks out there. Each has its own characteristics. Each helps a person to deal with situations. The many masks that are in place help to hide us from the world. They keep the world from seeing the pain we are in, or the hurt we have endured in our past. These masks must be peeled away to let us come to know and love the real person inside. How many masks are you wearing to keep out the world?

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