Questions 29 & 30
BSE - Being Someone Else
Being Someone Else is a compensatory coping mode in which a person assumes a false persona in order to feel better about him or herself. It is very different from the intention to Get Over or swindle someone. Being Someone Else is not necessarily malicious. It is related to the coping mode Lying and Fabricating. The intention is to gain acceptance or approval.
Being Someone Else compensates for the feeling of being defective and rejected. People who slip into this mode feel that there is something innately unacceptable or disadvantageous about them.
The selected personas can be very different according to the practitioner’s ideals: An American actress can begin to sound and behave as if she were European, a Caucasian youth will take on the persona of an African-American or Latino, a middle class mother will present herself as an aristocrat, an unmarried woman from Staten Island will sound and behave like a Southern bell, a gay male without transsexual leanings will behave overtly effeminate.
People who use this coping mode are not delusional; they are anxious about being rejected. Ironically, they have already rejected themselves and will need to “patch-up” the relationship with themselves to feel better.
The practitioner of Being Someone Else thinks: “If I appear like an ideal person, I’ll be OK. But, if I do not appear like an ideal person, then I am not OK.” Not being OK is being left feeling unacceptable.
The cost of using this coping mode is sizable. This is because the false persona is broadly used and in some cases supplants the natural state of being. The person then limits his or her functioning to prevent being exposed. Sometimes the person uses avoidant coping like not leaving the house or chronic alcohol use to protect this rather fragile way of coping. Recovering from attachment to this mode of coping can occur literally overnight. It can be a painful awakening. The practice of mindfulness and the Radical Acceptance of our emotional state interrupt the mode and lay the groundwork for renewal and personal growth.
Record your answers to the following questions in your JOURNAL:
This Compensatory Mode is active in my life. The evidence that confirms this is as follows:
This Compensation Mode is not active in my life. The evidence that refutes this is as follows: