In order for Brett and me to truly love each, we must like ourselves and see ourselves as lovable. When we like ourselves, we’re able to remove any phoniness and let each other know “the real me”.
This means we have to remove our MASKS. I admit that sometimes I need to wear masks to survive in the everyday world. But I must remove my masks in order to communicate openly and honestly with Diane.
To define masks, they are the little shields we wear in front of us. Masks are the things we do or the ways we act which cover up who we really are.
Some common masks are: the clown, the braggart, the competitor, the bully, the intellect, the martyr, to name a few.
When we made our Marriage Encounter, I didn’t think I wore any masks. But soon after, I realized I’d been wearing the People Pleaser mask for many years. It’s hard to realize how destructive a People Pleaser mask can be, because it seems so nice, so Christian. I was the smiling person who loved to help.
Brett might ask me to go to a classic car show. I don’t want to go, but I want to be a good wife, so I’d put on my People Pleaser mask and say, “Sure, I’d love to go with you.”
Bored for hours looking at old cars, I’d suppress feelings of frustration & anger. Sometime later it would all surface & I’d accuse him of being selfish, or I’d give him the silent treatment.
Today, I still sometimes wear the mask of the “People Pleaser” when I choose to help my friends or neighbors even though I’m not in the mood, but I try to remember that – that I’m not in the mood to help them, so I don’t end up feeling disappointed or frustrated when things don’t turn out as I expected.
With Brett, I try to be aware of my real feelings, own up to them and discuss them with him. He now knows I get bored easily at classic car shows. Rather than be disappointed, he appreciates my honesty. My phoniness had him very confused.
Now, when I do go with him, he looks for a car show that also has a craft show, or he watches that we don’t stay too long, and then he takes me out to eat. Now that’s okay with me! We laugh a lot, and we’re both happy.
It’s interesting to realize that I put on the mask of the “People Pleaser” to be a good wife but removing the mask has helped me to be a better wife.
A mask I wore for many years was the mask of affluence. I wanted everyone to think I was the “rich man”. Wearing this mask went back to the age of 20 when I bought my first new car, a Ford Convertible.
Only one other friend had a new car. When people saw me in my black & white car I felt proud, important, big and strong. I liked the feeling of owning a sharp new car. Actually, within 18 years, I bought 22 new cars and trucks.
When I thought about masks this came to mind. I knew I was a phoney. I wasn’t a rich man. Often the reasons I gave for buying a new car was not valid.
I was living the “Mask of Affluence”.
Unfortunately, wearing this mask affected my relationship with Diane. Often I tuned Diane out when she talked about something she or the children needed. But I developed persuasive arguments to justify buying anything I wanted. I was a proud and selfish person.
By looking inward, I realized my actions stemmed from my childhood. Although I was the center of attention at home, at school I was not part of the popular group who had lots of friends and went to parties. This hurt me deeply and I felt rejected.
Subconsciously I was determined to show the world I would succeed and do better than any of them. Buying new cars became my way of looking successful.
We usually wear masks to cover up a poor self-image. If we could accept ourselves and like ourselves better, it would be easier to rid ourselves of masks.