Multiple Personality Disorder or also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (defined in Wikipedia) is a psychiatric diagnosis describing a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment. Apparently, it means that a person has at least two personalities which routinely take control of the individual’s behavior with some form of memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness. These people, with the little knowledge I have, are either put away in asylums, or being put under some sorts of medication or supervision.
Sometimes I wonder how we are any different from them. We too suffer from such disorder only that we are oblivious to it. Perhaps there is one difference, and that would be that we do not suffer the memory loss part.
Consider this, in front of our boss, we could be submissive; in front of our subordinates, we are authoritative; in front of our parents, we are good children; with our friends, we have all sorts of fun that our parents would never find out; with our children, even worst – we portray a persona so perfect so that the child could always look up to us for good example. The list goes on, but I am sure you know where I am heading by now.
Not saying that any of that is wrong, or abnormal. What I am questioning is that why couldn’t we just authentically be ourselves? There is certain nature within us which is just us – either we talk a lot, or we laugh a lot, or whatsoever. It doesn’t matter. Surely there is an authentic Self that we must know that we have!
The closest example I could share is a relationship I share with a loved one. We don’t really hang out a lot, but whenever we do, we connect and have lots of fun conversing. This normally happens when he is out of a relationship or when we are physically very far away from each other; and unfortunately, these two scenarios doesn’t happen too frequently. Even if we were to have breakfast with each other, it would be a fine and fun conversation between us both until someone comes along uninvited and sits at the same table. His behavior towards me would be a 180 degrees total opposite. From loving fun to disgustingly authoritative. I never knew what this all meant, until I took my own stories out to observe. I used to think that I might have offended him somehow which made him react to me that way. But now, after much observation, I realized that it was a role he had to play in front of others – to be more superior to me because he is a boy and I am a girl (we are related, by the way). As if others would think of him differently if he was to behave lovingly towards me and vice versa.
I would have to say that I am guilty too of a Multiple Personality Disorder for a major part of my life. The different personas we take on are always arising from the space of fear, guilt and shame. We are so afraid of being judged that we are unworthy, not good enough, bad if we were just to be ourselves. The truth is this; we ourselves are judging ourselves that way thus that fear. And the ego says, “respect others mah!!” Oh how could that be respect? To respect is to pretend to be who you are not? That is totally absurd.
Each of us have an authentic self, who can authentically express ourselves, lovingly and joyfully and do whatever we want, as long as it makes us happy. The only problem is that we were never taught how we could freely, just be ourselves. Right, the word here is FREE-LY. We had always been conditioned or taught to behave this way or that way, to make people think that we are like-this or like-that, so that people would approve of us. Don’t you think it is time to put down that mask? It is only the fear and guilt that disallow us to spread our wings to rise up to which we truly are. And these fear and guilt are only stemming from a belief system which serves us no more. Can we begin to question these ideas? Can we begin to break down the false net which binds us to the core? It is really time to wake up now. Our true authentic self is at stake.