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What is masking?

Published on

7th Apr 2023

Masking-personality-disorder

Masking personality disorderis when people hide their personality traits or emotions in specific settings. In most cases, learned behaviours affect an individual’s masking tendencies. Childhood experiences with bullying or rejection can significantly alter one’s self-expression in certain situations. Masking personality disorder can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, and stress-related concerns. It can also lead to the development of personality disorders in extreme cases.  

Also Read: Is Your Child Involved in Bullying? Here’s What to Do

For those (adults and children) lying on the autism spectrum, masking is especially common because of the social pressure to hide their true personalities.

How do people mask their behaviour?

Masking personality disorder manifests in various ways for different people. Here are just three common examples of how you might hide your true identity:

  1. Altering how you generally express yourself: One of the primary ways people indulge in masking is by modifying the way they communicate. There might be an overall change in their tone of voice, body language or facial expressions around specific people. There can also be a change in the intensity of eye contact. 

  1. Hiding your real personality: In social situations, people might pretend to like certain things that they actually don’t have much interest in. An example could be laughing at jokes you don’t actually find funny. 

  1. Self-deprecation: Using humour to make fun of one’s own weaknesses can be one way to mask true feelings. It can act as a protective shield against negative judgement when one is in the limelight. There could also be a need for emotional pretence, acting like one is feeling positive and not acknowledging negative emotional experiences. 

Why do people mask their emotions?

People can mask their true selves for a plethora of reasons:

  • Economic reasons: People might feel the urge to conform socially, especially if their job depends on it. This often happens in workplaces where neurodivergent people tend to act neurotypical to hide when they are struggling.  

  • Relationship dynamics: People in unhealthy relationship dynamics tend to engage in masking to please the other person. If one has been through emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, masking can act as a coping mechanism to safeguard yourself. 

Also Read: Relationship Abuse: When Romance Goes Rogue

  • Need for validation: Every human being has an inherent need to feel validated and accepted by others. People pleasing might be one way to do so. For example, one might not object to other people’s behaviour they don’t feel comfortable with.

How Do I Deal With Masking Personality Disorder?

Here are some ways to overcome masking personality disorder and truly be yourself, whatever the situation might be. 

  • Initiate change: Show up authentically for yourself and society, by being yourself and accepting everyone else for who they are. Celebrate diversity in personality and be open towards behaviours that might seem uncommon to you initially. Be curious about others, while being yourself throughout. 

  • Learn to accept yourself: Masking is natural behaviour, and wanting to feel seen is human nature. When you realise that you’ve been masking and not being true to who you are, treat yourself with grace, and work on asserting your boundaries the next time. 

  • Seek professional help: If you feel like the inability to assert how you truly feel in a social situation is causing you to feel negative emotions, you can consult a mental health professional. You can develop a sense of self-awareness that will help you show up truly as yourself in public.

Remember, if you find it difficult to stop masking, reach out to a mental health professional such as a therapist, and get the help you need.

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If you feel you are experiencing any of these difficulties, we would urge you to seek help at the nearest hospital or emergency room where you can connect with a psychiatrist, social worker, counsellor or therapist in person. We recommend you to involve a close family member or a friend who can offer support.

You can also reach out to a suicide hotline in your country of residence: http://www.healthcollective.in/contact/helplines
About Amaha
About Us
Careers
Amaha In Media
For Therapists
Contact Us
Help/FAQs
Services
Adult Therapy
Adult Psychiatry
Children First Services
Couples Therapy
Self-Care
Community
Psychometric Assessments
Conditions
Depression
Anxiety
Bipolar Disorder
Alcohol Deaddiction
OCD
ADHD
Tobacco Deaddiction
Social Anxiety
Women's Health
Professionals
Therapists
Psychiatrists
Couples Therapists
Partnerships
Employee Well-being Programme
Our Approach & Offerings
Webinars & Workshops
College Well-being Programme
LIBRARY
All Resources
Articles
Videos
Assessments
Locations
Bengaluru
Mumbai
New Delhi
ISO Icon
HIPAA Icon
EU GDPR Icon
Build a good life for yourself
with Amaha

Best App
for Good

on Google Play India
Awarded "The Best App for Good" by Google Play in 2020
PlayStore Button
AppStore Button
©
Amaha
Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions
Cancellation Policy
Sitemap
Hall of Fame
Amaha does not deal with medical or psychological emergencies. We are not designed to offer support in crisis situations - including when an individual is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or is showing symptoms of severe clinical disorders such as schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions. In these cases, in-person medical intervention is the most appropriate form of help.

If you feel you are experiencing any of these difficulties, we would urge you to seek help at the nearest hospital or emergency room where you can connect with a psychiatrist, social worker, counsellor or therapist in person. We recommend you to involve a close family member or a friend who can offer support.

You can also reach out to a suicide hotline in your country of residence: http://www.healthcollective.in/contact/helplines