We often use the word persona to describe a type of alter-ego that someone transforms into in a particular scenario. Prior to this colloquial use of the word persona, however, it was used a psychological description of a similar sort. We can certainly think of our persona as a kind of alter-ego in the sense that it the mask we put on when we wanted to be liked and accepted. The most obvious example of a time when we would be in our “persona” would be at work. Because of the nature of the professional environment, it is often seen appropriate that we behave in certain ways around our staff, our bosses, and our customers. While the nature of the persona mask changes upon interacting with different individuals, the purpose of wanting to gain favor and acceptance is always the ultimate goal. The reason this topic is important to discuss, especially in early sobriety as we are formulating new identities, is because although it is certainly advantageous and has its usefulness, embodying persona without a solid foundation and sense of self can become extremely unhealthy, maladaptive, and exhausting.
It should be pointed out that there is nothing inherently wrong with the need to act out of persona here and there as the reality of life sometimes requires it. The point where we know that we have over-utilized persona, however, is when we cannot distinguish our persona from our true-self. When the persona is in effect so much and so often that it begins to eclipse who we really are is when things can start to become problematic. Because the goal of the persona to be liked and accepted in society, it is even more important for individuals who are naturally more agreeable and less prone to conflict to be aware of the “use” of their persona. The reason for this is because we can start to conflate kindness with helplessness which will leave us less able to assert ourselves in the world. A major reason that people come into therapy is due their need for assertiveness training because they have been taken advantage of. The take away from this information is that we can begin to start being more mindful of the times we are acting out of persona and when we are so that we might become more capable of integrating our true-selves into our persona so that we become more of a whole individual.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.