social-mask

Two major types of INTJ

One of the most interesting things I read in relation to personality theory was Cognitive Styles. It is completely separate personality profiling system, but it can be used in conjunction with MBTI. And when you combine the two, you find out that there are two major types of INTJs

  • The ones that don’t wear a ‘social mask’ (perceiver INTJs)
  • The ones that do wear a social mask (contributor INTJs)

There are other variations, but these are the most common. Out of the two, the perceiver INTJ’s are the most common. Contributor INTJ’s (I am one of these) often feel out-of-step within the community, because they are always wearing some form of public mask, and always playing the social game, whereas their INTJ perceiver peers denounce such things.

Perceiver INTJs

  • Hate social games, and usual rebel when possible and do their best to not comply.
  • They don’t respect authority at all unless its proven itself, and even then, they are forever skeptical.
  • They have a strong moral compass, and they follow it. They have a very, very strong sense of justice. Pretending to be someone else, i.e. wearing the “social mask” feels dirty, because it is deceptive and not who they really are.
  • While most like things, they are less concerned with material matters.
  • They do not care what society thinks of them.

Contributor INTJs

  • Contributor INTJ’s do care about what society thinks of them. They wear lots of social masks, and they usually wear them well. They play the social game, and they usually do this without being bitter about it (even if it makes them tired).
  • They key to understand why they do this, is that they are inherently pragmatic. Socializing is often not natural for them but they learn the skills because it pragmatically assists them in achieving their abstract goals. They don’t have an inherent drive to be liked for the sake of being liked, but they want to achieve their goals.
  • They care more about possessions because things help them get other things; contributor INTJ’s do well in sales and business.
  • Respect authority more because they take-on social roles when it is necessary.
  • Because they are incredibly goal-based, their morals tend to be weaker. They are more likely to blur the lines. They will do things to get ahead. Unlike the perceiver INTJ who doesn’t like to lie about who they are (even if it means achieving their goals will be harder), the contributor will “wear the mask”.

 
Which type are you?

Just be yourself, unless yourself is unamused by everyone.

I am so INTJ I can’t even count on my fingers and toes how many times I have fake laughed or smiled only to immediately turn away and return to my expressionless face. 

I did this today on the way to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and felt nothing. It’s amazing how much of my day is spent wearing a mask.

The Abuse Double Standard

I was discussing the idea of people thinking of Harley as an innocent angel the other night with someone and I just had an epiphany. It’s something I’m pretty sure I’ve seen before, but I never paid any mind to it.

Let me start off by giving you a list of Batman villains that have been abused in their backstory (or currently in one case).

  • Jonathan Crane - Bullied relentlessly and abused by his grandmother.
  • Thomas Elliot - Suffered emotional abuse at the hands of his mother even before the car accident. His father’s death just made it worse.
  • Harleen Quinzel - Continually abused by the Joker both physically and psychologically.
  • Oswald Cobblepot - Mocked for his appearance both by other children and his own parents.
  • Pamela Isley - Manipulated and experimented on by Jason Woodrue.
  • Edward Nigma - Beaten by his father often.
  • Roman Sionis - Dropped as a baby and his parents paid off the hospital to pretend it didn’t happen. And his parents were overall neglectful.
  • Waylon Jones - bullied for his appearance and had an abusive alcoholic aunt.

Okay now. There are a lot of villains that happen to be abuse victims. However, there are only two of them who are consistently treated as innocent in spite of the horrible things they’ve done. And I think you know which two they are.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Black Mask, Scarecrow, and Hush are almost never excused for their abhorrent actions (Scarecrow on very rare occasions). And the Riddler, the Penguin, and Killer Croc don’t have nearly the same outcry of victimhood as Harley and Ivy do. This is one of the reasons why I believe that it’s based on the idea that people (especially on Tumblr) cannot accept the fact that a woman can be just as cruel as a man or need to be pushed into it. Therefore they cling to this idea of victimhood as a means to justify whitewashing the morality of (originally) intentionally morally complex characters.

The idea that Harley chose to join the Joker is immediately shot down because of the idea that it perpetuates victim-blaming and makes it look like she asked for the abuse. Clearly, she didn’t ask for the abuse. She asked for the criminal lifestyle. The excitement of causing chaos and destruction to get into the spotlight. She only puts up with the abuse because of her mad love for him and that desire to cause chaos and be seen. It’s not like she always wants to hurt people, but she does sometimes enjoy it. And it’s an aspect that is often ignored in favor of her sympathetic traits.

Same thing goes for Poison Ivy. Ivy is an ecoterrorist with good intentions. However, people see her “protector of mother nature” thing and emphasize that aspect. They often forget or ignore the often borderline genocidal methods that she has used to carry this out. And they’ve forgotten the fact that while she deserves some sympathy, she’s still a homicidal maniac at the end of the day. And no amount of good intentions can justify that.

When’s the last time you ever saw someone defending Hush in spite of him cutting out Catwoman’s heart? Do people ever try to bring up the abuse victim defense for him? No. He’s almost always considered a horrible person with no consideration taken for his past. Probably has something to do with his misogyny and racism. When’s the last time you ever saw anyone defending Black Mask in spite of him sadistically and brutally torturing a teenage girl? Do people ever try to bring up his neglectful parents? …Well, now that I think about it, people barely bring him up at all, which is a shame.

And how about Scarecrow, huh? I have yet to see someone try to use his past of bullying and abuse being used to justify performing horrific experiments on innocent people using his fear gas. Never. Even the people who acknowledge his past never sugarcoat his actions. He’s still portrayed as fairly sadistic and often remorseless. The only one who gets any kind of consistent pass is Croc and yet rarely will you ever see anyone ignoring the fact that he eats people. But as a whole, the male villains don’t get that consistent pass.

So you can’t tell me that Harley being an abuse victim is a good reason to excuse or ignore her villainous qualities. In spite of her good qualities, she has aided in some terrible things and done terrible things on her own. She isn’t an innocent angel who was corrupted and needs to be protected. She was already shady. Batman even says she was no angel in Mad Love! If you wanna bring up the fact that she was abused (and this includes bringing up Ivy as well), think of all those other villains I mentioned and tell me if you would extend the same sympathies to them as you do to the female victims.

Inception book covers series. Re-imagining the characters as tacky paperbacks.

UNO, NESSUNO E CENTOMILA by Eames [Italian, “One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand”]


The Inception Project series (art to come):

When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid. They are afraid you will discover that they are not perfect. It is painful to take that social mask off.
—  The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz
6

UnMask

Theoretical art project from Simone Rebaudengo and Paul Adams places an LED matrix onto a pollution mask to visualize expressions of the wearer - video embedded below:

For environmental and social reasons, mask are more and more common in many parts of our world.

As we believe in the value of some random emotional exchange in the streets, How would you read someone else’s subtle facial reaction to your words? How would you have a conversation when you barley can see each other?  How would the simple act of exchanging a smile happen between two people crossing paths? 

The Unmask is a possible answer to this. It’s a mask that allows to read your facial expressions and unmask your “emotion” hidden underneath.

More Here

Cast Member Story:

This isn’t really a magical memory, it’s more like an annoying nag at the back of my mind. It’s more about my observations of cast members that work at Disney Parks & Resorts that clearly should not be working there. The ones who fake their smiles throughout every single day, who give a simple, bland “have a nice day” to every guest. How boring!

I once worked in stroller rental, and since it was in Hollywood Studios, themed after a car garage; the girls & I always had fun pretending we were driving cars and would say things like, “Beep beep! Watch out!” when we would push used strollers to the back to be wiped down.

One day, I was laughing and pushed a stroller to one of the boys in the back. (For the sake of conversation, & the fact I forget his name, we’ll call him Joe.) Joe basically looked at me, straight faced, unamused. I laughed, smiled, and said, “Well, I’m sorry! But I like to pretend I’m a five year old sometimes! Helps the day go by.” His reply? “Do you understand the concept of a social mask?”

I, for one, never find myself having to “mask” myself. At Disney, I felt open & free to act as I pleased. (Never mind my thoughts on the Disney Look, however.) Whether he meant this as a derogatory comment towards my behavior, or a standoffish way of saying, “Grow up!” I was awe stricken that someone could be so… serious as a cast member? 

Word to the wise, if you’re going to come to work at the Parks or Resorts, & just show up, do your job, and leave every day without any passion… do not work at Disney. (Maybe go to Universal!) Please & thank you!

The works in Disguise: Masks and Global African Art are organized around the idea that masquerade is always an art of becoming.

Elu masks are danced by young members of Ogoni secret men’s societies that have social, religious, or governmental functions. The small masks are attached to cone-shaped caps of fiber and cloth that cover the heads of the dancers. They are usually danced at annual festivals or at funerals of members of the societies.

Posted by Kevin D. Dumouchelle and Meghan Bill
Unidentified Ogoni artist. Elu Mask with Hinged Jaw, early 20th century. Brooklyn Museum

What a trend
we have
of treating the body
like dirty clothes
like a mask of filth and disgust
like an unsavory ensemble

we are the fallen
the injured
we get too hot
we get too hot.

Such a skin
that can be separated from the being
the essence;

such a disgrace
to be taken off
thrown away
blushed of shame,
traded for another.

How could you?

How could you?

How could you
disrespect that skin
that the mother gifted?

How?

—  Michelle K., The Gifted.

The Guy Fawkes mask is a stylized depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605. The mask came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V for Vendetta, published in 1982, and its 2006 film adaptation. After appearing in Internet forums, the mask became a well-known symbol for the online hacktivist group Anonymous, used in Project Chanology, the Occupy movement, and other anti-government and anti-establishment protests around the world.

What to say when you use the technique:

“…yeah I find psychology so FASCINATING, it’s like one of those concepts that really grasps your interest. One of the most interesting parts of psychology, to me, is that theory of social masks. Freud touched on this a bit, but basically we all go about life wearing social masks. We use these masks to ward off unwanted people and sometimes to gain influence. However, there are these rare people who you trust completely, people who you know would never betray you, and the kind of person you have a strong powerful connection with.  You intuitively just know that you could drop the mask with this person, and as you let the masks fall (physical motion of removing the mask) you discover that everything is okay now, it’s like when you know you’ve made the right decision, and how all the little moments of your life have lead up to this powerful moment.”

Ask a Therapist: Have you ever been triggered by a client?

I suppose I’m considered a high-risk client. I’ve been turned away by multiple therapists for being considered a liability. I know my therapist has a mental illness history of her own although I am unsure of the specifics. I am constantly worried about triggering her, as I’m not sure if she’s currently struggling. so I guess my question is how would I know if I was triggering her, and have you ever been triggered by a client? that’s the last thing I want to do.

Not knowing if your therapist is currently struggling is a great sign! It means they have their own self under control. That’s like, lesson #1 at therapist school - leave your own stuff outside of session so you can be there for the client.

Worrying about triggering your therapist is not going to be helpful in your own process. You’re in therapy to worry about you. It’s your therapist’s job to take care of themself. Many, if not most, therapists have their own therapists for just that reason. And if not an actual therapist, they should have somebody else they can confide in to let off some steam.

That said, it’s hard to just magically stop worrying about something - especially about someone you care about. So maybe bring it up? Ask for some reassurance that your therapist isn’t worried about getting triggered and/or has their own supports to deal with it if it comes up. If there are some things you therapist really can’t tolerate hearing about, make sure they give you some alternate options for support. You just not talking about whatever it is isn’t an okay solution.

One would think that with the amount of overlap in history I have with many of my clients that I would be triggered more often. But by and large, I’m not. The part of my brain that is there to support my clients is a very different part of my brain than the part involved in processing my own history. In the past few years, I can only think of one case that really triggered me. It triggered me in this relatively subtle, underneath the surface kind of way. It was a good week or two until I realized where my moodiness was coming from - her latest disclosure was stirring something up for me. Even so, once I realized it and dealt with it, I was able to continue working with her without incident until she was ready to discharge.