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wearing others' faces


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mostly mouths, of the people i know, knew, etc.

my grandmother, my friend(s), my partner, my in-laws, teachers, or others unspecified.

it's like a fake face of sorts, felt from the inside. i've never been able to verify any change on the outside. and sometimes it's accompanied by what feels like the person's mannerisms or ways of saying things. mostly though, it feels like i'm wearing their face.

this is bothersome, into downright disturbing. i might be simply tying particular states of mine (angry, seething, judgemental, stone-faced, joyful etc) into those states i see in someone else and which made an impression on me. i just had one with grandmother (passed). it's weird when it's a dead person. like i'm channelling them or something. sometimes it's more intense than other times. i'm coming up on my girly time. maybe this is somewhat important. i don't know.

i'm not sure i can quite make sense of it or feel comfortable with it. maybe it's related to bpd traits - unstable self? maybe not?

anyone else had this goin' on at all?

it's freakin' me out.

pj

(edit: change to 'fake face')

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hm.  i've picked up people's mannerisms before.  inflections on words, but i know that's not what you mean.

is it something you only do when you're really emotional?  like maybe it's an unconscious guide that you use as a model for how to express emotions that you as yourself do not know how to express and/or are uncomfortable/ feel wrong expressing?

as far as the unstable sense of self thing... maybe?  i think that's one of the hardest parts of borderline to explain to another person and i only know how it was for me and i suspect it's different for everone but for me i could almost verify that in the mirror in that there were times when i would look in the mirror and not know 'who' was there. 

i dunno.  what you're describing is really interesting.  and i'm sure disconcerting, and i mean no insult with the saying it's interesting thing...

maybe someone else will know more about this

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it's a sensation, that my face, let's say my lips, lower jaw, chin.. has been replaced - removed, and in it's place, someone else's. it feels as though if i looked in a mirror i would look different.

penny, that's an interesting thought - about trying to model emotions. or something.

yeah i use interesting too. it doesn't upset me. it does allow me to get distance from it, so i don't get completely freaked about it.

pj

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another possibility from therapy today. a sense of invasion.

sorry if this repeats stuff from above. it feels like parts of my face become.. not mine. as if i were wearing a fake face (not quite right...) more like a prosthetic. does that make sense..?

this was related to some other themes in my talk with my tdoc. some sense that i'm being inhabited by something.. or someone.

just another dimension to add.

pj

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There have been a lot of times when I feel like a shape shifter, that I have no real identity of my own and I'm just getting along by mimicing what other people do because I have no internal sense of what works socially and in public.  I've always picked up other people's accents, inflections and verbal habits. And I've consciously copied how social people behave and interact in social situations. That part has actually worked out pretty well sometimes. It taught me how to talk to people.

Reading your post reminded me of part of an old Jackson Browne song For A Dancer:

Just do the steps that you

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that's cool greenyflower, i can't be upset by that, (edit: um INSIGHT. yes. this is COOL.)

and i recognize the utility of emulation, and adjustment, such as picking up another's accent, which is similar to mimicking body language, phrases or ways of speaking - indeed some of this is mentioned in tips for a successful job interview. it makes others feel comfortable.

as well as practice for own development and socially relating etc. good to copy what works etc.

yeah.

the feeling is kind of like deja vu crossed with spirit possession, maybe? it's a very physical sensation. i'm not sure i'm troubled by it so much at the moment, but when it happens it is very disconcerting.

hm. something to work on in therapy. if anyone comes across this and relates - that visceral 'get that thing off my face' kind of way, i'm keepin' an eye out  ;) okie. weir'd haha

pj

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Heya PJ,

What's crazy?

Didn't read *any* of this thread, until your last post, even though I love you, b/c you said "masks" and I have a bizarre phobia about ... those things, and I'm crying now b/c I want to see what you said and I'm freaking out at the same time.

So, *that's* crazy.

OK stopped crying now b/c I scrolled to where I can't see the word anymore.

:embarassed:

I know what you mean about being like someone else.

I've taken on various personas while trying to figure out who the hell I am.

It's okay.  Not weird.  Not scary like a real mask.

;)

--ncc--

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Heya PJ,

What's crazy?

Didn't read *any* of this thread, until your last post, even though I love you, b/c you said "masks" and I have a bizarre phobia about ... those things, and I'm crying now b/c I want to see what you said and I'm freaking out at the same time.

So, *that's* crazy.

OK stopped crying now b/c I scrolled to where I can't see the word anymore.

:embarassed:

i took out the word. i replaced it with 'fake face' -- i did this for two reasons

1. i love you too  ;)

2. i had said that word was NOT QUITE RIGHT anyway, and it wasn't necessary. i didn't like it so much either.

it's not so crazy either.

so now the only place the word is in your post. so if you couldn't read the other posts i made, i think it's safe now. i'm sorry it made you cry. k.

I know what you mean about being like someone else.

I've taken on various personas while trying to figure out who the hell I am.

It's okay.  Not weird.  Not scary like a real mask.

:P

--ncc--

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

this is scary. it's transient. it rarely stays but that may be because i shake it off, like a deja vu, i will purposefully do something 'different' like flap my hands and jump around or sing a song to make the feeling go away.

not sure. have i exhausted being able to describe this yet? am i repeating myself? is this stupid?

i am going to quietly  :)   step through the gate. i'll be back later.

pj

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Heya PJ,

Sorry friend I didn't *get it * :)

You explained very well, I just ... well.  Didn't get it. ;)

I can see why you're scared when that happens.  It must be *very* disturbing and I'm glad you at least have a way to make it go away, if only for a while.

Your symptom sounds almost like a neuro thing, but I wouldn't begin to know what.

More likely a new aspect of your own flavour of MI.

How long has this been going on?  Have you asked your doc about it?

And any other body parts, or just your face?  This could be a dissociative-type symptom as well, but the people around here who dissociate would be more qualified than me on that point.

Guess I'm kind of rambling now, but it's been a very very very very long day.

Keep posting this around, it can't be all that unheard of.

And hang in there.

:P

--ncc--

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Guest Zachary Odette

I've definitely felt like I lack no true identity.  I've felt like I am just a lemming adopting other people's slang and things like that.  I've had brief moments though where I've felt original though.  Like I am a person who has identity, control of my actions, thoughts, etc.  I hope this helps.

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Peej -- I only read the initial post becuse I'm lazy this morning.

I've had really weird disturbances where my face looks ALL WRONG, and my facial expression scares the shit out of me and looks alien. Only had this as part of psychosis, though I had it a tiny tiny bit recently when I've been feeling myself tipping towards pychosis (doing better at this point).

I think this may be an aspect of the fact that some emotional disturbances are so deep in our mind that they disrupt very old parts of our formed self, lik our self-perception as such-and-such person. Since our formed self is actually an amalgam of experiences and other people who have been, well, formative role models (i.e. we "model" our "roles" after them and this "forms" our identity), it makes some sense that you might find parts of your visage shifting to be that of other people in your life at times when your identity is really rippling.

It's disturbing though, and yes I've experienced it. Have you tried a different hat? ;)

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Peej -- I only read the initial post becuse I'm lazy this morning.

I've had really weird disturbances where my face looks ALL WRONG, and my facial expression scares the shit out of me and looks alien. Only had this as part of psychosis, though I had it a tiny tiny bit recently when I've been feeling myself tipping towards pychosis (doing better at this point).

I think this may be an aspect of the fact that some emotional disturbances are so deep in our mind that they disrupt very old parts of our formed self, lik our self-perception as such-and-such person. Since our formed self is actually an amalgam of experiences and other people who have been, well, formative role models (i.e. we "model" our "roles" after them and this "forms" our identity), it makes some sense that you might find parts of your visage shifting to be that of other people in your life at times when your identity is really rippling.

It's disturbing though, and yes I've experienced it. Have you tried a different hat? ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

hahaha a different hat. i might go back to bandanas. the weather has to get warmer though.

i'm not sure if it's clear in the first post. this is less of a visual perception, more of a physical sensation. i actually don't look in the mirror much at all.  i am mirror avoidant. i get lost in the mirror. i have an icky relationship with mirrors. this is just sitting looking at a wall, it FEELS like my face changes.

yeah. it's feeling less uncommon, but still weird, what with all the responses here.

THANK YOU to everyone who has. i feel less alone about it just because i've talked about it. for now i'm keeping it between me and my tdoc. i don't need to deal with it beyond trying understand the underlying emotional disturbance.

yes my identity is shifting.. this is something going on for longer than (maybe) these life changes have been. i feel haunted sometimes.

pj

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