Do You Suffer From Reactionary Personality Syndrome?

WARNING: Only read this write-up if you are prone to bouts of excessive introspection. Otherwise you'll just get bored.

Lately I've started to suspect that most of the beliefs and behaviours I cling to strongly are just a result of crude reactionism. Do you ever believe something passionately, but feel in the back of your mind that something about it is not quite right? "Like a splinter in your mind". It may well be that you dislike, or wish to avoid, a certain characteristic of yourself so deeply that your personality has gone into denial and reacts to this by doing the exact opposite of the aspect it does not like.

To conjure an example ... imagine a person with a basic shyness problem. They find it difficult to communicate because they are trapped in a permanent social wince. They wish desparately that they could simply break out of their fear shell and emerge into the bright blue land of extroversion. Might they not create a "mask" which swings to the polar opposite of this characteristic, and behave in the manner of someone over-confident, gassed up on self-esteem, easy-going and socially powerful? I've seen this happen to several different people.

It's interesting the way that a person's masks can infiltrate their real personality until the two are difficult to distinguish. After some time you begin to wonder if the real personality remains a separate entity at all.

Which brings me to the personal note. What if the personality I have today is merely the product of a series of fervent denials of my original personality? It's a frightening thought. Could certain personality types have an in-built tendency to run away from themselves?

So what's the conclusion? Is such a personal inversion recoverable? Furthermore, should one even attempt to recover it? Perhaps having these things on your conscience is somehow bad for you - in the sense of an emotional conflict which could (maybe) act like an infection.

All comments appreciated.

I think it's fine if people with personality traits they didn't appreciate can alter themselves consciously without seeming fake, being uncomfortable, or trying way too hard. Of course, that's a tall order.

As for what a real personality is, and being able to distinguish consciously fabricated aspects from previously existing ones, I think someone's 'real personality' is either that which they're exuding at the moment, or the sum of every noticably different expression they've ever produced. Either way, the 'real personality' is constantly changing.

I mean, what was your personality like 10 years ago? Was that you? It was then, but it certainly isn't now.

I don't think changing your personality yourself is any more weird or wrong than letting it change 'naturally' as it would by normal social interaction; that is to say, there's nothing wrong with it, as long as you're comfortable. In addition, this 'real personality' I'm defining is merely a noumenal entity, fictional even, not something anyone actually thinks about when they're talking to people.

I realized a while ago that, at least among younger people with others they don't know too well (which are the ones we're likely to be changing ourselves for anyway), many don't even contemplate what a person used to be like - they just take what they see as if it were coming from a new person altogether. Maybe I'm completely retarded and terribly unobservant; maybe what I mean to say is that people judge others based on what they've seen even before they speak again.

Yeah, I think personality types will definitely run away from themselves if so forced by society, or if one feels that society is forcing the changes. Yeah, it's possible that a personality is composed in a large part of reactionary revolts against what one perceives as unsuccessful social ventures, but it's probably not likely - usually when someone changes and the change results in success, they simply live with the assimilation happily, and don't look back. Looking at it one way, in this aspect, it's kind of unimportant to be worried about this stuff, but as an insufferable introverted contemplator myself, I empathize, and I'm inclined to say that just about anything that you think about instead of remaining unconscious of makes you better for it.

Final note: If people are worried about losing aspects of their former selves, they had better stop living. If people are worried about doing this consciously, even when they hate what they're ridding themselves of, they can always keep a journal, or merely remember what they used to be like, or talk to others about how they used to be.

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