The 7 Masks

"We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be." – Patrick Rothfuss

The masks can either be designed to increase our chances of being loved and accepted by others, or failing that, become a mask of rebellion. Either way, a mask comes with a sense of who you “have to be”. There may be happiness and reward, but not joy and freedom. You are rewarded, one way or another, through the mask. But if you stray from wearing the mask, there is a sense of consequence. Either punishment or crisis, or a loss of connection and acceptance from others. None of the skills or strengths of the masks are inherently bad – quite the opposite, actually! - but the loss of freedom associated with a “mask” as opposed to a “skill” is the point.

We have identified seven basic masks that people develop, each one with its own strategy for gaining approval and love from others. Each one also comes with its own unique pitfalls too.

The Golden Mask (Achievement)

- winning, attainment, glory, competition, reward, award

- over-competitive, egotistical, no reward is enough, life separated by "winners and losers"

The Stone Mask (Tenacity)

- hard work, fortitude, responsibility, industrious, diligence

- overworked, burnt out, can't stop, can't slow down

The Mirror Mask (Passivity)

- flexibility, easiness, go with the flow, relaxed, humble

- doormat, meek, lazy, doesn't speak up, invisible, ignored

The Iron Mask (Toughness)

- strength, masculinity, durability, bravery, power, protecting, independent, stoic

- aggressive, defensive, rigid, toxic masculinity, lonely, isolated

The Leaf Mask (Kindness)

- love, tenderness, femininity, affection, supporting, healing

- overbearing, low self-care, putting others before self, smothering, giving-to-get

The Animal Mask (Play)

- humour, comedy, laughter, playful, fun, partying

- lack of responsibility, can't take things seriously, Peter Pan Syndrome

The Porcelain Mask (Competence)

- skill, intelligence, education, training, progression, promotion, status

- snobby, sense of self attached to status or skill, hierarchical, over-critical