The Real Problem With Being Fake by Christina Enevoldsen

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Christina Enevoldsen

It is my honor to have Christina Enevoldsen ~ Cofounder of the website Overcoming Sexual Abuse guest posting for Emerging from Broken today.

 The Problem with Being Fake by Christina Enevoldsen

Many years ago, I tried to cultivate a relationship with an acquaintance.  I listened attentively; I asked questions; I shared my thoughts and feelings. Nothing seemed to work.  I had the feeling I was spending time with a mannequin.  I tried for months to break through her plastic facade, but I never found anything vulnerable or real.  I knew facts about her—carefully constructed data—but I didn’t really know her.  One day, in exasperation, I told her to drop her phony act and be herself.  I assured her that I’d like the real her, but the fake stuff was driving me crazy.  Not surprisingly, my pep talk didn’t inspire intimacy.  She backed off in a big way and we rarely spoke after that. 

 I crave intimacy and deep connections, so masks have always turned me off.  I want to know what you’re really passionate about.  What are your deepest fears?  How are you really feeling?  I don’t care about the weather; I don’t want to know what you bought at the mall.  Tell me who you really are. 

 The funny this is, for most of my life, I’ve been covered by a facade.  My childhood abuse gave me a distorted image of myself and I was convinced people wouldn’t like the real me. I couldn’t articulate just what was so bad; I just knew that the real me was impossible to love.  I desperately wanted acceptance and thought that covering up was the only way to have that. 

 I’ve worn a variety of masks for different occasions and for different people.  I made it a habit to study others to figure out what they wanted so I could conform to their desires.  I’d gauge their reactions and adjust my performance accordingly.   

 I thought wearing masks would make me more likeable, but it was actually making me less likeable. I eliminated the possibility for deep relationships by constructing a barrier.  Looking back, I can see why I experienced so much rejection, even from nice people.  They couldn’t relate to my false front.  Even if someone connected with that false persona, it wasn’t the type of connection I longed for, since it was based on a lie.  I could never have real intimacy.

 I rejected my true self before I even gave people the chance to accept or reject me.  The rejection of my true self led to putting on a false self, which led to rejection by others, which led to more rejection from me.  What a very vicious cycle that was! 

 I discovered that before I could have a satisfying relationship with others, I had to have a satisfying relationship with myself.  I couldn’t have that as long as I was covered in shame and self-loathing.  I needed to see the real me instead of the lies my abuse taught me.  I needed to sort through those lies and accept the truth so I could see my value and love myself. 

 When I learned to accept myself, I let the real me shine through.  I can connect with others now since I’m connected to myself.  I have deeply fulfilling relationships based on truth—who I really am—a unique and lovable person.

Christina Enevoldsen

Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and three grandchildren.

Overcoming Sexual Abuse also has a very active facebook page.

36 response to "The Real Problem With Being Fake by Christina Enevoldsen"

  1. By: Mara Posted: 21st September

    Dear Christina,

    I feel i have found many kindered sister’s and friends on this website. The way you express yourself resonates with my heart, body and soul is inspiring. It makes me feel not like an alien anymore. There are more people like me that have been through the things i have been through. Through the hurt, betrayal and silence of loved ones and friends. I feel blessed to have found this website. I haven’t stopped weeping since yesterday when i’ve found this site. I feel that for the very first time i can really deal with my past. Not to just brush is and name it but to really go through the pain and relive the hardest moments. Because in those hardest, painful and sickning times i have lost pieces of myself, and I need to get them back to become whole again. Thank you for helping me to get my life back. Highly appreciated and much love. Kind regards, Mara

  2. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 15th May

    Caden,
    I’m glad this resonated with you and you’re seeing the truth about yourself that you are lovable and good enough. You are! Thanks for your comment.
    Christina

  3. By: Caden Posted: 14th May

    Reading this has been a real revelation for me; I’ve realized that I’ve been living behind a series of facades for much of my life. Because one of my primary abusers, my older brother, told me that I wasn’t good enough, that no one would ever like me for me…he was jealous because in fact people did like me as I was, back when I was open, before the period when the family allowed me to be alone with him all the time and he sexually and physically abused and destroyed me. Our parents also insisted I should be “more like your brother” despite the fact that I just wasn’t that kind of boy. Since then I’ve dissociated and cycled through various unstable facades in a desperate attempt to be someone else and get the wrong people to like me, always lying in wait for the time when I would magically become that ideal person I visualized in my head.

    Of course this hasn’t led to any good relationships, and you are completely right; if you can just be yourself and you aren’t a monster inside (like my older brother, who was a cruel scumbag but had this extrovert, highly social facade) people will like you. I struggled to see this even with overweight people (I’m not trying to stigmatize anyone’s weight, but this has all been tied in with my eating disorder and body image issues, caused in part by my brother who said I was fat when I wasn’t, so then I did become obese in my early teen years…) who had friends while I was so sure that if I wasn’t at a perfect and very, very thin weight, no one would like me.

    Wow. Thank you for this!

  4. By: christina enevoldsen Posted: 12th December

    Genesis,
    I’m sorry for how discouraged you’re feeling right now. Anniversaries of painful things can be so very hard. You’ve been taking some very important steps lately and it’s also common to have a strong reaction to moving forward. From what I’ve observed from you lately, you’re not as “lost” as you were a year ago. Sometimes, I get frustrated with how long some steps in healing take too. But keep at it and you won’t feel like this forever.
    Hugs,
    Christina

  5. By: Genesis Posted: 11th December

    A year later I did not need to read my words. Nothing has changed. Im still “lost”. At least I understand the “disconnected” feeling now. Now I’m faced with a barrage of memories. Vivid ones. What was I looking for, truly. How did I find this?

  6. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 5th December

    Taia,
    I remember that place! I know it’s SO hard and it seems impossible to get through or see better days. But it does get better if you face it. I agree with Darlene– that it’s up to you. The more you ‘own’ your own healing process, the better.

    I understand about having no idea who you really are. I was haunted by that for a long time. I wrote a counterpart to this blog where I talk about my journey to ‘find myself’: http://overcomingsexualabuse.com/2010/09/30/how-can-i-%e2%80%98be-myself%e2%80%99-if-i-don%e2%80%99t-know-who-that-is/

    Hugs to you! Christina

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