Someone said to me in a comment:
Showing others not who you are, but whom you wish to be, the idealized version of yourself that is your goal – noble quest.
I actually think that this can go both ways. I’ve certainly written about faking it until you make it, and what can (or should) be faked and what absolutely should not.
Showing people who you want to be, without the additional clarification of who you currently are, can sometimes lead to unintentional hypocrisy, when you revert to habitual behaviors and thought patterns in times of stress.
And that’s the key to the creature.
As Billy Joel says:
Well, we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone
And sometimes, we don’t even look too closely at that face ourselves, because what it can reveal to us about ourselves can be downright terrifying.
I wrote a while back about how if you really, truly believe that kicking a puppy is wrong, you will not kick a puppy.
And in that same writing, I wrote that if you really, truly believe that you don’t have a right to sex from anyone and that rape is wrong, you will not rape.
And I also said, that if you really, truly do not want to hurt your partner, you will not say spiteful words that you know will hurt them.
(Here is that writing: https://datingkinky.com/blog/kick-a-puppy/ )
And in comments people agreed with the first statement. And the second, but when it came to the third, they were like, “Oh no! That’s NOT how it works!”
I’m here to say, Yes. It is exactly how it works.
It’s the creature inside us that really matters. Because when we are angry or stressed or hurting ourselves, THAT is who takes over.
I was recently in a nonmonogamy panel for Anomaly of Arkansas with the amazing Devyn Stone (https://devynstone.com/), and he recommended a book: “Why Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives,” by Joseph Burgo Ph.D.
Now, I will admit I have not yet read it fully, although I did skim.
And it seems to gel nicely with this.
When we lash out to hurt people with our words, it’s because, consciously or subconsciously, we WANT them to hurt the way that we do—or at least enough to go away.
And you know what?
That’s OK. We are human. We are all imperfect. And the creature is there to help us protect ourselves. We grew that creature through pain and trauma.
It’s when the creature inside us grows out of control, and begins affecting out personal quality of life and our ability to create meaningful relationships that it’s a problem.
But it’s always the core of who we are, and it’s always ultimately what matters.
The panel included other amazing people, like RainDeGrey (https://www.raindegrey.com/), Zach Budd (https://www.consentwarrior.com/), BebeBlueEyes, and ObsidyenSunshyne. And we all agreed that to have success in your nonmonogmaous relationships—in fact, in all your relationships, that self-awareness and understanding is the key.
So, maybe get to know your creature.
Discover the scary, nasty, hurtful, mean parts of yourself.
And if you’re not 100% wild about them, then you now know what to work on and change.
And that’s a start.