How Role-Identity Can Affect Self-Sabotage Progress


Who are you?

Are you the funny, irreverent clown in your family? Or the person in your friend group who is organized and plans the gatherings? Are you the serious one at work? The person who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions?

It is accurate to say that all of us take on a wide range of roles in our lives. We are multifaceted and complex, and that is what makes us so interesting. You probably present to your grandparent in a much different way than you do your best friend or your colleague at work.

We are behavioural chameleons, by necessity, but sometimes our roles can keep us firmly stuck in a rut. Sometimes the role we take on in a certain area of our lives is a form of self-sabotage. .

How Roles Can Sabotage Us

When actors play a certain type of character for a long time, they often struggle getting other types of roles that deviate from that character. This phenomenon is known as type-casting and it can put unwanted limitations on actors’ careers.

As we become stuck in a certain role within our family, friendships, intimate relationships, or work life, in a sense we type-cast ourselves. While this may not seem like a big problem on the surface, it can quickly turn into a dissatisfactory lifestyle in which we are molding ourselves into a set of behaviors that no longer serve us.

For example, a person who has always been known for their sense of humor and irreverence may feel they cannot talk about serious topics. That person may feel that others wouldn’t take them seriously if they attempted to be vulnerable or show other emotions outside of the role of comedian. In this way, our roles can become a burden, and this can leave us feeling trapped and lonely.

When we allow our chosen roles to limit our ability to communicate and be the most authentic version of ourselves, we are participating in self-sabotage.

What Are Some Ways Role Self-Sabotage Can Impact Wellness

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Living with Finesse By Dr. Teyhou Smyth

Dr. Teyhou Smyth is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#115137) and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the Graduate School of Education & Psychology.