The Spirit of the Holidays - Part Two
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The reason why it is so easy for Performers to overextend during the Holidays is that they are so focused on meeting their Striving need that they are not aware of any others. The Performer is very image driven and they are constantly managing and maintaining it for fear they may be exposed as an impostor. They spend little time thinking about their other needs, or reflecting on how they feel. They simply move on and detach from their self. Their energy goes into their image, their public self, and the persona they think others want them to be. They lose sight of the reality of who they actually are.
Waking up to the reality that no one is really seeing them is only the first step in a difficult process for Performers. They can become so alienated from themselves that they no longer know what they truly want, or what their real feelings or interests are. They can lose touch with themselves so much that there seems to be a splitting of themselves, an inner state in which quite literally one side of them no longer knows what the other is doing or feeling. When the two sides connect, they don’t know what to do with themselves. They have difficulty tolerating their emotions and try hard to return to the state of detachment. Like my client who cried alone in pain and frustration, she awoke the next day, put a smile on her face and began the performance of a happy wife and mother. Performers quickly rationalize their emotions and go back to energizing their image to avoid their pain.
Performers do very well in psychotherapy, and I have many of this Striving Style in my practice. This gives them a safe place to explore their emotions and recognize the state of detachment they live in. It also allows them time to accept and tolerate their humanness and connect it with what is authentically unique and special about them. They will still love to be centre stage; however, their survival will no longer depend on it.
During the holidays, it is important for Performers to check in with a trusted friend who will give them honest feedback about what they are feeling. They also need to check their budget and see if they can actually afford to be as generous as they want to be seen.