Being Mystique’s Forgotten Twin

Yesterday I went to go watch the new X-Men film, Apocalypse, with my step brother. I’ve always liked Raven aka “Mystique” (and the fact that the younger version is played by Jennifer Lawrence made me love her even more), but yesterday she took on a whole new meaning for me.

I’m sure most of you know who I’m talking about, but if you’re not a Marvel fan and have no interest in the films and comic books, I’ll give a brief description. Mystique has the ability to physically transform into anybody she chooses (which would come in handy especially when your country is in desperate need of better leadership), and take on the role of that person completely.

I may not be able to physically transform (very unfortunate), but certainly have the habit of “becoming” those I find myself surrounded by. They call it “The Chameleon
Effect” and is one of the behaviours that often go alone with having Borderline Personality Disorder. Everybody does this to some extent, but apparently those of us with BPD, engage in it to a higher degree (and unhealthy way) due to our unstable sense of self. I’m not going to go into detail about that, as I found two articles that explain it better than I could.

The chameleon effect: the perception-behavior link and social interaction

Borderline Personality Disorder and ‘The Chameleon Effect’

My ex used to complain that I was different whenever I was with my family, to how I was with “our” group of friends, acquaintances, etc. I could never see it, nor understand where she was coming from. I would just see her disapproving and subtle “shut up now” looks. I would often argue with her about it, telling her it’s not true, that I felt I was being the same way with everybody. But apparently, she was right. And it hurts my heart, because I would accuse her of seeing things that weren’t there, when all along I was the one who had been wrong.

Anyway, after the film, my step brother and I rushed back home to meet up with a friend and her boyfriend for an MMA championship event. During the break, halfway between the fights, I went to go get food and a drink, and found myself front and center among a group of guys. I found something they were saying interesting and threw in my two cents, then introduced myself. Soon I was just “one of the guys”, with words coming out of my mouth that even surprised me. They seemed completely hooked though, so not consciously realizing what I was doing, I integrated myself into that role even more deeply. To such an extent that even I believed the role I had taken on. I found myself agreeing with things I didn’t actually agree with. But then thinking, “I think I may just actually agree after all”. Add alcohol into the mix, and I was on a roll. It’s as if I had stripped myself of everything I had thought I was and believed, in a matter of seconds. When this realization hit me, while still in that group setting, I felt shame take over. I was glad when the fights started back up and I could walk away. Without giving my number to any of those guys. It was for the best.

Afterward I felt sick. What I had just done hit me hard. I feel I shouldn’t be allowed out in public anymore. Or at least not near any adults. Children don’t seem to mind me taking on the role of a fellow child.

They say the first step to changing something is to realize and admit you have a problem. Well, I guess I can officially say that I’ve just arrived at that first step full force. Subconsciously I always knew I did that, but it wasn’t until last night that I actually caught myself doing it and being fully aware of what I was doing in the moment in which I was doing it.

Yet another thing to add to my list of unhealthy behaviours to work on. Damn, this is exhausting.

Baby steps…

2 responses to “Being Mystique’s Forgotten Twin”

    • I think it’s a delicate balance between being true to ourselves, while still being able to adapt to the environment in which we find ourselves. It’s definitely easier said than done. I’m now on a self-discovery mission. Thanks for your comment. 🙂


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