The Many Faces of Ego

The Manifestation of Ego During Difficulties

For Mattie, both struggles and opportunities have existed within the same moment many times this week. Mattie’s father recently suffered a stroke.  She is assisting him to recover and visits him in the hospital. Once addicted, scary, dominant, and abusive, Father is now frail and scared. The many faces of ego have revealed an aspect of his personality that Mattie thought did not exists. Occasionally he has a  fleeting  awareness of his new existence. The ability to shower, walk, stand, eat and speak without assistance may be a thing of the past. He can no longer dominate. He is not dependent on others for his basic needs to be met.

Mattie’s emotions are intense and turbulent. In a scope of a few minutes she feels tired, misunderstood, angry, “don’t care”, compassionate and sad. She feels felt optimistic one moment and depressed the next. The many faces of ego express themselves in her emotions, thoughts, and body language.

At times Mattie is accepting, present, and compassionate. She is able to accept the current conditions within the context of the past. Mattie feels better in these moments when her ego softens. At other times she is angry, victimized and sad and the ego hardens. The victim narrative seems to replay in her mind over and over. She has considered herself a victim for so long, she is scared to see herself any other way. If she is not a victim, then what is she?

The Only Thing You Can Count On Is Change

Mattie is thinking about the complicated relationship she has had with her father. Because of the inevitable tide of change, whatever relationship once existed has changed. In fact, the only constant about this difficult relationship is that it has always been changing. Mattie  remembers the many faces of the man he was, and how the face of his ego was dependent on many conditions including his past, his beliefs, personality, and environmental influences. Mattie wonders about the true essence of her father.  Mattie remembers the “scary, raving lunatic” and the “generous, spiritual man”.

How Many Faces Can One Person Have?

Mattie’s father is a complicated person who was highly reactive and generally a paradox of personalities.  However, the many faces of “self” is a personality trait that we all share. Our need to be humble, to impress, to have more stuff, to be a victim are all expressions of our ego, or sense of self. The face that is presented is “turned on” in part by, our roles and how we define those roles, our expectation of how others should act (based on our definitions of these roles).

Only when we are conscious and aware can we allow these presentations of our self (or ego) to be diminished. Then we are allowed to feel peace, see clearly, react authentically and make space for our own consciousness.