Week 4 ~ Social Roles and the Fragmented Self

My dear Spiritual Seekers, welcome to Week 4 of Journey to Awakening.

Today, we are going to cover a topic I have touched on in my post on Aloneness and Introversion: social roles and the “Fragmented Self.”

What does this have to do with Awakening?

Well, it has a lot to do with it.

In fact, while Awakening has everything to do with being present, social roles have everything to do with automatisms and identification; that is, behaving a certain way rather than another not because we choose to but because we can’t help it.

Automatism is the opposite of presence.

That is why it’s important to cover this topic early in the Journey.

When we say “Hi, I am [name]!” which “I” are we referring to?

The answer lies in who we are talking to and the situation we are in.

We are one person when we interact with our boss, another when we interact with our coworkers, another with our best friend, another with our closest family, another with our children, another with our partner, another with the cashier at the store, etc.

That’s fine.

In fact, we cannot talk to our 2-year old the way we talk to our boss and vice versa. We do not talk to a coworker the way we do our parents or siblings. We use a different tone, pick different words, think of what’s appropriate and inappropriate to say, our facial expressions are different, our body language is different, everything changes.

This “variety of Selves” serves its purpose.

So then what is the problem?

The problem is we do this unconsciously, on autopilot.

That means we are reacting rather than responding.
Remember the difference?

We are being controlled by our identities (fragments of Self), which are triggered by the external world (i.e., a person or a situation).

Some of you reading this article right now may be in denial, shaking your head, ready to swear that You are ALWAYS yourself in all situations no matter what.

That only goes to show that most of us are indeed oblivious to the fact that different identities arise to interact with different people in different situations.

Having different social Selves does not equal being “fake.”

As long as you’re not going against your core principles and sacrificing your integrity, you are being “real.”

Also, the term “Fragmented Self” is not used in a clinical way. In this context, it refers to the social roles we unconsciously play and identify with.

How many Selves are there?

As many as you can think of.

There is the Professional You, the Positive You, the Negative You, the Jealous You, the Possessive You, the Scared You, the Anxious You, the Depressed You, the Insecure You, the Joyful You, the Shy You, the Sexy and Uninhibited You, the Funny You, the Serious You, etc.

Real life example:

I know a man who is always cracking jokes, laughing and making others laugh; he’s the life of the party.

Now, you’d expect him to be that way every day with everybody, right?

Upon talking to his wife I discovered that’s not the case.

“He’s always so serious, so quiet, so… boring,” she said. Yet, around us friends he changes into this other person, the one we all have known for years.

I could hardly believe we were talking about the same man.

Developing a Central Self

One of the goals to reach over these 25 weeks is that of developing our Central Self.

Developing a Central Self will still enable us to maintain our role in different situations, BUT in full awareness.

We will be in control of and dominate our various identities, not the other way around.

Why is it fundamental to develop  a Central Self?

Because as long as we identify with our roles, we won’t discover our True Self (our Self beyond all roles, what’s left when there’s nobody to play a role with).

Also, by identifying with the various roles we put ourselves in the position of being easily dominated by others.

Once we develop a Central Self, we will no longer identifying with the various roles/identities/selves, and will be able to use them as needed.

By not identifying with our roles, we are in control of them.

That’s a very powerful thing, so powerful it causes dynamics to change and energy to shift.


Let’s say you feel intimidated by a coworker. They have seniority over you; they are overly assertive and tend to be bossy.

You are completely identified with the role of the subordinate coworker with less seniority and unconsciously play that role by being submissive.

They identify with their alpha role and boss you around.

The energy between the two of you revolves around this dynamic .

Now, if you consciously play the role of the less senior coworker but do NOT identify with it, the energy is going to shift.

By not identifying with the role, you are in control. You know you are not inferior to your senior coworker, and that shows on an energy level.

The senior coworker has lost the psychological grip he/she used to have over you. You no longer perceive them as intimidating.

The roles are the same, but the energy has changed.

Week-4 Exercise

Same as Week 3: be present during bathroom activities, such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, showering, cleaning your ears, shaving, using the toilet, etc. Bring your full awareness to these activities.

Speak up!

How do you feel about the Fragmented Self?
Is this concept new to you?
Do you identify with your various roles, or are you aware of some of them and do not identify with them?
How do you feel about developing a Central Self?

I want to hear from you!

As always, feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below, or shoot me an e-mail with any questions at wayofthelonewolf@gmail.com
You can also reach me on Twitter @WayofdaLoneWolf
Or my Facebook Page, Group, and Profile

Do subscribe if you want to jump aboard this ship and stay up-to-date with my posts.

I look forward to hearing from You and sharing with You.

The Lone Wolf

4 Replies to “Week 4 ~ Social Roles and the Fragmented Self”

  1. Interesting! I’ve found that when I stopped following the script around certain people, the dynamics definitely have changed. People who bullied or harassed me either became friendly or kept their distance when I realized that they didn’t actually have power over me. It was just the thought that they did that kept me there haha.

    1. I am glad you were able to get the trouble-makers out of your hair. If you can change a script altogether it’s good to do so.

      In some cases, however, you have no choice but to follow the script (e.g., your boss is above you so you can’t go in and start talking to him/her like they’re a peer); that’s fine, because what is important to change is the way you FEEL about it; it’s important to NOT identify with the roles.

      So say, your boss is a butthole. You respect your role by not calling them out on their assholishness. However, you do NOT identify with your role as a subordinate. You play it, so you go on doing what you do for a living despite his/her being an ass, but even though you “act” like a subordinate (thus respecting your role and theirs), you know you are NOT subordinate, you are NOT less than them or inferior in any way, and THAT knowledge is what changes the energy.

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