EPISODE 5: PERSONA - PART 1
In this episode I cover the archetype of the Persona as well as begin to address the issue of what a symbol is. First a short review of the episodes to date is offered. The Persona is the mask we wear to the outside world. It may be seen as the opposite of the Anima or Animus as the anima and animus are mediators between the inner world and the ego, whereas the Persona acts as a mediator between the external world and the ego. Examples are given of how critical the Persona is for us all to have access to, and a brief developmental perspective is outlined.
© John Betts
Note: This episode contains a brief review of all the terms covered in previous episodes.
Persona: Refers to the mask or face that a person puts on to confront the world. Persona can refer to gender identity or a stage of development such as adolescence, a social status, a job or profession. Over a lifetime many personas can be worn and several can be combined at any point. We all have at least one persona, more likely, we have far more. Our persona is often based on what we do or are expected to do. When we are in this role we act in ways that are consistent with how we expect others to view us. Without a persona we are naked in the world and have nothing between us and our ego and the external world; nothing to hide behind, no clear sense of how to act, what to wear, what to say... Individuals with a weak sense of their persona suffer tremendously because they don't know who to be at any particular moment. They may feel that people can see right through them and that they have no defenses.
As we mature, we begin to develop and adapt our personas in order to find acceptance from others. We tend to develop personas by identifying with role models. There is a risk we can over-identify with our persona, thus leading to one-sidedness. When we do so, the unconscious may burst forth as a means of compensation to correct the one-sidedness. Equally problematic is someone who changes their persona too often, thus lacking a consistent degree of identity.
Review: The persona operates as a form of defense against the world and is a mediator between the external world of others and the ego. The anima/animus operates as a mediator between the internal world and the ego. For this reason, the persona and anima/animus are opposites because they fulfill very opposite roles within the psyche.