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prolificus's avatar

When it comes to your "secret thought life," what are the differences between your inner and outer persona?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) May 4th, 2010

I’m not really a nice guy, but I play one on t.v. If my closest friends and family members knew the intricate details of my secret thought life, they might be a little shocked. I protect my secret thoughts; they’re hidden deep below the line of being completely known. The reason why I don’t share them is because, due to the way my brain is wired (I have bipolar), I tend to have 3–4 complete thoughts randomly running simultaneously. I choose the ones that present my persona as nice, kind, etc. etc, and I exercise wisdom whenever possible. Some of my thoughts, though, are rather explicit and nasty.

What about you and your secret thought life? Do you edit more often than not?

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28 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

fyi, you sound quite normal. great question, by the way.

My inner persona wants to be impressed. My outside persona seems like he’s content with things the way they are.

jfos's avatar

I don’t edit nearly as much as I omit, or fail to publicize.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know why this feels like such a complicated question to me. I feel like I’m the same person inside and out, although I know that isn’t true for several reasons.

I tend to compartmentalize things. I have meetings with my therapist and other groups (bipolar, 12-step) and what I say there stays there. I don’t tell my wife what anyone else talks about. Nor do I tell her more than a summary of what I talk about. The whole purpose of these meetings is to give me a chance to talk about what is really going on without being ashamed of myself.

I have what I consider to be a “lot” of things I do that I am not ashamed of, but that I believe other people think I should be ashamed of. There are also things that I do not share because I know they will hurt people unnecessarily. There are things I don’t talk about, say to my family or my employer, that I just don’t want to have to deal with the fallout on.

So I do try to protect myself by not talking about everything to everybody. Some people hear this part and some hear that, but no one hears it all. So there is a secret thought life, in one sense, even though I don’t think I have anything that I don’t share with at least one person.

And still, I feel like I’m the same person inside and out. People see different sides of it on the outside, but it is all part of the same thing: me. Reminds me of the proverbial story about the elephant being touched by six blind men. It’s a fly swatter. No, it’s a tree. No, it’s a bendy thingy, etc, etc.

I’m the elephant. All the other people are blind men trying to get a sense of the whole picture. I’m the same, inside and out. But no one else knows—or even can know—the whole person.

Coloma's avatar

Both are well integrated I think.

I often have people tell me I look like I write, and write as I talk…aaah…congruency!

I am one of those inhaler types..inhale life, words, food, drink, verbosity…yep..and a bit too much inhaling of good food and drink has caused my ass to exhale more than I’d like right now! haha

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma All I can say is I hope I don’t have to borrow your inhaler for my asthma! haha

jazmina88's avatar

i am deeper than i look. or let on.

tedibear's avatar

I am far more sarcastic in my head than I am out loud.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Inner and outer persona… to myself, this is all the same persona, each aspect is a component of who I am, coming from the same core. I just choose which aspect(s) I feel is most applicable to the situation at hand and present it as primary.

What I choose to present (edit) varies based on the situation and people involved. For most, I keep it as simple and straight forward as possible – they receive the conclusion not the reasoning behind it. For me, it takes less effort and has usually been vastly more productive within the relationship to do so.

For my closest friends, wife included, they pretty much get the panorama shot, with one in particular getting the HD version, as it were. They, to one extent or another, see the method behind the madness, being privy to the sometimes labyrinthine and other times simplistic reasoning that supports who I am.

CMaz's avatar

My Exiles are always getting beat down by the Firefighters and Managers of my Self.

Coloma's avatar


Al-butt-erol lol

loser's avatar

I have to do a lot of editing. The world is just safer that way.

Haleth's avatar

Great question, it takes a lot of perception to ask yourself something like this.

My outer self is kind of deadpan and snarky. I say sarcastic things all the time without thinking… I just have to get the joke in. On the inside, I’m really very sensitive, but too much sensitivity makes you so vulnerable to other people.

J0E's avatar

I think I appear to be a lot more confident and put together than what I really am. In reality I am always analyzing and questioning myself. Deep down there are a great many things that I don’t have answers for. My outer self makes jokes instead of addressing these issues.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

What you see is what you get…usually ;)

slick44's avatar

I think i am pretty far out there in my head. I keep it inside except to a select few. I dont think the world is ready for the person in my head. Or should i say i wouln’t be accepted by most.

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma I’ll butter all all right! All night, too, lol

Storybooklover's avatar

Everything I feel is usually expressed in my facial expressions or body language so it would be hard to do one thing and think another. I have some opinions and thoughts that I keep to myself because they aren’t the nice person I choose to project.

Berserker's avatar

My inner self is much more vile and dark than what I display on the outside, however that’s mostly due to seeing no use in bringing it out rather than to be nice to people out of deception.

wait wat

faye's avatar

My inner is more judgemental and intolerant and way more of a horndog!!!

Parrappa's avatar

Great question by the way, I didn’t think the button sufficed.

I would say my inner self is much different than my outer self. My outer self is a 16 year old boy who loves sports, girls, video games, movies. etc. Even though I really do love those things, my inner self is filled with complete worry about my future, thoughts about physics, the universe, and astronomy, and whatever other stresses I have going on that week. I also find myself to be a heck of a lot smarter and intellectual then a lot of people would think just looking at me. Maybe I put myself out there to not seem as involved as I am, but I just want to fit in like everyone else.

I also know that my inner self is very opinionated about a profusion of ideas and I know that they may oppose what I would seem to be so I keep them to myself.

Nobody has any idea what is going on inside my head because I don’t think anyone could handle it without thinking of me differently.

Snorkledorf's avatar

I’m far more sentimental and loving on the inside than I am on the outside. But I’m not trying to project a false image, as much as I’m just trying to throttle it all back so I don’t creep out the people in my life. I just really do love everybody, by default.

I don’t drink at all so I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that I was one of those kinds of drunks who repeatedly declares their undying love to everybody in their immediate environment. My throttling back of emotion is mainly to avoid becoming that person in my everyday life.

WolfFang's avatar

…stop taking all the good answers @wundayatta

wundayatta's avatar

@WolfFang I’m a wannabe writer. I’m just practicing opening up my veins and seeing what appears. That’s where my answers grow. I’m glad you think I pick the good ones. But anyone can wander through that field, and the fruit growing there is free to all.

Sophief's avatar

My inner self is a lot more deeper and a lot more fucked up than I could ever say on here, only because I can’t describe the way I am, plus, people are too easy to come and attack me for it.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

My inner me has much more strong sexual impulses than I ever permit my outer persona to express. I love to admire women and if my inner impulses were freely expressed I would likely offend women whose friendship I value. The rules of society are not amenable to the expression of such impulses. My relationship with my beloved wife precludes such expression beyond our relationship. Fortunately, within our relationship, I am free to express my erotic thoughts and feelings. My fantasy life is exceedingly rich and varied.

downtide's avatar

There’s not a lot of difference between my inner and outer selves. My inner self is better-looking.

Coloma's avatar

I think that aside from fantasy thoughts or other run of the mill private machinations that the best definition of congruency is ones thoughts, words and deeds lining up.

In other words walkin’ your talk, which all begins with thought.

I am pleased to be pretty damn well integrated, what you see, hear, IS what you get!

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