Personality Masks in Socionics context

by Anna Roman:

Socionic Masks: How do they help us? How do they harm us?

Our society is arranged in such way that, facing any certain life situations, people put on «masks» with not always a conscious purpose in order to be presented to others in a more favorable light. In this article we are talking about main advantages and drawbacks of using “masks”. In what situations they hinder people, bringing inconvenience and discomfort; and when do they enhance the interaction process with the environment, helping to achieve certain goals.

Igor Kalinauskas associated intertype relationships with concrete personal psychological problems. If a person has a “mask” that means that there are 2 types coexisting in one person, then we can say that between the real type and the mask there are also specific intertype relationships, which also indicate the presence of similar unresolved personal problem.

Mask is a formation of a false image of “yourself to others” in order to suppress the increasing aggressiveness and hide the inner problems.

It is possible to make controlled adjustments to this false image of “yourself to others”, significantly increasing the effectiveness of your social interaction.

If you look at it from the practical side, we can see that the “mask” can both help and hinder our communication and interaction with people.


Positive impact of “masks”.

Short-time wearing a “mask” could be very helpful. It can be either unconscious or conscious, especially when a person creates the appearance of any other socionic type.

A “mask” can be used in conjunction with the boss or subordinates in order to make yourself delightful to others, also it may be used in negotiations with business partners, in acting, in diplomacy and politics, and also in private life.


Negative impact of “masks”.

Let’s turn to the scenario with the negative effect of “mask”, in other words, the unconscious and long-time wearing of a mask. Solving certain problems in life, person behaves as a representative of a different socionic type, sometimes not even realizing it. It happens frequently, that the “mask” being worn overmuch, adheres to a true socionic type.

This phenomenon leads to the following consequences.

Firstly, that could be seen on arrival at the new place of work, first appearance in a new company or even on a first date, the first impression of the person is incorrectly determined by his mask, not his real type. But after a while the real type begins to appear clearly. As a result, work turns out to be hard at the new place, moreover management’s expectations are not met, which leads to frustration and even more unpleasant consequences.

Secondly, the person who is focused on personal development and uses his knowledge in socionics, but has a certain “mask” – he usually deals with his own type very slowly and hardly. There is confusion between real type and the “mask”, which leads to the fact that people tend to consider themselves even some third type. Unsolved problems remain, furthermore, the new problems arise.

Let’s analyse the example, when the “mask” hinder and harm us. For example, a “Controlled (under control) mask” is associated with debt problems, making persons’ nature facile, sensitive and attackable. It seems that these people are hardly aware of their personal interests and are willing to sacrifice themselves to please the society.


How to determine a “mask”? Main attributes.


Person in such mask tries to create an image of self-sufficient and “standing on his own two feet” – he does everything by himself, he does not need anyone’s help. He can not afford to let his inner child live in piece, therefore for him it is extremely difficult to relax. Consequently, he is overloaded and needs to have rest and comfort. Even with the stable image of self-sufficiency, in reality he is a very dependent person, constantly in need of support, attention, reinforcement, clinging to the other, but he is afraid of admitting it. Sometimes he would likely create a sexy image, whereas in fact there is a problem with the private relationship. He is afraid of loneliness most of all.


In the case of Activation mask a person’s image resembles a “vagabond”: he has his own, personal value system and he does not care about society and public opinion. He does not see and doesn’t accept his own problems, flatly denies them.


The image in this case is associated with the removal from the base of real personality. This is offset by the desire for perfection, the intellectual development. For the man in the Mirror mask urgent problem of the active delivery of results into society is evident, as well as the problem of self-realization. But as long as he is wearing this mask, he won’t succeed. Mirror mask symbolizes the image of a strict teacher. Person wearing this mask shows to the others the scope of their activity and creativity, which needs to be improved in his opinion. He gives the piece of advice absolutely automatically and without special efforts.


Self-assessment of his quality depends on the attitude towards him, and the work is carried out in the language of the subjective logic. There is a desire to act within their own subjective ideals. A person in such mask will certainly begin to compete with others.

Illusion (Mirage)

In the case of Illusion mask person quickly comes to realize that the favorable external appearance is a key to success. He plays a role in life, as an actor plays a role on the stage. He creates an “Illusion” of himself. And this role limits his freedom, it blocks his natural behaviour. This mask symbolizes the problem of inner freedom.


Person in this mask tirelessly demonstrates his superiority on the relevant aspects. Superego mask is characterized with blocking individuality, duty to be perfect executive, imposed programs that do not meet the real personality, makes this person socially obliged to wear a mask. This mask is usually used for social survival, external success and further progress in the society. It blocks strong sociotype function and inhibits the development of abilities. This mask is recognized better than others.


Reflective desire to explain to another person, how incorrect and wrong is usual for this person way of life. Constantly argues, defends his point of view, but in a very respectful way. As well as the Activation mask, Quasi-Identity mask symbolizes the internal struggle, the rejection of common values, completely dependent on other people’s opinions.


He tends to look mobilized, but actually lowered his tone, as he has a deep problem. He looks at the things “from the other side”. Characterized by the phrases: “Never do that! It’s absolutely wrong! Nobody needs that!”. Behavior sometimes reminds a “self-confident teenager”.


Lack of frankness. Person may seem selfish; in fact, it is not always like that. He is trying to be like you, sharing interests. When it comes to business, these relationships can be quite fruitful, if the partners share interests. But if their common interests diverge, the relationship can be harsh, unpleasant, annoying.


The presence of many thoughts about the past is typical, as well as about the pleasant moments that are left in the past. Unexpected behavior is also typical. Person in such mask helps to sort out the problem, and if he is restricted just with theoretical discussion, it is perfectly possible to communicate with him. Half-Dual may surprise you with unexpected act, after which the relations will deteriorate sharply.


Person in such mask aims to have an invulnerable image, always ready to fight. But deep inside such person may feel useless, worthless. In this mask person is unable to exercise his own work and realize his mission. Sometimes the presence of a Conflict mask is manifested in the inability make the hard choices or decisions in a significant situation.


Image of a person wearing Requester mask – self-confidence. He seems to project strength and power. He aspires to seem special and important. In real life, spending a lot of effort on this image, he usually forgets to keep the promises and doesn’t take responsibility for decision-making. Most of people in such masks are impatient and intolerant.

Characteristically arrogant behavior, increased requirements. mask of the Requester – person pretends to be a Big Boss, he gives instructions to everybody, even though he is not really ready to bear responsibility.


Image of a dependable “yes man”, trustworthy executive provokes great expectations to him in human environment. However, in reality such person in a Respondent mask has to make great efforts to fulfil his obligations and to save the face. There is panic and fear to break the promise, or remove the obligation, to loose the control of situation. The other extreme line – he moves beyond the obligations, showing unwillingness to take responsibility for the result of his activity.


Controller mask – excessive sense of entitlement.

“Controller” symbolizes an older relative, to whom you are liable to account all the time. Quite simple requirements: report, get the evaluation of what you’ve done, come back later to report. Controller always force others to be responsible, learn to report, obtain an estimate, take it seriously and to improve his performance, depending on the evaluation. “Controller” is waiting for confirmation of his significance and self-esteem.

The controller causes the unconscious sense of uncertainty of the others.

Controlled (Under Control)

Here is a verbatim quote of INTJ, being in the “Controlled mask”: “I want to please everybody and I want everything to be fine. In any company I feel the need to keep the perfect relationship no matter what. It is so hard when people are bad to you… ”

“Controlled (under control) mask” also interferes its owner to establish true confidence to family and loved ones. This comes from the confusion in the suggestive function. It is extremely difficult for such people to relax and unwind. They think that they can not spend time for themselves and must dedicate to others. “I can not spend time on myself, as I have too many obligations to my mother in law and relatives. And even if there is free time, as I am on my maternity leave, I have to spend all my time on my child”- that’s exactly how this problem has been expressed by already mentioned girl (INTJ) as a reason why she can’t look after herself and she really wanted to.

The clear attributes of such “Controlled mask” are such words as “have to”, “must” and “commitment”. This is how unilateral sense of duty is expressed among people with “Controlled mask”.

Such behaviour leads to the serious problems, for example, psychological pressure, a difficulty to find inner freedom.


Below there is a list of “masks” matching with the specific problems.

Identity (No mask) The lack of “mask” demonstrates that person is easy-going and reliable. This person is honest enough with himself and others, he’s not trying to play the role of someone else, he keeps being adequate to himself.
Dual “Dual mask” is related to the problem of recreation: person needs a rest, comfort, relaxation, maintenance and support.
Activation “Mask” is related to the rejection of the idea that there is a problem and that it should be solved. No motivation to solve problems.
Mirror “Mirror mask” is associated with the problems of realization of the individual, the realization of his creativity, active delivery of results.
Business “Business mask” is associated with the problem of work: the feeling that the workload prevents to live the full life. The difficulties in the organization of work, allocation of priorities. “Business mask” is also associated with the problem of a long, usually unsuccessful, job search.
Illusion (Mirage) “Illusion mask” is associated with the problem of inner freedom: inability to make a separate step, tension, escape from reality into the world of illusions. A person has accumulated his inner tension, with whom he does not know how to cope. As a result –  he creates a tense atmosphere for the other; he runs away to the world of illusions: computer communication, replacing real life, or computer games, that hide his feeling of being lost; feeling of inconsistence with reality.
Superego “Superego mask” is associated with a survival problem. Person does not live freely, he “survives”, he does what he “must”, which is not comparable with his forces and capabilities. No labour / relaxation balance.
Opposition “Repayment mask” is related to the domestic problems. This persons’ life is not enough organized to rest properly.
Quasi-Identities This mask shows the problem of the struggle (with someone – people, circumstances), person takes this fight more serious than he should, or simply this struggle is relevant at the moment. In any case, the presence of “mask” makes life difficult, harder to concentrate; it becomes impossible to choose ones’ own, not someone else’s resources to solve the problems.
Conflictor “Conflictor mask” says about the problem of choice. Person is not inclined to make a clear choice for a long time remained in a state of oscillation, thereby making life difficult for himself and others. This mask also tells about the internal personal conflict.
Relationship ” Relationship mask” is associated with the problem of self-affirmation. That means, that previously this person hasn’t learned how to assert himself, he hasn’t mastered enough his methods of approval his position among the surrounding people, so now he is forced to act against his type, breaking himself to “cover up” the weaknesses, he also has to be presented to others and even to himself (and, currently – in first of all) as like the other person.
Half-Dual ” Half-Dual mask” is associated with learning problems.
Controller “Controller mask” is related to the debt problem (such a person feels superior with the sense of entitlement to others). He considers himself entitled to impose strict requirements to the people, without being self-rigorous.
Controlled “Controlled mask” is related to ones’ inability to ask from his debtors with a greater propensity to repay debts than to ask others. The man believes that “he owes everybody” “conscience is the best controller”. He may face serious problems at the workplace associated with this inability to require subordinates for execution and full compliance of work.
Requester “Requester mask” is associated with the problem of avoiding responsibility for the execution of decisions. People tend to make their own decisions, but place the burden of responsibility for the fulfilment on the others.
Respondent “Respondent mask” is associated with the problem of avoiding responsibility for decision making. People tend to be a disciplinable executor, but not able to take decisions himself, and likely to shift the responsibility for something onto the other person.

– “Games, as played by “We””. First principles of behavior psychology: theory and typology.  Igor Kalinauskas, Kiev, 2005.