Extremely good taste in fashion and make up and terrible at all things relationships. Unapologetic manhater. I could go on. Good to hear you found a strategy that works for you. We all find our own way, ultimately, but the key is to remember that recovery is possible — so thank you for sharing your story.
Best wishes, Sarah Myles. I really thought it would never happen to me. There is a small sense of self. I verbally abuse him in return. And believe it or not, I recently and very subconsciously acquired a veiled chameleon as a pet, and I travel with him all the time now.
I travel a lot for business. So, thank you for this. In all sincerity, thank you. All the best for ! Thank you. In reading your article I now have the ability to start identifying why and who I really am. Thanks for writing this! So, thanks for taking the time to reach out, and thanks for reading. Good luck with your continued recovery. The chameleon effect has been something that has effected me alot.
When a glimpse of the real me shows I feel embarrassed. Before I came across this chameleon effect blog I labelled it my inner child. Loved this and will continue to work on this chameleon effect so being me becomes automatic. Thank you so much for reading, for getting in touch, and for contributing to the brilliant range of comments these lovely readers have created. I agree — it is so comforting to know that there are others experiencing the same thing, regardless of where they are on their road to recovery.
Reading this literally stopped me in my tracks! It was almost as if I had written it myself.
I was just trying to figure myself out. I have always described myself as a chameleon, which most people see as a good thing, being able to read people and adjusting my personality accordingly. People have even commented on how I pick up accents when I travel. Just recently I have realized that this may be a bigger problem than I ever thought. I have never had the opportunity to be alone much. Reading this had given me a little comfort though. It helps knowing that I am not the only one like this.
Thank you for sharing your story here — it is always fascinating to hear the way other people describe it, and the circumstances under which they have come to understand their chameleon. It certainly is comforting to find that there are other people experiencing similar sensations, but I also find it heartening to hear how it touches people in very different ways, and manifests specifically for individual people.
I think for most people, it can be very scary to initially realise that they have no real sense of self. We ultimately need to find the approach that works for us, in moving forward, and that approach may differ from that used by everyone else. From this position, we have the power to feel better.
I wish you all the best in these endeavours. Thank you for reading and, again, thank you very much for taking the time to reach out. Very best wishes, Sarah Myles. Thank you! The truth will set me free. Now I can be treated with the hope of healing and being able to manage my BPD. Eternally grateful. Remembering that being a chameleon is normal for people. We all want to fit in and mirror our friends and co workers. BPD tends to take this to extremes due to the unstable sense of self. Thank you for you comment, and for taking the time to read.
If a beta personality can cultivate the alpha within just a little bit, they set themselves up Awaken your inner alpha and become the great leader you know you can be. Go on a hike you would normally find too intimidating. The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Strong Women Can Find Love should dumb down women's power and status by avoiding her inner Alpha. Alpha and Beta personality types in your discussion of gender roles.
Yes, I agree — it is human nature to want to fit in. Hi Jeff, thanks for your comment. I guess the mirroring behaviour still continues in that situation. We all have our own, natural ways of being. I stumpled across this writing, and by the end of it I was in tears. I will focus on finding a stable self now, thanks to this post. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Best wishes for your continued recovery. Sarah Myles. U have nailed it.
Am too in the same juncture right now. My only advice is to do things at your own pace, in your own time. I always make a point of acknowledging and celebrating every step forward I make — no matter how small. This, in itself, helps to build a more solid sense of self, because we are then seeking only the approval of ourselves, rather than looking to those around us.
The goal, realistically, is to simply have more good days than bad. But I now know I can look it right in the face, and tell it to get back in its box — because I know where it comes from and that understanding means the power belongs to me, not it. I guess it depends on your own experiences, and circumstances.
Having hope is a great place to start, though, and is an important resource for when you need to remind yourself that feeling better is absolutely within your reach. So again thanks for this article. I hope for an update. Another reason for drinking but it only brings out the depression the next day or fires my impulsive actions.
I know the social chameleon well when I think about it. I was once diagnosed with bpd… it has been some time since I have lost control to the point I was in a tail spin where up was dog and down was cat. I have addressed my issues and worked hard on them. I am in a place that I accept them and know to stay away from situations that ignite them. But what I am finding is that, I have become a recluse.
A lot of this is due to the Chameleon. When I notice myself and mannerisms change it really hurts me inside to know that I am so lost about who I am and what I stand for that I have to mirror others for some sign of a personality. It hurts to think that for me to just mantain effectively I have to avoid living.
It is not all glass half empty though; being removed from life some has it drawbacks but the lack of the crushing lows is certainly not missed in any way shape or form. Is maintaining all this life holds from here on? Do these feelings go away? Am I always hiding in plain site? As I am not a mental health professional, I can only speak from my own, personal experience of Borderline Personality Disorder and my own Chameleon.
Your description sounds very familiar to me. I have certainly experienced periods of being a recluse — when social interaction was far too dangerous for my emotional stability. That was during intense crisis, and around the time of my diagnosis. I still experience phases of this now, but to a much lesser degree. Looking at it honestly, isolating oneself is essentially avoidance and, while there are times when this is a necessary course of action, as part of our self-care, avoidance alone is not an effective way of creating sustained recovery.
This requires balance between self-care, and safely challenging oneself, which is best done under the guidance of a mental health professional, at first. I took this route, and so I can say that, for me, this has led to a situation where I can confidently engage socially more often than not. Gradually, the suppression of those Chameleon instincts becomes automatic, and our sense of self becomes more stable. Again, this is just my experience.
I realise that everyone is different, and what works for me may not have the same effect for others. I do hope you begin to feel better, though, and just know that it is possible to live a full life while managing BPD and the Chameleon effectively. Thank you for your blog. I am 39 years old and have been slowly becoming aware of my own chameleon. It was told to me by a co-worker; as I change modes dramatically for my job, freinds and situations.
They view it as a intelligent and smart; but your article is the first I have considered that it is part of a bigger issue, an unhealthy one I do come from an abusive childhood. Thank you so much.. I would always recommend that, if you are concerned there may be larger issues, get in touch with a mental health professional for further guidance. Awareness is key, though, so I would also recommend taking a moment to acknowledge that progress — because it is by no means easy. As all the others have said, thank you so much.
I feel like it just might help me to post a bit here. From when I was a kid, what I mainly remember is being rejected, being alone, and if I was with someone, they usually left. I never really belonged. I guess, from here, is where my issue stems. I never had a chance to develop a true personality— I ended up mimicking to belong, from an extremely young age. I also have a relatively solid social group. However, and maybe this can help someone else too, I am also so so so insecure about this new personality.
This kind of stems from the BPD too I guess being overly-kind to be accepted, maybe?
But I recognize that this is actually me. But again, over the past year or a half, this is what was bothering me the most. So, for anyone here who is going through this process of discovering themselves, they probably feel insecure as well, but honestly, guys, all of you, and I should listen to myself too: You can do it. Deep down, you are real. Thank you for these comments — I very much appreciate you sharing your story here. Best of luck with your continued recovery, and thanks again for taking the time to get in touch. Kind regards, Sarah Myles. I just listen to the good things I say.
And then I hear them more often. Maybe I always have to be objective, and maybe I do mirror people. I think I am a combination of everything.
Not anything. Past relationships. But I am a social butterfly. I do like most people. I try very hard. May be I hear voices or maybe I already finished the book while others may have forgot all ab it. Have control and let others have control. You will hear you even if you heat all the other voices, too. Thank you for getting in touch, Margaret — although, with all due respect, I find your comments to be very dismissive. You have listed many aspects of yourself and your behaviours — thank you for sharing — and state that you do not think you have a disorder. That may well be true — perhaps you do not have a disorder.
I, on the other hand, do have a medically diagnosed disorder — Borderline Personality Disorder — which I have worked very hard to deal with. As you will have read from the other comments on this article, this space is frequented by all kinds of people at various different stages in the process of dealing with many different things — their experiences are all valid and important, whether or not you recognise parts of yourself here and are able to manage. People, and their lives and histories, are complex and different, and everyone has to find their own way — diagnosed or not.
How do you know that? Because you assume that I am experiencing the same thing as you are, to exactly the same degree? Today, I am relatively okay — but could I have said the same five years ago, when I required the help of the Mental Health Crisis Team for a sustained period of time? And the work I do now, and on here, is with the intention of avoiding that in the future.
I am curious about two things, though. Firstly, if you are so comfortable with the way in which you deal with things, and specifically with the fact that you mirror people, why are you reading articles about it on the internet? In summary, nowhere in this article does it state that the Chameleon Effect is solely an aspect of Borderline Personality Disorder — in fact, it says very clearly that this behaviour is common to many different types of mental health problem — and is also found in people with no mental health problem at all.
This article does not suggest that, just because you mirror people, it means you have BPD. What it does say, is that when the Chameleon Effect is present in BPD, it is usually the result of a shifting, unstable sense of self — which is a core element of the illness. I hope that clarifies this topic for you. In an excellent article by Sarah Myles, she describes this […]. Ever since I was a young child, I wondered how I was supposed to behave or act, in any given social situation I was in, and learning to copy people who seemed to have it down pat.
My ex wife always said I seemed like a social butterfly and chameleon, so why do you not like crowds, she would wonder. Anyway, right now it seems like it might be fun to be an actor. Social butterfly, but crowds are just exhausting — either because of the The Chameleon, or due to trying to control The Chameleon and stay self-aware. It takes days to work up to being in a crowd, and days to recover. It totally wipes me out, even now. Maybe you can relate to this: Shopping at the grocery store.
Lots of people around. You feel wound-up, out-of-touch with your emotions, your shoulders and chest are tense. You see somebody attractive nearby and look anyway. Suddenly the emptiness appears out of nowhere and you sink into it. I must apologise, as I have only just spotted this comment — though it was posted three months ago.
There was no notification for some reason. They impulsively chase trades, they over-trade, and they tend to revenge trade. Then after major losses, they are scared to trade until they push through their fear. These are aspects of the very characteristics that makes alphas successful in other endeavors outside of trading. The desire to win often pushes the trader not to accept losses. Yet traders have to become very good losers minimizing the size of losses in addition to having a desire to win.
Therefore, the desire to win really has to be hybridized to a new construct — the desire to perform effectively. What has to be accepted is that the alpha cannot make things happen and force winning to occur. Instead of controlling outcome, he must learn to shift the emphasis to controlling performance. The control of performance, not outcome. The end game is the same — the desire to win — but now the process is focused on performance as the avenue to the probability of winning. This is a major shift from natural selection where the desire to win, in fact, gives one an advantage in survival.
Now the alpha is moving beyond survival and learning how to develop the mind that thrives in the world of probability, risk, and capital. The other trait that has to be modified is the urgency to act. Alphas are notorious for taking action while others hesitate. Yet in trading that very trait leads to trouble.
Without a more disciplined and patient approach the urgency to act leads to over-trading and revenge trading.
But what if more discernment were brought to the equation? It is not the capacity to act that needs to be changed. Rather, it is the discernment of WHEN to act that needs to be developed in re-training the alpha for trading. As a way to illustrate this principle, look at the similarities and differences between the African lion and the American cougar. Both are apex predators in their environments. Both are the alphas of their worlds. But they do it differently. One is not better than the other — they are only different.
Each is adapted to a different environment in much the same way that the alpha human must adapt from the old environment he came from to the new environment of trading. The African lion stalks and chases in coordinated attacks on open fields. And lions are very successful in what they do. They have risen to become the apex predators of their world. They also absorb a lot of injuries. They get gored and kicked by big animals, so their losses can be large on an individual level. But the group survives due to the sheer numbers of the pride. Yet if you took that same successful apex predator and placed him in the forests of North America as a lone hunter, do you think that that the African lion would have the same success?
The world they adapted to is different. Therefore the ways of the apex predator need to evolve. Now think of the American cougar. It is a solitary hunter adapted mostly for the forests of North America. This is where the American cougar and the trader are very similar. They are solitary hunters that need to adapt their skills for their environment. The cougar is not a stalking or chasing predator. Instead he is an ambush predator. This is a very different approach than the African lion — but just as lethal in its own world.
The cougar waits patiently in a tree or on a rock ledge for the deer to enter the setup. The cougar knows the high likelihood of his success, but he chooses to wait for the deer to walk into his ambush. The uncertainty of the strike happens rapidly — there is no drama of the chase.
Instead the cougar either drops the deer almost immediately, or the deer gets away. And there is little chance of injury for the cougar. The potential of losses are much smaller for the cougar than the lion. If the cougar misses takes a loss , it is minimal. He just climbs the tree again, waiting for the next valid setup. Both these animals evolved into apex predators adapted to particular environments. The same applies to alphas who become traders — with one major twist. Humans can design the way they respond to the environment, rather than adapt through natural selection.
There is a great lesson here. Rarely does an alpha possess the trait of patience when he first engages the uncertainty and risk of trading. Instead it is all about making things happen. He adapted his alpha-ness to the environment from which he came. But now he is in the environment of trading where he cannot control outcome through his desire to win or his urgency to act. But what he can do is adapt by design.
There is nothing wrong with the traits of the alpha. Many highly successful people can attest to this. The question is whether the traits of the alpha are adaptive to the world of trading. And it is a big question. Many alphas try to ram the form of alpha that has brought success in the past on to the new endeavor of trading.
That particular form, without the added trait of disciplined patience, is not going to work in the new world of trading. The alpha can still become the apex predator, but it will take on a different form. Both the African lion and the American cougar are very successful apex predators for the environments for which they have adapted. And every alpha initially wants to be the African lion when they engage trading.
The American cougar is a model that works in trading, where money and risk are present. He is patient. He is disciplined.