“Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.” – Janis Joplin

Do you feel an intense drive to impress others? Do you have an insatiable longing for validation? Do you find that sometimes it’s easier to fulfill the role that people want you to be instead of just doing you? Then you just might be the Great Pretender.

“Just be yourself” is terrifying advice to the Great Pretender, who has so many identities that it’s hard to remember which “self” he or she brought to the table the last time around. The Great Pretender is a natural-born actor and will use this gift deceive and manipulate others.

The Great Pretender is excellent at sensing what people want, their secret and not-so secret desires, and embodying them in a made-up version of himself or herself. If a girl wants a heroic guy, he’ll play the part of the Hero. If a guy wants to be treated like a King, she’ll play the doting servant role. The Great Pretender will be whomever he or she needs to be to work a situation but will never really be happy in the role because The Great Pretender is disconnected from who he or she really is.

The Great Pretender Superpowers

  • Weak character (unless he or she is playing someone else)
  • Changing personalities on a dime
  • Skilled and effective liar
  • Disconnected sense of self

A Happy Great Pretender
Since it’s the need to feel important that motivates the Great Pretender, evidence of his or her importance will bring a temporary high. That is, until the Great Pretender realizes that the one getting this validation is a made up character.

Famous Great Pretenders
David Hampton (the play and film Six Degrees of Separation is based on his story); Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science founder): Princess Caraboo (from the Island of Javasu, she was the basis of the John Well’s filmPrincess Caraboo); Cassie Chadwick (pretended to be millionaire Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter and died in jail)

Great Pretender Entourage
The Great Pretender preys on the good graces of all, including the Angel, Lover, Believer, Prince, Princess, Diva, and Gentleman

Great Pretender in Love
Love with The Great Pretender is a fantasy come true. He or she will be sure to key into exactly the kind of script you’re writing in your head about he perfect scenario and play out the affair for as long as possible until ultimately the lies start to unravel and you realize it’s all been a ruse.

Great Pretender Challenge
Somewhere along the line, the Great Pretender got a message that he or she was not enough, and not acceptable. The message was driven in so hard that it stuck. As a result, the Great Pretender continues to battle inner demons of lack and worthlessness daily.

How to Play It
If you have a Great Pretender in your life, realize that this person is sick and needs help. Do not buy into the game of pretending you believe this person’s schtick.

If you think you might have tendencies to behave like the Great Pretender, it’s time to get real about who you are and accept yourself. You will probably need help in attaining a new perspective as to your true identity. You need someone who will call you out when you’re being unreal so you can come to reality and love yourself “as is.”

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