A wolf in sheep’s clothing has been a parable used for centuries. Except the poor wolf has been labeled as an angry beast and only out for blood, meanwhile the sheep is innocent and prey to the wolf. Both used to describe humans as either predator or prey, the emotionally angry beast could cover up his gnashing teeth with a mask of emotionally lacking sweet innocence. Is this where we humans learned to cover up our emotions with the proverbial mask?
Did you know that both of these creatures from God represent all of our emotions? Take a look at this wheel of emotions, the center emotions are our core base emotions. Moving outward are the next phase emotions generating from one of the core emotions.
Wolves have our similar core emotions as humans, they don’t show all of it on their faces, but they do with body language and vocally without words.
Sheep also have our similar core emotions, again based on their physical and vocal actions.
So why does the wolf have to be the bad guy in this? He’s the predator plain and simple. Raw end of the stick I’d say!
The “bad guy” is the expectation that we must cover our true identity with a mask.
- “Never let them see you cry”
- “You have no right to be angry”
- “What are you so scared of you pussy”
- “You know you look stupid”
- “What are you so happy about”
- “Don’t just stand there”
- “Look how you made me feel”
- “I don’t understand you or where you’re coming from”
- “Wipe that look off your face”
- “Keep your chin up”
- “You have to stay strong”
- “You’re being dramatic”
- “Your feelings aren’t fair to me”
Each of these common statements inflict shame, embarrassment, condemnation and conditional love. None of us want to feel this way, so we “put on a happy face” our mask, disconnect from our feelings and become someone we’re not.
Maybe this is why I loved Halloween for so many years, I could dress up and be and act the part of my costume. Freedom for one night of the year.
I took my mask off 16 years ago when the Matriarch of our family died. I was no longer ruled over by her, I didn’t have to please her any longer. I got to confront her destruction head on and find the lost little girl who was never good enough. I cried for the first time in front of my psychologist of 6 years! I found my angry voice and let people have it who’ve hurt me. I was like a shaken can of soda opened for the first time, I exploded in emotions.
Ironically at this time a homeless wolf hybrid showed up at my house. While most were afraid of her, I saw her pain in needing love. I took her in, I loved her, fed her, bathed her, took her to the veterinarian and gave her a home. She in turn protected me, saved me, comforted me and loved me unconditionally. This emotionally connected creature was a gift to me from God.
The sheep in all of these parables, is the mask. The mask of being stifled. Such an interesting word to describe “the sacrificial sheep”.
stifle [ stahy-fuhl ]
Definition: prevent, restrain
Synonyms: asphyxiate, black out, bring to screeching halt, burke, check, choke, choke back, clam up, clamp down, constipate, cork, cover up, crack down, curb, dry up, extinguish, gag, hold it down, hush, hush up, kill, muffle, muzzle, put the lid on, repress, shut up, silence, sit on, smother, spike, squash, squelch, stagnate, stop, strangle, stultify, suffocate, suppress, torpedo, trammel.
I will no longer be insignificant in regards to my feelings. This doesn’t mean some of my feelings don’t scare me. I do know for many getting into touch with real feelings is beyond painful and more than they can handle. Doesn’t make them weak. I’ve always liked the song Bridge Over Troubled Waters, because the bridge is much like the mask, protecting you from unforeseen trouble. That water represents so much in our lives. Crossing that water without the bridge is going to be very difficult, scary, unforgiving, you’ll get pulled under, swallow water, have stinging pain from the cold, you’ll trip, question yourself and your sanity. Yet after you get to the shore and crawl to higher safe ground, you’ll be physically and emotionally wiped out. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and relief you made it through all of it. Then after you practice crossing the troubled waters more and more, you’ll learn how to survive the trek across again and again. Make sure though before you take this adventure with another person, you know this person is safe and won’t attempt to stifle you. I believe you know what I mean.
The stifling pig in my life has been sacrificed and my emotions and feelings are my own..my very own and no one can take them away from me again.