Deep inside, a part of us desperately longs to be understood and loved by God and others. At the same time, another part of us fearfully closets away our needs and longings.
We come by our hiding tendencies honestly. It goes back to the Garden of Eden. After sinning and moving into brokenness by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Feeling afraid and condemned, they hid from the only One who could help them in their brokenness.
What Are Your Hiding Styles?
We all hide in some way. Silent withdrawal isn’t the only way. Our hiding styles come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Here’s a partial list of the common styles:
- The Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger’s middle name is Self-Sufficient. Due to a deep fear of being known and unloved, Lone Rangers stay away from situations in which they might need the support of others. They stay hyper-independent and isolated.
- The Hermit. Because of lack of emotional safety, Hermits avoid contact with people at all costs. They find intimacy severely painful and are more at ease discussing casual or intellectual issues.
- The Caretaker. This individual is deeply involved in the lives of others, almost always in a ministering role. Deep inside, Caretakers are often motivated by a sense of obligation and by their own neediness. They tend to enable others to be more irresponsible, fearing that if they aren’t needed, they would be isolated and alone.
- The Manipulator. Manipulators are generally found with a Caretaker in tow. Manipulators hide from being separate, whole individuals and look for ways to have others take care of them. It’s hard for them to accept ‘no’ from others.
- The Perfectionist. Generally, driven individuals, Perfectionists hide lumps and bumps underneath an extremely high functioning façade. On the surface, Perfectionists appear to have it ‘all together’. But they’re actually terrified that their imperfections will overwhelm and annihilate their positive qualities.
- The Superstar. Superstars are allergic to mediocrity and addicted to ‘special-ness’. When they encounter personal limitations and ordinariness, the result is a sense of deep humiliation and ‘badness’. Superstars live in an ideal world.
- The Compliant Child. Compliant Children feel stuck in a one-down position with adults and authority figures. Because of a deep anxiety about success and failure, they find people to defer to and constantly seek approval. They tend to avoid thinking for themselves, instead trying to please authorities, but they resent other’s control over them.
- The Rebellious Child. These people learn to actively resent all authority, whether biblical or non-biblical. They have a genuine struggle in submitting appropriately, experiencing authority as critical and injurious.
Coming Out of Hiding
Become aware of your own hiding styles. Make an inventory of these hiding styles and use it as a road map to your emotional needs and injuries. Ask yourself, Why do I need to be hiding in these ways?
Over time, with the grace of God, his people and his truth, you can begin to experience life—beyond hiding.
Encounter February 1997