Hiding in the land of social media
Some people use social media to connect with friends and family. Others use it to meet new people online. Social media is a place where you can showcase your personality, post pictures of yourself (selfies), or share bits and pieces of your life, but some people pretend to be someone else online. You might be thinking, “why would anyone create a fake social media profile?” There are many reasons that someone might do this. Here are some of the reasons why someone might create a social media account that isn’t who they are.
Being a superfan
Some people are extreme fans of particular bands, artists, or TV shows, and sometimes, it’s not something that they’re comfortable talking about to their friends. They might create a social media profile exclusively to engage with the thing they admire. Perhaps, they’re embarrassed about their fandom and want to keep this social media profile private so that no one finds out about their obsession. This gives them the freedom to talk to other fans in secrecy and say what they want to say without their real-life friends finding out. A fandom account can be very freeing, and there’s something beautiful about not having to answer to friends and family who don’t understand your obsession.
Having a mental illness
Mental illness is widespread. One in five people in the United States has battled mental illness. Some people are hiding in the shadows of stigma and are afraid to express that they’re living with something such as Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, an eating disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or PTSD. Those who are struggling might create a fake social media profile to unload and vent about their mental illness. Let’s say that you have an eating disorder or struggle with anxiety and don’t want your friends and family to know about the details of it all; you probably want to talk about what you’re going through and let off some steam, but you don’t want to face the potential reactions of the people around you. You’d be surprised at how many people have these false social media profiles so that they can be honest about their mental illness. It’s freeing to be able to discuss what you’re going through and not have to feel judged.
Stalking your ex
Let’s face it; breakups are hard. As much as you want to “move on,” many people are wondering what their exes are up to. However, they don’t want to look at their Instagram stories or their Facebook account with their real profile in case their ex finds out that they’ve been doing some snooping. Creating a false identity online is a way to find out what your ex is up to without them knowing. It’s hard to move on from a relationship, and if someone is struggling to do that, they might find themselves lurking in the shadows and watching them without it being “them.” Maybe you only have the profile for a while, while you’re not over your ex quite yet, but having that false profile can make you go down the rabbit hole that you don’t need to visit.
Creating a personality that’s not yours
Maybe, you’re having trouble embracing your identity and want to seem “cooler” than you are. Perhaps, you make a fake social media profile of someone older than your actual age, or you post pictures that aren’t you or don’t look like you so that you’ll be perceived in a particular manner – cool, mature, or sophisticated. Many people create these profiles, and some even catfish others. It’s often about having insecurities and wanting to appear in a particular manner. It can also be to run away from your “real life” or to express a part of you that you’re not able to express among people in your daily life.
What happens when your friends find your fake social media profile?
If you have a fake profile online, this fear is probably a significant burden that you carry. It can be embarrassing if you’re trying to hide and have a fake profile, but your friends find it. You’re trying to hide this alternate part of yourself, and you’ve been found out, so what do you do? Here is an opportunity to discuss the hidden part of you in therapy with a person who won’t judge you and understands that there are reasons that someone might create a fake social media profile. Sometimes, it’s something as small as a fandom, and other times, it’s about something bigger, like having a part of you that isn’t accepted by other people in your life or being bullied and needing an escape. In any case, you don’t need to be ashamed. If you don’t have a therapist, you can search for one by looking up “therapy near me” and find someone who can help you work through these issues. When people make a fake social media profile, what sometimes comes down to is that they need a place to talk and express themselves, and therapy is a great place to do that.
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