The Facade Is Part of the Building

We use the word “facade” when we feel that we are faking something and not showing our true selves. We feel like imposters putting something over on people. If we cultivate the face that we show the world for enough years, it comes to feel like our true self – an imposter through and through!

This process is considered shameful. We should not be “putting on a good face” because, by doing so, we are deceiving people. We are not who we make people believe we are.

Then there is the 12-Step slogan, “fake it til you make it.” I understand what they are trying to convey, but it makes me cringe. It makes me think of somebody pretending they are a billionaire and hoping someday their ship will come in and they will become the billionaire they yearn to be.

On the other hand, experiments show that if you smile, your mood gets a little better. Even when you feel lousy, The act of smiling sets off a little burst of feel-good hormones. What’s the harm?

Years ago, a young man was in therapy with me. He was highly intelligent, talented, and competent. He was not an abuse survivor, but he did have some family issues he wanted to deal with.

One day he told me about how all his talent and competence was just a facade. Inside, I said to myself, “Me, too.”

Sometimes I open my mouth, and out of nowhere, I say something I didn’t know I was about to say. I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know how I knew it. I just know. This time it was, “But the facade is part of the building.” Wow!

The implication is that you cannot just rip it off and toss it away, like a removable mask. It’s part of your true self. This guy was, in fact, competent, intelligent, talented. Somebody had told him he was stupid, and he had believed the lie. He wasn’t tricking people; he had been tricked.

(An aside – have you ever looked hard at the facades of the buildings in your town or city? When my depression lifted, and I stopped looking at my feet and raised my eyes, I was amazed at how pretty the facades were. Buildings without facades looked like the dull, clumpy rectangles they were. But those with ornamentation were graceful and interesting.)

I’ve been musing about how the concept of facades relates to shell alters. It seems obvious to me that the shell alter is an integral part of the system. It has been formed from the essence of the person and contains as much me-ness as any other part. The image that comes to mind is that of a loving adult holding out her (or his) arms to cradle other parts who want to speak or come out into the world in some other way. You can give strength and safety and comfort without words, and I think that is what shell alters do.

In my mind, shell alters are more like the framework of a building. You don’t see them, but they are there, quietly providing strength and structure.


Even after all these years, I catch myself believing a lie that I was told. I hear myself saying internally, “What would a nice girl do?” “What would a real social worker say?” “If I were truly compassionate…” Eek! My facade is slipping!

It’s tempting to think that the persistence of the negative beliefs about myself that I learned in childhood means that I’ve done something wrong in my healing. That’s not true. These beliefs are very tenacious, and they are still in my mind. When one pops up, I challenge it, and I quickly see it’s a lie. What more could I ask?

I have a lovely facade, and I spent many long years building it. I don’t have to pretend to be a nice girl, a real social worker, or compassionate. I am those things, inside and out.


Upcoming Holidays

1/1 New Year’s Day
1/6 (?) Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/13 New Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/18 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1/20 (?) St. Agnes’ Eve
1/28 Full moon

2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII
1/28 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (Jewish celebration of spring)
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)


I have organized a ZOOM group of survivors whose systems are polyfragmented, or partially so. If you would like to join, contact me through the comments section or write


* You can find more information on the following holidays at: 
Valentine’s Day
Spring Equinox
Easter: personal. (for background, see Spring Equinox)
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve:
Mothers’ Day:
Fathers’ Day:
Summer Solstice (corrected text)

Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2
Fall Equinox
Halloween {personal) 
Halloween (background)
Yule/Winter Solstice 


* How to add a comment after a postThis blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post. You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS,” tagged (a list of the tags), and (the number of) comments.” Click on the word “comments” to open all posted comments.

At the very bottom of the page, you will see “LEAVE A REPLY.” That’s where you make a new comment. You can reply to a posted comment by clicking “Reply” under that comment. In each case, make sure to click “POST COMMENT” when you are finished. It’s a good idea to write out your comment first and then paste it in so that you don’t risk losing what you wrote.