Do you have to fight back the negative voices in your head that tell you who you “should be”? If so, you may have whack-a-mole identity issues. You know the carnival game, where you hold a mallet and wait for the mole to pop up. Then you hit it with the mallet and wait for the next mole to rear it’s head for you to hit.

This can often be our experience when we don’t have a firm identity. We cling to one version of “who we are” only to be knocked down by a voice in our head that tells us we should be someone else. Living with whack-a-mole identity issues can be exhausting and confusing for yourself and others.

Here are 3 signs that you may have whack-a-mole identity issues:

You are a people pleaser

When someone is a people pleaser, they tend to shift and change into who everyone else wants them to be. They rarely establish a strong sense of self due to their identity changing like a chameleon. A people pleaser will morph into different opinions, likes, and desires based on the popular opinion around them. They believe the lie that if they make everyone else happy, they will be happy. A people pleaser has a bigger fear of man than of God. It is important to get rooted into the identity that God gives you as His child and not be tossed to and fro in the waves of identity.

You are a conflict avoider

Do you hate tension and fear someone engaging in an argument with you? Are you doing all you can to not poke the sleeping bear? Do you neglect having a voice about what you need in a relationship because you fear it may go south, so why should you even bother? Conflict avoidance is another sign of dealing with whack-a-mole identity issues. You will squash down your needs and voice in order to keep the peace. You deny yourself just to make sure everyone else can be okay. Conflict is not fun at all, but it can be something that helps you understand each other and can bring you closer when it is done well. Here are some ideas about how conflict can help your relationship.

You believe the lies of shame

Shame can cause major issues with your identity. It’s main goal is to cause you to believe lies about who you are. Shame will tell you that you are a failure for making a mistake. It will cause you to beat up on yourself thinking you’d never be loved due to all the negative things you’ve done. Shame twists things in a way to make you believe you are not good enough, worthless, and a failure, and that you will will never be accepted or loved by others. Shame causes you to reject the identity you have in Christ and adopt an identity full of self-condemnation. This voice will create whack-a-mole identity issues that you chronically have to fight off in order to stay grounded in the truth of who Christ says you are.

I like carnival games, but this mental game of whack-a-mole is not a healthy one to play. Make sure you watch for these signs and get rooted in truth rather than the lies these issues will bring.

How successful are you at defeating the lies in your head?