This very useful and popular technique is employed consciously or unconsciously by people who wish to maintain their autonomy, who constantly construct an image of themselves for the world to see, and who firmly believe in boundaries. Overall, people who are distant yet project a proximity to many people. It can thus be considered a self-protecting mechanism.
By splitting your personality into bite-sized chunks, you can hand them out easily to different people with different understandings of you as a person, while guaranteeing that no one person can get the full picture of what the whole of these chunks is, or was.
The advantages of this technique are as follows: (1) You own your whole self by yourself; (2) You don’t let anyone too close to you, but just close enough.
You meet Jamie. You become close to Jamie and tell her that you’ve had an awful childhood. Jamie is a friend with whom you have shared a piece of your past.
You meet Joanne. You start dating and tell her that you can’t commit to relationships because that is not something you find appealing. Joanne is a lover with whom you have now shared a piece of your weakness and current vulnerability.
The important point is that Jamie and Joanne cannot put the two parts of you together.
Another for instance:
My childhood teachers think of me as a polite, kind, self-minding shy person. My high school friends think of me as an outrageous, from-somewhere-else kid, new on the block. My university friends think of me as either a nurturing, caring, doormatsy person, or as an independent, opinionated, politically engaged woman who doesn’t depend on anyone. My father thinks I grew up too fast for my good; my grandmother thinks I am too perfect and self-controlling, my mother thinks I am irresponsible and emotional and heartless and should be an artist rather than a scientist.
I disappear out of my lovers’ lives completely; I jump into love within days and weeks and I pursue them until I know they love me. Then once I’m sure they love me unconditionally I panic and fear that I will end up loving them more than they love me, that I will let them hurt me, that I start building walls, then running to them over the walls because, the truth is I love them too, then I have a full-on panic attack and disappear. And this is probably why I always choose disposable lovers; nobody from my innermost circles, nobody whose life overlaps mine in the mundane, everydayness of life.