We express and suppress parts of ourselves based on who we’re with.

Lynn Fraser Stillpoint
4 min readMay 13, 2021


You are the designated difficult person in your family — not “like” the others
You are queer in a heterosexual family who does or doesn’t accept or celebrate you
You are of a different race to the rest of your family through adoption
You are one who is scapegoated for naming the truth and not going along with the family “big lie”
You are the only intellectual in a family of athletes or an athlete in a family that values intellect
You are the outsider in your family

You are a queer family in a heterosexual culture who does or does not accept or celebrate you
You are an immigrant family of color in a white suburb
You are the token person of color, the one people refer to when they say “I’m not racist, I’m friends with…”
You are in a family and community who are discriminated against or persecuted
You and your family are insiders in your subculture and outsiders in what is defined as the dominant culture

Humans evolved to seek safety, inclusion and acceptance within our small tribes, and avoid exclusion which was life and death. Shaming was and is a powerful tool to bring people into line and not be expelled from our family and community. Our nervous systems propel us towards inclusion. In modern life that could look like people pleasing, fawning, aligning with a bully for protection, social anxiety, or being afraid to challenge a sexist joke.

We partially belong in many different environments based on our shared multiple characteristics and circumstances. Sports fans of different races cheer for their team but may not share views on social justice. Women share some common experiences and it is true that not all women are feminists or activists like me. We share common experience with our siblings, and our lives and beliefs can be widely divergent depending in part on our role in our family of origin.

We express and suppress parts of ourselves based on who we’re with. The biochemist on a family visit leaves scientific jargon at the lab when they’re visiting family…



Lynn Fraser Stillpoint

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