Inkbe spoke about psychological aspects of a tattoo to a practicing psychologist Julia Yankova, who has created Psyholog.City project.
-Julia, are there any common features among people who have tattoos? For example, are they narcissistic or do they need lots of attention?
Julia: Our psyche abhors uncertainty and always needs clear answers. Thus, when we meet unusual people, we try to classify and understand them. That also refers to people with tattoos. When we see them, we often ask the same question: what does this mean, what a person he/she is, why do they decorate their bodies with tattoos. In fact, we can't classify all these people in one type. There are as many tattoo meanings as people with tattoos.
- Are tattoos a sign of a personality (according to Lüscher)? For example, could an aggressive tattoo mean, that its owner is an expressive person etc?
Julia: Rather yes, than no. Let us say, people of hysteroid psychological type are influenced by fashion. They tend to make tattoos without any meaning, they just want to follow trends and attract attention. People of schizoid type are creative, they use tattoos to express themselves, their tattoos have a private meaning. From the society's point of view, tattoos can be a sign of belonging to a certain social group (prison inmates, military, army men etc).
-Is it interesting and useful for a psychologist to diagnose, when a client has a tattoo?
Julia: Of course, if we ask a person about a meaning of his/her tattoo, if we analyze this image, it can give lots of information for a psychologist. Aggressive images can classify a person as overwhelming aggression in his/her life by using this tattoo. Although, it's not the only possible interpretation, as you can understand.
-Tattoos with names of beloved people- what are they? Some king of a fixation on the image of a person? Is tattooing names of beloved people ok, from the point of view of mental health? Perhaps, it could be some king of a compensation because of a lack of attention to this person, what do you think?
Julia: When we speak about tattooing names of children, beloved people, there are a lot of interpretations, starting from trends or youthful maximalism, and ending with mental disorders and a fixation on the object of affection.
- Is tattoo removal connected to a new experience and a desire to get rid of the past?
Julia: When we want to get rid of a tattoo, it means we got a new experience and our tattoos no longer match our new stage of life.
- Is there a dose of mazahizm in people's actions, when they decide to put a tattoo on their skin? Like some kind of causing pain to themselves.
Julia: I wouldn't say that tattoos are connected to causing pain, to mazahism. A lot of cosmetic procedures aren't less painful (waxing, for example). We are talking about personality disorders, when it comes to extremes, when people cover their whole bodies with tattoos, when there is no free space left.
To sum up, I would like to notice, that it's impossible to classify a person by one sign, even if it's a tattoo. This is a way to express yourself, like clothes, accessories and your hairstyle. Tattoos can make yourself feeling more comfortable and confident- it is a fact.