Personality types

popi_gwOctober 20, 2006

There has been a bit of talk, in this forum, about personality types.

I am a bit confused about this, can we have a discussion about the different types.

And, is everyone classified by a particular type?

I know I could google, but a discussion is called for !


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Are you thinking about the Narcissist, Sociopath, Borderline comments that have been tossed about lately? Those aren't mainstream personality types that most of us fall into or even lean toward, but rather psychiatric disorders that fit certain individuals.

While they certainly aren't common enough to apply to most of us, I'd suggest that they aren't terribly uncommon either. And they aren't generally so easy to spot that the average person would know after just a few dates that the other person had a disorder of this type. That's what, IMO, makes them so dangerous.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:58AM
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Sweeby, yes I am talking about the ones that you mentioned.

I think there are bits of those disorders in a lot of people. Particularly the lack of empathy.

Also a fair number of people seem to see the world from only their perspective.

Its has shown me that you cant expect a rational outcome when dealing with some people.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:26PM
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At first I thought you meant personality types like type "A" or "B" (or being an extrovert or introvert) but, I take it you mean personality disorders.

By your comments, it sounds like the one you may be most interested in is "Narcissistic Personality Disorder".

I find Passive Agressive behavior (which is a "controversial" personality disorder and not always on lists) can be very hard to deal with and understand. It is very evil in my opinion, and very hard to spot. I think sometimes it runs with Narcissism.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 12:51AM
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Passive Aggression running with Narcissism...

Interesting idea. From my own life experiences, having been married for a long miserable 10 years to a man who was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I found that passive aggression was the only form of resistance that ever actually worked with him. One of the characteristics of a narcissist is the inability to consider another's point of view of admit to being wrong - ever. So since he was never wrong, I could either do things his way, do them my way and get verbally abused for doing it 'wrong', or not do them at all (passive aggression). Narcissism and passive aggression, hand in hand...

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 7:11PM
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I think a distinction should be made between "personality types" defined as normal by such psychologists as Jung (and others) and disordered, abnormal "personality types" such as the narcissistic one you mentioned. It is very difficult to "diagnose" such personality disorders and isn't an armchair activity at all. Many people may appear to exhibit characteristics of such disorders now and then but that does not necessarily mean they can be classified as that type.

Jung's work on personality has much more application to the general population and deals with such things as introversion and extroversion, thinking and feeling - how a person takes in the world and how he/she reacts to or interacts with that perceived world. There is an enormous range of variation in such "personality types", all on the normal side.

I think - and it's just my opinion - that many people are a little quick to label someone as abnormal, disordered, or sick when confronted with behavior or attitudes that are very different from their own. That is more of a basis for assumptions than for understanding. It's easy to dismiss someone we consider as abnormal as impossible to get along with.

In the same way, many people are too quick to consider themselves to be abnormal or disordered. And that can lead to excuses for bad behavior rather than personal responsibility for one's choices and actions. We've all heard people make excuses like, "that's just the way I am," or "I've always had this problem".

Sweeby has said that her ex was diagnosed as narcissistic. I'm assuming that was after extensive examination by a qualified professional who had the experience and background to make such a judgement. If I, on the other hand, applied the label (or a couple of others I might think of) to my ex, I believe it would be wrong. I am not qualified to make that clinical judgement, regardless of the extent of unhappy experience I had with the man and my application of that label might very well be influenced by my personal experience and sense of hurt rather than actual clinical evidence.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:41PM
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Good point Lindakimmy -- And yes, 'Exhole' actually was diagnosed by a qualified professional after many hours of therapy.

On the other hand, just because a person is not professionally qualified to make a psychiatric diagnosis, it doesn't mean his suspicions are wrong though -- they're just not validated.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 12:59PM
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That's not exactly what I meant about them running together. I meant that people that have Narcissisic personalities are often themselves passive agressive too. I don't necessarily consider your having to ignore your EX as passive agressive; it sounds more like a learned defensive measure.

True passive agressiveness is very calulating and is usually more of a sabotage thing rather than a defensive measure. And although almost everyone can admit to being passive agressive at times...(a sarcastic comment under your breath instead of direct confrontation)...a real passive agressive disorder/behavior is more habitual and covers many, many areas in life.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 1:54PM
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Thanks for clarifying that for me. Is all a bit clearer now. you think you can change your personality ? Or are we basically the same personality all our lives ?


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 3:43AM
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I think you can change your personality but probably only through fairly horrific circumstances. I'll be the illustration:

I was shy, very introverted, and quiet when I was a child. I think that was probably a result of the environment - in the shadow of an older brother, expected to be a "lady" with all the old-fashioned ideas that attached to that, and raised in a very, very strict religion that led me to feel guilty for just about everything up to and including breathing air.

Then I married and got pushed even further down. Nuff said.

Once I got on my own I began to value being myself - had to figure out what that was, actually. And I've been on that road for a long time now. At this point I would describe myself as extrovert and quite different from my earlier personality. This feels more like who I was really supposed to be. That is, I don't have to think about it - "act the part" - as I used to do.

So the question is whether this was my personality all along and only repressed or whether I "changed" my personality once I managed to escape ultra repressive circumstances.

There are also areas of personality definition - such as one's basis for decisions that I think can be consciously changed through awareness. If you learn that you are making decisions based on emotion and you would prefer to make decisions based on logic or factual information I think you probably can train yourself to stop and consider and then weigh your first impressions in light of gathered information. Eventually, I expect, that would become ingrained as habit so that you could view it as part of your personality.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 5:10PM
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So I guess you could say that your personality is made up of your environment, how other people treat you, and your genes.

I think our personality is evolving, we change throughout our life based on our circumstances.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 5:58PM
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To me, that sounds about right, Popi.

What is a bit scary is when you apply this to raising children. We come at it with our own history and inclinations and fixed ideas and we are such a huge (if often unwitting) influence on how their personalities develop and express themselves.

Since I never wanted to stamp out little cookie-cutter versions of myself, I found it to be a very ticklish thing sometimes to distinguish between behavior in my children that needed to be restricted or extinguished and that which was just different from what my own might have been under similar circumstances. Parenting that way sure makes you figure out what your real values are as opposed to your preferences or prejudices!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 8:29AM
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