Personality concerns

All of us have a personality – a particular temperament or emotional reactivity, a way of viewing the world and ourselves, a style of relating to others and of pursuing our goals. To a large extent, our personalities determine our fate and create expectations that often become self-fulfilling prophecies.

You are unaware of your personality traits because they are experienced as an essential part of yourself and of the way you view the world. Your personality traits are much more evident to the people you live and work with than they are to you. If you have people in your life whose opinion and good will you trust, it might be helpful to ask them how they experience your personality (but be prepared to listen non-defensively and without interruption).

Your personality can be inflexible and maladaptive. No matter how hard you try to be different, you keep falling into the same patterns – unsatisfying relationships, battles with authorities, unfulfilling jobs or frequent job loss. The same vicious cycles emerge, over and over again.

Some examples: If you are unreasonably suspicious and expect to be disliked, you are likely to act in a way that will turn people against you. If you are excessively dependent and terrified of abandonment, your clinging behaviour may well provoke the rejection that you fear. If you try too hard to control others on the assumption that they will never take the initiative, your constant demands will itself paralyze their ability to act independently. The exaggerated need for admiration and praise can result in losing, rather than gaining, respect and recognition.