Is Your Spouse’s Personality Normal or Abnormal?

depressed marriageIs it normal or abnormal if your spouse…

  1. Does the exact same routine every morning and is resistant to any variation or change.
  2. Losses their temper over minor traffic infractions and threatens harm.
  3. Craves being the center of attention and is constantly seeking recognition.
  4. Shuts down and refuses to speak for days with no explanation as to why.

Answer:  it could be either.  Frustrated?  Me too, but hang in there.  It might help to define normal personality traits from abnormal personality traits and then apply each of the four incidents to the definitions.  This will clarify the difference between the two and help you to know where the line between normal and abnormal personality traits lies.

Normal Personality Traits are categorized by:

  • Persistent patterns of perceiving, relating and thinking
  • Consistent in most circumstances
  • Consistent viewpoint about self and others
  • Observed in a wide range of contexts

Abnormal Personality Traits are categorized by:

  • Personality traits which become inflexible and maladaptive
  • Omnipresent
  • Resistant to change
  • Early onset in childhood or adolescence
  • Cause significant functional deterioration
  1. 1.        Does the exact same routine every morning and is resistant to any variation or change.  Using the definition for normal personality trait, for some people doing the same routine everyday just makes sense.  They are personality type “Conscientious” from “DISC Personality Types” who likes to discover the best and most efficient way of doing things and once it is discovered, rarely change.  This is not an abnormal personality trait unless it is so rigid that when the routine is not precisely followed it causes significant impairment during the day.  If your spouse for instance becomes paranoid that something bad will happen because their teeth were brushed after taking a shower instead of before, then it is an abnormal personality trait.
  2. 2.       Losses their temper over minor traffic infractions and threatens harm.  Certain personality types like “Dominant” from “DISC” don’t like to be taken advantage of in any circumstances and are not afraid to offend nearly anyone in defense.  In many instances, they are bullies.  Yet, this is personality trait is still normal but can become abnormal when the threatening becomes more real or is followed up by some action.  For instance, if your spouse hunts down the other driver and gets out of the car to threaten violence, this is an abnormal personality trait.
  3. 3.       Craves being the center of attention and is constantly seeking recognition.  Personality types like “Influential” from “DISC” enjoy being on center stage and have an ability to create a stage nearly everywhere they go.  While they may come across as “showy”, this is considered a normal personality trait.  It becomes abnormal when the showiness involves “custom malfunctions” and inappropriate clothing or the need for recognition becomes a constant demand and is a regular complaint during discussions.
  4. 4.        Shuts down and refuses to speak for days with no explanation as to why.  While nearly any personality type is capable of this behavior, personality types like “Steadfast” from “DISC” use this tactic more than the others.  Because this personality type doesn’t like conflict, the best way to avoid it is not to say anything at all.  This is a normal personality trait but can become abnormal when your spouse becomes a recluse of sorts for periods of months not days.

So if you spouse is displaying normal personality traits, try understanding their personality type in comparison to yours.  Most likely, it is not the same which is precisely why it bothers you so much.  However, if your spouse displays abnormal personality traits, it is time to seek professional help as these traits are not likely to change.  There are many tools you can learn to help you cope with a spouse who has an abnormal personality disorder.

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

DISC Personality Profile: Working Together

You understand your personality profile and can now see how the pieces fit together to form a whole functioning group.  So now the struggle becomes how to communicate effectively with each other.  Effective communication is difficult under normal circumstances but try complicating it with different strengths, weaknesses, needs and motivations and you are likely to feel a bit overwhelmed.  Worse yet, do this for an entire team of different profiles and watch your time disappear.

Instead of resorting back to the way things were before you learned all of this information, try incorporating a couple of these tactics the next time you have a team meeting.  Remember you can meet the needs of all your personalities in one meeting at one time which in the end will save you time and energy while reducing stress and frustration.

Project Outline. In order to better understand effective communication, the same example will be used for each profile.  You have been given a task of reducing your team’s budget by $1M over the next three years and are holding a team meeting to communicate the expectations, deadlines, and potential concerns.

What.  For the dominating in your group, they need to know the “what” of this project.  They are not interested in how you think they should go about cutting the budget or who is involved; rather they just want to know what are the expectations and deadlines.  The more information you give them the more likely they are to be frustrated and fear that you don’t trust them to complete the task.  Less information is best, they will ask for more details if they need it.

Who.  For the influential in your group, they need to know “who” is involved this project.  While the other information such as deadlines and objectives are necessary, you will get further if you explain who will be involved in the project with them and who will be reviewing the project in the end.  If there is potential for public recognition, use this as a motivating piece to encourage the project to be completed on a timely basis.  For this group, it is best to move the deadline earlier as they are likely to be late.

How.  For the steadfast in your group, they need to know the “how” of this project.  Questions like how is this project going to be measured, how are they going to tell someone that the budget has been cut, and how are they going to viewed by others are important issues to address.  The more support, reassurance, and loyalty you can show this group the more comfortable they will be accomplishing this task.  This group will come back to you over and over again because they are afraid of hurting someone along the way.

Why.  For the conscientious in your group, they need to know the “why” of this project.  Begin by explaining the big picture of why the budget is being cut then move to why their specific area needs to be cut.  It will be hard for this group to participate in such a project without fully understanding all of the details and decisions that lead to this conclusion.  Give them as much information as you can and then redirect them to someone else for additional information if needed.  More information is better than less.

Don’t feel as though everyone needs to hear all of this information, they don’t.  if the dominating of the group are done, let them leave and begin to work.  If the influential of the group want to hang out because they like to be with others, let them but don’t expect them to hear anything past the “who”.  You will have to give the steadfast permission to leave the meeting as they are least likely to take initiative.  But the conscientious of the group will outlast and out question all of the groups.  Meeting the needs of each group one time is a far better use of your time and will reduce the level of stress for your team.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

DISC Personality Profile: Putting It All Together

You have completed the tests and have a better understanding of yourself through the DISC personality profile having gained new insights as to your strengths and weaknesses. But how does your profile fit with others?  How does it relate to your spouse’s profile, your co-worker’s profile or your child’s?  How can the pieces fit together to form a functioning group dynamic?

Each personality profile in DISC: dominating, influential, steadfast, and conscientious, are different pieces of a whole package.  The goal is not to become all things rather it is to recognize the value in each part, utilize your strengths to achieve results, and supplement your weaknesses by working with people who are strong where you are weak.  When you do this you will discover how much more enjoyable life can be, how much less anxiety you will have, and a huge reduction in everyday stress as you will no longer be trying to be something that you are not.  Setting boundaries in your life based on your strengths will now become easier and you will no longer be as tempted to take on tasks that are outside your strengths.

Positive attitude.  If you are a dominating or influential person then seeing the glass as half full will come more naturally.  Having fun and getting things done now are all about the positive possibilities in the moment and what can happen in the future.  This of course does not mean that a person in either of these profiles will not be negative on occasion because when a dominating or influential person is stressed, they tend to become almost aggressively negative and angry.  However it does mean that their natural tendency is to have a positive attitude.

Negative attitude.  If you are a steadfast or conscientious person then seeing the glass as half empty will come more naturally.  This is because no one else in the room cares to do things as right as you do or cares as much about keeping the peace.  Both of these tendencies are isolating in nature as more people just want to get things over and done with instead of being careful and more people stir up conflict then try to keep the peace.  Of course you can train your brain to think more positively however, this will not come naturally and will require more effort on your part then for a dominating or influential person.

Task-oriented.  Both a dominating and conscientious persons are task oriented as opposed to people oriented.  For them, people are a means to an end or a necessary evil to accomplish a goal.  A person in either of these groups will usually prefer to get the job done alone as other people tend to muddy the waters and require too much precious energy that is better served accomplishing the task at hand.  However lacking their people skills might naturally be, they can learn to incorporate others into the task at hand to help elevate some stress.

People-oriented.  Both an influential and steadfast persons are people oriented as opposed to task oriented.  For them the whole purpose of work is to do it together and their relationships at work are more important than their tasks.  If a person is struggling with a personal problem, they will forgo a deadline in order to help the other person out because the relationship matter more than the work.  However difficult it may be to keep an influential or steadfast person on track, they can learn to see completing tasks as a way to preserve relationships which will matter far more than a deadline.

By looking at how all of the pieces fit together you can begin to see the value in each group.  For instance, if your spouse is relational and you are task oriented, then they should be in charge of setting the social calendar with limitations on the frequency of outings.  Or if your co-worker is constantly seeing how things are falling apart, then having them work together with a person who looks on the brighter side of work is a healthy balance.   Opposites attract and complement each other making all the pieces work together is a cohesive manner.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.