PV Mirror, Feb 5-11, 2011, issue #121, pg 21   

Last week I described the a) achiever, b) triangulator, c) passive one, d) other-directed one. Now here are the next four types. Let’s see which ones sound familiar either for you or someone you know.

The Conflict Avoider:avoids personal conflict at any cost, but is always helping everyone else with their problems, which helps her avoid her own. She is a people-pleaser and does not believe healthy arguments exist. She postpones her own problems and never resolves anything. The only time she can receive emotional support from others is when something beyond her control has happened to her, such as an accident or illness. Consequently, she is good in a crisis, is a good negotiator and problem solver for others, persistent, thinks of alternatives and is a good communicator. The negatives include: powerlessness, depression, denial, intimidated, inability to receive, and takes on too many problems.

Hypermature:takes herself too seriously, doesn’t allow herself to have enough fun, can’t just let go, needs be in control of her emotions, has a great deal of difficulty allowing anyone to do anything for her and usually believes they can’t do as good as she can. She is the “parent” in the group. Her childhood was cut short, began to behave like an adult too soon. In relationships, she makes everything too intense, can’t lighten up, and feels disproportionately responsible for the success of the relationship. She is organized, prepared, attentive, meets goals, reliable, analytical. The negatives are: critical, avoids taking risks, difficulty expressing emotions, blames herself too much, driven, and suffers stress-related illnesses.

The Detacher:wants to remove herself emotionally and psychologically from all situations that make her uncomfortable. She realizes as an adolescent that even though she must live with this dysfunctional family, it isn’t going to bother me anymore. As soon as she is old enough, she leaves (physically detaches). She enters a cycle called “premature closer” which means she leaves every time something or someone makes her uncomfortable. Consequently, she has not allowed herself to learn to work things out or find solutions. The emotional motivation is to avoid being hurt. In relationships, she leaves at the first sign of trouble. She is perceptive, independent, self-motivated, a traveler, non-conformist. The negatives: defiant, lonely, jealous and suspicious, rigid, non-feeling, in denial, at high risk for addiction.

The 8th and final type is what you become once you’ve healed from past injuries and transitioned the negative traits. Basically, it is the goal of a recovered self.

The Invulnerable:is healthy, either because she emerged from the dysfunctional family that way or because in her personal recovery, she worked through her issues and feelings. She experiences her pain, doesn’t deny her feelings, asks for and accepts help, acts on her own behalf, accepts her vulnerabilities. She has learned to use her positive traits she acquired growing up. In relationships, her emotional and physical needs are being met, she can negotiate openly with her partner, can be herself without fearing rejection, and she knows she is a good person. She grew beyond her injuries, knows how to take risks, to forgive, to share, and to love.

Ask yourself…

Do you allow your feelings? Can you admit to yourself and to others how you feel? Have you learned how to express your emotions or are you suppressing them and minimizing their significance and importance?

Do you regularly and readily ask for help without waiting until a situation is out of control or the last resort?

How is your self-esteem? What is your self-worth based on? Can you accept compliments? Do you truly know who you are? Are you clear about what you want out of life and in a relationship?

How trusting are you? Do you live in fear of what people think, of what may or may not happen, of failure?  Do your relationships revolve around avoiding conflict and preventing rejection or abandonment? Can you tell others “no”?

Do you like yourself? Do you practice self-love?

Decide to do the work

Honestly evaluateyour positive and negative characteristics and determine what behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs you want to go forward with and which ones no longer serve you, are no longer part of who you want to be, and leave them behind. This may be difficult at first because it is all so familiar. You may need to ask your partner and friends what they think. You may not actually realize the extent of some of your behaviors or attitudes. “Am I really that controlling?”… “Do I really say that so often?”… etc. You may be surprised and you may be hurt, but it is part of your evaluation process and very necessary in order to identify what you need to change.

Invest the time and energyinto making the changes. It takes practice and very conscious deliberate efforts. Every day you have to remain very aware of your thoughts and behaviors, your instinctive tendencies, and immediate reactions and then decide if this is something to allow or not. If it is something you previously decided needed to change, then immediately stop and replace it with the new thought or behavior. Change and grow. Become a better healthier you. Seek and find happiness.