Alee vs. The Moralizer

right-wrong-saint-devilThe Moralizer is that hard to avoid, ever-present personality which tries to instruct others on the “right” and “wrong” ways of being, doing, and thinking. The Moralizer considers their particular way of living to be the most virtuous, correct, and/or successful, and will often offer their advice, whether asked to or not.

Thoughts of the Moralizer might conjure up images of church leaders or political extremists, but not all Moralizers are so forward. Some prefer to command others through close relationships, where they use condescension, manipulation, and often attempt to instill a sense of shame in others to get them to change their ways. This is not always conscious on their part, but the Moralizer is one personality I find peculiarly difficult to tolerate, for a few reasons:

Right and Wrong are Relative

While there are a few things that are considered universally morally right or wrong, most of what we each view as right or wrong is informed by our biases, experiences and individual lifestyles. Thus no one person’s views could or should serve as the template by which all others should live by. In addition, what may be considered wrong in one context or situation may be considered right in another time or place.

Moralizing Can Be Imposing

Moralizing can often become a subtle form of imposing on the right and freedom of others to simply be, and in extreme forms can be downright bullying. With less outgoing Moralizers this tendency may not be so obvious, but victims of their moralizing may feel a strong sense of being intruded on. Some would say the Moralizer is more interested in converting others’ to their viewpoint than in trying to help them.

No One is Perfect

While Moralizers consider the thoughts and actions of others to be in serious need of adjustment, Moralizers rarely scrutinize their own lives and behavior in the same manner. Often their own way of living does not hold up to the high standards they set for others. Since the best way to live is merely an opinion, someone may view the Moralizer’s lifestyle as flawed and in need of change.

Have you ever encountered a Moralizer? What do you think of moralizing and a fixed idea of right and wrong, in general?
See also:

7 Types of Men I’d Never Date

do-not-pass-goMost people have a “type” — a particular look or personality that they find appealing in others. I’m the same — I also have types, but what I have more of are non-types — those that I do not find appealing or even repelling.

These types coincide with general personality traits I find disagree with my own, but in romantic relationships they take on an even greater importance. At a distance you can pretend everything’s fine, but in close quarters, you can only pretend for so long. Perhaps this should be titled “7 Types of Men I’d Never Date (Again)”:

The Argumenter — The Argumenter is that great debater you found so attractive at first. Just so informed, intellectual, and worldly, isn’t he? He’d never lose an argument…Including one with you, and he spares no words.

Also known as Mr. Know-It-All.

The Passive — Easy enough to get along with, begin a relationship, and deal with in a relationship. You’ll think the fact that you never disagree with the passive guy means you’re meant for each other. What it really means is that the disagreement will happen later, perhaps much later, when the Passive Guy grows tired of pretending he agrees with everything you do and say.

Not for the straightforward.

Bob Bummer — In a word, negative. This guy isn’t usually the most attractive, but can find himself in relationships with women who think they can make his life a little brighter with their presence. What actually happens is Bob Bummer makes your day a little gloomier by killing any excitement or happiness you feel by bringing in thoughts of doubt and urging you to think of the”worst case scenario”.

Of course if your name should be changed to Debbie Downer, you’ll find Bob Bummer to be perfect.

The Player — We all know of the Player. He says all the right things at all the right times, and he can do no wrong. Except he’s say all the right things with every woman he’s ever dated. And just when she’s convinced he can do no wrong he finds someone else to say all the right things with.

Don’t hate the player..

RomeoNot exactly a Player because unlike the Player Romeo actually feels as strongly about you as you do about him. That is, he thinks he does. But Romeo loves romance more than any particular person, and when the sparkle and glitter are gone, so is Romeo.

There isn’t much else to know about Romeo because he usually doesn’t stick around long enough.

The King of the Throne/Breadwinner — Lovely, if you like being the equivalent of a nice-looking suit or enjoy being told what to do, say, and think. He is convinced a man should be a “man” in a relationship. The King of the Throne makes the rules, even if his throne consists of an armchair.

Often extremely judgmental, as an added bonus.

The IntellectualizerIf you have emotions, and would like to express them, then look for another partner. Some Intellectualizers just don’t get emotions, theirs included, but others actively ignore or belittle them. To the extreme Intellectualizer emotions are just irrelevant. The only upside is that if you ever have a problem to solve, they can fix it.

It’s hard to decide if the Intellectualizer is the least problematic of the types, or the most.

Which of these types have you dated and which do you find the most and least appealing?

Preventing Passivity

passive-sliding

Aggression has a bad reputation, but what happens when you ignore the inevitable?

Most would consider niceness, calmness, and tolerance to be positive qualities, traits that make interactions pleasant for everyone involved. But too much of a good thing can be dangerous, and when grievances are not aired to “keep the peace”, a road to passivity is created.

Personally, a passive personality is even harder to deal with than its opposite — the aggressive personality. Most who regularly practice the art of passivity consider it a good thing, and consider themselves easygoing, nice people. For the most part, their passivity deflects confrontations  and conflicts that others easily fall into. The problem is that angry or sad feelings do not disappear when you choose to ignore or suppress them. They either cause resentment or arise in a later situation. It can also turn into passive-aggressive behavior, where the passive person’s ignored anger shows itself in subtle ways

After awhile, passivity becomes self-creating — suppressed negative feelings cause the passive person to feel more resentment towards whatever or whoever they believe caused them. When this happens, the feelings can be expressed more strongly than they would have been if they were dealt with immediately.

Conflicts caused by passive behavior can be hurtful and confusing for all involved. That said, here are some actionable tips to prevent yourself from slipping down the slide of passivity:

  • Practice speaking up for yourself when you feel you’ve been wronged
  • Express negative feelings constructively, as soon as they arise
  • Once a disagreement has been discussed, try your best to dissolve any resentment that might be leftover
  • Realize when trying to keep the peace is causing you to feel hurt or angry
  • Do not use disagreements of the past as a reason to be angry, or stay angry, with another person
  • Keep disagreements separate — if you dislike the way someone handled themselves in another situation, don’t bring it up in a later disagreement

Finally, remember that anger alone is not bad, it’s the way you deal with it that determines the outcome of a situation, and ignoring your anger is not the best way.

Anyone else with experience with passivity or other tips for stopping passivity in its tracks?

See also:

Life and Times of the Love Junkie

love-wanted

Are you addicted to love?

The love junkie is quite simply, hooked on love and romance. Whereas some people fall in love with individuals and the experience of being with them, love junkies are primarily in love with love. The love junkie’s life revolves around love, romance, and relationships and even when not in a relationship, relationships and love remain their priority and primary mental focus.

The truth is, the love junkie does not feel truly complete without love and romance, although they may not recognize this fact. Many believe that a full life can’t be lived without a partner. So the love junkie will often be found in a relationship, and will not end one unless they have no other option, or another potential partner is available. Which is a  significant point to note about the love junkie — what’s most important is that they have a partner, not so much anything specific about that person.

Love junkies differ from other romance addicts in one major way: they actually care about their partners. Although their mate can be seen in a way as a means to the end of obtaining love, the love junkie does love them and is usually  in love with them. But they could have just as easily been in love with someone else.

None of this is to say that love junkies are insincere or “bad” people. Not at all. Everyone has their motivation in life — what drives them and makes living worthwhile. The love junkie’s motivation just happens to be love and relationships. They can’t be faulted for that, although it’s important to be able to recognize a love junkie. Some of their more clear traits and behaviors include:

  • A tendency to gain strong feelings for anyone new they are involved with or the potential to be involved with. Oftentimes they will feel that they are in love, after a relatively short amount of time.
  • Idealizing their partner and ignoring the faults of partners (or potential partners).
  • Daydreaming about their partner when not together and considering time with their partner to be far and away the highlight of their day, if not their life.
  • A strong dislike for being without a relationship and a clear renewal of happiness when in a new relationship.
  • A love of romantic stories, movies, and songs which highlight the passionate feelings of love.
  • Tendency towards jealousy, though they try to hide it.
  • May enter into a relationship simply to be in one, even if the relationship does not satisfy their needs.
  • Willingness to suffer strongly or ignore their needs to keep a relationship.
  • Thinking and claiming that every partner they become involved with is “the one” or “perfect” for them.
  • When their love life isn’t going well, their life isn’t going well — their satisfaction with being depends on the state of their relationships

Love junkies will have many of these traits in varying degrees, though they may not have all. Having one or two of these tendencies doesn’t make you a love junkie but if you find yourself agreeing with many of the points, you might just be a love junkie. In fact, if you’re reading this, you probably are one or know one.

How many points do you check off? Are you a love junkie?

Loner vs. Introvert: Compare and Contrast

introverted-womanThe terms “loner” and “introvert” are often used interchangeably to describe those who spend much time to themselves. I will often hear a person call themselves a loner when they’d probably be better described as an introvert, or vice versa. This seems to be because, in behavior, the loner and the strong introvert seem to be one and the same. Yet their mentality and reasons for choosing to be alone can be completely different.

In general, there seems to be confusion about what these two terms mean, and further confusion about the (lack of) actual similarities between them. To complicate things further, a person can be both an introvert and a loner. However, when trying to understand the differences it is more helpful to understand the terms on their own, in pure form, without the addition of other possible personality traits.

In the simplest description, a loner is someone who strongly prefers their own company to the company of others, and may actively avoid interacting with other people. It is important to note that the loner may or may not have a real need to be alone, but simply enjoys being by themselves. There are many causes that can result in a person becoming a loner, not all of them negative.

In contrast, introversion is the tendency to be predominantly concerned with one’s own inner world, at the cost of outer, more active life. The introvert also has a physiological need to retire from the hustle and bustle of outside life — introverts are more easily stimulated by outside activity and can become fatigued without ample time alone. An introvert can be a loner or shy, but it’s just as likely that they may want company of one or many other people, but simply can not take much socializing before feeling worn out.

Loners and introverts can be further understood by understanding the motivations of their behavior. There will be exceptions to the rule, but generally introverts and loners have different reasoning for their states of lonesomeness.

For example,

playing-basketballA loner, when asked why they are usually alone will proudly state that they don’t want the company of others, don’t find others to be interesting, or that they have a strong desire to be free to do as they please.

An introvert, when asked why they are usually alone, will say that they become frazzled after some time socializing and need time to “recharge”, and that they feel more refreshed and clear-headed during and after a long period alone.

A further example comes from the activity that each engages in when alone.

The loner (who is not also introverted) will often engage in outside activities by themselves. Biking, going to a public event, going out to eat. The only real requirement they have is that they do these things by themselves, and not with another person or group of people.

The introvert, on the other hand, draws away from outside activity of any sort. So the introvert will engage in personal activities that involve their mind, such as reading, surfing the Internet, writing, or other personal hobbies. This is because the introvert not only needs to do things alone, they need to be alone — away from the outside world of people and things.

Keeping all of this in mind, which one are you? Loner, introvert, both or neither?

See also:

Dating Survival Tips for the Anxiously Attached

anxious-heart

If you have an anxious attachment style you may find dating and relationships more difficult than others do. Because you need more reassurance and intimacy, you may feel unsatisfied with dating dynamics which encourage a large amount of self-sufficiency and independence.

As someone with an anxious attachment style, it seems clear to me that those with an anxious attachment style, more than any other relationship style, could benefit from understanding and acknowledging their unique approach to relationships. The anxiously attached simply can not afford to be unaware or dismissive of their needs in love and relationships. Doing so causes a great deal of heartache which could otherwise be avoided.

As such, I’ve created a few dating and relationship tips for those with an anxious attachment style. They are not rules but guidelines for the anxiously attached person to help create a happier and more secure atmosphere in love.

1. Know what you need from a partner, and express these needs from the beginning

Do you need a partner who will check in with you daily? One who will accept your desire for plenty of physical intimacy outside of the bedroom? Know your needs and express them to potential partners.

When you aren’t sure of what you need or, more commonly, when you fail to express your needs to your significant other, you both lose out. Your partner is unsure of what you need and may not automatically meet your needs. When you act out because your needs are going unmet, this creates tension and frustration in the relationship. Expressing your needs makes the relationship run more smoothly. This strategy also helps you to recognize who is willing and capable of meeting your needs and who isn’t.

2. Do not play the aloof, cool, or distant partner

Popular dating guidelines encourage people to play it cool at the outset of a relationship; never show that you have strong feelings for your partner and try to involve yourself in activities that don’t include them, even if you’d rather not. In other words, don’t be the needy, desperate, or anxious partner.

This approach is incompatible with the anxious relationship style. Anxious partners do become strongly attached to their significant others and want to be close to them. Trying to avoid these very real needs causes stress and worry. Instead, show your feelings in secure ways — let your partner clearly know that you want to be able to rely on them and be close to them. If your partner is put off by this then they likely aren’t the partner for you.

Continue reading

The Armchair Psychologist

armchair-psychologist“Your actions are preceded by thoughts which have their origins in subconscious memories of childhood experiences.” — Armchair Psychologist

The Armchair Psychologist has little to no formal training in psychology but has all of the answers to the mysteries of human nature. The Armchair Psychologist is fascinated by people in general, and believes that the “how” and “why” of human dynamics can be found in psychology. Armchair Psychologists can be found in large groups of people or engrossed in close one-on-one conversation. It is in these settings that they can most clearly show their skills of psychoanalysis.

Not merely a psychology enthusiast, the Armchair Psychologist has a compulsive need to classify people and their behavior according to popular psychological theories, and just as often, their personal definitions. The Armchair Psychologist is fond of evolutionary psychology and psychoanalysis which allows them to not only categorize others but pigeonhole them. The Armchair Psychologist sees themselves as an advanced freethinker though their theories and analysis are often traditional and restricting.

How to know you’re dealing with an Armchair Psychologist? Armchair Psychologists come in many forms; the only undeniable way to know one is by what they say and do.  You may even be an Armchair Psychologist if several of the following apply to you:

  • Thinking Sigmund Freud was one of the greatest thinkers of all time and/or quoting his theories
  • Seeing behavior through a lens of psychopathology — nervousness indicates generalized anxiety disorder, short attention span indicates attention deficit disorder
  • Believing that most human behavior arises in response to evolution and mating needs
  • Believing that individual behavioral differences have their origins in childhood dynamics and upbringing, especially parent-child relations, and traumatic experiences
  • Following several personality theory systems and using them to classify most of the people you know and meet
  • Regularly using phrases such as “projection”, “defense mechanism,” and “fixation”
  • Regularly reading Psychology Today and explaining events in relation to what you’ve read

The Armchair Psychologist likes to analyze and classify all humans except, usually, themselves.  While they will admit that they too are just a product of human evolution and experiences, they tend to believe that due to their psychological awareness they are more stable and healthy than most. It escapes them that their armchair psychology could itself be considered pathological.

Could analyzing the Armchair Psychologist be considered armchair psychology? Maybe. It could be said that there is a bit of the Armchair Psychologist in us all.

 

Judging Book Covers

judging-book-coversHow much do you judge people on their appearances?

I have a confession to make: I judge you on your appearance and outer physical qualities. How you’re dressed, the way you speak, the way you hold yourself. But my judgements are neutral — I simply use these qualities to understand what kind of person you are, outside of what you have told me or will tell me about yourself.

If you’re uncomfortable with people judging you by your physical appearance, you should probably know that everyone does. Everyone forms impressions about other people based on their outer qualities, whether they’re aware of it or not — over half of a person’s first impressions about another is based on what they can see and hear. And they’re not always wrong; much can be found out about a person based on their appearance.

Dress

A quick and common way for people to judge others is by clothing and dress, including accessories, make-up, and hairstyle. By assessing the choices a person makes in clothing and adornments, people can determine a person’s personality, self-image, and attitude towards the world.

Is a person outgoing and outwardly-focused? People with more extroverted personalities tend to wear brighter colors and flashier style of dress. Introverted personalities are more likely to wear muted colors and styles of clothing — usually nothing too eye-catching or trendy. People who are outwardly-focused tend to pay much attention to the brand of their clothing and whether their fashion is current.

body-language-manThe upside of judgments of clothing is that a person can make impressions of themselves more favorable by being well-groomed, no matter their personality or style of clothing.

Body Language

Another way people judge others, but often don’t realize they do, is by their body movements and physical expressions. The way a person carries themselves and the expressions they make can be a strikingly right way of gauging who they are and what they like.

One study found that the extent to which a person is religious or not can be pinpointed by their body movements and facial expressions. People can also tell whether a person’s self-esteem is high, average, or low based on their spontaneous expressions and movements. And a person does not need to do or say much for these impressions to be made — a few seconds or even a photograph can tell the story.

Impressions based on physical appearance of course have their limits and can be inaccurate at times. A person’s outward appearance should never be used to decide their character or self-worth. But if you’re looking to get a fast impression, judging a book by its cover isn’t as wrong or misleading as its sometimes thought to be.

See also:

Enneagram: The Basics of Personality

enneagram-map

The Enneagram of Personality is a personality typing system which divides human personality into nine distinct yet interrelated types. The types are numbered from 1 through 9. Each type is defined by a major concern or mindset which forms the basis of a person’s larger personality, behavior, and actions. It is believed that a person’s type is formed in childhood and stays with them for the rest of their life, unchanging.

The Enneagram system derives from ancient teachings which were re-introduced to wider society by psychiatrists and spiritual teachers in the 19oos. It is used by people, schools, and employers to better understand personality in order to understand how it influences interpersonal dynamics. However, some still use it as it was originally presented: as a path to self-understanding and spiritual awareness.

The Three Centers

The nine types are divided into three centers, with each center containing three types. These centers are known as the Heart, Head, and Gut. Knowing which center your personality falls in will help you in determining your type and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

  • Heart Center: This center is also known as the Feeling Center and contains types Two,Three, and Four. The Heart Center is emotion-based and types in this center focus on relationships — with themselves or others. They are constantly aware of their relationship to the world. They are either being affected or are affecting others.
  • Head Center: The Head Center is s0metimes called the Thinking Center. The primary concern of types Five, Six, and Seven which make up the Head Center is thinking and reflecting on the world and their experiences. These types can be anxious or withdrawn due to their inward focus on understanding. In contrast to the Heart Center, those of the Head Center approach themselves and others with the mind first.
  • Gut Center: Those belonging to the Gut or Instinctive Center react first, reflect later. The three types of this center are Eight, Nine, and One and each shows a way of reacting to stimuli from the outside world. Those of the Gut Center can be direct and confrontational, or withdrawn and compliant depending on their orientation.

Continue reading

Debbie Downer, Bob Bummer, & Co.

debbie-downerDebbie Downer is a term used to describe someone with a tendency to be the bearer of bad news and negativity. Debbie Downers can be found in every sphere of life, of all backgrounds. Her presence in any group or conversation puts an abrupt end to any happiness and enthusiasm of those involved. She is critical of herself and others, and fails to see why people can be happy about anything when there is so much to worry about. Bob Bummer is the male equivalent of Debbie Downer and is equally depressed and depressing.

Debbie Downer isn’t just negative: she is a pessimist to the core. She can see the downside to anything and won’t hesitate to mention it. If there isn’t a problem, she’ll create one — nothing is impossible. Debbie Downer plans for the worse and finds comfort in her negative mindset.

Most Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers don’t realize how discouraging they are to themselves and others. Instead they believe that they are only being realistic and everyone else is impractical and delusional. Only they know the truth of the situation, others can’t or won’t see what’s really going on.

Debbie Downers and Bob Bummers are not readily noticeable; they look and act like others do. But if you spend just a few minutes with them you’ll be sure to notice their negative mindset. Debbie Downer or Bob Bummer will say or do several of the following:

  • Proclaim any and all of your plans unrealistic and think of possible obstacles you hadn’t thought of and aren’t likely to happen
  • In the middle of your mentioning something positive that happened, remind you of something negative that occurred or will occur
  • Add “We have to look at both sides of the situation”, “You forgot to add that…”, or a similar statement to decrease the positivity or enthusiasm of the atmosphere
  • Criticize anything or anyone who would bring happiness to a situation
  • Talk about how terrible their life is and has been, usually adding more than once that life in general is hard and depressing
  • Begin most conversations by bringing up something negative that happened to them or in the world recently
  • Have a skeptical expression on their face or frown as soon as a conversation begins

Despite their negativity Debbie Downers, Bob Bummers, and similar people are not without friends. Some people mistake their negativity for realism or believe that their depressing outlook will be lifted after some time. Neither is true: Debbie, Bob, and Co. are not realistic, but pessimistic. And their troubles will never end because their existence depends on them — when one issue passes, they find something else.

Unless you’re a Debbie Downer, Bob Bummer or similar character the best thing to do is keep your interaction with them to a minimum. Their dejection can be contagious.

See also: