Don’t you sometimes wonder how counselors guide their clients to the righteous path efficiently?
They received proper education and training for this type of career, of course, but that’s not all. These professionals are also successful partly because they can do face reading.
Although it is an ancient practice, it helps a therapist understand a person’s personality or feelings more than what the mouth can say.
“Recent studies have found that the human face can also convey essential characteristics that make us who we are,” writes Vinita Mehta, Ph.D., Ed.M.
The face reading can also tell them whether the psychotherapy works or not. A truth, for instance, means the client is cooperating. A lie, however, indicates that they need to use another face reading strategy to counsel the individual.
In case you still can’t comprehend how face reading ties up with counseling, let’s talk about three Es: emotions, expressions, and eyes.
For thousands of years, humans have devised different ways to quantify personality. Among the existing methods is physiognomy. Physiognomy examines facial expressions to determine personality. It is similar to morphopsychology, the study of human facial features and compositions.
While face reading has been predominantly explored during the 1930s, it was not widely accepted as a discipline. However, practitioners who have mastered it offered important insights for the development of personality theories.
Each individual has unique characteristics and personality traits. Your genetic makeup determines some parts of your personality from the beginning. As you grow up, various factors influence your character development. All of these factors can also contribute to the development of personality disorders. Read on to know what personality disorders are and how counseling can help address personality disorders.
What Is Personality Disorders
Personality refers to an individual’s unique patterns of feeling, behaving, and thinking. Environmental and social experiences and inherited characteristics influence these. Throughout a person’s lifetime, their personality usually stays over time.
Personality disorders are maladaptive ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling. Personality disorders are long-term behavioral patterns and experiences that significantly differ from societal expectations. Individuals with personality disorders deviate from the cultural norm. Personality disorders usually cause distress and problems in social functioning, which can last over time. When left unmanaged, personality disorders significantly impair:
Ability to relate to other people
Thoughts about oneself or other people
Ability to control one’s overall behavior
Common Types Of Personality Disorders
To be diagnosed with personality disorders, an individual must display patterns of the behavioral characteristics of that particular condition. This characterization must be consistent throughout a person’s lifetime. These personality traits can also indicate some emotional disturbance from specific stressors or issues only. This is what differentiates personality disorders from anxiety and mood disorders.
The DSM has three categories of personality disorders, each with its distinguishing feature:
A Personality disorders
Odd and eccentric personality features characterize this cluster.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder – People with schizotypal personalities have distorted and eccentric behavior. This also translates to their way of beliefs and way of thinking. Additionally, they also have a pattern of being very uncomfortable in relationships.
Schizoid Personality Disorder – A person with a schizoid personality detaches from his or her social relationships. They also have little emotional expression. With this, they may deliberately choose to be alone and not engage with other people.
Paranoid Personality Disorder – Individuals with this personality are always suspicious of others. They perceive other people as deceitful, spiteful, and harmful towards them. This is why they may find it difficult to be close to other people.
B Personality Disorder
Dramatic, erratic, and extremely emotional behaviors characterize this cluster.
Histrionic Personality Disorder – A person with a histrionic personality has patterns of excessive emotion. They also have extreme attention-seeking behavior. So they can be very uncomfortable if they are not the center of attention.
Antisocial Personality Disorder – Antisocial individuals may seem to have little regard for other people’s welfare. They lack the empathy to relate to other people. Antisocials are also portrayed as sociopaths or psychopaths in popular media. However, note that having this condition does not necessarily lead to violent tendencies.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality have a high need for admiration. They have a grandiose sense of their importance and entitlement. With this, they manifest a lack of empathy towards others.
Borderline Personality Disorder – People with borderline personality have patterns of being unstable in interpersonal relationships. Abandonment preoccupies them, making them impulsive and reactive at times.
C Personalities Disorders
Anxious or fearful qualities of personality characterize this cluster.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – A person who has OCD has a pattern of being preoccupied with perfection. They may have an unhealthy obsession with orderliness and control. This behavior will disrupt their time for leisure, relationships, or for themselves.
Dependent Personality Disorder – Individuals who have dependent personalities are submissive and dependent on others. They have a pattern of needing to be overly taken care of. With this, they have difficulties in decision-making without assurance from others.
Avoidant Personality Disorder – Clinically, avoidant people have a pattern of extreme shyness and feelings of inadequacy. They may also be overly sensitive towards criticism.
Counseling For Personality Disorders
Counseling primarily helps in diagnosing personality disorders and identifying symptoms. Counselors must conduct a series of personality tests to confirm that the traits match the condition. They also determine how serious your personality disorder might be.
After diagnosing, they will devise a treatment plan. Psychotherapy is an effective method to treat personality disorders. This way, you can gain an understanding of your mental condition. Discussing thoughts, feelings, and behavior helps you learn how to manage your daily life. Whether in relationships or professional careers, counseling may help in dealing with any condition’s symptoms.
Some common types of therapy for personality disorders include:
Dialectical behavior therapy
Individuals with personality disorders must actively participate in their treatment. Counselors will provide them with coping strategies to deal with the difficulties due to their condition. They will also teach their patient how to perform self-care.
Most importantly, counseling can help them address the stigma towards their personality disorders. One of the most common reasons why these individuals do not consult mental health professionals is stigma. It can be a barrier to treatment and the willingness of the person to seek help. The counselor should reassure them that there is nothing wrong with getting professional help for their condition.
Counseling can help an individual recognize how to manage and treat their personality disorders. It is helpful to both the patient and the people around them. In the long run, counseling can help patients with personality disorders live life as normally as possible.
During the 1930s, a French psychologist named Louis Corman developed morphopsychology. Morphopsychology uses physiognomy, or the study of human facial features, in predicting personality. According to Corman, the human facial composition is a good indicator of the character of a person. It can also give insights into the type of intelligence an individual possesses, whether emotional or instinctive.
Despite being a scientific discipline, morphopsychology has not been widely accepted by scientists. There is no clear evidence of the effectiveness of physiognomy. Yet, there are various methods to determine personality traits and characteristics developed in recent years. One of these is the OCEAN model of personality. Other personality traits are classified into five major personality traits in this model:
Knowing your personality traits will give you valuable insights into your behavior. A better understanding of yourself can benefit your personal and career development. When taking personality tests, you can seek guidance from psychiatrists, psychometrists, or a psychiatrist.
Like everyone else, these mental health care professionals have also determined their personality traits. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an effective counselor? What personality traits should you have and develop to be a counselor?
Compassionate And Empathic
The ability to relate to the client is the first and perhaps most important personality trait. As a counselor, you need to have a nurturing and caring personality. You will face situations where your client may feel hopeless and helpless. Being compassionate and caring allows you to empathize with people’s struggles.
In these cases, it is important to consider the other person’s situation. Empathizing means being able to put yourself in their situations. What would you feel if you were the one having these experiences? It is important to approach their problem firstly from their own perspectives. If you have adequately understood their plight, then you can help them find a solution for it.
Good At Communicating And Listening
An effective counselor is also good at communicating and listening to their clients. Counseling sessions should be about the mental problems of the clients. During a conversation, an effective counselor can remove the emphasis on themselves. They actively listen to what the other person is saying. If necessary, they provide professional advice to their client.
The client may also have difficulties in expressing themselves verbally. A good listener understands nonverbal cues of communication. To effectively communicate with the other person, they must also be aware of their body language. For instance, an individual looking downwards may be having feelings of shame and guilt.
In these cases, a counselor should establish rapport to make the clients comfortable sharing their stories. An effective communicator and listener are capable of keeping these stories confidential. Counselors should be able to build trust with the client, to know and understand them better.
Creative When Solving Problems
Counselors should be creative when it comes to providing solutions to their client’s problems. Since every individual has unique characteristics and personalities, counselors should be able to use various methods.
Being creative in solving problems also requires the ability to think outside the box. For instance, a counselor might suggest playing therapy to adults who show signs of repressed thoughts and emotions. This can help them explore their identity and facilitate the healthy release of their feelings.
Despite the need for creativity in their profession, they also must adhere to scientific methods and techniques as foundations. Effective counselors know when to use alternative methods in assisting their clients. They provide the best treatment options for each individual. Even if it requires stretching their ideas and imagination.
Other Qualities Of An Effective Counselor
Aside from the primary personality traits, an effective counselor should also fully understand emotion and reason. Throughout the counseling session, there will be instances where too much compassion may cloud their judgment, or they may feel attached to their clients.
When it comes to therapy, a good counselor knows when to use empathy and reason. For instance, if the consultation aims to diagnose the client, a counselor must adhere to psychological tests. However, this does not mean that they won’t use empathy and compassion to gather more information for the diagnosis, such as the client’s current thoughts, emotions, and feelings.
When it comes to treatment, a good psychologist must still be objective. They must eliminate any bias that might jeopardize the client’s health. For instance, if counselors are fond of children, they must be careful not to get too attached to their young clients.
Finally, effective counselors exhibit great self-awareness and understanding of themselves. Counselors should take the time to develop their personalities. They need to understand their own prejudices and interests. This will help them separate themselves from their clients’ problems and avoid projecting on them. As counselors, they must have a deeper understanding of their identity to guide clients towards mental healing.
I took the Myers-Briggs personality test last month. I know, I know – I was a little late to jump into that wagon, and “it was so 2019,” as my niece would say it. I heard about the MBTI a couple of years ago, too, but I did not think of taking the test because I felt like I did not need a written assessment to tell me who I was.
However, the world got struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. I was among the lucky people who did not have unemployment issues in 2020. In truth, I even earned a promotion for doing double shifts four times a week, thereby doubling my salary. All my family members were also safe, and I’m proud to say that none of us contracted the coronavirus.
What led me to assess my personality type was that I caught my boyfriend cheating on me on camera. We shared an apartment in LA, but I got stuck in New Jersey during the pandemic. We thought it best if I stayed in New Jersey until we both got vaccinated. I felt tempted to risk getting coronavirus when my boyfriend kept telling me how much he missed me, but we settled with video chats and calls at least thrice a day.
Then, one morning that I called my boyfriend, he was still in bed. It was surprising since it was already 11 o’clock at the time, and he used to get up at 6 o’clock. He said he was tired from work yesterday and that he’d call me back after lunch, but he lifted his phone over his head, and I saw a very naked woman sleeping next to him.
My boyfriend noticed my shocked expression, and he sat up and tried to explain, but I had seen enough. My last words to him were, “I’ll wait for you to pay me back for the rent money I already wire-transferred for the rest of the year.” I ended the call and wailed in my pillow all day long.
That breakup made me reevaluate myself. I thought I knew my boyfriend, but I didn’t. I thought I was not the type of woman who would get cheated on, but I experienced it. Worse, I could not go back to LA at once to kick his butt. All of a sudden, I no longer knew who I was.
Using Projective Tests To Measure My Personality
When I came across the MBTI website one day, I realized that it was a projective test in the form of a self-help report. I tried to answer every question as best as possible and was surprised to learn that I was an ISFJ – a Protector. Although I was more interested in finding out what it said about my relationships, I could not help but read the other things indicated in the results. Mainly, it said that I did my work well alone (check!), I believed in ideas based on facts (check!), and I care for my loved ones more than anyone in the world (double-check!).
Once I reached the relationships part, it mentioned that ISFJs appreciated a thoughtful partner. They could give everything to that person, but if they messed up at least once, they would lose their trust and not want to do anything with them. I felt like that was so spot-on, given that I gave my ex a lot of consideration, especially since he could not get his full salary since the pandemic. Despite that, he did not think twice before cheating on me.
How are projective tests used to measure personality?
Some projective tests start by showing an ambiguous picture to an individual and asking them what they see. In other cases, the person hears a word, which they need to draw. The testers will then measure their personality based on how they have interpreted those images or words.
What is an example of a projective personality assessment?
A typical example of a projective personality assessment is the Thematic Apperception Test. What it entails is that the tester prepares at least eight pictures depicting different scenarios for a person. Then, that person needs to describe what they see, what is probably happening when the photo’s been taken, etc.
This storytelling format is supposed to reveal many things about someone, including their previous experiences, current dilemmas, happiness, fear, or frustration, among other things.
What personality tests do psychologists use?
Psychologists typically use two kinds of personality tests:
Projective Tests: Such examinations tend to tap into people’s imagination to assess someone’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. There are various forms of projective tests, but the basic idea is that the tester will ask them to interpret, draw, or describe a picture and analyze their work.
Self-Help Reports: These tests come in the form of questionnaires that people must answer truthfully. For instance, with five being most likely and one being least likely, do you think you’ll give your spouse another chance if s/he cheats on you? There is no correct or wrong answer here.
What are the four types of personality?
Analytical: Analytical individuals love to assess everything objectively. They do not believe something unless they see or experience it. They also love to gain new information, create lists, etc.
Amiable: Amiable people are the most agreeable people you will ever meet. They like to avoid conflicts, so they often try to appease everyone. They want things to be easy for themselves too.
Driver: This is the personality of strong and brave people. Instead of shying away from problems or challenges, they choose to face them head-on.
Expressive: Individuals with this personality know how to please the crowd. It feels natural for them to befriend and socialize with others. Unfortunately, they are not always great with responsibilities.
What is the most common Myers-Brigg personality type?
ISFJ turns out to be the most common Myers-Brigg personality type. People found with this personality type are known to be warm and responsible. While they always want to protect everyone and everything they love, they handle changes well.
What is the rarest personality type?
INFJ is the rarest personality type among the Myers-Brigg personality types. Someone with this personality is known as an advocate. It entails that this person is full of wisdom and creativity. Before they do anything, they dig deep and make sure that it supports their inner values.
What are the eight types of personalities?
Extraverted Thinking: It refers to people who agree with like-minded individuals. However, if someone does not have similar principles, they immediately believe that they are wrong without understanding their logic.
Introverted Thinking: Introverted thinkers tend to have bright ideas, but they have analysis paralysis. It means that they get stuck in their head often, unable to express themselves clearly.
Extraverted Sensation: When someone has this personality, you may see them showing their affection to their loved ones all the time. They host parties and meet friends and family as often as possible.
Introverted Sensation: Such people prefer to keep their thoughts and emotions to themselves. Though they are not liars, it is still tough to determine what’s on their minds.
Extraverted Intuition: This type of personality entails that someone is always open to changes, no matter how much they love their current situation.
Introverted Intuition: Introverts are prone to coming up with ideas on how they can change various aspects of their lives. However, they do not usually act on them.
Extraverted Feeling: Extraverts put others’ interests before theirs. Even if they do not like what’s happening, they will agree to it if other people are into it.
Introverted Feeling: It has been revealed that introverted individuals do not like sharing their deepest feelings with others. Anyone can try coaxing them to open up, but they may end up hiding more.
How do you classify personality?
Experts classify personality based on five traits: amiability, introversion, extraversion, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. One or two of these traits will be more dominant than the others, and that’s how they deduce a person’s personality.
What are the five main personality traits?
Agreeableness: Agreeable individuals love to cooperate and collaborate with other people. It does not always matter if they cannot get what they want – what matters to them is that everyone’s happy.
Conscientiousness: Conscientious people are often level-headed. They know what they should do in life and how; they love planning and sticking to their own principles. They do not leave any essential task unfinished either.
Extroversion: Sociable and talkative individuals are often called extroverts. It entails that they are not afraid or shy to express their thoughts or emotions.
Introversion: Introverts are the opposites of extroverts because they tend to clam up all the time and avoid making vital decisions in life. Instead, they prefer to isolate themselves from others.
Openness: As the term suggests, people with this personality trait are incredibly open to anything. They welcome change all their lives; they do not like getting stuck in one situation forever. Their imagination is always working as well.
What is personality according to psychology?
According to psychology, personality is the collective term used to describe a combination of traits that people or animals exhibit. For instance, if someone is introverted, observant, feeling, and judging (ISFJ), they have the defender personality. If another person is extraverted, sensing, thinking, and perceptive (ESTP), they have the entrepreneur personality.
How did psychoanalysis influence psychology?
Psychoanalysis reveals a fine and definite line that separates a person’s conscious and unconscious mind. They may experience catharsis at some point, and some of the unconscious thoughts will come to the surface. That’s when the person may realize some things about themselves that they have never known existed in the past. From there, psychologists can try to link their behavior before and after such an experience.
What is the theory of personality?
The founder of psychoanalysis is most likely the first person to create a theory regarding personality. According to him, people do everything to gain pleasure. It does not merely imply sex; it also pertains to how we tend to splurge on food, clothes, trips, and material objects.
Sigmund Freud specifically introduced the tripartite theory of personality in 1923. This theory states that three aspects of personality – id, ego, and superego – develop over time.
Moral Lesson: It hurts to split with the love of your life, but when you know yourself, you know that you deserve someone better than a cheater.
Talking to my childhood friends and family would let you know that I was the most fearless kid in our neighborhood back then. Though I could not remember it, my mother said that I did not cry when she left me at the daycare center for the first time. Meanwhile, my first memory was of me in the playground, standing up for a friend who got bullied for having lesbians as parents.
When I entered elementary school, my fearlessness grew. Many of my peers could not go home independently, even if the school were in the same neighborhood that we lived in. At one point between first and second grade, I assured my parents that I could safely find my way home by asking them to follow me from school. They drilled stranger danger in my head ever since I could recall, and we had a tight-knit community, so they often allowed me to commute by myself.
If there were one thing that could frighten me instantly, my loved ones would tell you that it’s a mime artist. Clowns, magicians, or people in realistic Halloween costumes – I never cared for them. But if I ever got a glimpse of a mime artist, even if they were a few meters away, I would undoubtedly retreat and make sure never to go back there.
In reality, I did not have a shady encounter with a mime artist. They were not commonly found in the suburban area, so I only saw one when my parents surprised me with a trip to New York City when I was nine years old.
We were roaming the streets at the time, and my parents were busy telling me about all the buildings there when I saw a small crowd gathering in the distance. I pulled Mom and Dad towards their location, curiosity about what they were ogling. I regretted doing that up to this day because I had to watch a large man in black-and-white clothes feel up an invisible wall and go through an invisible door without any expression on his face. The fact that he had white makeup all over him did not make things better.
When I coaxed my parents to go in another direction, we passed through a street filled with what I did not know back then as human statues. I mean, they were all bronzed and still! My father thought it was fun to ask me to drop a dollar in front of one, but I was scared out of my mind when it started moving like the mime artist I just ran away from. While they were not the same people and their clothes were different, they both had expressionless faces. It isn’t very pleasant to admit it, but it was the longest time I cried over something.
My strong aversion towards mime artists continued as I grew up. Whenever my parents talked about out-of-town trips, I made sure to find places where I had the least chance of coming across one.
In hindsight, it could be because facial expressions gave us a glimpse into others’ real emotions. For instance, a quick pout followed by a forced smile indicated that someone masked their annoyance or irritation. Similarly, a wide grin meant that they were beyond happy or excited. But a poker face? It’s scary.
To explain the necessity of expression in people’s lives, I put together a list of frequently asked questions involving the subject below.
What is an emotional expression in psychology?
The emotional expression refers to how you show how you feel towards other people or different situations verbally or nonverbally.
Examples of verbal expression:
Saying, “thank you.”
Examples of nonverbal expression:
Opening mouth in shock
How can facial expressions influence emotions?
Your facial expressions typically reflect your emotions, but they can also influence the latter. For instance, when you smile despite your problems, you may feel sad less and less. But when you always frown, you may become short-tempered and upset about everything.
How does emotion affect attention?
Happiness and all the positive emotions tend to make you more attentive than ever. You notice everything; you remember everything. However, your attention dips when you are sad, jealous, or angry since that’s where all your focus goes.
What are the healthy expressions of emotions?
Expressing happiness, cheerfulness, and other positive emotions is not a problem. When you smile and laugh, it influences the people around you to do the same. But the issue appears when it comes to expressing your negative emotions, especially if you usually have no filter and blurts out whatever’s on your mind.
Here are examples of healthy emotional expressions:
If someone angers you, wait until you are calm enough to talk before letting them know about it. Some people let at least a day or two pass so that they don’t end saying words that they can no longer take back.
If you’re in a restaurant, and a waiter takes forever to bring your order, you can ask them politely to hurry up instead of making a scene. Although the latter is useful for getting the job done, the former may make the waiter apologetic and serve you better on your next visit.
How people express their emotions?
People typically express their emotions through facial expressions. A simple frown, curt smile, or excessive pouting indicates that you don’t like what you see; a huge grin entails loving it.
Often, facial expressions also come with corresponding words or body language. For the former, you may shake your head and say, “No, thank you.” For the latter, you may clap or jump up and down to express your enthusiasm and appreciation.
What are emotional display rules?
Emotional display rules are practically the norms in your location when it comes to expressing your emotions. One clear example of that is the public display of affection. In religious countries, people frown upon couples who hug and kiss each other in public. They also care deeply if a parent scolds a child at the park or any crowded place. Still, in more liberated countries, kissing, hugging, or even yelling folks hardly attract anyone’s attention.
What are the seven emotions?
Do emotions follow behavior and facial expressions?
No. Emotions influence facial expressions – when you are upset, you cannot help but frown or burrow your eyebrows. Consequently, you can school your facial expressions to change your emotions – when you push yourself to smile through the pain, it may eventually feel less painful.
Meanwhile, the behavior is also a byproduct of emotion, not the opposite. If you act unkindly towards someone, it is because you are thinking unkindly about someone.
Do facial expressions reflect inner feelings?
Yes. According to studies, our facial expressions fleet multiple times until we decide how we feel about something. Some people want to hide their inner feelings at times, but their facial expressions tend to give them away.
Do emotions affect memory?
Yes, emotions affect memory. The general rule is that the happier you are, the clearer your mind is, and the better your concentration becomes. Thus, it may be more effortless for you to remember stuff than an upset individual.
When you are angry or sad, your memory may still work, but you may only recall the cause of your anger or sadness. That is not healthy at all.
What factors influence your emotions?
The following factors can influence your emotions:
Culture: Culture often dictates how individuals react to certain situations. For instance, in many Asian countries, it has been common for couples to avoid showing physical affection, even if they are already married. This has only changed recently.
Gender: Women tend to experience emotions more intensely than men. It is perhaps due to how women are supposed to behave a bit more emotional than men according to social norms, while the latter are expected to keep their cool at all times.
Social Status: Social status suggests that people in the higher strata may be happier and more easygoing than those near or below the poverty line. However, people from all walks of life deal with different problems every day; that’s why it is challenging to assess its distinct effects.
Stress: Stress makes everyone feel negative emotions in general. It also shortens your patience and causes you to express your feelings and thoughts more aggressively than usual.
How does emotion affect personality?
When you are a highly emotional individual, you may seem like a weakling or crybaby in the eyes of other people. When you let negative emotions get the better of you, people will think that you are moody, mean, rude, and short-tempered.
If you want to improve your personality, you need to evaluate your emotions and figure out if you express them correctly.
What is the difference between emotions and feelings?
Emotions are involuntary reactions that a person’s brain causes after they deal with a situation. For instance, if you catch your boyfriend lying to you, your face scrunches up on automatic, and tears may flow down your cheeks. Some people even start yelling profanities towards the cheater or throw punches at them.
Once the emotions calm down, the person starts to feel hurt and angry about the betrayal. You get feelings when you become aware of your feelings and manage to put a name on them.
How can I express my emotions better?
To explain this better, let’s say you are facing a major crisis as a coworker deleted the documents you need for a presentation, and it will take a while before you can get a copy.
The first thing you must do is close your eyes and take deep breaths – as if you are doing mindfulness meditation. You may be seething in anger upon knowing your coworker’s mistake, but confronting them and yelling at them will do you no good. It just means that your emotions are controlling you, and that’s not acceptable.
Instead, you can try naming such emotions so that they turn into feelings – an indication that you are conscious of them now. It is not wrong of you to be angry, sad, or betrayed by what your coworker did; you need to calm yourself to avoid more conflicts.
When you are ready, please open your eyes and think of letting the coworker know that you didn’t appreciate what they did. If you are still angry after that, you can write your feelings in a journal and burn them, go to the gym, or do any activity that will allow you to release your anger.
Is expressing your emotions really helpful?
Yes, expressing your emotions is genuinely helpful, considering hiding them can lead to mental disorders. It is understandable if you feel ashamed to show your feelings sometimes, especially when they are not positive, but you need to do so at some level to prevent them from chipping away at your mental health.
Life becomes more bearable than ever when you know how to express yourself through verbal or non-verbal means. If you want to increase your chances of staying mentally healthy, you should not be as expressionless as a mime artist.
Do you often wonder why your kids have very different characteristics even though they live under one roof? I do, and I ask myself what could have happened between carrying them in my womb and delivering them. Then I read about the different personalities and types of temperament and how I can make the necessary adjustments to my parenting style to match my kids’ personalities.
If you’re a parent of two or more kids (like me), you probably are astounded by how unique your kids seem. One may be bubbly and carefree, while the younger sibling is overly timid and sensitive. One is flexible to change, and another may require more time and space to cope. These kids were undoubtedly brought up by the same parents, born in the same beliefs, and living in the same home, but they each take life’s roads and challenges differently. How could this be? It could be temperament.
Definition and Background
Temperament is defined as a person’s various personalities and his or her responses to life events and occurrences. Researchers and psychologists suggest five different features when discussing temperament.
Activity Level – the severity of activity done by an individual
Emotional intensity – the level of emotions that an individual is capable of showing or presenting with
Frustration tolerance – an individual’s capacity to tolerate stress or any kind of emotion or situation
Reaction to change – how an individual responds to the changes around him
Response to new people – how an individual reacts when he is around people he is not familiar with
Every individual is born with her or his distinct personalities and temperament. Temperament, on the other hand, is not a product of something that you were able to or not able to do. It is not also caused by the culture you were born in, although a child’s surrounding environment can affect how he sees himself and how he can adapt to life. Sufficient knowledge of temperament can assist parents in adjusting their approach to their children’s needs.
Be more understanding. Your older daughter dilly-dallies throughout the day, mostly procrastinating. You, on the other hand, are making sure you are achieving your to-do list. You and your spouse love having new people in your home, but your daughter prefers to stay in her room, not even getting out once for introductions. Often, this is a gap between a parent’s personality and a child’s personality, resulting in conflicts. Be more understanding and patient with her and take a few steps back so you will gain insight into her responses. Rather than feeling frustrated, try to look for some compromise or solution. For instance, you might want to tell your child that someone is coming over to visit so that she will have time to fix herself and her composure. Tell her how to respond initially when someone comes over and encourage her to join in small group activities whenever possible.
Recognize your child’s personality. Observe your child’s usual behavioral patterns. Does she love talking to new people and learning new things, or does she require more time to prepare for social gatherings? Maybe she is somewhere halfway. Is she more sensitive than others, is she more expressive of her feelings, or is she quiet but deep? Think about where your child falls on a mental or physical chart that discusses different personality types. You can usually get this from The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning or CSEFEL.
Separate your own needs from theirs. One of the most common challenges in parenting is not mixing up your needs and personality approach from your children. You may think that your child requires a substantial amount of social interactions, for instance, but the truth is, it is you that desire it. Be clear on your parenting needs and approaches so you can maintain stable boundaries between you and your children. See them as separate individuals.
Support your child. In today’s culture, formal and quiet personalities are usually rewarded. So if you have a son or daughter who is lively, emotionally intense, and highly assertive, you’ve most probably heard relatives and significant others judge them. Knowing that temperament is not the same for anyone can help eliminate the pressure, enabling you to perceive your child’s personalities as strengths, not weaknesses. This gives you more leverage to defend your child against negative reactions and comments. It would be easier for you to say, “Yes, my daughter is carefree, independent, and knows precisely what she wants. And she’s also learning how to meet halfway.”
Temperament is not always a constant feature. Kids with, say, an introverted personality can learn how to become more friendly and social. Someone born with a quick temper can certainly be more patient and in control later in his life. As a parent, improve your knowledge and understanding of your children’s temperaments while trying not to assign labels on them that might cause them not to grow mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I had always been interested in knowing more about my personality. I was among those who loved taking free personality tests during my vacant hours, even though I wasn’t sure if they were accurate most of the time.
Then, when I signed up for a dating app (don’t judge me!), I realized that many of the guys wrote acronyms like INTJ-A, ENTJ-T, and ESFJ-T, among others, on their profiles. I initially assumed that it was some football thing, considering some of them used football emoji too. However, I came across a profile where the guy added a link to a 16 Personalities website, where he took a personality test.
Upon clicking the link, it became apparent that the test was based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I faintly remembered my psychology professor touching the subject when I was in college, but I probably had my earphones on at the time, hardly paying attention to the class. If I had known that a free test was dedicated to it back then – and that it might be among the most accurate personality tests out there – I would have listened to the professor more.
Taking The 16 Personalities Test
Figuring out how to get started on the personality test was a piece of cake. As mentioned above, it has a free version, and I didn’t even need to register to the website. A few questions later, I got ISFJ-A – the Defender personality.
Before reading the results, I already thought that it sounded cool. I had no expectations while taking the test; I merely answered as honestly as possible. When I scrolled down and saw which famous individuals had the same personality (e.g., Queen Elizabeth II, Dutchess Kate Middleton, Beyonce, etc.), I felt more excited to see how spot-on the test was.
From what I understood, having the Defender personality meant that I was introverted (I), observant (S), feeling (F), and judging (J). The letter A, meanwhile, stood for altruism. Overall, it meant that I used my introversion to observe my surroundings and react to certain situations without hurting anyone’s feelings. I also tend to avoid as many people as possible, but I would go all out to make my loved ones happy.
I thought that was pretty accurate. Ever since I was a kid, I never liked big crowds. I loved standing a few feet from them and observing what others were doing. However, it did not entail that I was insensitive to others’ feelings or could not socialize whenever I wanted. It’s just that I cared to be around my closest friends and family members more than mingling with new people.
What Does A Defender’s Mental Health Look Like?
Less Likelihood Of Having Anger Management Problem
Defenders are known for having extremely long patience. I can attest to this as my friends often comment about how they have never seen me get mad. Though I may get upset sometimes, it is quicker for me to get over an issue than all of them combined.
In hindsight, I believe that it’s a positive point, considering it reduces my likelihood of getting diagnosed with an anger management problem. It might take a long while before a scenario makes me see red. But even then, I might probably catch myself and try to think that things are happening for a reason (which I always do).
Having the Defender personality does not mean that life cannot be filled with unfortunate situations. In truth, I already experienced flunking a class, getting cheated on by the love of my life, being backstabbed by one of my so-called friends, etc. Despite all that, I managed to get back on my feet and move on.
How did I do that, you might ask? Well, there is nothing that optimism (another known trait of Defenders) couldn’t do. Though I might cry about a scenario for a day or two, I always wiped my tears away and smiled and thought, “Hmm, what better things are in store for me?”
Has Perfectionist Tendencies
Furthermore, ISFJs have perfectionist tendencies. I couldn’t tell if it’s a pro or a con, considering my perfectionism has often served me well. All my projects were done flawlessly, to the extent that the professors wondered if I got a professional to make them for me.
Still, I could understand if some people saw my perfectionism as a flaw. After all, whenever we had group projects, I always asked my teammates to redo their work if it didn’t look perfect in my eyes.
The 16 Personalities test undoubtedly enlightened me about what to call my personality. I had always been aware of my traits, but it was delightful to realize that I fit a category. That’s something that I never thought would happen since I was introverted yet sociable, practical yet optimistic, and patient yet firm.
It is not a secret that people with anxiety have a future-oriented fear. It leads them to avoid things and scenarios they think are potentially dangerous. Sometimes, they look at stress differently that they assume that everything about it is triggering factors. So imagine them living in this pandemic situation where all they hear and see are bad news.
Fortunately, according to licensed professionals at BetterHelp, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. However, only a few people are seeking treatment. The rest of the diagnosed individuals suffer in silence. Perhaps that is because people with anxiety worry about the judgment of others. There is a stigma about mental illness, and most people with a mental condition somehow experience a negative effect on their lives. If this sounds very familiar, perhaps you might be suffering from anxiety and don’t realize it.
Signs To Look Out For
You Are Always Self-Conscious – If you are a bit conscious that everyone is staring at you all the time, perhaps you are suffering from hidden anxiety. It affects your confidence that you often question the way you walk, eat, and sit. It even makes you feel like the sound of your voice is awkward that people might notice it shaky. You don’t have the confidence to be around with people because you are too afraid that they might have something negative to say about your behavior or personality.
You Get Irritated Easily – Sometimes, hidden anxiety is not just about fear. Often, it is when you feel too sensitive about everything. You find your feelings get hurt easily and that you get angry without any reason. You experience problems understanding yourself. With that, you get upset with yourself, and you can’t let go over the littlest things that don’t entirely matter. You suffer from emotional volatility that relates to high-functioning anxiety. There is too much imbalance in your emotions that makes you mentally unstable. You experience frequent tantrums, mood swings, and outbursts.
You’re Panicky And Get Startled Easily – Anxiety can be useful in some ways. It allows you to become more vigilant and in control at some point. However, when you feel that small things you can’t control are sending you to a reel of panic, perhaps that is hidden anxiety. It makes you feel vulnerable when something catches you off guard. And when the smallest things don’t go your way, you find it hard to calm down and relax. You become overwhelmed with the things around you which makes you lose control of your senses.
You Don’t Like Talking To People Face-To-Face – Given a chance, you could easily keep a conversation even for a more extended period through chatting online and texting. However, talking to someone in person is a different story. Even if you already know your friends well and already spoke to them quite a few times online, you still get nervous having conversations with them in person. Somehow, you are finding it hard to come up with the right words to respond, and making eye contact seems impossible to do. Therefore, often, you end the conversation before it even starts.
You Are Indecisive – When you experience having trouble making decisions, even small ones, perhaps you have hidden anxiety. When you are afraid to make up your mind about something, it means you are always thinking negatively about your situation. That somehow results in wanting perfection. You get to fear failure, and the struggle makes you disgust yourself when you can’t better achieve something. Most of the time, you overthink everything, especially the ones that are uncontrollable like this pandemic. You also have this habit of asking people for their opinion even though you know you need them and you don’t care about what they are going to say. At some point, you only need the validation of whether your decision is acceptable.
Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak, people worry too much about their lives. There’s stress everywhere, and people kind of embrace the agony of it. According to an experts at BetterHelp, stress falls into different categories such as physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral. Behavioral stress is the most ignored category because people think that there are no signs of it. But unfortunately, its symptoms are visible. Here are some of those.
With all the problems the whole world is having, negative thinking becomes common. That is due to the uncertainties brought by the pandemic. People are now in a mental crisis filled with anxiety and fear of not knowing what would happen next. And with all the bad thoughts that distract them, they experience the inability to sleep and relax. Individuals fail to get enough mental energy because their minds cannot recover from falling short of the required amount of rest.
One of the safety precautions of the outbreak is home quarantine. There should be no contact with people outside an individual parameter. But some people look at this safety measure as a way to induce self-isolation. That instead of attempting to bridge the gap of communication, they choose to withdraw themselves from the particular event. They avoid socializing with anyone as well. Even with the people inside their homes that they see every day receives a cold treatment. They shut everyone out to feel solace on their own.
Unhealthy Eating Habits
With the limited access to food during this unwanted situation, people do not notice the unhealthy eating habits they are doing. Understandably, the types of food some individuals can stock in their homes need to stay edible for a more extended period. But since the situation is very stressful, others resort to comfort food. These foods become their escape to make them feel temporarily better. But also, there is a different approach to unhealthy eating habits and not eating anything is part of it.
Some people experiencing pandemic stress often do not notice that addiction can be a part of it. Since there is a limitation to what they can do during this lockdown, some try to resort in short term solutions. One of these solutions is to spend more time with their mobile devices. The behavior gets ignored because the majority of people are doing it at the same time. But considering the extended period of smartphone usage per day, experts can agree that this behavior will soon lead to significant health damage.
Suicidal Talk Or Behavior
This particular behavioral issue is somehow discrete. The majority of people will not consider this act, but there are a few people that deal with suicidal talk or behavior. Some individuals express their stress by saying they want to die due to the pressure of life given this pandemic. Some are already harming themselves in silence. In a crisis like today, the signals get ignored. People are too drawn to the idea of surviving this pandemic situation. That is why shifting their focus to understanding suicidal behavior gets too much to worry about.
And as much as we want to get things back to normal, all we can do now is keep our heads straight. There is nothing much we can do. Stress can manifest in a lot of dangerous ways. We need to be more cautious about our thoughts and behavior. We need to understand that this situation affects us all, and no one is alone in this battle. There are other people who are experiencing the same things we experience. We have to remind ourselves that the only way we can get rid of stress is by recognizing it physically, mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally.