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Troubled-Person Behavioral Personality Characteristics

Chapter 7: The Troubled-Person

Behavioral Personality Characteristics
Laying the Foundation:

Personality Traits of Low Self-Esteem
By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.


Troubled-Person Behavior Characteristics


Appearance to world of those in the troubled-person behavior role:

  • Irresponsible
  • Low motivation to change
  • Lack of personal or professional success
  • Poor emotional stability
  • Problem addictive behavior in the use of alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, shopping, sex, smoking, or seeking excitement
  • Perfectionism at home or at work
  • Restricted expression of feelings and emotions
  • Workaholic, overly obsessive in working on projects
  • Blaming and negative about everyone with whom they live
  • Deny their own problems or openly admit them, claiming they can't do anything about the problems
  • Shallow, self-centered, manipulative, and exploitive
  • Out-of-control behavior
  • Broken persons
  • Life of the party, outgoing, very social, friendly, extroverted
  • Get into a lot of trouble at work, at home, and in the community
  • Lack of tolerance for others
  • Easily likable and extremely charming on first meeting
  • Con artists, users
  • Bombastic, mouthy, show-off attitude
  • Use excessive self-destructive behavior

Feelings inside those in the troubled-person behavior role:

  • Fear that their problems will be discovered by others
  • Fear that they will lose everything important to them, i.e., job, spouse, family, wealth, friends, security
  • Anxious about the future
  • Unable to focus attention on the important issues in their lives
  • Guilty for having their problems
  • Shame that they are not able to solve their problems on their own
  • Ashamed that others point out their failings and problems to them
  • Guilty for neglecting job and family life as they avoid, deny, and bury their problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem
  • Depression with negative emotions resulting in restlessness, lack of appetite, and inability to relax or calm down
  • Repression of feelings in an effort to hide or deny their problems
  • Desperation and despair over their problems and the negative consequences thereof.

Much anger, directed at:

  • themselves for their problems
  • others in life for not understanding them
  • life regarding the unfair demands made of them
  • others who imply they are not able to handle their own problems

Negative consequences of those in the troubled-person behavior role:

  • Low self-esteem
  • People in their lives begin to pull away from them
  • Strained relations with others, at work or at home
  • Being ostracized by others who withdraw from them
  • Hostility of others toward them
  • Inability to make decisions or solve problems
  • Being caught up in addictive behavior until they literally live for the behavior in their lives
  • Lack of belief in others' good will or others caring for them
  • Their problem behavior becomes the number one priority in their lives
  • They begin to organize their lives around their problem behavior
  • They begin to see themselves as the center of their own universe, relying solely on themselves, shutting out sources of help and support
  • They begin to drift away from old friends and trusted colleagues
  • They either ignore physical exercise or engage in it excessively and compulsively
  • They seek to control and exercise power over everyone in their lives
  • They might begin to ignore their physical needs resulting in a poor diet with deficient nutrition
  • Their personal appearance and grooming might deteriorate badly, causing their self-worth to lower as their self-image worsens
  • Their ability to maintain a close, intimate, and sexually satisfying relationship with spouse (or committed partner) lessens to the point that it becomes a problem in the relationship
  • They can develop doubts about sexual adequacy that affect their sexual function
  • They can develop physical health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, ulcers, or neurological problems as they continue to ignore and deny their problems
  • They might have such difficulty in being productive at work that they lose one job after another due to poor performance
  • Their mental health could degenerate to the point that they end up needing intense residential or psychopharmacologic assistance to restore their mental health
  • Increasing self-pity and self-depreciation might lead them to toy with suicidal thoughts or gestures
  • Increasing negative feelings and emotional strain might lead them to use other forms of addictive behavior to anesthetize their pain and hurt
  • Loss of self-pride may lead them to over-compensate, to refuse to get help for themselves with the claim that they would "lose pride and self-confidence by asking others for help"
  • Increasing anger and resentment toward others who insist that they seek help may lead them to stick stubbornly to the belief that “only I can help myself”
  • If they refuse to accept their need for help, they might become so sick that they eventually become completely lost persons, needing care in a hospital or institution

Some beliefs of those in the troubled-person behavior role:

  • Everyone is crazy around here.If they would all change, things would be better.
  • No one loves me; if they did love me things would be better.
  • My problems are no worse than anyone else's around here.
  • No one ever meets my expectations, my ideals, or my requirements.
  • The harder I work, the more I fall behind.
  • There is never enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to do.
  • I'm not an alcoholic. I only drink beer.
  • I stopped drinking once; therefore, I'm not a problem drinker.
  • I am not abusing food (or drugs, money, work, alcohol, shopping, etc.) I just overdo it a little.
  • I am a “bad boy(or girl)” and there isn't anything I can do about it.
  • Nobody knows anything around here.
  • I get no respect around here!
  • I have plenty of friends who will vouch for my sanity!
  • How could anyone ever forgive me for what I have done?
  • There is no use in going on!
  • My life is a prison in which I am condemned to suffer forever.
  • Don't ever let anyone know how I am really feeling.
  • I have already lost everything so why try to go on?
  • I must be a loser to have so many problems.

Turning negative troubled-person behavior into positive potential:


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Perfectionism

Positive Potential: They can be helped to understand what actions are needed to become happy, healthy, fully functioning human beings. They will be better able to identify and assess their progress in healing, change, and growth.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Obsessiveness

Positive Potential: They can be helped to channel this characteristic into a healthy pattern, so that they are “health oriented” in their recovery process. They can be complete and exact in taking steps to increase their physical and mental health.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Extroverted

Positive Potential: They can convert this social skill to be a productive tool in support group work, enabling them to benefit optimally from the peer support model. They are likely to fit easily into a group feeling relaxed with highly verbal people.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Guilt

Positive Potential: They can convert these feelings into the motivation to reform and change, so as to no longer hurt and abuse those significant others in their environment. Guilt reduction is an excellent motivator to stay in recovery and is beneficial to emphasize as they gain in strength and personal self-confidence.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Depression

Positive Potential: They need help to convert this feeling as a channel of self-awareness to monitor their personal internal health as they proceed in the recovery process. If they experience a loss of energy, loss of appetite, or sleeplessness during recovery, they will know that their actions are not in concert with their own emotional needs.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Repression of feelings

Positive Potential: They need help to convert this behavior to address feelings. They need to learn which of their old feelings are better set aside than being pursued and manipulated in the recovery process.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Fear of being found out

Positive Potential: They need help to convert this behavior to a positive focus. They need to learn to be willing to take any step helpful to their change and growth process. This will prevent them from being weak, uncommitted, or out of touch with their needs. They need to learn that honest and open admission of their problems is a major step in their recovery and it being candid, open and sharing with others these truths will keep them more motivated to remain on the “wagon of recovery.”


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Fear of loss of “everything”

Positive Potential: They need help to convert this fear into a motivator for change in behavior and attitude, so that by a “health oriented” life they are attractive to others. This helps others to seek them out and find them desirous. This reduces the risk of “losing it all” in their lifetime.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Ashamed that their problems are pointed out

Positive Potential: They need help to convert this feeling into a drive to do what is helpful for their growth and recovery. This altered feeling can lead them to encourage others to give open and honest critical feedback to ensure their ongoing recovery.


Negative Troubled-Person Behavior: Anger

Positive Potential: They need help to convert anger to the tool of recovery; when it is let go of, it becomes a source of energy and strength for them.