Sunday, May 1, 2011

Personality Traits Are Important When Looking At A Potential Mate

A collection of mugshots showing multiple races.Image via WikipediaPersonality traits are intrinsic differences that remain stable throughout most of our life. They are the constant aspects of our individuality.  A person's individuality is comprised of their temperament traits, personality traits and habit patterns.  These ingredients can manifest themselves in different ways as they are influenced by environment and relationships during childhood.   In light of this definition, it is important to understand what can and cannot be changed about an individual.  Many times, men and women are attracted by certain characteristics about the opposite sex and develop a bond with that person based on perceptions that they have about relationships and people.  Additionally, when that happens, a hormone called PEA is released and the individuals lose their sense of objectivity.  Under the influence of PEA, traits that may be difficult to deal with, embarrassing or even obnoxious are often overlooked or considered "cute".  Once the PEA wears off, these traits become much less "cute" and in some cases can turn into different forms of abuse over time.

Going into a relationship with the idea that you can change a person or just love them enough to change particular behavioral characteristics is often a recipe for disaster.  Habits are things we learn and with enough motivation can be changed.  Personality and temperament are what make us individuals and are part of our unique identity.  Personality and temperament can be influenced by abuse and the effects of that abuse can be healed, which may be interpreted as behavioral changes, but healing simply restores the person to their original "programming" does not change them.  

The New York Longitudinal Studies found that "Children are born with their natural style of interacting with or reacting to people, places, and things".  This means that if you interact with a person who has specific traits that you don't like, you either need to learn to work with that person or would not be wise to engage in long term relationships believing that you can change them.  Studies also have shown that individuals who have been victims of certain levels of abuse during their childhood don't individuate.  They grow up to be individuals who view relationships as a part of themselves and see the other person as a completion of themselves.  When individuals with this type of wounding establish a bond with individuals who have personality traits which fall into the DIFFICULT, ACTIVE OR FEISTY personality type, there may be some issues which result.  Therefore, it is always a good idea to take inventory of who we are as opposed to who someone else is when establishing relationships.  Feelings alone will not be an accurate determination of whether a relationship will work or not.  

The Longitudinal Study found that there were nine distinct temperament traits that human beings are born with:

  • Activity: Is the child always moving and doing something OR does he or she have a more relaxed style?
  • Rhythmicity: Is the child regular in his or her eating and sleeping habits OR somewhat haphazard?
  • Approach/withdrawal: Does he or she "never meet a stranger" OR tend to shy away from new people or things?
  • Adaptability: Can the child adjust to changes in routines or plans easily or does he or she resist transitions?
  • Intensity: Does he or she react strongly to situations, either positive or negative, OR does he or she react calmly and quietly?
  • Mood: Does the child often express a negative outlook OR is he or she generally a positive person? Does his or her mood shift frequently OR is he or she usually even-tempered?s
  • Persistence and attention span: Does the child give up as soon as a problem arises with a task OR does he or she keep on trying? Can he or she stick with an activity a long time OR does his or her mind tend to wander?
  • Distractibility: Is the child easily distracted from what he or she is doing OR can he or she shut out external distractions and stay with the current activity?
  • Sensory threshold: Is he or she bothered by external stimuli such as loud noises, bright lights, or food textures OR does he or she tend to ignore them?
In addition to this, the study pointed out three distinct temperament types:
  • Easy or flexible children are generally calm, happy, regular in sleeping and eating habits, adaptable, and not easily upset. Because of their easy style, parents need to set aside special times to talk about the child's frustrations and hurts because he or she won't demand or ask for it. This intentional communication will be necessary to strengthen your relationship and find out what your child is thinking and feeling.
  • Difficult, active, or feisty children are often fussy, irregular in feeding and sleeping habits, fearful of new people and situations, easily upset by noise and commotion, high strung, and intense in their reactions. Providing areas for vigorous play to work off stored up energy and frustrations with some freedom of choice allow these children to be successful. Preparing these children for activity changes and using redirection will help these children transition (move or change) from one place to another.
  • Slow to warm up or cautious children are relatively inactive and fussy, tend to withdraw or to react negatively to new situations, but their reactions gradually become more positive with continuous exposure. Sticking to a routine and your word, along with allowing ample time to establish relationships in new situations, are necessary to allow independence to unfold.
Although human beings are usually highly adaptive to the situations they find themselves, those ways of adapting are more than likely based on their temperament traits and styles.  For example, if we just look at how a person is influenced by their brain wave patterns...individuals who are able to spend more time in Delta sleep than others have a tendency to be more compassionate and less anxious than others.  Individuals who spend more of their time in Beta or Gamma wave patterns are the Type A individuals or the highly intellectual individuals.  Our physical composition has everything to do with our personalities, our temperaments and the way we respond to difficult situations.  So, as you consider these things, what DO YOU think would be the answer to the question....can he change?

In my opinion, the answer to that question would be no....a person cannot change...however they can be healed and they can be restored to their original blueprint.  That in itself is a worthy goal, but to that end, the person still may not be a good fit for the relationship. 


Anonymous said...

I had this 'aha' moment reading this.Wish I'd known all this before I got married.So what exactly was our premarital counselling all about? :) These truths should be taught in church.Bless you Kriss

Gr8mochas said...

I'm so glad that this was helpful. Yes, I agree, this kind of thing needs to be taught, but unfortunately when you consider the emotional place people are in when they are considering marriage, it may not be very effective. This kind of stuff needs to be known and understood before getting into a relationship. :) Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!