Personality Types

Personality Types


Personalities are often grouped into various types, most often ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’. It is in their extreme form that these personality types can start to cause problems. Is your personality type affecting your life in ways you hadn’t even considered?

For many years, people have debated whether it is possible to sort different personalities into types. The work of Carl Jung has been very influential. Some critique personality type theories for being too generalising. However, personality types are still widely referred to when discussing peoples characters. Describing individuals as introvert or extrovert is particularly common. Introversion refers to a shy, quiet and reflective manner, whilst extroversion describes outgoing, loud and confident personalities. Of course, everyone can be slotted into these two groups, and nowadays it is normally considered to be more of a spectrum. People use the terms loosely; perhaps if we have a friend who is relatively quiet and reads a lot of books we might refer to them as introverted. For most people, their personality type never becomes problematic. In fact, the understanding of our personalities in this manner can help with self-acceptance and acceptance of others. However, when someone is either extremely introvert or extremely extrovert it may start to be unhealthy.

When Personality Types Become Unhealthy

In their exaggerated form, personality types can become unhealthy. Let us first look at introversion. Some normal characteristics for an introvert include being shy, solitary, quiet, serious, cautious and self-conscious. If we consider such characteristics in an exaggerated manner, we can see that problems may arise. People may fear speaking up in groups of people, they might avoid social situations altogether. An extreme introvert could become reclusive and lonely. They might find it hard to share their feelings with others, therefore, bottling up emotions and anxieties. It could develop into a serious psychological issue, such as depression or agoraphobia. On the other hand, extroversion is associated with being loud, chatty, energetic and outgoing. This does not sound problematic, but again, if we consider the extreme form we can see several issues arise. Extroverts can be viewed as attention seekers, this has negative connotations; perhaps they lie compulsively in order to receive attention, or take it further with problems like self-harm. A different issue related to extreme extroversion is on-going mental health problems including ADD and ADHD, this can have negative effects on concentration, therefore affecting achievement in school and the work place. These disorders can be overwhelming, and can lead to other issues like depression.

Personality Types and External Relationships

Our personality type has a significant impact on our external relationships. Here, we will focus on the example of children in school. Highly extrovert children are likely to have trouble settling in class, wishing to always be the centre of attention. They might be talkative at inappropriate moments, and find staying quiet and still difficult. This can damage their relationships with teachers, who may grow angry if they do not fully understand the requirements of the child. It will also affect relations with other children; extroverts are often popular, but they can take it too far and be seen as annoying or distracting. As for introvert children, the situation is very different. They are likely to be quiet and shy in class. The teacher may grow frustrated, as the child is reluctant to speak up and answer questions. However, introverts often do well in school, concentrating hard, and not chatting with classmates. The child may feel unpopular or not well liked which can affect their confidence and ability to make new friends. Personality traits continue affecting our external relationships in the work place and throughout our lives. They impact on our social lives, how comfortable we feel in the company of others and how receptive others are to us.

How Therapy Can Help

If you are growing concerned that your personality type may be affecting your life and mental well-being. Or if you think there may be an underlying psychological issue that is manifesting itself as an extreme personality type, it is time to seek help. A possible sign that you might need help is if other people often refer to your personality type, if it appears unusual to them how introverted or extroverted you are, there might be another issue in play. We should not feel afraid or embarrassed to speak to someone about these grievances, it cannot do any harm to ask questions and find out more about our personalities. Counsellors can help you to talk and work through feelings of worry and anxiety that are experienced because of extreme personality types. They will also be able to advise you if there are underlying psychological issues, or if you have developed any level of depression over concerns about personality. If you feel that you could benefit from talking about these matters, contact a therapist or counsellor today.

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