I read an interesting article (here) describing the 7 character flaws that everyone has. (No, not the seven deadly sins.) These flaws take control as our primary defense mechanism when we’re afraid, stressed, or anxious.
The Seven Character Flaws are as follows:
1. Arrogance – “I am the best.”
also known as conceit, grandiosity, and self-importance
2. Greed – “I need to have it all.“
also known as selfishness, covetousness
3. Impatience – “Don’t get in my way.“
feeling of frustration towards obstacles or delays
4. Martyrdom – “I’m not at fault.“
everything is someone else’s fault, victimization of one’s self
5. Self-Depreciation – “I’m the worst.“
belittling oneself, feeling unworthy
6. Self-Destruction – “I need to end it all.“
inner turmoil and deliberate causing of one’s own pain
7. Stubbornness – “I refuse.”
resistance to change or the unknown
Even though all of the above behaviors exist in our lives, the article advocates that we all turn to one of the flaws as our primary defense mechanism – to protect us when something in life goes awry.
Off the top of my head, I can think of people in my life who tend to react one way or another.
“It wasn’t my fault. It was her fault!” (Type 4)
“What a nasty woman.”
“You’re a failing pile of garbage!” (Type 1)
“Fuck everything. The world is going to shit, I’m going to drink myself to oblivion.” (Type 6)
“I don’t want to. Just because.” (Type 7)
When I’m relaxed and have my shit together, I can handle most situations without my inner flaw surfacing. However, when the pressures of too many things come down on me and I feel overwhelmed with stress. My inner flaw comes out full-force.
1. Rushing through activities as quickly as possible
2. Seeing others as either a help or a hindrance, and pushing hindering people out of the way
3. Not tolerating slowness, delay, or failure, either in others or in oneself
4. Being constantly prepared to go on the offensive
5. Reacting aggressively to any perceived hold-up
“Why do you even talk when you have nothing of value to contribute to the subject? Either add value or stay quiet.”
“I can’t believe you didn’t get that done! How long does it take you to do something so simple?? Do I have to do everything myself?”
“Since you’re not reacting in any manner or taking initiative, I’m just going to help you by taking over … it’s for your own benefit, that way we can all finish.”
“If you know this is an important meeting, why are you purposely late? What an offensive thing to do, are you saying your time is more valuable than mine?“
The above is just some of the internal dialogue I have when I am stressed out. As you can probably discern from the tone, impatience is just a skip away from full-out anger. The more stressed I am, the more impatient I become. I get set off by any small perceived incompetence or time wasting comment.
- If you ask me a question that you should be able to find out the answer to.
“Why can’t you google that?!”
- Asking me to do something last minute.
“How am I supposed to find that time? Are you crazy?”
- Rambling or talking in circles.
“Please get to the point, I don’t have all day.”
It’s one thing if my flaw was bad to myself, but impatience is the one character flaw that MOST affects other people. When I’m feeling stressed, I need to keep my impatience at bay by either going for a jog/walk, listening to some soothing music, or writing. When I’m unable to do those things, the impatience can quickly spiral out of control.
This character flaw tends to get worse with age, as we cement our default way or responding to life’s stressors. I want to make sure I keep the impatience in check to prevent myself from becoming one of those people that overreacts to every little thing.
I’m really curious to hear about what your character flaw is, and how it comes out when you’re stressed!