My friend whom I mentioned in the last posting, pointed me to an interesting talk about personality types. Obviously, I’ve been obsessed recently with two things: personality tests and relationship compatibility studies. When I took this test, it spit out a disappointing answer: Director-Builder. Why was I disappointed? Because the Director is supposed to be a real power player. The director gets shit done, takes care of business, manages people, is successful. Sure, I get things done on a small scale, but I don’t feel like I’m the successful, kickbutt power player. Maybe I spent too much time in the last decade diluting my natural inclinations. Why? Because I was trying to be more compromising, more accommodating. And in the process of trying to become a better person for people I love, I lost that edge that maybe would have resulted in me truly rising to something, truly accomplishing something. And the irony is, I softened all these things about me for other people, and in the end, they still insist that I’m Type A or a director or an administrator or whatever. In the end, they don’t even acknowledge me for trying to accommodate them.
I guess other people don’t see it, but I made a conscious, dramatic shift from my true nature. People say that I’m judgmental but in my earlier years, I was REALLY judgemental– I adopted a position, and I didn’t waver. I liked to view all situations– even complex ones– in black and white. That was my tendency. As I grew older, that “style” started to feel rigid, unyielding, and overly simplistic, especially when trying to relate to others, so then I tried really hard to understand other perspectives even if I had felt an initial affinity for one. I tried to be more empathetic to others, and then, I started becoming consumed by “analysis paralysis.” Where I was once decisive, I was now indecisive. I thought life was just getting more complicated.
Maybe that was true also, but I definitely proactively tried to change who I was. I thought my life would be better and fuller if I were more compassionate, more extroverted, more flexible. I thought I would be a better person, a more supportive friend or companion. And now I realize that all these changes have caused me stress. I know, because I lose sleep worrying about finding solutions and answers for other people. I feel anxious about all the elements that are beyond my control, and I only feel (mildly) better when I start to compulsively control little things that are just me– what I eat, how I look, how I go about my daily schedule… in the chaos, I grasp desperately for ways to find black and white.
At the end of Dr. Fisher’s lengthy talk, someone asks whether people can change their type over time, and Dr. Fisher asserts that these types are rooted in biology. So while people can behave and move amongst the types, ultimately, they grow exhausted if they behave “out of type” for extended periods. In other words, denying your natural type is unsustainable long term.
My friend told me that in her marriage, she had been extremely accommodating; she had lost herself in the marriage. Dr. Fisher mentions meeting a lady who admitted not being herself the entire 15 years that she was married. She divorced. I wonder if this is how my friend now feels. Could this be my case as well? Have I acted in a manner that is unsustainable? Is that why I feel so damn tired of everything?
I keep taking these tests. Why? Because I’m a Director. I want reasons, logic, rationale for everything. I want to believe there is science behind relationships and compatibility. John insists he is a negotiator-builder, which is the “right” match for a director-builder. I’m not so sure he is what he claims. But even if the results confirmed him, does that make me feel better? I don’t know. Why all this doubt?
I guess my friend’s decision to divorce has caused some inner turmoil for me. I wonder about all the things she says, and I wonder if they apply to me. I am questioning the longevity of relationships. I am questioning what it means to stay true to myself. For example, I don’t like things to drag on. I don’t like procrastination of anything– chores, tasks, life questions. I seek resolutions with extreme urgency.
Our marriage has become strained the last few years. There are good periods and bad periods, but overall I suppose things have been inconsistent and very touch and go. That has worn on me, and now, as I watch my friend walk away from her uncertainty, I wonder if I should do the same. The director values decisiveness and solutions. The builder values trust and loyalty.
John has really stepped up his game in the last month since our meltdown at the end of April. But I haven’t been feeling well. I feel tapped out, unmotivated. I’m trying to get my groove back. I’m trying to self motivate. And I keep taking these tests… I’m searching for resolution somewhere.