aspects of your personality: your expressive style (quiet to dramatic),
interpersonal style (introverted to extroverted), work style
(unmotivated to driven), emotional style (positive to negative), and
intellectual style (analytic and linear to creative and global). If you are
looking for a research based, practical way to objectively assess your
personality traits, I'd recommend this workbook (or go see a counselor
for a professional interpretation of a personality test--see chapter 15).
Hundreds of other theories of personality have attempted to
explain certain types of people. Freud, for instance, described "oral,"
"anal," "phallic," and "genital" characters. Each type originates during
a particular psychosexual stage of development, i.e. you can get stuck
at any stage. Oral characters may have been overindulged or
neglected as infants when eating was our most important function; the
outcomes are described in Table 9.2.
Anal retentive characters have traits that supposedly originate
during toilet-training; they include being orderly, persevering,
compulsively clean, and reluctant to give things away. Anal expulsive
characters are messy, unconcerned with cleanliness, careless with
money and everything, disorganized, and, when pushed, stubbornly
rebellious and defiant. Phallic characters have never resolved the
Oedipus or the Electra complex and tend to be strident, proud,
dominant, and arrogant. Such men are often self-centered, macho Don
Juans obsessed with proving their sexual attractiveness; such women
are resentful of men and try to dominate them. Genital characters are
healthy; they have gone through puberty; they are physically and
psychologically mature. They have learned to handle external stresses
and internal conflicts by coping with the previous stages of
"psychosexual" development. During puberty when there is a
demanding upsurge of sexual interests, the genital characters are able
to draw on the skills and rationality they have acquired. As adults,
they have the maturity to cope well with others, with love, with work,
and with the conflicts within.
Adler typed people according to birth order and research still
supports some of these differences. Adler described the first born as
anxious, conscientious, and dependent on authorities, the second
child as socially oriented but competitive, and the youngest child as
pampered but always having to "catch up."
The ancient Greeks classified people as cheerful-sad and
emotional-unemotional, not very different from our current Type A and
Type B personalities. Much research has assessed the relationship
between physique (heavy, muscular, and thin) and character; there is
some connection. You will find many lists of "types" throughout this
book; such lists will help you understand the enormous variations
among us human beings.
A final note about personality traits: a trait may be far more
complex than commonly thought or implied by a simple name and the
basic driving force or motivation underlying the trait may be different