August 19, 2015
About 9 Months, before you were born, there was a Big Bang.
And suddenly with conception, came another entity, with the ability to form a concept.
This early disorganized swirl, of cells and electricity, was the birthplace, of the universe of you.
And as our skin stretches, and bones elongate, our thoughts expand into the air around us.
Concept becomes perspective, and eventually we realize; we are the star, of our own show.
At that point, Self-Concept is born.
But, it is hard to tell what is real, beyond our limits, so we create a list of internal rules.
These strategies become orbits in our ways of thinking, allowing us to circle an idea and interact with it; while staying true to our inner path.
And the identity travels light years, between birth to the Teenager, and then again to the Adult.
During this time, we develop systems of thought, to handle black holes, and moments under the sun.
And most, of these habits and eccentricities, occur as we gravitate, towards other Social-Celestial Bodies.
These collisions create ruts and craters, on our space time road of consciousness, becoming our Personality.
Humans are extremely social creatures, and share some common social goals.
Some of these goals include the understanding of Oneself; as well as trying to understanding others.
The social pathways to accomplish these tasks, includes introspection and empathy.
To develop these types of social dialogues, we create an internal script for ourselves, with themes, tendencies, and subjective values.
And the tool that helps us to facilitate these endeavors is called our Personality.
Our Personality allows us to choose a style of interacting with others, to attempt to accomplish our social goals, while we reside here on Planet Earth.
There are many ways to conceptualize Personality.
There are various Internet Personality Tests.
Clinical Psychologists use various standardized personality inventories, which are compared against thousands of other people’s responses, to the same sets of questions.
Some examples of these types of standardized personality inventories include:
‘PROJECTIVE TESTS’ are also used to assess patterns of thinking, which may be helpful assessing Personality, along with a host of other aspects of mental health.
We have learned that our Genes interact with the Environment, which in turn shapes how we perceive the environment.
The most current models of Personality recognize that who we are, and how we act, is due to our genome, and what experiences our genome encounters.
This way of understanding how any organism interacts with their environments, implies that Personality can be understood to be shaped by these 2 powerful forces: Genes and Environment.
Dr. C. Robert Cloninger, an American Geneticist and Psychiatrist, broadened our understanding of Personality.
In the mid-1980s, he defined TEMPERAMENT based on genetic, neurobiological, and neuropharmacological data, rather than subjective Self Reports, which had predominantly been used up to that point in time.
Our Temperament, or our ‘Natural Predisposition’, is thought to be a direct consequence of our genes.
Since we know, we are more than merely our chromosomes, Cloninger added a second element to our working definition of Personality, called Character, which represents ways we interact with our Environment.
And it gets a bit more complex, as the Environment can influence how our Genes express themselves.
Cloninger developed the PSYCHOBIOLOGICAL Model of Personality, using data from numerous studies of Temperament and Character.
He understood Personality to be composed of roughly half of each variable.
In his book, Listening to Prozac, Peter Kramer called the Temperament Model of Personality “a humanist’s nightmare.”
But studies have shown that our Personality is essentially a 50-50 deal.
The data shows about 50% of our personality is genetically hardwired, and the other 50% is shaped by relationships and experiences in the environments around us.
Part 3 will focus on Cloninger’s breakdown of Personality, which I have personally found to be extremely helpful in understanding how we all live our lives, within ourselves, as well as within our relationships.
Part 4 will outline the concept of Personality Disorders, and list the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) criteria, as well the definition of Personality Disorder.
Part 5 will illustrate the common features of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Part 6 will provide entertaining examples of how Narcissists use Defence Mechanisms to deal with other people, in an attempt to keep themselves together, amid the slings and arrows of everyday life.
I hope you tune in for the upcoming chapters, as we explore Personality, Personality Disorders, concluding with a focus on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Simon Trepel, MD
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. He was not referring to coffee that tastes like an Italian person.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at