7 Disempowering Traits To Move Away From…John Page Burton

We live in a diverse world made up of many different personality types. Therein lies the beauty and bane of existence. As a student and teacher of personal development, I am fascinated by the great adventure we call life and by how each of us chooses to participate in this adventure. In the past, I have written articles highlighting some of the traits found in leaders and others I believe we would be well served to move toward. Today, I desire to take a slight departure and examine 7 disempowering ADULT personality traits that I believe each of us should move away from. (nor would it be a good idea to include these types of folks in our circle of influence).


1. The Small Child. The small child is just that, someone who never truly grew up. They “demand” attention and acknowledgement from everyone around them and can be prone to adult tantrums when they don’t get their way. NO is their least favorite word and boundaries tend to frustrate and anger them. Because they choose to make everything about them, they are rarely good team players and often make challenging romantic partners.

2. The Mind Reader. The “mind reader” believes they know what you are thinking and they expect you to know what they are thinking. The fundamental problem with the “mind reader” is that the foundation of their communication is based on guesswork. “Mind readers” are implicit communicators who can be left dazed and confused when they are confronted by a “fact based” explicit communicator.

3. The Assumer. “The assumer” creates their own story line, one that is rarely based in fact. They form their opinions and pass judgment based on assumptions. For example, one of my neighbors told several other neighbors that we had decided to sell our mountain home. She later confessed that she had arrived at this conclusion because we had not come up for the summer when we normally did. We had not spoken to her since the previous summer and had NEVER discussed selling our mountain home. In reality, we had numerous social engagements during the month of May that prevented us from coming up sooner than we did. This is referred to in many circles as “foot in mouth disease”.

4. The Buck Passer. The “buck passer” has never met a decision they didn’t prefer to defer. Fearing they will fail, look stupid, piss someone off or be unpopular they simply leave the decision making process to someone else. “What would you like for dinner honey? I don’t know you decide. I decided last time, you decide this time. C’mon honey, you decide, I’m good with whatever you decide”. Sound familiar? The “buck passer” plays this game in every corner of their life and it can be “mind numbing” to be around for any length of time.

5. The Blamer. Nothing has been or ever will be their fault. This pattern began in childhood and has seemingly served them ever since. The problem is that conscious people see right through the blame game. Failure to take personal responsibility leaves the “chronic blamer” with one card left to play…the victim of circumstance. Taking personal responsibility for ALL of our choices and actions is true EMPOWERMENT!

6. The Distorter. Let’s just say that reality is NOT their constant companion. They will change or alter the truth in order to gain an upper hand in their emotional, financial or career objectives. Distorters create “smoke screens” in an attempt to hide their insecurity and shortcomings. Unfortunately, significant damage may occur before the veil is lifted.

7. The Magician. Now you see me now you don’t. The magician is adept at avoiding anything that is uncomfortable. When the going gets tough…poof, they’re gone! This includes relationships, jobs and friendships. Their life is a never ending illusion. They rarely stop “performing” long enough for anyone to meet the “real” person behind “the mask”. Should you challenge their authenticity, you guessed it…poof!

In fairness, we ALL tap into theses 7 traits from time to time. Our awareness of them is a positive step toward conscious living. If you strongly identify with any of them it may be time for a “check up from the neck up”. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.