PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes A Brief Theory of Bad Character Exuberant Vices

Mercurial Character

Irrational Need
(False Good)
Irrational Need to Avoid
(False Bad)
Idealized Image
(Oldham, pp. 293-94)
Personality Disorder
Borderline
for an intimate relationship abandonment must always be deeply involved in a romantic relationship with one person frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
to alternately idealize and devalue the other in relationship experience a passionate, focused attachment in all their relationships; nothing that goes on between them and other people is trivial, nothing taken lightly a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extreme idealization and devaluation
to alternately idealize or devalue the self are imaginative and curious, willing to experience and experiment with other cultures, roles, and value systems, and to follow new paths identity disturbances; markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
to shop and spend money; for sex; for mind and mood altering substances; for fast driving and other exciting activities; for food are uninhibited, spontaneous, fun-loving, and undaunted by risk impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
to cause themselves pain or to harm themselves, or to make gestures or to threaten to harm themselves will go to great lengths to attain calmness and inner peace recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
to react to events in an unregulated expression of passion show what they feel; are emotionally active and reactive; put their hearts into everything affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety
the love, protection, and companionship of a nurturing, thoroughly good person (pg. 313) feelings of emptiness unlimited appreciation of the other in relationships chronic feelings of emptiness
to frequently express anger energetic; are lively, creative, busy, and engaging; show initiative and can stir others to activity inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
to distance or distract themselves from reality are skilled at distancing or distracting themselves from reality when it is painful or harsh transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms


A vice is a firmly held false belief of the value of something. Vices dispose us to value as good or bad things not in our power, things external to our moral character. But it is irrational and prideful to desire, or to desire to avoid, to fear, externals. The irrational needs, or vices, of the Mercurial type are based on particular false values.

All of the vices are rooted in pride, that firmly held false belief that we can provide ourselves with happiness by obtaining certain external 'goods' (cf. DeYoung, pp. 38-39).

If we are in the habit of making false value-judgments of particular externals, we should learn to bear the things falsely valued as bad, things for which we have an "irrational need to avoid," and forbear the things falsely valued as good, things for which we have an "irrational need." "Bear and Forbear" - Epictetus


Irrational Strategies for Obtaining Happiness

A Brief Theory of Bad Character



Rebecca DeYoung (2009). Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.

John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do. New York: Bantam. Oldham and Morris list the key characteristics not of an idealized image, but of a style of normal functioning.





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