I’ve come across a personality description that, in my view, describes me aptly. Sadly, there is no suggestion on how to improve…


Abrasive Characteristics

“They are driven, above all, by a strong need for perfection. They push themselves to reach their unrealistic aspirations; they attempt to match their current self-image to the person they would like to be. Despite all their efforts, however, they are unable to live up to their own expectations and experience a mounting sense of frustration, which evokes aggressive feelings. The strenth of these aggressive feelings is determined by the size of the discrepency between where they feel they are and where they would like to be. However, because they have such exaggerated standards for themselves, they are never able to completely close the perceived gap. Eventually, their anger and aggression can no longer be contained. Like water surging through a broekn dam, their hostility and aggression spill over, directed toward colleagues and subordinates, familiy, and friends.

The abrasive personatlity is uaually highly intelligent, possesses excellent problem-solving skills, is quick at grasping situations, and is adept at finding the right solutions. This is one of the reasons why poeple with this personaltity can frequently be found in senior executive positions. Their intelligence and quick wit, however, are often accompanied by impatience, a degree of arrogance, and alakc of interpersonal skills. These executives are intensely rivalrous; they know their own abilities and do not trust other to possess equal capabilties. By showing open contempt for other, abrasive people create in subordinates feelings of inadequacy that destroy their self-confidence and lead to the elimination of whatever initiative and ideas these subordinates might have had. Also apparent is the abrasive’s tendency to dominate, prompted by a strong need for control of both self and others.

Abrasive personalities often show signs or “reactive narcissism” – signs such as emotional coldness, grandiosity, vindictiveness, and a sense of entitlement. Because phase-appropriate development did not occur when these individuals were growing up, many acquired a defective, poorly integrated sense of identity, leading to an unstable sense of self-esteem. Early frustration may have created a legacy of bitterness, making for vindcitiveness as a personaltiy characteristic. Thus, apart fomr being forever frustrated in what they set out to do, for some of them there is also the sense of getting even for the wrongs they feel they have experienced. They have learned their aggresive tactics from others, especially their parents or other caretakers, who may have used severe disciplinary measures to tame their offspring. They have experienced that coercion is the way to get other people to do what they want. As a result, their behaviour can be very explosive. Furthermore, they see themselves as special and feel that they deserve to be treated differently from others. They believe that the boundaries of proper behaviour do not apply to them. Frequently, other are viewed as extensions of themselves, as devices for their own self-aggrandizement, to be freely and legitimately used for their own purposes.”