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Your Personality Patterns

Understanding the Psychological Structure of Your Personality

Developing Capacities for Healthy Relating and Functioning
Jay Earley, PhD

Larkspur, CA

Your Personality Patterns:

Understanding the Psychological Structure of Your Personality
and Developing Capacities for Healthy Relating and Functioning
Copyright 2014 by Jay Earley. All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any
means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written
permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

140 Marina Vista Ave.

Larkspur, CA 94939

This report shows how to understand your personality using the Pattern System,
which is a personality tool that is oriented toward psychological healing and personal
development. The Pattern System also can help you understand other peoplewhy they
respond as they do and what makes them tick.
Once you have explored yourself according to this report, you will come away
with a comprehensive map of your psyche. You will be able to see your strengths and
your defenses, the structure of your inner conflicts, and what you need to explore next to
resolve the issues that are most important to you. You will also learn about the leading
edge of your growthwhich psychological capacities you can develop (or are already
developing) to make your life happier and more productive.
This report is excerpted from my book The Pattern System. It contains an outline
of all the dimensions, patterns, and capacities in the system.

Chapter 1
Personality Dimensions
Basic Concepts
In the Pattern System, patterns represent dysfunctional behavior that causes
problems for us or for other people. For example, the People-Pleasing Pattern involves
being overly involved in pleasing others so that we dont take care of our own needs. You
can think of patterns as defenses or dysfunctional behavior. Capacities are the ways we
feel and act that make our lives productive, connected, and happy. For example, the
Assertiveness Capacity involves exercising personal power to meet our needs and to
advocate for the way we think things should be done. The goal of the Pattern System is to
support us in transforming our functioning from (dysfunctional) patterns to (healthy)
The Pattern System organizes these defensive patterns and healthy capacities
according to dimensions, which are areas of psychological functioning and experiencing
that are important for human well-being, such as intimacy, power, accomplishment, and

The Structure of a Dimension

Each dimension in the Pattern System has a certain dialectical structure that
contains two or more conflicting patterns and two or more integrated capacities. Lets
look at how each dimension is organized by using the Intimacy Dimension as an
In the Intimacy Dimension, there are two complementary healthy capacities
Intimacy and Self-Support.
The Intimacy Capacity involves the ability to be close to your partner through
affection, sharing, sex, love, and caring.
The Self-Support Capacity involves being able to take care of yourself and feel
solid and good, whether or not you are getting your needs met by your partner or
even if you arent in a relationship.
There are two problematic patterns in the Intimacy DimensionDependent and
The Dependent Pattern involves relying on your partner to take care of you and
make you feel OK about yourself. This can make it hard to leave a relationship that
isnt right for you.
The Distancing Pattern involves avoiding intimacy. You might do this by
remaining distant within a love relationship, by avoiding commitment, or by
avoiding intimate relationships altogether.

Capacities Integrate
Self-Support is a complement to Intimacy. For healthy relating, you need both of
these capacities. Intimacy helps you be close to your partner, and Self-Support keeps you
from losing yourself in the closeness. If you have Self-Support, you wont become overly
Dependent on your partner, and you wont try to be overly Pleasing or Caretaking.
This is the nature of healthy capacities. Even though they represent polar
qualities, they naturally integrate with each other rather than opposing each other. Thats
why they are shown using a yin-yang symbol. They work togetherboth of them
supporting your flourishing. In the Intimacy Dimension, they help you flourish in a love
relationship. If you have both capacities, you enjoy love and intimacy while at the same
time being solid inside yourself in a way that doesnt depend on this closeness.
Furthermore, true intimacy involves a relationship between two individualspeople who
are Self-Supporting and solid in themselves.

Patterns Conflict
The patterns on the left and right sides dont integrate with each other in the way the
healthy capacities do. If you have both a Dependent Pattern and a Distancing Pattern,
they will be polarized,3 which means they will battle each other to determine how you
relate to others.
When both patterns are activated, you will have an inner conflict in which these two
parts of you are fighting each other to determine how much intimacy you will have. One
pattern reflects a desperate need for connection and nurturing, while the other involves
trying to avoid closeness out of fear. In some cases, this will manifest as alternating
between these extremesone time being very needy and another time pushing your
partner away.

A Pattern Is a Dysfunctional Version

of the Same-Side Capacity
Distancing is a dysfunctional version of Self-Supportthe capacity on the same side
of the chart. You may attempt to become Self-Supporting by cutting off your intimate
connection with your partner so you arent Dependent on him or her. You may stay away
from relationships altogether to cut off your needy longings so you can feel selfsufficient. If you have true Self-Support, you wont need to create distance out of a fear
of your Dependency needs.
Another way to say this is that Self-Support is the healthy version of Distancing,
where you dont need to create distance to be autonomous.
The same relationship applies on the left side of each graphic. Dependence is a
dysfunctional version of Intimacy, the left-side capacity. Dependence is an attempt to be
intimate by needing excessive amounts of caring. However, Dependence often involves
losing yourself in the relationship, which makes it virtually impossible to have true
Intimacy because that requires both people to be present in the relationship with a sense
of themselves (Self-Support).
Another way to say this is that Intimacy is the healthy version of Dependence, where
you can have the closeness without losing your sense of self.
So on each side of the graphic, the capacity is a healthy version of the pattern, and
the pattern is a dysfunctional version of the capacity.

Capacities Resolve
the Opposite-Side Patterns
If you have the Distancing Pattern, you need to focus on developing Intimacy in
order to resolve or transform that pattern. Thus, the capacity on the opposite side of the
graphic is the one needed to transform a pattern. In order to develop Intimacy, you will
need the courage to work through your fears of closeness, reach out to your partner, allow
yourself to be vulnerable, and work through other difficulties that may arise.
The same applies on the other side. If you have a Dependent Pattern, you need SelfSupport to transform it, which is the capacity on the other side of the graphic. When you
are Self-Supporting, you have that internal sense of solidness and inner nurturing to keep
you from falling into Dependence.
Here is a graphic showing these additional relationships:

Chapter 2
The Interpersonal Dimensions
This chapter covers one group of dimensionsthose that involve our relationships
with other people. Here is the chart showing all ten interpersonal dimensions with their
patterns and capacities.

We have already looked at the Intimacy Dimension in Chapter 1. The following are
brief descriptions of the other interpersonal dimensions:
Conflict. How do you deal with differences of opinion as well as desires,
disagreements, judgment, anger, and fights? Do you use avoidance tactics? Do you
become angry, blaming, or defensive? Can you communicate your concerns without

judgment and own your part in a problem? Do you become frightened or feel bad about
yourself? Can you bring up conflicts and set limits on attacks?
Power. How do you deal with power in your relationships? Do you give in too easily
to others or try too hard to please them? Do you need to be in control? Do you feel as
though you must stand up for yourself against people you view as dominating? Do you
frustrate others without realizing why? Can you assert yourself? Can you work with
people in a spirit of cooperation?
Care. How do you balance your needs versus other peoples needs? Do you end up
taking care of others rather than yourself? Do people tell you that you dont show enough
care or concern for them?
Social. How do you relate to people socially? Are you outgoing or shy, scared or
confident in reaching out to people or making conversation? Are you self-effacing or
charming, attention seeking or avoiding? Are you overly oriented toward performance in
the way you relate to others, or are you more genuine?
Strength. How do you deal with self-protection and assertiveness in situations that
can bring up anger? Do you dump your anger on people? Do you disown your anger and
therefore lose your strength? Can you be centered and communicate clearly when you are
angry? Can you be strong and forceful without being reactive?
Trust. Are you usually trusting of people, or do you easily get suspicious? Can you
perceive when someone isnt trustworthy, or are you gullible?
Honesty. Are you honest with people, or do you try to deceive them to get your
way? Can you be tactful along with being honest, or do you become judgmental and
insensitive to your effect on others?
Evaluation. Can you see people clearly, or do you tend to idealize certain people?
Can you appreciate people for who they are, or do you tend to be judgmental of them?
Responsibility. How do you deal with being in charge of, and responsible for, what
happens in your life? Do you take a powerless victim stance? Do you think you can
control everything that happens?
Each of these dimensions has the same structure as the Intimacy Dimension.
Now we will look at each dimension in more detail. I have left out the Intimacy
Dimension because it was covered in detail in Chapter 1.

The Conflict Dimension

In the Conflict Dimension, there are three complementary healthy capacities

Good Communication, Challenge, and Limit Setting.
The Good Communication Capacity involves: (1) the ability to listen to and
have empathy and compassion for the feelings and needs of someone you are in

conflict with, (2) the ability to communicate your own concerns without
judgment so that the other person is likely to be able to hear them, and (3) the
willingness to own your part in the problem.
The Challenge Capacity involves the ability to bring up an issue that is
bothering you, assert yourself, and stand behind your feelings and needs without
being judgmental in the process.
The Limit Setting Capacity involves setting limits on other people attacking,
blaming, or dumping anger on you. It involves doing this in a way that protects
you without counterattacking and without being defensive.
Good Communication is a complement to Challenge and Limit Setting. For
healthy relating, you need capacities on both sides. Good Communication helps you
relate in an open and responsible way, and Challenge and Limit Setting help you assert
yourself and set boundaries when necessary.
There are three problematic patterns in the Conflict DimensionConflictAvoiding, Judgmental, and Defensive.
The Conflict-Avoiding Pattern involves not bringing up problems that might
lead to conflict and avoiding conflicts that other people bring up.
The Judgmental Pattern involves blaming the other person, seeing them as
being the entire cause of the problem, and being angry at them.
The Defensive Pattern involves focusing solely on defending yourself from
perceived accusations by another person rather than listening to them.

The Power Dimension

In the Power Dimension, there are two healthy capacities that complement each
otherCooperation and Assertiveness.
The Cooperation Capacity involves the ability to be receptive and work well
with others.
The Assertiveness Capacity involves the ability to think and act for yourself
and to exert power to get what you want, protect yourself, or achieve what you
think is right.
Cooperation is a complement to Assertiveness. For healthy relating, you need
capacities on both sides. Cooperation helps you work with people in a connected way,
and Assertiveness helps you express yourself and your personal power.

There are four problematic patterns in the Power DimensionPeople-Pleasing,

Passive-Aggressive, Controlling, and Rebel.
The People-Pleasing Pattern involves complying with what other people want
and trying to make them happy.
The Passive-Aggressive Pattern involves outwardly attempting to please
people while rebelling against them in subtle ways that leave them frustrated and
The Controlling Pattern involves being dominant and demanding, and
expecting to have things your way.
The Rebel Pattern involves rebelling against other peoples power in an
attempt to preserve your autonomy.

The Care Dimension

In the Care Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesCaring and Self-Care.
The Caring Capacity involves being compassionate, nurturing, and empathic.
You want the best for others and help them when you are needed.
The Self-Care Capacity involves knowing what you need or want and being
able to ask for it or take steps to get it.
There are three problematic patterns in the Care DimensionCaretaking, SelfAbsorbed, and Entitled.
The Caretaking Pattern involves caring for and helping others to the
exclusion of your own needs and even sometimes without being aware of
whether they want help.
The Self-Absorbed Pattern involves being so focused on your own needs that
you are unaware of other peoples feelings, needs, and boundaries.
The Entitled Pattern involves treating other people as extensions of
yourselfas objects who are only there to meet your needs.

The Social Dimension

In the Social Dimension, there are two healthy capacities that complement each
otherGenuine and Social Confidence.

The Genuine Capacity involves relating to people in an authentic, contactful

way that reflects your true feelings.
The Social Confidence Capacity involves being outgoing and expressive, and
enjoying social and work connections.
There are two problematic patterns in the Social DimensionSelf-Effacing and
The Self-Effacing Pattern involves being shy, awkward, or withdrawn and
avoiding reaching out to people or expressing yourself in social and work
The Charmer Pattern involves being seductive, entertaining, charismatic,
flattering, or humorous in an attempt to manipulate people to get attention and

The Strength Dimension

In the Strength Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesCentered and

The Centered Capacity involves being grounded and not getting triggered by
other peoples actions. Therefore, you dont overreact in anger or act out anger in
a destructive way.
The Strength Capacity involves being powerful, firm, and energeticbeing
able to protect yourself or others, set limits, and assert yourself without being
reactive. It also involves having passion, vitality, and life energy.
There are two problematic patterns in the Strength DimensionDisowned Anger
and Angry.
The Disowned Anger Pattern involves ignoring and suppressing your anger,
with the result that you dont have the strength to assert yourself, set limits, or
have passion or vitality.
The Angry Pattern involves overreacting with angerbeing hostile, rageful,
vengeful, and possibly even violent.

The Trust Dimension

In the Trust Dimension of the Pattern System, there are two healthy capacities
Trust and Perceptiveness.
The Trust Capacity involves the ability to trust people so that you can connect
with them unless there is evidence that they cant be trusted.
The Perceptiveness Capacity involves the ability to see people clearlytheir
strengths, weaknesses, potential, and whether it is safe to connect with them.
There are two problematic patterns in the Trust DimensionGullible and
The Gullible Pattern involves a naive trust that allows people to deceive and
exploit you.
The Suspicious Pattern involves an inability to trust people who are
trustworthy and a tendency to constantly look for ways that people arent being
honest or straightforward. This often put people off and makes them more wary
of you, causing them to be less honest.
In this way, the Suspicious Pattern can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the
very behavior that is supposed to protect against a fear outcome actually creates it. This is
fairly common with patterns.

The Honesty Dimension

In the Honesty Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesTact and Honesty.
The Tact Capacity involves knowing how to say what you believe or feel in a
way that minimizes the chance of hurting someone.
The Honesty Capacity involves being truthful and open except when it would
cause harm.
There are two problematic patterns in the Honesty DimensionDeceptive and
The Deceptive Pattern involves lying to people or deceiving them in order to
gain something or protect yourself.
The Blunt Pattern involves saying what you feel or believe without concern
for whether it hurts someone.

The Evaluation Dimension

In the Evaluation Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesAppreciation and

The Appreciation Capacity involves the ability to appreciate people for who
they are and to express this to them.
The Perceptiveness Capacity involves the ability to see people clearlyboth
their strengths and weaknesses.
There are two problematic patterns in the Evaluation DimensionIdealizing and
The Idealizing Pattern involves seeing people as more advanced, enlightened,
wonderful, or powerful than they are.
The Judgmental Pattern involves being critical of people and only focusing
on what is wrong with them. This pattern may also possibly involve being
arrogant and condescending.

The Responsibility Dimension

In the Responsibility Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesSurrender and

The Surrender Capacity involves being able to yield to the flow of events in
your life. You recognize that events sometimes move in unexpected directions
and that you cant always control what happens to you. You dont try to control
everything in your life. Instead, you allow yourself to flow with what is
happening in the moment, surfing the waves of change.
The Responsibility Capacity involves being in charge of your life and having
the attitude that you are responsible for getting what you want and protecting
yourself from harm, within the limits of what a person can do. You are an active
agent in your life.
There are three problematic patterns in the Responsibility DimensionVictim,
Powerless, and Controlling.
The Victim Pattern involves playing victimbelieving that you are the victim
of other peoples harmful behavior, your life circumstances, or your own
psychological pain, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are attached to

the idea that people have done you wrong and harbor an unconscious hope that
they will recognize this and take care of you. This pattern sometimes originates
in circumstances in which you really were the victim of circumstances and had
no power to change them. According to the Pattern System, you have the Victim
Pattern only if you now have the power to change your life but are nonetheless
invested in seeing yourself as a victim.
The Powerless Pattern involves allowing yourself to be powerless and at the
effect of other people or situations while not taking any responsibility for
changing your situation or making your life work, even when you could. This is
different from the Victim Pattern because you dont have any investment in
being a victim.
The Controlling Pattern involves believing that you can or should always
control your situation and other people. You try to do that even when it is
impossible and when it creates problems because you dont flow with events.

Here is a summary of the patterns in the Interpersonal Dimension Group using a
short statement that someone with each pattern might say.
Intimacy-Avoiding: Its not safe to be close to you.
Dependent: I need you to feel whole.
Conflict-Avoiding: Lets not deal with that problem.
Judgmental: Its your fault.
Defensive: Its not my fault.
People-Pleasing: Ill do it your way.
Passive-Aggressive: Ill do it your way, and then Ill frustrate you.
Controlling: Do it my way.
Rebel: Dont tell me what to do.
Caretaking: Ill take care of you.
Self-Absorbed: My needs are the important thing.
Entitled: You and I are one, and Im the one.
Self-Effacing: Ill stay in the background.
Charmer: Look at how entertaining I am!

Angry: Im angry at you.

Disowned Anger: That doesnt bother me.
Suspicious: I dont trust you.
Gullible: I trust you implicitly.
Deceptive: I didnt do anything.
Blunt: Ill tell you what I think no matter what the consequences.
Idealizing: You are wonderful.
Judgmental: I see what is wrong with you.
Victim: You have wronged me.
Powerless: I cant make my life work.
Controlling: I can make my life just the way I want it to be.

Chapter 3
The Inner Critic Dimensions
The dimensions in this chapter are oriented toward my work on Inner Critic parts.
The first dimension is about Inner Critics and Self-Esteem in general, and the others
involve the various types of Inner Critics that are described in Freedom From Your Inner
Critic4 and Activating Your Inner Champion Instead of Your Inner Critic.5
To clarify, the first dimension focuses on self-judgment and self-esteem without
focusing on the specific way in which the judgment is occurring, while the other eight
dimensions are the arenas in which self-judgment usually happens.
These dimensions arent just about self-judgment; each of them has its own issues
independent of self-judgment. For example, in the Accomplishment Dimension, there is
the Taskmaster Pattern, which is behind workaholism and the Procrastination Pattern,
which is the opposite, where you avoiding getting tasks done.
Here is a chart of these dimensions:

Here are brief descriptions of these dimensions:

Self-Esteem. Do you feel good about yourself, or do you frequently judge
yourself? Do you accept yourself as you are? Do you try to prop up your self-esteem with
pride? How do you deal with improving yourself?
Accomplishment. Are you confident in working on and accomplishing tasks? Do
you procrastinate? Do you push or judge yourself to try to get things done or to achieve,
or can you accomplish with ease?

Quality. How do you deal with producing quality work? Are you sloppy? Are
you overly concerned with producing perfect work? Can you work with ease and still do
an excellent job?
Risk. How do you deal with taking risks in your life? Do you have the courage to
take risks in order to move forward in your life? Do you take foolhardy risks, or are you
prudent? Or do you avoid all risks and therefore become paralyzed in your life? Are you
afraid of situations that arent really risky? Do you try to arrange your life to eliminate all
Individuality. How do you deal with being yourself versus fitting in to your
family or culture? Do you cling to tradition as a conformist, or can you be yourself even
when that means going outside the mores of your family or culture? Can you integrate
with the positive traditions of your culture, or are you rebellious no matter what the cost?
Pleasure. How do you deal with food, drink, sex, and other bodily pleasures? Do
you indulge in harmful ways? Do you control yourself rigidly to avoid such indulgence?
Do you bounce back and forth between overindulging and castigating yourself for it?
Conscience. How do you deal with the possibility that you have hurt others or
violated your values? Do you feel so guilty that you cant forgive yourself, or do you just
feel a reasonable degree of remorse and desire to make amends? Or are you so callous
that you dont care how you impact others? Can you forgive yourself? Can you accept
yourself when faced with guilt tripping from others?
Energy. How do you deal with your energy and aliveness? Can you be both
peaceful and energetic? Do you get agitated and manic? Or are you low-energy and
Decision. How do you deal with decision making? Are you impulsive, or can you
be thoughtful about decisions when necessary? Are you decisive, or do you constantly
doubt your decisions?
Now lets look at each of these dimensions in turn, starting with the Self-Esteem

The Self-Esteem Dimension

In the Self-Esteem Dimension of the Pattern System, there are two healthy
capacitiesSelf-Reflection and Self-Esteem. Each of those is also associated with a
healthy aspect of yourself that gives you positive messagesthe Inner Mentor and the
Inner Champion.

The Self-Reflection Capacity involves being able to look at yourself and be

aware of your strengths and limitations without judgment. Your Inner
Mentor helps you deal with ways of behaving that arent what you would like. It
helps you work to improve yourself while also accepting yourself just as you are.
It supports you in making changes in caring, encouraging ways.
The Self-Esteem Capacity involves feeling good about yourself just as you
are. Your Inner Champion supports you in being yourself and feeling good
about yourself.
There are three problematic patterns in the Self-Esteem DimensionInner Critic,
Prideful, and Inner Defender.
The Inner Critic Pattern involves judging yourself so you feel bad about
yourselfworthless, inadequate, stupid, wrong, ashamed, guilty, and so on. This
pattern may also involve pushing yourself to be a certain way or doubting
The Prideful Pattern involves inflating your self-esteem based on qualities
you may not have, coupled with a tendency to look down on others. This pattern
can also involve a distorted emphasis on engaging in activities aimed at puffing
up your self-esteem.
The Inner Defender Pattern involves arguing with or fighting your Inner
Critictrying to convince it that you are OK or rebelling against it.

The Accomplishment Dimension

In the Accomplishment Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesWork

Confidence and Ease.
The Work Confidence Capacity involves having confidence that you can
work well, accomplish tasks, and produce quality work.
The Ease Capacity involves accomplishing tasks in a relaxed, easy way,
without stress or striving. Your work flows naturally, and you dont need to aim
for perfection. You have a realistic perspective on the requirements for producing
a quality result. You balance your work with the rest of your life.
There are two problematic patterns in the Accomplishment Dimension
Taskmaster and Procrastination.

The Taskmaster Pattern involves pushing yourself unmercifully to overwork,

often in an attempt to be very successful, and judging yourself harshly whenever
you dont.
The Procrastination Pattern involves avoiding tasks that need to be done.

The Quality Dimension

In the Quality Dimension of the Pattern System, there are two healthy capacities
that complement each otherEase and Quality.
The Quality Capacity involves being able to work with deep care and
devotion for what you produce, and taking pride in the quality of the work you
The Ease Capacity involves being in the flow and doing your work calmly and
There are two problematic patterns in the Quality DimensionPerfectionist and
The Perfectionist Pattern involves believing you must always do everything
perfectly and that its never okay to make a mistake.
The Sloppy Pattern involves not caring enough about the quality of your work
or appearanceperhaps working too quickly, avoiding effort, or having low

The Risk Dimension

In the Risk Dimension of the Pattern System, there are two healthy capacities that
complement each otherPrudence and Courage.
The Prudence Capacity involves being careful to take risks that are likely to
succeed and not taking risks that are unnecessarily dangerous.
The Courage Capacity involves being able to take the risks that are needed in
order to be in the world and move your life ahead.
There are four problematic patterns in the Risk DimensionUnderminer,
Obsessive-Compulsive, Phobic, and Reckless.

The Underminer is an Inner Critic that tells you that you dont have what it
takes to be successful, so your confidence is undermined. You are so tied in
knots that you become timid, frightened, and insecure. As a result, you dont
assert yourself, become visible, or take any risks to advance yourself or to take
responsibility for your life.
The Obsessive-Compulsive Pattern involves having obsessive thoughts that
keep circling in your head or compulsive behavior patterns that are intended to
keep your life perfectly under control in order to ward off feared consequences.
The Phobic Pattern involves being anxious about situations in your life and
therefore avoiding them, even when they dont involve any realistic risk. It can
mean avoiding going out into the world or avoiding certain situations that
frighten you.
The Reckless Pattern involves taking risks without regard for the
consequences and putting yourself in unnecessary danger. This pattern can
sometimes even involve being counterphobic.

The Individuality Dimension

In the Individuality Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesCultural

Integration and Individuality.
The Cultural Integration Capacity involves respecting the positive traditions
of your society and your cultural heritage and being integrated into your culture
without giving up your uniqueness.
The Individuality Capacity involves being able to truly be yourself, even
when this means not being completely aligned with the traditions of your
There are two problematic patterns in the Individuality DimensionConformist
and Rebel.
The Conformist is an Inner Critic that demands that you conform to your
cultural traditions. You cling to the beliefs and behaviors of your family and
culture without examining them to see if they are good for you or your
The Rebel Pattern involves defying tradition in extreme ways or rebelling
even when you might have agreed with the person or group you are rebelling
against. It may also involve being focused on your way of doing things to such

an extreme degree that you fail to appreciate the positive traditions and ways of
being of your culture.

The Pleasure Dimension

In the Pleasure Dimension of the Pattern System, there are two healthy
capacitiesConscious Consumption and Pleasure.
The Conscious Consumption Capacity involves being grounded and solid
enough that you dont need to overdo any pleasures. You can be conscious about
how you consume or partake of pleasure so that you dont do anything that
causes you harm.
The Pleasure Capacity involves being open to the sensuality of eating,
sexuality, movement, touch, and all the bodily senses.
There are two problematic patterns in the Pleasure DimensionInner Controller
and Indulger.
The Inner Controller Pattern involves trying to manage or stop indulging,
and doing it in a harsh, rigid, or extreme way. It involves judging and shaming
yourself whenever you indulge.
The Indulger Pattern involves overdoing eating, sex, drinking, shopping,
gambling, or other possibly addictive activities.

The Conscience Dimension

In the Conscience Dimension, there are three healthy capacitiesRemorse, SelfForgiveness, and Self-Acceptance.
The Remorse Capacity involves feeling bad to an appropriate degree when
you have harmed someone or have violated your own values and wanting to
make amends and change your behavior in the future.
The Self-Forgiveness Capacity involves the ability to forgive yourself for
harming others or violating your values as long as you are intending to change
your behavior or make amends.
The Self-Acceptance Capacity involves being able to accept yourself as you
are without judgment or guilt when other people are trying to make you feel

guilty. You can accept yourself because you are working on making amends and
changing or because what you did is actually in line with your own values.
There are two problematic patterns in the Conscience DimensionGuilt Tripper
and Callous.
The Guilt Tripper is an Inner Critic that makes you feel guilty for something
you have done, even when it isnt your fault or you were true to your own values.
It may be unwilling to forgive you for something you did no matter what amends
or changes you make.
The Callous Pattern involves not caring or taking responsibility for how you
impact other people or whether your behavior violates your values, or perhaps
not even having any values to constrain your behavior.

The Energy Dimension

In the Energy Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesPeace and Aliveness.
The Peace Capacity involves the ability to be quiet and calm, unruffled by
external events or internal emotional reactions.
The Aliveness Capacity involves being vital and energetic, and having the
ability to be excited about your life. You also know that you have the right to be
here and take up space.
There are four problematic patterns in the Energy DimensionDestroyer,
Depressed, Anxious, and Manic.
The Destroyer is an Inner Critic that squashes your energy and tells you that
you dont have the right to exist. It is profoundly shaming.
The Depressed Pattern involves feeling hopeless about your future, bad about
yourself, and low on energy. You often find it hard to function, and you feel
worthless. This pattern can be produced by the Destroyer.
The Anxious Pattern involves being anxious and nervous most of the time or
suffering from panic attacks at times. You may not know what you are anxious
about, or your degree of anxiety may be much greater than the situation warrants.
The Manic Pattern involves being agitated and overly speedy, not being able
to relax, and being driven to excesses of action, often without consideration for
the consequences.

The Decision Dimension

In the Decision Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesThoughtfulness and

The Thoughtfulness Capacity involves considering your decisions carefully
before you make them and, when appropriate, thinking before you act.
The Decisiveness Capacity involves being able to make decisions and take action
without undue delay or worry.
There are two problematic patterns in the Decision DimensionDoubter and
The Doubter Pattern involves frequent doubting of your decisions, which makes
it hard to make them, and often obsessing about a decision both before and after it is
made for fear that it is wrong.
The Impulsive Pattern involves acting precipitously and without thought in ways
that cause you trouble.

Here is a summary of the patterns in the Inner Critic Dimension Group using a
short statement that someone with each pattern might say.
Inner Critic: You are inadequate. (said to self)
Prideful: Look how great I am.
Defensive: You are wrong. Im OK. (said to Critic)
Taskmaster: You arent working hard enough. (said to self)
Procrastinator: I want to avoid that task.

Perfectionist: Thats not good enough.

Sloppy: Dont worry about quality; just get it done.


Underminer: You cant do it. Dont take a risk. (said to self)

Obsessive-Compulsive: Better make sure things are safe.

Phobic: Im afraid to try that.

Reckless: Lets try anything.
Conformist: Make sure to fit in. (said to self)
Rebel: Dont tell me who to be.
Inner Controller: Dont indulge in that. (said to self)
Indulger: I need that.
Guilt Tripper: You should feel bad about what you did. (said to self)
Callous: I dont care who gets hurt.

Destroyer: You shouldnt exist. (said to self)

Depressed: My life is hopeless.
Anxious: Im worried about that.
Manic: Woo hoo! I can do anything!

Doubter: Are you sure that is a good idea?
Impulsive: Lets do it now!

Chapter 4
The Personal Dimensions
This group contains the rest of the dimensions. We start with a chart.

Here are brief descriptions of the dimensions:

Change. How do you deal with the process of personal change? Do you work
well on personal growth, and can you be at ease with the process? Do you push yourself
impatiently to change? Do you avoid growth work or sabotage your efforts to change?
Hope. Are you hopeful about the future yet realistic about what can happen? Do
you tend to pessimistically expect the worst? Or are you lost in pipe dreams, being
naively optimistic about the future without considering the difficulties?
Reason/Emotion. How much are you oriented toward reason versus emotion?
Are you emotionally open, or do you get lost in your head? Are you able to think clearly,
or do you get carried away by your emotions? Do you go numb to block off your

Coherence. Can you be creative and still clear? Or do you slide into fogginess,
confusion, forgetfulness, and distraction? Do you get so rigidly focused that it blocks
your creativity?
Vision. Do you have the vision to see the bigger picture of your life or other
questions? Can you also deal with matters in a practical way, or are your visions
impractical? Are you overly practical or mechanical so that you are lacking in vision?
Resilience/Sensitivity. Do you bounce back from pain or difficulty, or are you
fragile and easily overwhelmed by feelings and external stimuli? Are you sensitive
emotionally, intuitively, and spiritually, or are you closed?

The Change Dimension

The Change Dimension deals with how people work to make changes in their
behavior, feelings, and other aspects of their lives. This dimension comes front and center
when a person is in psychotherapy or coaching, involved with personal growth, or on a
spiritual path.
It mirrors the Accomplishment Dimension in the previous chapter, except here
you are dealing with accomplishing personal change as opposed to getting a task done.
To show this commonality, I use somewhat similar names for patterns and capacities.
There are two healthy capacities in the Change DimensionChange
Accomplishment and Process Ease.
The Change Accomplishment Capacity involves working well to create
personal changestackling the emotional issues that need attention, keeping
track of your work, being committed to working on yourself in your life outside
of sessions, and so on.
The Process Ease Capacity involves being able to relax and flow with the
therapeutic process, growth process, or other means of working on yourself
without needing to push it.
There are three problematic patterns in this dimensionChange Taskmaster,
Change Procrastination, and Change-Avoiding.
The Change Taskmaster Pattern involves impatiently pushing yourself to
change. You try to blast past defenses, prematurely tackle trauma, and judge
yourself for not moving fast enough. This actually slows down the change

The Change Procrastination Pattern involves avoiding working on yourself.

It may mean not reaching out to a therapist or coach, avoiding personal growth
homework, not being aware of how a pattern plays out in your life, or avoiding
self-therapy sessions.
The Change-Avoiding Pattern involves being attached to the status quo or
invested in being wounded or dysfunctional. Even though consciously you might
want to change, a hidden part of you sabotages your growth or healing process so
that nothing really changes. This part is attached to your identity as a wounded
person or is afraid of the unknown changes that will happen when you grow.
This is a key pattern for therapists and coaches to understand because when a
client has the Change-Avoiding Pattern, their healing or progress will be blocked
until the pattern is recognized and dealt with. It can be similar to the Victim
Pattern except that here there is no feeling of being wronged.

The Hope Dimension

In the Hope Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesRealism and Hope.
The Realism Capacity involves clearly seeing the difficulties you are facing in
a given situation and acting accordingly.
The Hope Capacity involves having a constructive attitude toward the future.
In some cases, when there is good evidence for it, it involves being optimistic.
When the future isnt clear, it involves doing your best to bring about the
outcome you desire without worrying about how likely it is.
There are two problematic patterns in the Hope DimensionPessimistic and Pipe
The Pessimistic Pattern involves looking only for problems and expecting
things to not work out, even when there isnt evidence for this outcome. It can
also mean feeling hopeless about your future.
The Pipe Dream Pattern involves being naively optimistic about the future
without considering the difficulties.
Examining these carefully, you will see that Pessimism is not really just an
extreme version of Realismit is a distorted version of it. In this case, the distortion is
that you have such an overemphasis on being realistic about problems that you focus too
much on them and become pessimistic. It is often the case that a pattern is really a
distorted version of the capacity, not just an extreme version of it.

The Reason/Emotion Dimension

In the Reason/Emotion Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesReason and

The Reason Capacity involves being able to think clearly and rationally,
including thinking about your emotions.
The Emotion Capacity involves being open to your feelingsbeing able to
understand and express your emotions.
There are three problematic patterns in this dimensionOverly Intellectual,
Labile, and Histrionic.
The Overly Intellectual Pattern involves being in your head to such an extent
that you are cut off from your emotional life.
The Numb Pattern involves blocking off your emotions.
The Labile Pattern involves being overwhelmed by intense emotions or being
carried away by your feelings so that you find it hard to function or think clearly.
The Histrionic Pattern involves being melodramatic about your emotions,
exaggerating them to get attention or for other unconscious reasons.

The Coherence Dimension

In the Coherence Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesClarity and

The Clarity Capacity involves being able to think clearly, see what is going
on, understand yourself, and be aware of your experience in the moment.
The Creativity Capacity involves being able to think outside the box, allow
artistic and other creative expression, and forge into new territory.
There are three problematic patterns in this dimensionRigid, Foggy, and
The Rigid Pattern involves being so rigidly focused on one thing or one way
of thinking that there is no room for creativity or new ideas.

The Foggy Pattern involves being spaced out, sleepy, confused, lost in
thought, separated from your body, or dissociated in other ways.
The Distracted Pattern involves being distracted by noises or other stimuli,
thinking about irrelevant things, or otherwise losing your focus on the issue at

The Vision Dimension

In the Vision Dimension, there are two healthy capacitiesPracticality and

The Practicality Capacity involves being able to take the concrete steps to
make something happen, to deal with day-to-day difficulties, and to be realistic
about what is doable.
The Vision Capacity involves being able to see the big picture with
imagination and wisdomto envision how you want your life to unfold and to
hold a broad view of any question or situation.
There are two problematic patterns in the Vision DimensionPlodding and Pipe
The Plodding Pattern involves having no idea that your life could be better
and no vision to take you out of a mundane, boring existence. It can also involve
focusing so much on practicality that it prevents you from seeing a larger vision
for your life.
The Pipe Dream Pattern involves not being realistic about what can happen,
not dealing with difficulties that must be overcome or your own shortcomings,
and instead fantasizing about the future in unrealistic ways.

The Resilience/Sensitivity Dimension

The Resilience/Sensitivity Dimension involves two healthy capacities

Resilience and Sensitivity.
The Resilience Capacity involves having the inner strength to handle hurt and
pain and recover from external problems or trauma.

The Sensitivity Capacity involves being open emotionally, spiritually,

intuitively, and with your senses. You are sensitive and attuned to other people and the
There are two problematic patterns in this dimensionClosed and Fragile.
The Closed Pattern involves being shut down emotionally, being closed off
spiritually and intuitively, and having your senses dulled.
The Fragile Pattern involves being easily triggered by other peoples reactions,
external stimuli, internal feelings, and even sometimes environmental toxins. You have a
hard time dealing with a variety of things that dont bother other people very much.

Here is a summary of the patterns in the Personal Dimension Group using a short
statement that someone with each pattern might say.
Change Taskmaster: Lets get moving. I want to grow quickly.
Change Procrastination: I dont want to deal with that painful issue.
Change Avoiding: I am afraid of changing.
Pessimistic: I dont think that will work out.
Pipe Dream: Things will be wonderful!
Overly Intellectual: Lets figure this out rationally without emotions getting in the way.
Numb: I dont want to feel anything.
Labile: I feel overwhelmed by my emotions.
Histrionic: Look how intensely I feel about that!
Rigid: I will stick to my focus no matter what is happening.
Foggy: Im lost and confused, and I dont know what is going on.
Distracted: Look at that interesting thing over there.
Plodding: Nose to the grindstone.
Pipe Dream: Anything is possible.
Closed: I dont want to feel anything or sense anything.
Fragile: I feel like a raw wound.

Chapter 5
The Pattern System
There is much more to the Pattern System than can be described in this report. To explore
it further, see these resources.
Visit the Pattern System website at www.patternsystem.com. The Pattern System
wiki at http://thepatternsystem.wikispaces.com contains the latest version in outline form.

Books, Audio Products, and Courses

The Pattern System: A Periodic Table for Psychology. An explanation of the
entire Pattern System, intended for both people who want to work on changing their
patterns and professionals who want to use the Pattern System in their work.
Conflict, Care, and Love: Transforming Your Relationship Patterns describes in
detail four of the ten interpersonal dimensionsIntimacy, Conflict, Power, and Care. It
will help you change your patterns to improve your relationships, and it will help you
understand your partners patterns. Later there will be a book on the other interpersonal
dimensions, followed by books on the other groups of dimensions.
Pattern Books. I have published five books that deal with specific patterns from
the Pattern System. Actually, each book covers one pattern and the healthy capacity that
transforms it. Each of the five books is connected to a workbook on the web that allows
you to actively work with this pattern and develop a practice for changing it and
manifesting the healthy capacity in your life. The books are Embracing Intimacy, Taking
Action (Procrastination), Letting Go of Perfectionism, Beyond Caretaking, and A Pleaser
No Longer.
Activating Your Inner Champion Instead of Your Inner Critic describes the
types of Inner Critics and allows you to profile your version of them in detail using a web
program. Each of the types has an Inner Champion that is the magic bullet for
transforming that particular type of Critic. From this book, you can also access a web
program to create and profile your unique Inner Champion for any of the Critics.
Inner Champion Meditations. Each healthy capacity has a corresponding Inner
Champion that supports you in developing and manifesting that capacity. Bonnie Weiss
and I have produced a series of recorded guided meditations for activating these Inner
Pattern Meditations. We have also produced a series of guided meditations for
working with many of the Pattern System patterns using IFS.
All of these books and audio products (and others) are available at our online
store at http://www.personal-growth-programs.com/store.

I offer teleseminars and courses on various aspects of the Pattern System, which
are listed on the Pattern System website www.patternsystem.com. As the Pattern System
expands, workshops will also be offered, and the courses and workshops will be taught
by colleagues as well, and eventually by people who are trained as Pattern System
teachers. I offer professional trainings in how to apply the Pattern System in therapy and
coaching and also how to teach Pattern System classes.

Self-Therapy Journey
The most complete and powerful manifestation of the Pattern System is the
interactive online tool Self-Therapy Journey at www.selftherapyjourney.com. You can
use it to explore your patterns, heal them, and practice changing your behavior to healthy
Self-Therapy Journey contains the most common of the patterns and their
corresponding healthy capacities. You can take a quiz to help you determine which
patterns you would like to explore. Then you can read about the pattern and use
checklists, fill-ins, images, and guided journaling to explore exactly how this pattern
appears in your psyche and your life.
You can explore the underlying motivations for your pattern, heal the wounds
from childhood that are behind it, and set up a detailed homework practice for changing
the pattern into the corresponding healthy capacity, with web support. Self-Therapy
Journey includes guided meditations based on Internal Family Systems Therapy to take
you into experiential work on each pattern, though it is compatible with a wide range of
therapeutic approaches.