Do you think people can change? | INFJ Forum

Do you think people can change?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by TinyBubbles, May 19, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    reading through the "staying in an unfulfilling marriage thread" and what acd mentioned made me think it's true, often abusers don't change their habits, they just move from victim to victim, until somebody stops them. is the inability to change our negative qualities true for the rest of us? do people really change, or just suppress who they naturally are for a little while?

    this being a personality forum should make the question doubly relevant. think about yourself, who you are in life, what kind of choices you've made, what kind of people you've attracted or detracted, what kind of impact you've left on others. would you say you can change who this fundamental person is? sure, you can DO things and take actions which oppose your natural inclinations, people do so all the time, but could you maintain it indefinitely? do people HAVE a fixed personality to begin with, or are we merely functions of our environment? in other words, are such sayings as "once a cheater, always a cheater" etc. true in practice, or do we all have the ability to change and become better people?
     
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  2. Siamese cat

    Siamese cat Madame Cat strikes again

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    I believe that we do have an ability to change but that people who are willing to subject to it without any outer influence and for the sake of their own growth, are extremely rare.

    Also I think that external circumstances can force us to change significantly for better or worse depending on how mature person is.

    What I wanted to say is that although "once a cheater, always a cheater" seems right about most people it is right because those people don't want to change, not because they can't.
     
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    #2 Siamese cat, May 19, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  3. TurtleTrooper

    TurtleTrooper Community Member

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    weird.
    If you've ever been to a counselor ever, you've probably heard something along the lines of I can only help you if you're wanting to be helped. I think that applies a lot here. People can change who they are, but only if they really want to themselves. If you force a change onto someone else, i doubt they'd be too accomodating. Except maybe to get you to stfu then they'd just go back to their own ways. yaknow?
     
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  4. Ergo Christobal

    Ergo Christobal Talking Lightbulb
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    I like to think people change. Not only slowly over time, but that people can make important life decisions and stick to them, eventually making them a lifestyle. At the same time, some things in people never change. The fundamentals of who they are stay pretty even, but our actions have nothing to do with that.

    Personally, I've noticed that I'm a social sponge. I suck up the personality traits that I find desirable in others and try to make them my own. My personality could be described as a compilation of all the people in my life.
     
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  5. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    I certainly hope people can change, it's something I'm invested in (with myself) right now. Am I repressing aspects of myself? I hope not. Maybe I'm dusting off those parts of myself that weren't ME to begin with and I picked up along the way through socialization and my environment. It's probably an uneven combination of several things.

    I do think some people have a very established personality, and others' is more fluid. Throughout their lives, some people seem to become even more certain in who they are and solidify their personality, while others evolve through the years and continually re-emerge with another shade and layer to who they've become.

    I also think there are "higher" and "lower" expressions of the same personality trait. To add to that, no trait gets expressed in isolation. I do believe people can change - and even if they are, in some way, repressing some aspect of themselves, perhaps they're simultaneously learning to express a new one and therefore expanding their personality and their arsenal of SELF.

    Usually undesirable or so-called negative traits are a reflection of insecurity or pain. When someone is able to heal their pain, their personality CAN shift. That's not to say they'll become drastically different or lose their core foundation, although they may, but the ways in which they express themselves and function in the world can change. Personality is also a result of habituation - it involves beliefs, expectations, one's environment, and all of that wonderful stuff that seeks to amplify or alter who we are. There's that saying, change your thoughts change your life (or is it beliefs?). Sometimes a realization is enough to bring about the motivation for someone to alter their personality and undergo growth in order to emerge as a slightly different person. I do believe it's possible.
     
    #5 Soulful, May 19, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
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  6. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    but that's just it, why would anyone willingly change themselves if they weren't compelled to -if the (externally based) consequences of not changing weren't a threat? say you were a murderer but everyone loved you for it. everytime you killed someone they'd all cheer and give you gifts. yet no one could kill you. why then would you feel killing is wrong - what incentive would you have to change yourself? it's fine to say "you have to want to change yourself before you can" but i think what you really need to do is dislike the consequences of not changing strongly enough that they will motivate you into accepting an alternative path. jmo as usual.
     
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  7. TurtleTrooper

    TurtleTrooper Community Member

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    weird.
    Your post reminds me of the enneagram. You should read up on it, it's better than the MBTI in that it is scientifically validated and concerned with growth as a person (i.e. changing). Basically, we all have ego fixations so when we're really unhealthy those fixations can be destructive to ourselves and others. Kind of a way of distorting reality.

    Some people do have more fluid personalities than others. For example, my enneagram is an 9w8. e9s tend to forget about their self and try to just fit in with the crowd. Because of this, we always mean what we say but we sometimes change our values a little bit depending on who we're around or what environment we're in.

    Idk, now that i think about it enneagram is really relevant to this thread. In order to change as a person, we must overcome our ego fixations so that we can see past them and change as a person.
     
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  8. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    People change when they are willing and able to accept responsibility for their actions and when they legitimately want to change. This only occurs if a person is able to be honest with themselves--and willing to suffer through a little pain in being honest.

    People are unable to change when they are in denial of their issues or harmful behaviors. From what I understand, abusive people may have been abused in the past or traumatized at some point--but they are unwilling to acknowledge this and work though it--because to do so would be a painful process.. so they lash out at others and place the blame for their uncontrollable actions onto others.

    An abusive person doesn't know themselves, or rather, they hate themselves for some former trauma. They are so out of touch with who they are deep down and they refuse to search for themselves. To do so would mean they would have to relive the initial pain to get past it.

    They expect their external reality to match their whims and when it doesn't, they can't handle it. Because when their external reality does not match their whims, well, this is when they are acutely aware that there is some issue in them that they have no control over, and they are scrambling to hide from it. They begin to feel pain and they project that pain onto another through abuse. Gives them a sense of control.

    Really, the best thing you could ever do for an abuser is to leave them the hell alone. All alone. Leave them alone and hope that it forces them to face themselves. There is no understanding and compassion for an abuser. It is useless. It's really enabling them to repeat their behavior.

    Honesty is the key to change and growth. Without it, one just denies or suppresses everything.

    A person can put on a good act, but if they are not honest with themselves, eventually all their rage is going to explode.
     
    #8 acd, May 19, 2010
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  9. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Regular Poster

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    Personally speaking, I've changed a lot throughout the various stages of my life. It has often been through external forces ... some of them semi-traumatic, and others of a more loving and nurturing nature. I often placed myself into situations where I knew a changed would be forced upon me ... because I wanted that change and needed a bit of an impetus to keep me moving in the right direction. The military was a big example. I wanted more discipline and a degree. It offered both at the price of changing who I was at a fundamental level. Once I jumped off that cliff, metaphorically speaking, the organization's impetus helped me to achieve my goals through changing who I was.

    I think that having good, positive people in your life can bring about positive change as well. A partner can be particularly important in that respect, in my opinion. I feel as though I am on the cusp of change again in my life, and I'm looking for a way to embrace it.

    So in a nutshell, I do belive that people can change for the better ... provided they have the drive and/or external impetus.
     
  10. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    There is a big difference between wanting to stop being bad and wanting to be good.

    People who are bad and want to stop being bad because of the manifold consequences of their character will have a much harder time and are less likely to succede than people who desire to be virtuous because they see beauty/appeal in virtue.

    The difference is that most avoidance of bad behaviour is actually about avoiding a guilty conscience. But one's conscience becomes accustomed to guilt over time and can live with it. So eventually the guilt of seeing ruined lives fades.

    On the other hand, genuinely wanting to be good is like any appealing activity - there is longing to have the satisfaction of attainment, so that it actually preoccupies the mind constantly in even the smallest activity. Moreover, making any advance does not dull one's desire but only increases it.

    Honestly, if I had never read the lifes of St Thomas Aquinas, St Francis, St Antony of the desert and a few others who I love so much, I would seriously be a dangerous prick and about 100 times more of an asshole than I am.
     
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