7 Habits That Can Be A Sign Of A Type D Personality
One of the most common tropes in understanding personality types is the famous division between Type A and Type B personalities. What fewer people know, however, is that those are not the only two personality divisions discovered by psychologists. Along with Type C, recently research has discovered a Type D personality: distressed.
Type A personalities were arbitrarily named, but ended up being relatively fitting for this go-getting, high-stress personality type. In juxtaposition, the Type B personality is characterized by a more easy going, low-stress, and introverted personality. The third personality type, Type C, is marked by being conscientious — focused on accuracy over productivity.
All of these personalities have been thoroughly researched; but most recently, in a 2018 study done at the University of Colorado, the Type D personality has been discovered to be marked not simply by feeling anxious, but by a pattern of behaviors, too.
As Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., ABPP, writes in Psychology Today, a Type D personality combines a high level of negative emotions with behavioral and social inhibition (avoiding or withdrawing from new and social situations).
This is a personality classification, not a diagnosis. "Type D personality is someone who experiences a great deal of worry along with sadness but tends to suppress these negative emotions," Dr. Whitbourne tells Bustle. "... The Type D personality is not a diagnosis but is a behavior pattern, and it does not constitute a psychological disorder. Nevertheless, the Type D personality can have significant health consequences." So, whether consciously or subconsciously, you find yourself feeling down, and making decisions to avoid interactions might upset you, there's a chance you fall into the "distressed" personality type. And if this is the case, and you are having difficulty coping, it may be a good idea to see a therapist.
Here are seven habits that are signs of a Type D personality, according to experts.
1. You Worry A Lot
One well-known thinking pattern that causes anxiety is "fortune telling:" predicting a negative outcome to something way before it's happened. If you tend towards these types of thoughts, it could be a sign of a "distressed" personality type.
"Type D individuals are worriers," Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Host of “The Kurre and Klapow Show” tells Bustle. "Even when they aren’t distressed, they are looking at what 'might go wrong' with a situation in order to plan for it and prevent problems from happening." If this kind of thinking is becoming harmful in your daily life, reaching out for professional help can be a good option to start living in the moment more.
2. You Tend To Get Panicky During Tough Moments
People with a Type D personality tend not to thrive in sticky situations. They're outside of the Type D comfort zone.
"Type D individuals tend to panic in difficult situations," Dr. Klapow says. "They tend to get easily overwhelmed and feel as if there is no way to fix or remedy a situation when it is not working out." This habit of shutting down when things get difficult might be a sign you fall into the Type D classification.
3. You Like To Organize Your Schedule Thoroughly
Simply being organized doesn't necessarily mean you have a "distressed" personality type, but it is a habit worth examining if you're thinking you might have a Type D personality.
Type D organization, however, is about more than just bullet journaling and a clean closet — it's a more all-encompassing attempt to organize their lives to avoid stress. "Type D individuals try to arrange the environment — their schedules, their lives in such a way that they are not cast into the spot light, they are not in new or unusual situations, [or] they are not in situations where they are unable to predict what is going to happen," Dr. Klapow says. So consider how you arrange your life, and why.
4. You're Quick To Over-Analyze A Situation
A lot of people are over-thinkers. That habit alone is not necessarily personality indicator or a mental health issue, but it can be part of the Type D personality when combined with other traits.
"Type D individuals are quick to see what’s wrong with a situation," Dr. Klapow says, "... They will point out what might not work, why it might now work, how it might not work." If you're always analyzing social situations with this lens, then you might be Type D.
5. You're Constantly Assessing Situations Based On Stress-Level
Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, an introvert or an extrovert, you're likely to experience stress. But if you constantly assess your life based on its chance of stressing you out, you might be Type D.
"We all experience anxiety," Dr. Klapow says. "We all experience distress. A Type D personality will see the world through distressed glasses. Thus no matter what day, time, or situation the Type D personality will tend to evaluate their surroundings as distressing." This personality type does a type of mental math that a lot of others don't do.
6. You Have Trouble Introducing Yourself
Social inhibition may sound like a chewy term, but it really just means avoiding or withdrawing from social situations. This is a hallmark of a Type D personality.
"[Type D personalities find it] hard to start a conversation, don't make contact easily when meeting people, [and] rarely talk to strangers," Dr. Krauss Whitbourne says. If you find that you go beyond introversion, and into the realm of social inhibition, you may have a Type D personality.
7. You Struggle With Expressing Your Feelings
On the surface, it may seem like someone with a Type D, or "distressed," personality, would be constantly anxious. According to experts, however, this personality type may not end up actually feeling that anxious because they're so used to suppressing negative emotions.
"The most concrete sign [of a Type D personality] would be that the individual allows anxiety, worry, and depression to build up but is unable to put those feelings into words," Dr. Krauss Whitbourne says. "The Type D individual has learned to shove negative feelings aside and cannot find a suitable outlet for expressing them." If you have a habit of bottling things up, then, there's a solid chance you fall into this personality type.
If you feel that any of these habits apply to you, it's not necessarily a cause for alarm — you may simply have a personality more prone to stress and social inhibition. If, however, any of these habits are making your life particularly difficult, it is important to seek outside help. You deserve to feel comfortable inside your own head.