Love, Self

Driving Each Other Crazy? It's In Your DNA

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Driving Each Other Crazy? It's In Your DNA

My husband generally goes through life in a more relaxed state than I do. He likes to stop and smell the roses as he meanders along, believing that everything will work out. Unfortunately, this difference between us has been a constant irritant in our long relationship. 

In my heart, I know that neither of us acts the way we do to spite the other, yet neither of us seems able to change our behaviors since they feel so natural.

Is there someone in your life whose behavior you have trouble putting up with over and over, year in and year out? Or, perhaps, is there a special someone who can't understand why you act the way you do?

Aside from your conventional relationship advice, wise thinkers and scientists from Hippocrates to Dr. Carl Jung have been pondering human behavior for hundreds of years. They realized that although we may be able to change some of our behaviors, we are unable to change our basic nature and our temperament, no matter how hard we try. It seems that every one of us has a unique personality type that we are born with.

RELATED: Exactly What You Need For A Healthy Relationship, Based On Your Personality Type

In the 1950s, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers developed a simple test to enable us to discover which of 16 personality types we correspond to. The Myers-Briggs personality test identifies 4 sets of qualities that describe each of these types.

Find and take this test online, and when you add up your score you will discover an accurate description of yourself. But what kinds of qualities are included in this personality test?

The first set of qualities indicates that you are either an Extrovert or Introvert, shortened to E or I.

E types love being with others, talk a lot, and may be quick to act, and think before they speak. I's usually enjoy being alone, tend to be quiet, and have fewer close friends.

The second set of traits, S or N, has to do with how we move through the world. Sensers focus on details.

They are observant and practical. Sensers may think concretely. N's tend to be intuitive and creative, and they use their imagination to think of possibilities. They also tune into their intuition with ease.

The third pair of traits, Thinkers or Feelers, reflects how you make decisions.

T's are logical in their approach to life. They may rely on science and logic and usually use their head when making decisions. Feelers come from their heart. F's are usually compassionate and emotional. They are more interested in feelings than facts.

The fourth category, J or P, stands for Judger or Perceiver.

As you saw from my description at the beginning, I am very much a J. I like to be in control of my life and find that being organized gives me a sense of peace and safety. My Perceiver husband is definitely more casual and adaptable. P types tend to go with the flow rather than need to be in control of what happens.

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The Myers-Briggs personality test will show you which of 16 possible combinations of these qualities describe you. I am an ENFJ while my spouse is an INFP. Uh oh! No wonder we sometimes butt heads and feel disappointed in the other one.

Since the chances of either of us being able to change are nearly impossible, what is the solution?

If someone special in your life is driving you crazy, here are 5 activities you can perform to turn anger into understanding and improve your relationship.

  1. Take the Myers-Briggs test to discover your personality type. Find out the other person's type. There is a great deal of information on the internet about this.
  2. When you feel yourself getting exasperated by his or her actions or inaction, remind yourself that he or she can't help it. These traits are hardwired in them just as your traits are also hardwired in you. Neither of you can change being the way you are.
  3. Take a 5-minute time out. Put your hands over your heart. Gently begin to inhale as you count to 5 and exhale as you count to 5 as you focus on letting go of your anger or aggravation as you keep breathing. Do this until you feel calm.
  4. Make a list of 5 qualities this annoying person has that you love, admire or respect. Find ways to let them know it.
  5. Use EFT tapping as you focus on the thought: "Even though _____ (name) is driving me crazy when he/she _____, it is because he/she is an _____ (ISTP, ENTP, etc.) and that is how they relate to the world. Therefore, I am releasing my annoyance and allowing myself to have compassion."

When my husband discovered that I was writing about this topic ,he searched online and discovered that the best mate for an INFP like him is an ENFJ like me! Maybe that's why we are still in love after all this time.

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Gloria Arenson is Marriage Family Therapist and Diplomate in Energy Psychology. She has appeared on national television on Montel Williams, Liza Gibbons, and Gary Collins.