“I tell you, Mario, my life with women...” Alex grins ruefully. “They come and they go. I just never know…”
Alex’s smile fades, then his eyes light up. “Anyway, have you met the new trainer at the gym? Carla? She’s stunning. Really knows her stuff, too.” He leans closer to Mario, making sure of eye contact. “I’ll introduce you. You’ll love her. Say, did you hear that Harold got into it with his manager and left his new job…”
For the person stuck in the Histrionic Storyteller personality pattern, life is an endless saga of emotional ups and downs. Feelings govern you. Everything is either absolutely marvelous or entirely catastrophic. Whatever you feel at the moment is how you behave. It’s like the base thumping from a car radio at full volume. It reverberates in everyone’s ears within hearing distance.
The Storyteller pattern brings unconscious, yet predictable thoughts to your daily interactions. Your self-talk sounds like this:
- I am only important if other people are showing interest in me.
- I only have worth to the degree that I emotionally impact others.
- I am significant in proportion to how many people know and like me.
This mindset creates a compelling urge to capture and keep people’s attention, even if this requires shocking remarks, reciting one’s latest woes, walking off in a huff, or sharing a juicy morsel of gossip.
When you’re not in the spotlight, as a defense against feeling insignificant, you scan conversations at a superficial level until it triggers something related to you. Then bingo. You dive right in. This is called selective listening. You don’t take in what people are sharing about themselves or their interests. You might say that people are needed accessories for your agenda of self-promotion.
Challenge The Histrionic Storyteller Pattern by Transforming Thoughts to:
- I am a worthwhile person with strengths and weaknesses, and I choose to accept myself.
- I can express myself to others with color and enthusiasm, but I will take the time and exercise the skill to really hear what they are saying to me.
- I can communicate better without exaggeration and emotional displays than with them.
Advancing beyond the Storyteller pattern requires the willingness to move into the Weakness compass point. Not easy, to admit the need for less self-absorption, more sensitivity to other’s feelings. Yet if you pray for God to grant you more humility, He will. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet 6:5).
In the New Testament the apostle Peter initially displayed the Storyteller pattern in his relationship with Jesus. Peter often acted impetuously. He jumped into the Sea of Galilee to walk on water. He talked so much at Jesus’ transfiguration, it was hard for the Father to get a word in edgewise (Mt 17:5). He cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant when Jesus was arrested.
But in the wake of his baptism in the Holy Spirit, Peter acquired a more balanced use of his Love, Weakness, and Strength compass points. Eventually, Peter became the rock of assertive caring and humble strength, actualizing his true personality as Christ had foretold.
You might try a prayer like this from your Weakness compass point:
“Dear Lord, I know I take things too personally and that I talk too much. Forgive me for stealing the glory that belongs to you. I humbly ask you to help me outgrow my Storyteller ways. Calm my inner anxieties and give me a sound mind. Help me to relax and become more sensitive to you and others. Thank you. Amen."
For more, read: The Self Compass: Charting Your Personality in Christ