Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Schizoid Loner Personality Pattern and The Self Compass

Actualizing persons interact with the world through rhythms of contact and withdrawal, involvement and detachment, activity and passivity. Contact, involvement, and activity require action to engage in work, relationships, or self-development. Withdrawal, detachment, and passivity allow for resting and sleeping, solitude, and recharging one’s batteries. 

But the schizoid Loner cuts this rhythm in half, fixating on withdrawal, detachment, and passivity. The word schizoid derives from the Greek word schizoid and means “split off.” All the compass points are collapsed, except for Weakness, which intensifies into nothingness.

The Pattern’s Interior

The schizoid Loner is trapped on the Weakness compass point. Loners withdraw because of an indifference to everything—to friends and relations, to vocational enjoyment, to duties or rights, to good fortune or bad. The rewards and pleasures of human companionship mean nothing to them.

Karen Horney noted that schizoids actively “move away from people” by forming an impenetrable shell that makes other people fade out of consciousness. The phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind,” is not just a credo. It is a daily goal.

Hermit Crab

Not only do others disappear off their radar screen, but their emotions evaporate as well. This life plan has its merits in that schizoid Loners maintain simple lives, untroubled by feelings, impervious to relationships, and undisturbed by inner conflicts. In fact, if a person wants to live an ascetic life that is celibate and single, the schizoid pattern offers the structure and function for doing so. 

Perhaps this accounts for the secret superiority often noted in schizoid counselees. Compass theory posits that this tendency reflects the psychodynamics of a tightly repressed Strength compass point that acts out in the form of unconscious narcissism. Millon notes: “Fantasy in a schizoid-like person sometimes betrays the presence of a secret grandiose self that longs for respect and recognition while offsetting fears that the person is really an outcast.”

While everyone needs a rhythm that includes occasional withdrawal and detachment, the schizoid Loner’s selection of isolation as a long-term coping pattern leads into dangerous territory: a solitary confinement that begins as a retiring lifestyle, but can spiral into schizotypal eccentricity, possibly leading to several types of schizophrenia. For this reason Rollo May has described the schizoid life as existentially hollow.

This hollowness reflects the interpersonal truth that human beings need social stimulation, and when they isolate from the rewards and consensual validation society normally provides, their psyche begins to create its own media show: excessive daydreaming, voices that speak from illusory entities, and the formation of an alternate reality that is light years away from normalcy

In other words, the psychospiritual energy for actualizing growth, when not pursued, doesn’t just disappear; unconscious forces convert it into the landscape of the Loner’s version of the universe. In Self Compass terms, the Loner-patterned person lacks esteem for self or others (Strength compass point), love for self or others (Love compass point), and courage to take risks for self-development or the bettering of circumstances (Assertion compass point). The energy from these compass points is shunted into exaggerated weakness, creating a barren existence rather akin to the hermit crab.

By applying techniques that balance a healthy Weakness compass point with an awakening of the Strength, Love, and Assertion compass points, therapeutic intervention generates enough aliveness to jump-start the Loner’s motivational engine and develop the LAWS of personality.

For more on the schizoid Loner personality disorder see:

The Self Compass and Pope Francis on Faith

As a psychologist-theologian, I am observing today a heartfelt cry from Christians worldwide to draw close in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Perhaps this passionate desire for a faith-filled experience of God's love results from the combined world pressures of terrorism, financial collapses, global climate changes, and political uncertainties. What ever the cause, we are all saying to Jesus what the apostle Peter said to him. "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life" (Peter 6:68).

I want to share with you some of Pope Francis' first apostolic letter “Lumen Fidei” (“The Light of Faith”). I do this with admiration for his spirit of pastoral care, and with the conviction that he is speaking on behalf of the Body of Christ, Catholics and Protestants alike:

Pope Francis
The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God.
Faith heralds the transforming power of belief in Jesus. Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing.
We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need somebody trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us.
Faith makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God's faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.
To receive the transforming power of Jesus requires a personal transformation, a journey never completely finished in this life. But we can benefit from psychological and spiritual tools that help us move forward. One of these is the Self Compass. The Self Compass helps us renew our personal conversion to Jesus and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in guiding our daily lives.

This Vatican endorsed model for personality transformation is based on Christ's personality and lets the radical new reality of his resurrection shape our personalities. By applying the Self Compass growth tool, your life can be purified and transformed during this Year of Faith.

The Self Compass


Faith is deeply connected to personality health. Faith helps to counter the corrosive effects of anxiety, depression, and anger. The Self Compass promotes personality health and thereby increases a person's faith. 

Love and Assertion are two complementary compass points within every person's Self Compass. What is the connection between faith and Love? In order to love God or another person, we must reach out to them. We must open our hearts. We must risk caring for them. This requires faith! I have counseled hundreds of people who suddenly received this insight and gasped: "Oh no, now I realize I've lived my whole life to be safely self-contained. I've been too afraid to ever really love anyone." 

To grow in Love requires the courage of Assertion. Mary risked trusting the Angel Gabriel's message to her. Though she no doubt felt some fear, and though she certainly didn't know how she could become the Mother of our Lord, she ended the conversation assertively: "May everything you have said about me come true" (Luke 1:38). Mary dared to assertively express faith in the God whom she loved and trusted. We can become more like Mary.


Spend a few concentrated moments today or tonight hungering and thirsting for Christ’s presence in your life. Don’t be afraid of any Weakness. Integrate your vulnerability and even self-doubts into your faith in God’s Strength. The Catechism says, “Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ’s power” (273). Out of Weakness we are made strong. This humble Strength is what God loves to foster in us. A rhythm between Weakness and Strength never makes us arrogant.  

The Self Compass helps you cooperate with grace, so that you may be transformed in Christ. To help your journey of faith this year, I'm including a link to God and Your Personality: Revised & Expanded Catholic Edition. You can imagine my humble gratitude when I was notified that this book has been added to the Vatican Library. 

Paul Cardinal Poupard of The Vatican has this to say: “God & Your Personality is no New Age influenced waffle clouded in a mystique of blurb, but a useful tool for all those who seek to address personality issues and quench their innate spiritual thirst with the living-water which truly satisfies.”

God and Your Personality

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Secret of Staying in Love

If you’ve ever grown a potted plant, you know that after a certain passage of time the roots become pot bound: they take up so much room that there is no room left for soil in the pot. Now the survival of the plant is in jeopardy, since it cannot live by root alone, but needs vital sustenance from the nutrients in soil. 

The solution? Repotting. You get a larger pot, though not too large. You mix a fresh batch of topsoil with a touch of fertilizer. You cut back tangled roots. You ease the plant from the outgrown pot into the newly prepared one, firmly tamping the soil around it. Then you sit back and watch it sprout a new season of leaves and branches as it celebrates life.
Spirituality works in this way to stimulate 
growth within couple’s love.

There can come a time when you take each other for granted, all too easily slipping into patterns that manipulate each other for ego gratification. You don’t know exactly why the relationship loses its vitality, or why what used to enchant you now irks you.

What to do? 
  • Some couples mistake a spiritual problem for an external one, and decide to move to a new house, buy a new car, or go on a trip. But changing the outer environment proves insufficient. They find they once the outer changes are made, the boredom with each other remains.
  • Other couples simply assume that the attraction found in dating must naturally diminish over time, what with the acquisition of home and family life, jobs, and the daily grind. They slip into routines and preoccupations that help cover up the loss of communion.
  • Some individuals opt for the more radical solution of an affair and heartrending dissolution of the partnership.
What I want to suggest, though, is that a love relationship can grow over the years through the transforming renewal of spirituality. 

When you reach out to God, you are drawing upon a rejuvenating dynamic that has much the same effect as transplanting a root-bound plant. This is like adding fresh soil and a dash of fertilizer to the seasons of couple’s life. 

You can pray something like, “God, help me grow in my personality and behavior in such way as enriches my relationship with this person I love. Please remove any rigid attitudes that are detrimental, and develop in me that which graces my life with humble strength and assertive caring. Thank you for helping us work through our blockages and re-invigorate our love.”

Embarrassment need not prevent praying out loud for each other. I’d like to suggest that doing so lets your spouse feel your loving concern. It empowers a couple to transform inner frustrations into verbal supplications for help and blessing.

Couple Praying Together

Let’s say you are thoroughly fed up with a boss at work; that you’ve been unconsciously grumpy with your spouse as a side effect. Now the night comes when the two of you are lying in bed, one watching television while the other is reading.
“I feel kind of powerless seeing you go through this pain,” says your spouse. “I can’t seem to help you. I’m wondering if I might pray for some kind of spiritual help in your work situation, and also between us.”
You feel a flash of self-consciousness. You’re not used to praying out loud. Yet what can it hurt? “Okay,” you say.
Your partner scoots nearer to you and lays a hand on your chest: “Dear God, please help this job situation find a new solution. Please bless and guide our couple’s life. Help us grow closer than ever through this. Thank you.”
The two of you lie there in stillness. Your breathing has deepened. Your chest feels lighter. A peace comes that has eluded you for several months. Without really thinking about it, you are surrendering to the beauty of having a pot transplant, just when you needed it most.
Thank God for those who pray about their couple’s love. And thank God for ingenious answers to those prayers, for nourishing individual roots with fresh potting soil, for creating an ever-expanding spaciousness for couple’s growth in intimacy.

For more, read:

Staying in Love

The Self Compass In A Nutshell

Utilizing the LAWS embedded in the Self Compass allows you to intuitively cooperate with Christ’s transforming power in your personality. Employing your entire Self Compass means that you express both tender care and diplomatic assertion. You are competent and strong, yet at the same time humbly aware of your weakness, maintaining free and equal access to all four compass points.

Love lets you care for yourself and the world, drawing out your potential for nurturance, compassion, and forgiveness. Love provides the bridge of intimacy that connects you to others. 

But no one remains loving all the time. There are times to stand up for your self and negotiate with others for what is fair and just. Assertion allows you to do just that: express your point of view while still caring about others.
Weakness helps you accept as normal the times when you feel uncertain or anxious. When you admit these vulnerable feelings into awareness, you can freely acknowledge your clay feet and ask for help when needed.

Strength provides you with a sense of competence, confidence, and personal power. Healthy strength encourages you to achieve your best, while humbly acknowledging your weaknesses.

By synergistically integrating these LAWS of personality, and with God’s guidance, you become your true self in Christ.

For more, read Chapter One of The Self Compass: Charting Your Personality in Christ on

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Recovering Histrionic Storyteller

As a recovering Storyteller, you keep your buoyancy and color, but now, because the Love compass point is balanced with the humility of Weakness, you are sensitive to people’s signals that they’ve heard enough funny stories.

Amazed by the genuine dialogue that ensues, you form relationships with increased depth and feel relaxed even when not in the limelight. Hidden insecurity is replaced by optimistic serenity.

Histrionic Storyteller Self Compass

As a recovering Storyteller: 
  • You stop to listen to other’s points of view.
  • You breathe more fully and speak with a slower delivery so that others are able to take in what you’re saying (the Strength compass point in rhythm with Weakness). 
  • You grow to enjoy more time alone, in quiet contemplation or in pursuit of hobbies.
  • Greater discipline in thinking and decision-making helps tap your intellectual potential (Strength compass point). 
  • By developing more confidence and capability, you no longer feel the need for center stage.  
  • Though you help others feel better with a lively and positive attitude, you acknowledge that it is normal to feel down sometimes
The Virtue of Good Cheer

With a fuller use of the Self Compass, the recovering Storyteller reaps the virtue of good cheer:
  • Makes life exciting, colorful and humorous.
  • Loves to laugh and play. 
  • Gregarious.
  • Doesn’t take the world too seriously.
  • Feels lighthearted most of the time.
  • Always ready for an adventure or surprise.
Instead of predictably patterned behavior, the Self Compass now offers you 360 degrees of choice to use as appropriate for any given situation.  

Now you are freed develop your own individual style in Christ. Precious in his eyes, there is no one else like you, because “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mt 10:30).

For more, read: THE SELF COMPASS: Charting Your Personality in Christ

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Recovering Worrier

As a recovering Worrier, you move out of learned helplessness and into the world. You employ the Strength compass point of your Self Compass, in rhythm with your Weakness compass point. In so doing, you relate more effectively with people, bringing a much needed virtue to those interactions: empathy for human pain.  

Virtue of Empathy

It’s not that the times of feeling lonely disappear. It’s more that when they come, you do something to alleviate them. 
  • You actually get yourself to a new church group you’ve been thinking about checking out. 
  • You stop yourself from disappearing the moment the Bible study is over. 
  • You discipline yourself to stay at least five minutes and engage in some sort of conversation. 
  • You’re good at listening and getting better at talking. 
  • Even though it’s scary, you’re learning to stay with a feeling and express it, rather than avoid it.
  • Now daring to express needs and wants, you do it in a humble manner, sensitive to the other person’s point of view. 
Worrier Self Compass

Mobilizing your Strength and Assertion compass points brings a depth dimension to the events of your day that before had seemed flat and dreary.

You develop rhythmic access to all four compass points, yet since you favor the Weakness compass point, you are in the enviable position to readily own that you don’t have all the answers, and that you need God’s help in handling everyday life.

This is how redeemed Worriers reveal their growth in actual behavior when they access the LAWS of the Self Compass. And the virtue of empathy bears fruit:

Worrier—virtue of empathy.
  • Isn’t demanding or competitive.
  • Sensitive rapport with others.
  • Peacemaking. 
  • Has a high frustration tolerance.
  • Not motivated by status or material gain.
  • Is especially tender toward children, animals, and those who suffer. 
With the infusion of compass virtues, the locus of the self has changed. No longer is it fragmented, imbalanced, stuck on one or more of the compass points. Instead, your personality is now grounded in a balanced, God-oriented center that holds.

Instead of predictably patterned behavior, the Self Compass now offers you 360 degrees of choice to use as appropriate for any given situation. Now you are freed to express yourself through your own individual style in Christ. Precious in his eyes, there is no one else like you, because “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mt 10:30 NKJV).

For more, read:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Controllers Can Play, Too. Really.

What happens when someone stuck in the Controller pattern (Compulsive Perfectionist Disorder) enlists the help of the Self Compass?

You start appreciating appreciating yourself more. 
That you possess the virtue of discipline. That you are:

  • Conscientious, industrious, and reliable.
  • Value self-discipline and stick-to-itiveness.
  • Endorse social conventions and proprieties.
  • Pillar of the community. 
  • Emphasize rationality and logic.
  • A champion of morality.

It's a relief to know that by enlisting the Self Compass LAWS of personality, the recovering Controller gets to relax. And play. Instead of relying entirely on the Strength compass point, you grow by drawing in the wisdom offered through the Weakness and Love compass points.  

Compulsive Perfectionist Disorder

  • You find the grimness of constant competence replaced by tasks completed in due time without the need for perfection. 
  • You organize yourself to have fun. 
  • Going on walks for pleasure as much as exercise, you breathe in the air; listen for the sounds of a bird’s song. 
  • The fillips of joy floating up from your belly, you realize, come only from letting go.

When you hear that inner judge start up with the old tirades of self-condemnation about how you should have done something better, you stop. I’m human, you say. The planet will carry on without me being perfect. 

Feelings of Joy

Other people become less of an annoyance and more of a gift. You are amazed to discover that when you move into the Weakness compass point and ask for help, others actually do assist you. Caringly. Even efficiently. It shocks you to feel tears in your eyes when this happens. 

Taking in more deeply that other people love you brings emotional vulnerability. That is uncomfortable. But you are good at persevering, so you allow yourself a degree of surrender, with discernment, to the untidy, not always controllable, world of feelings.

And you begin experiencing what Jesus had in mind when he said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn 14:27). 

Peace As Christ Gives

Instead of predictably patterned behavior, the Self Compass now offers you 360 degrees of choice to use as appropriate for any given situation. Now you are freed to express your own individual style in Christ. Precious in his eyes, there is no one else like you, because “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Mt 10:30).

For more, read: