Dominating Personality Definition Essay

STUBBORNNESS is one of seven basic character flaws or “dark” personality traits. We all have the potential for stubborn tendencies, but in people with a strong fear of change, Stubbornness can become a dominant pattern.

Stubbornness is a basic character flaw or personality defect, one of seven possible chief features adopted in adolescence to protect the self at the level of false personality.

Stubbornness is the tendency to resist any form of change. It is defined as:

refusing to move or change one’s opinion; [1]

the trait of being difficult to handle or overcome; resolute adherence to your own ideas or desires [2]

Other names for stubbornness include dogged insistence, intransigence, temerity and pig-headedness.

Stubbornness is essentially an entrenched resistance to change. And given that life is all about change, stubbornness is effectively a resistance to life itself.

The person with stubbornness is driven by a fundamental resistance to being forced to do anything or experience anything against his will. The basic stance is, “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me.”

The personality with stubbornness is over-sensitive to the possibility of having sudden or unwanted change imposed upon itself, and sees the threat of it everywhere. Anything new or different or involving change is perceived (subconsciously at least) as a direct threat—even if the change in question is positive and in the person’s best interests.

Like all character flaws, stubbornness involves the following components:

  1. Early negative experiences
  2. Misconceptions about the nature of self, life or others
  3. A constant fear and sense of insecurity
  4. A maladaptive strategy to protect the self
  5. A persona to hide all of the above in adulthood

Early Negative Experiences

In the case of stubbornness, the early negative experiences typically consist of domestic instability or upheaval and the streess of having to suddenly put up with new situations. The situations causing such stress could be beyond the parents’ control, such as having to uproot in a time of war.

Alternatively, the stressful instability (as the child experiences it) could be of the parents’ own choosing, such as constantly moving home to find a better job. Most often, perhaps, it is just part of ordinary family life—the arrival of a new baby, for instance.

Whatever the circumstances, the core experience for the child in question is the shock of the new. Just when the child thought she knew where she was, living safely at home with her best friends and her favourite toys, without any warning she is whisked off to start afresh in a new, unfamiliar place. Change has been imposed against her will, and it has caused unbearable stress.

The cumulative effect is a desparate desire for stability and familiarity, to stay put and have everything nailed into place, and to fend off anything new or unfamiliar.


From such experiences of sudden instability and imposed change, the child comes to perceive life as being unstable and volatile:

New situations are traumatic and must be avoided.

People want to impose drastic changes on me against my will.

A big enough change in my life could destroy me.


Based on the above misconceptions and early negative experiences, the child becomes gripped by a specific kind of fear. In this case, of course, the fear is of new situationsof having new, unfamiliar circumstances imposed upon oneself.


Because of this constant fear, the individual will crave permanance, stability and predictability. So the basic coping strategy is to resist change and any possibilty of change.

Typically this involves:

  • refusing to change or to accept new situations when asked to do so;
  • blocking the emergence of new/unfamiliar situations;
  • perceiving and anticipating every possibility of change or novelty so that it can be blocked;
  • denying that there is ever a need for change;
  • resisting internal pressures or impulses to change oneself.

In the case of illness, for example —

The chief feature of stubbornness will often insist nothing is wrong in the first place, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary, but once illness has occurred, it then strives to continue the pattern so that nothing so dangerous as new improvement is permitted.


Finally, emerging into adulthood, the individual does not want go around being overtly afraid of new situations. Hence stubbornness puts on a mask which says to the world, “It’s not me—it’s just this situation. Changing it would be wrong and unnecessary. Everything is fine the way it is, actually.”

Under the guise of reasonableness and logic, the underlying fear tries to have its way. All new ideas are supposedly unreasonable and illogical. All actual changes are unnecessary and bad.

When this doesn’t work, however, the mask comes off and the underlying shadow or “inner demon” is likely to emerge in a fit of rage. “How dare you do this to me? It’s totally outrageous!” The rage is driven by a deep inner sense of overwhelming panic over the new situation.

All people are capable of this kind of behaviour. When it dominates the personality, however, one is said to have a chief feature of stubbornness.

Positive and Negative Poles

In the case of stubbornness, the positive pole can be termed DETERMINATION and the negative pole can be termed OBSTINACY.

+ determination +




– obstinacy –

Determination is state of mind that ensures a good enough situation is maintained: It ought to be this way because it makes sense. In moderation, this can be healthy or at least a healthy antidote to any kind of victim state.

Obstinacy, however, is a state of excessive fixation on an existing situation, regardless of logic, regardless of desirability. It must be this way because I say so and I don’t care what anyone else says. Obstinacy will cause a person to cling to a terrible situation for no reason other than to avoid the possibility of facing change.

Handling Stubbornness

Stubbornness is the most prevalent character flaw there is. We all have some degree of stubbornness withion us, but more people have stubbornness as their chief feature than any other.

As with every chief feature, the key is becoming conscious of how stubbornness operates in oneself. If you have stubbornness, you can begin by observing your outward persona in action:

  • Do I have a tendency to justify the status quo?
  • Do I generally argue against change or newness on seemingly logical grounds?
  • Do I often deride new ideas or suggestions?

Try to catch yourself in the act of putting on your “Leave well alone!” mask.

Then dig deeper:

  • Why do I resist change, newness? What am I afraid of?
  • What do I fear would happen to me if I allowed uncontrollable chnges to happen?

Approaching the deepest level you may need outside help in the form of a counsellor, therapist or at least a close friend:

  • Where does this fear of new situations come from?
  • How was I hurt in the past?
  • Can I let it go?

Just as you can become more aware of stubbornness through self-observation and self-enquiry, so too you can gain more control over it through using that awareness and by exercising choice in the moment.

  • Whenever I am tempted to resist or attack people who want to change the status quo, I will consider the unreasonableness of my intentions rather than just theirs.
  • I understand that resistance to change is a resistance to life itself and leads nowhere.
  • I will be more willing to allow ordinary changes to happen in my life, knowing that they won’t destroy me.

Another way to handle a chief feature is to “slide” to the positive pole of its opposite. In the case of stubbornness, though, there is no opposite. It is the only neutral form of chief feature—which means it has no polar opposite, being positioned at the intersection of all the dualities.

This allows for greater flexibility, however. A person with stubbornness can easily “slide” from neutral into any of the other chief feature positions, such as greed or martyrdom.

If you are getting caught in the grip of stubbornness’s negative pole of obstinacy, you can re-balance yourself using the positive pole of any of the six other defensive patterns:

  • desire (the positive pole of greed)
  • sacrifice (the positive pole of self-destruction)
  • pride (the positive pole of arrogance)
  • humility (the positive pole of self-deprecation)
  • audacity (the positive pole of impatience)
  • selflessness (the positive pole of martyrdom)

In each case, there is a determination to cause, or allow, things to change—and determination is the positive pole of stubbornness.

For example, when you are stuck in obstinacy, sitting with “I won’t allow it! I won’t allow it!”, your attention is wrapped up in the imposition of change and your sole intention is to resist that. To loosen the grip of stubbornness you have to you turn your attention to some other aspect of the situation:

  • What’s in it for me? (desire)
  • Even though I don’t like it, will it help someone I care about? (sacrifice)
  • Will it make me feel better about myself? (pride)
  • Will it help bring my ego down to earth? (humility)
  • Will it buy me time to do what I really want to do? (audacity)
  • Is it just what’s needed, regardless of what I want? (selflessness)

By paying attention to one of these aspects of the situation, your fixation on the change itself is loosened. And by being willing to go with one of these aspects, your intention to resist is overcome.

Further Reading

Read an overview of the 7 character flaws – or see these specific pages:

Or for an excellent book about the chief features (character flaws) and how to handle them, see Transforming Your Dragons by José Stevens.

Also of interest: Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the stubbornest of them all? (A Colorful Mind blog)



What are the general characteristics of the D Personality Style? The D Personality Style tends to be direct and decisive, sometimes described as dominant. They would prefer to lead than follow, and tend towards leadership and management positions. They tend to have high self-confidence and are risk takers and problem solvers, which enables others to look to them for decisions and direction. They tend to be self-starters.

What does the D Personality Type contribute to a team? They think about big picture goals and tangible results. They are bottom-line organizers that can lead an entire group in one direction. They place great value on time frames and seeing results. The D may challenge the status quo and think in a very innovative way.

What are the possible weaknesses of the D Personality Style? They tend to overstep authority, as they prefer to be in charge themselves. At times they can be argumentative and not listen to the reasoning of others. They tend to dislike repetition and routine and may ignore the details and minutia of a situation, even if it's important. They may attempt too much at one time, hoping to see quick results.

What is the greatest fear of D Personality Types? The D Personality Type will craves to be in control of the situation, and therefore fears the idea of being taken advantage of by others.

What motivates the D Personality Style? The D is highly motivated by new challenges, setting and achieving goals, and seeing tangible results. They appreciate receiving verbal recognition from others as well as rewards. They enjoy power and authority to take risks and make decisions. Freedom from routine and mundane tasks is important. Since repetition is frustrating for the D, changing environments in which to work and play can be highly motivating.

What is the ideal environment for the D Personality Type? They like to focus on the future and the big picture, and like non-routine challenging tasks and activities. They are motivated by projects that produce physical, trackable or tangible results. They enjoy being in charge or having the freedom to make decisions for themselves and may crave freedom from controls, supervision, and details.

What does the high D Personality Style desire? D personalities desire freedom from others rules. They gravitate towards authority, personal freedom, and opportunity for advancement. They desire recognition, awards, and prestige for their work and ideas. In the work environment, D Personality Types, focus on promoting growth and a "bottom line" approach.

What should one remember to do when working with D Personality Types? When working with a D, be direct, to the point, and brief. Focus on tangible points and talk about "what" instead of "how". Focus on business instead of social topics and try to be results oriented. Make suggestions for how to achieve the goal instead of talking about why it won't work. Try to thinking like a D, be confident and focus on problem solving.

What should one remember not to do when working with an D Personality Type? When working with a D, it's important not to focus too much on the problems, the negative points, and the small details. They are big picture thinkers and may perceive you as negative. When speaking, try to speak confidently. Avoid repeating yourself or rambling. Don't make generalizations and make statements without support. Focus on the topic and do not be too sociable, they want to get right to the point.

What is a high D DISC Style likely to do when working with details or when analyzing information? Because the D Style wants to look forward and think in bigger terms, they tend to ignore the information and analysis of past experiences and the details of what new projects may entail. They may ignore potential risks, not weigh the pros and cons, and not consider the opinions of others. They will likely offer innovative and progressive ideas and systems, but will need someone else to break down the project and work with the specifics.

What positive characteristics does the D Personality Type possess when in teams? They will likely be very autocratic managers in a team environment and rise to the top during crisis moments. They will provide direction and leadership, push groups toward decision making, will maintain focus on the goals, and will push for tangible results. They can sometimes intimidate groups because of their directness and lack of social interest around others. They are generally optimistic thinkers, but may have personality conflicts with others they perceive as negative. They function well with heavy work loads and when under stress and welcome new challenges and risks without fear.

What are personal growth areas for D Personality Types? They may be perceived as always speaking and not listening to others. The D may need to strive to listen more actively, be attentive to other team members' ideas, and to strive for consensus instead of making decisions alone. Instead of making only broad, decisive statements, be careful to explain the "whys" of your proposals and decisions. The D can be controlling and domineering at times and will need to watch their tone and body language when feeling frustrated or stressed out. The D can be all business and goals, therefore may need to focus more on developing personal relationships, and recognizing the opinions, feelings, and desires of others. It may take some intentionality to be friendlier and more approachable.

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