Which of these 4 personality types are you?

These four styles are: Blamer; Placater; Computer; and Distracter

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By Delna Mistry Anand

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 6:45 PM

We all have that person who is quick to point a finger to anyone and everyone but themselves when something goes wrong. Even if it is an action that they took themselves, they are likely to say something like: “But I did this only because you told me.” Then we have a person who drives right into a guilt trip: “It’s all because of me”.

Every social dynamic involves different personality types, which leads to different perspectives. Learning how to understand and respond to them puts us in a better position to influence, communicate, lead, collaborate, negotiate business and even manage our stress levels.

Renowned psychotherapist Virginia Satir (1916–1988), widely known as the mother of family therapy, observed that people react with four distinct styles of communication; it could be just one or a combination of these styles. And this behaviour is developed over the years, often without our active awareness.

These four styles are: Blamer; Placater; Computer; and Distracter. And when these styles are used automatically and repetitively, it becomes problematic. However, we can also adopt these styles to gain control in a situation.

Blamer: The fault-finder, the critical one who does not accept responsibility for anything they may have done wrong. The one who wants to be seen as ‘right’. Do you have any relationships in which you find the opposite person is always wrong? Or is there someone constantly controlling you with such behaviour? A ‘blamer’ stance can be used to our advantage in a situation where the other person needs to be shaken up in order to take onus.

Placater: The people pleaser, pushover, someone who cannot take a decision and does not want to rock the boat. Usually, this person faces a deep-rooted low self-esteem, constantly seeking validation from others. You can adopt this stance effectively in a delicate situation where you’re dealing with someone with a fragile ego, and you may need to show prudence and flexibility in order to navigate this person back on track.

Computer: Someone who is super-reasonable, calm and computes the situation with logic, devoid of emotion. These people may be disconnected with feelings and overly focused on facts, authorities or tradition. They could be seen as rigid and lacking empathy.

Distractor: The extra-talkative, unfocused, erratic person who may not like making eye contact or answering questions directly. They are quick to change the subject, and often skirt the real issue. While a default ‘distractor’ stance is not always helpful, in an intense situation it may help diffuse a conflict.

Satir also observed a fifth style, which is the leveller. The leveller expresses themselves without blaming, placating, distracting or being super-reasonable. They are able to level with others, which means they show flexibility in taking a stance required for that situation. The leveller does not lean on his or her default personality but is able to assess situations accurately and communicate their feelings, desires and intentions honestly.

Observing our default style of communication and using our personality mindfully can be a game-changer in the way you communicate with others, putting the power back in your hands.


Connect with Delna Mistry Anand across social media @DelnaAnand

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