One hallmark to being a stratospheric “D” personality type (from the DISC Personality Test for those who have never been laid off) is that we can be supremely opinionated and sometimes controlling, with giving little thought to what people think of it. For my “Directive, Decisive, Driven” kin folk, it also means that if we don’t keep that bit of magnificence reigned in we could very well end up being opinionated, controlling and alone.
The predominant characteristics of the “D” personality include:
- Wants to be in charge and in control. (dislikes being told what to do).
- Sets high standards (themselves and other people’s).
- High level of confidence bordering on arrogance
- Make decisions quickly.
- Is impatient with people who “waste time” or who seem incompetent.
- Don’t mind telling people they’re wrong. Extremely candid and blunt.
- Can get angry quickly (but usually get over it as fast).
A gander over this list and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why a lot of “D” personalities are also single personalities. I mean really, you might want to go into battle with one of these people but who wants to be “till death do us part”? Research estimates that 10% of the population falls into this personality profile. Which is a blessing otherwise we’d have a world full of reincarnated Napoleon’s vying to run the show.
Yet being lumped in with this group has done wonders for my career. It’s helped me achieve goals that otherwise might not have happened. But it hasn’t always helped make my relationships rainbows and butterflies as seems obvious. And being divorced and a “D” personality is like putting nitroglycerine on a roller coaster. Like most men, the financial ramifications of divorce make me contemplate murder-for-hire. When I first got divorced I was sending, what I considered, a serious amount of money to this woman and had no input on how it was spent. To go from the husband who managed all of the finances to the ex who was essentially writing blank checks was like a junkie in detox.
Initially this frustration helped propel me into an anti-depressant popping free-for-all, forcing confessions of my soul to a 60’s hippie rocker turned psychoanalyst. While the court system implies that child support is ‘for the children’, I just couldn’t see how new furniture, cars, and vacations were helping to support my kids. At any point when the conversation between her and I turned to finances, I reverted to a neanderthal state which involved howling, wailing my arms, or what some might call an epileptic seizure.
Last month marked the six year anniversary of being a single dad, which is almost as long as the Jap and I were married. It’s taken me almost this long to understand and finally come to grips with the feeling of helplessness in certain matters brought on by divorce. I still pay her, in my opinion, an offensive amount of money but what she does with it is of no consequence to me. As long as my children are provided for I’m satisfied. My attempts at trying to control that side of the equation are over and it has resulted in a relationship with the Jap that is as drama-free as ever.
But getting to this point came only after I began taking my emotions out of the situation and started approaching this post-divorce relationship like a business transaction. While on the surface that may sound sterile and systematic, it has been extremely beneficial for the kids and has kept me from going totally medieval on the woman. I have limited my communication with the ex to emails and texts unless phone calls are necessary. I have her child support payments wired into her account and I celebrate my birthdays and holidays separately from her and the Trainer. Ours is a relationship dictated by pick-up and drop-off times, medical visit de-briefs, school concerns and sporting events. I can literally go a week without setting eyes on or talking to her.
With a “D” Personality and no fear on confrontation, I realized that the more superfluous our communication the greater the chances of saying or doing something that would set one of us off. Ex spouses are “ex’s” for a reason with most being able to push certain buttons in us that others can’t reach. Knowing what situations are likely to send my blood pressure rising and staying away from them makes for a much happier Papa. Because like it or not, I must co-parent with the Jap for of the next 12 years and I can make it easier on myself or I can make it harder. The choice is mine.
Fortunately this approach meant the end of my love affair with Zoloft and I was able to give my shrink another hour of his life back to practice Bob Dylan covers.