By Published On: June 19, 20220 Comments

From The Editor

One of the greatest threats to relationships, organizations, churches and ministries are character disorders. Rooted from original sin, these disorders if unhindered wreak havoc in the lives of those affected.

Christian pastors and leaders may find this listing helpful to provide insight into just how pervasive the destructive effects of sin really is in this world. Though written to identify men’s  character disorders, it is certainly applicable to women, too.

The insights provided by this listing have many possible applications for pastors and Christian leaders. This listing can be useful in counseling, in understanding mystifying behaviors and gaining insight on underlying motivational perspectives of some extremely hurtful behaviors.

Most importantly, this listing can be used as a tool for honest self-reflection and self-improvement. Personality excesses and character disorders can greatly affect any pastor’s ministry.  Recognizing those character weaknesses which most affect us will hopefully direct us to an appreciably greater understanding of just how great the need for the Gospel really is for us, our hearers, and our world.

May God bless your use of this valuable tool.

Thomas F. Fischer

Character Disorders

This is a list of the traits of people with character disorders. We should work on overcoming these attributes and avoid people who posses many of them.

1. Emotional immaturity. Behavior is not age appropriate.
2. Self-centeredness. He comes first and foremost. Is insincere about real interest in other people.
3. Little if any remorse for mistakes.
4. Poor judgment.
5. Unreliability, undependability, irresponsibility.
6. Inability to profit from experience – does not learn a lesson from making mistakes.
7. Inability to postpone immediate gratification – what he wants, he wants now. Impulsive and demanding.
8. Conflict with, or defiance of, authority.
9. Lack of appreciation for the consequences of his actions.
10. Tendency to project his own shortcomings on to the world about him – frequent blaming. Never at fault.
11. Little if any conscience.
12. Behavior develops little sense of direction – often uninfluenced by concepts of right and wrong.
13. Gives lip service to professed values and beliefs.
14. Often involved with illegal or unethical acts.
15. Shallow interpersonal skills – inability to experience and verbalize deep feelings and emotions. Often insensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Cannot identify with how others feel.
16. Ability to put up a good ‘front’ to impress and exploit others.
17. Low stress tolerance with explosive behavior.
18. Can ‘con’ to get what he wants to meet his needs, often at the expense of others. The   behavior is highly repetitious and many people are used.
19. Sees others as pawns on the chess board. Maneuvers people around for his own purposes. When done with them,  they are ‘checkmated’ or rejected.
20. Ready rationalization – rarely at a loss for words – twists conversation to divorce himself from responsibility. When he  is trapped, he just keeps talking or changes the subject, or gets angry.
21. Incapable of maintaining genuine loyalties to any person, group, or code.
22. Chronic lying.
23. Does/did poorly in school with attendance, grades, attitudes, and relationships with teachers. Was in conflict with parents over school performance.
24. ‘Chip on shoulder’ attitude – cocky and arrogant.
25. Rebellious to parental authority. Violates standards of the home frequently.
26. Cancels commitments without sound reason or warning.
27. Uses friends for money, transportation, favors, time, attention, etc.
28. A taker–not a giver. Gives for show but expects something in return.
29. Glimpses of integrity and emotion are seen – but short lived. Gives you hope he’s changing, but returns soon to deviant  behavior.
30. Lives life of avoiding responsibility vs. getting the job done.
31. Poor self-motivation – often described as lazy and listless. Lacks ambition. Not helpful with routine chores.
32. Fun is the cornerstone of his life.
33. Sexually curious or active. Places great importance on his sexual abilities. Female sexual   partner often feels used and demanded of.
34. Lacks well-defined values.
35. Comes across initially as caring and understanding and reads others ‘like a book’ because he   makes his business knowing how to maneuver people.
36. In a trust relationship, inevitably betrays and violates the commitments and gets blocked emotionally when gets too close to those he says he loves.
37. Angry mood most of the time.
38. Uses sex to control, cover his insecurity or make up after a fight.
39. Has no concept of open sharing of ideas, feelings, emotions. Conversation goes per his direction. He has the last word always. He determines how, when, where we talk, and about what he wants to talk about.
40. Can show real tenderness of feeling, then return to customary behaviors. Two (or more) vastly different sides to his personality are seen.
41. Poor planner with time and activity.
42. Is very slow to forgive others. Hangs onto resentment.
43. Excessively concerned with personal appearance, e.g., hair, weight, type of car driven, clothes, having money to flash, career dreaming.
44. Seems to enjoy disturbing others. Likes to agitate and disrupt for no apparent reason.
45. Feels entitled to the ‘good life’ without working for it.
46. He never seems to get enough of what he wants. He leaves others drained and confused.
47. Others get upset when in his presence. There’s a feeling of guardedness, caution, and suspicion that he creates in others.
48. Moody – switches from nice guy to anger without much provocation.
49. Poor work history – quitting, being fired, interpersonal conflicts.
50. Repeatedly fails to honor financial obligations. Does not pay the bills in a responsible and timely way.
51. Unable to sustain a totally faithful relationship with loved one of the opposite sex. Flirtatious, overly friendly. Makes inappropriate sexual comments to/about other women.
52. Seldom expresses appreciation. Again, is thinking of his needs vs. needs of others.
53. Grandiose. Convinced that he knows more than other people and is correct and right in almost all he says and does.
54. Clueless as to how he comes across to others and to how he is viewed. Gets defensive when confronted with his behavior. Never his fault. May be apologetic and seem sincere but soon repeats offensive behavior without appearing to have learned from it.
55. Motive for behavior is usually self-serving and he does not recognize it.
56. Can get very emotional, even tearful, but behavior is more about show or frustration rather than contrition or sorrow.
57. He breaks women’s spirits to keep them dependent.
58. Survives on threats, intimidation to keep others chained to him.
59. Sabotages anything that makes his spouse/girlfriend happy. Wants her to be happy only through him and to have few/no outside interests/friends/family.
60. Highly contradictory. He loves me, he hates me. He threatens me with poverty, then indulges me or our relationship.
61. He is always working somebody over – either subtly or aggressively for a favor, deal, break, freebie, discount, etc.
62. Double standard. He is free to do his thing, but expects others to be what he wants them  to be/do. He doesn’t let others be themselves.
63. Convincing. Successful at getting other people to believe in his perception of a problem. Is adamant that people side with him vs. allowing them to feel/believe differently.
64. Hides who he really is from everyone. No one really knows the real him.
65. Scorns everyone/everything that he disagrees with. Does not allow for differences to be respected. Scorns the responsible world.
66. Difficult to pin him down to a certain level of integrity that you can live with. Resists all efforts to define his values, behaviors, standards.
67. Kind to you usually only if he’s getting from you what he wants.
68. He has to be right. He has to win. He has to look good.
69. He announces, not discusses. He tells, not asks.
70. He does not discuss openly before hand. You get to deal with “after the fact” information.
71. Controls money of others but spends freely on himself and others.
72. You end up feeling responsible for the problem. He gets to your feelings. No matter what, he wins, you lose.
73. He wins at the expense of your feelings. Thinks only of the end result without considering your feelings, needs in the process.
74. Attitude of “I”ll meet your needs if you meet mine. If you don’t, I’ll find someone else who will or I will not meets yours”.
75. Unilateral condition of, “I’m OK and justified so I don’t need to hear your position or ideas”
76. Does not take responsibility for his behavior.
77. The hurt he describes is because he got caught or he’s mad that you’re mad, and not because he believes he made a mistake.
78. Secret life. You’re often wondering what he does or who he is that you don’t know about.
79. Always feels misunderstood.
80. Most of the time you feel miserable living with this person. When it’s good you relish the peace but that is usually short lived. He is so skilled at making a mountain out of a molehill   and you become so tired of the conflict. It drains all of your energy, love, and hope.
81. Is usually through listening once he’s made his arguments.
82. We talk about his feelings, not mine.
83. Unchallenged by people because they seem to be put off by him, afraid of him or he eludes them.
84. Is not interested in problem-solving openly.
85. Seems very interested in discerning personalities so that he can strategize how to manipulate them.

Dr. J. Kent Griffiths

This article is copyrighted reprinted by permission of Dr. J. Kent Griffiths. Copyright 1998–All Rights Reserved. Ministry Health is pleased to have this insightful article as part of the support for Pastors and Christian leaders. Dr. Griffiths invites inquiries regarding this article. Inquiries may be sent to Ministry Health at Dr. Griffiths may also be contact by phone (801) 268-6558 or via email from his Website

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