Creating a Negitive Characteristic List


Everyone has a list of positive and negative behavioral characteristics. In this exercise we will focus on the negative for reasons that will become obvious.

Part 1. - Set-up 
Divide an 8.5 x11 page into two columns - one 2” wide titled NAMES and one 6” wide titled NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR CHARACTERISTICS.

Part 2. - Names 

A. In the Names column write in the first name of your parents, all siblings & relatives who were in your family of origin.

B. Continue by writing in the first names of your spouse and children. Include other significant relationships such as ex-spouses, children from previous marriages and in-laws.

C. Next, starting from the your earliest memory in elementary school, write down the first names of friends, teachers, and other close people in your life at that time. Do the same for Jr. high, high school, college, vocational school and grad schools you attended.

D. Now go through the jobs you have held. Include all bosses and a few peers, reports, clients and any other employees who you remember. Finish with 30 – 40 names on your list.

Part 3. - Behaviors 

  In the NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR CHARACTERISTICS column write in 3 – 5 examples of ‘acting out’ or negative behaviors that each of these people exhibit when they become tired, stressed, moody or angry. These behavioral descriptions are set patterns that anyone, having spent enough time with them, would also observe.

Part 4. - Top Ten

A. Now disregarding the NAMES list ----- Circle ten (10) NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS that stand out from the rest of the list as most negative to you. Behaviors you know will push your buttons every time you see other people do these behaviors. You can choose similar words that mean the same thing, but not the same word no matter how many times it appears on the list.

B. Force a rank order. Next to the ten circled words place a number from 1 (high reaction) to 10 (moderate reaction).

C. On a separate piece of paper, preferably a 3X5 card, re-write the rank ordered list 1-10. Carry this list to one-on-one or group meetings with co-workers, have it near your phone and when talking with family members.

Part 5. 

Results from this exercise. 

You learned to expand your vocabulary of words that describe negative behavior in others. 

You learned to identify a unique list of behaviors that, when ever they are acted out by others, create a reaction in you. Your Top Ten list You learned that this list is very close to the behaviors you would least like others to see in you. 

What does this Top Ten list represent? 

Your behavioral hot buttons. Negative behaviors that you are hypersensitive to when others act them out. 

Behaviors that have negative, emotional charges associated with them. 

Behaviors that did not work in your family’s range of “normal.” There may have been punishment associated with these behaviors. 

A list of behaviors that are outside what your family system deemed as acceptable behaviors. 

Why are we wired this way? 

Because adapting to family behavioral norms is the default mode for all children to survive in family systems. Adapting to a wide range of functional or dysfunctional environments(family beliefs & behaviors) assures continuation of life. It is a matter of survival. What is not a part of the default survival mode is how to feel seen, understood, acceptable, chosen and valued from our families, friends, partners or co-workers. 

Part 6. 

How to use the Top Ten list. 

This list of hypersensitive behaviors is stored in each person’s psyche, hidden as it were, from conscious awareness. As with all aspects of the psyche, this list represents potential energy that builds up and then seeks release. 

This release is activated by being in relationship with people who are doing a specific behaviors on your Top Ten list. We have an investment in finding these people each day in order to release this energy. We marry them, hire and work for them. 

Two people witnessing sadness, anger, loss, or gratitude in another person may have completely different feelings. The feelings can be positive or negative. 

To stay conscious of these behaviors, carry this list to one-on-one or group meetings with co-workers, clients, venders, and bosses. Have it near your phone when talking people who are difficult to communicate with, yet are important people in your life.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Taylor Consulting  All Rights Reserved.

© Scott Taylor 2016