Knowing your Personality Profile Matrix (PPM), and how you are wired, is critical to staying focused, on task, and doing the right things that will help you achieve your goals. Think of a car with a wheel out of alignment. When you are really focused on where you are going, and you have both hands on the wheel it’s easy to stay on the road. But the minute you take your hands off the wheel, or are not paying attention, you’ll drift off quickly. One major professional goal is to really know your PPM and use that knowledge to stay balanced and aligned.
In total there are about 20 different areas I assess when working with a client – which we cover in the basic certification course. This will give you the broadest scope of how your PPM will influence everything you do.
The first of those areas is your Coping Mechanism for Stress.
It’s based on a model by Virginia Satir, a very famous family therapist, who said there were four ways in which we all cope with stress: Blaming, Placating, Computing, and Distracting.
Each one of us will do all four from time to time – but more often under intense stress and pressure.
How is it useful to know this? When you are in a professional or personal situation and you start to feel stress you’ll likely go into one of these coping mechanisms. Learning this will help you to know when you’re in stress and prevent problems that will occur if you try to deal with others in that state.
Virginia Satir’s 4 Coping Mechanisms For Stress
Blamer: The Blamer feels powerless and uncared-for. All alone in the world, they feel that nobody will ever do anything for them.
When they feel stressed, their feelings of isolation increase further. As a result, they compensate by trying to take charge, bluffing their way out, or hiding their aloneness in anger.
Placater: The Placater is first of all concerned about how they will be perceived. Their center of attention is on themselves and particularly on their perception of how others see them.
Their response to stress is largely to avoid it. If there are any ‘uncomfortable truths’, then they will generally try to avoid talking about them (and may in fact go to extraordinary lengths to avoid any such confrontation).
Computer: The Computer feels exposed when showing emotions, perhaps because they have difficulty controlling them or they may have been criticized as a child for showing emotion. Men, in particular, tend to be Computers.
To avoid having to confront emotion, when faced with stress, the Computer resorts to logic, becoming super-rational about the situation and working hard to appear super-cool on the outside (although they may be churning like mad on the inside).
Distracter: The Distracter easily becomes confused by stressful situations. Instead of taking some positive action, they are not sure what they should do and so grasp at straws.
In practice, they may well respond to the stress by shifting between the three previous types of Placater, Blamer and Computer. In doing so, they are trying in vain to find some solace in different practices.
Leveler: The ideal respondent to stress accepts it as normal. They are comfortable with ambiguous and uncertain situations and even engage with threats rather than fighting them or running away.
They thus ‘tell it as it is’, without exaggerating or minimizing the situation. They are comfortable with their own feelings and are able to discuss them.
When confronted with stress, know your own situation and seek to become a Leveler. We’ll also talk about how to use this information with others when we get the next survival skill.