Baby Stepping Fourth: Day 7, Column 5

Day 7 Assignment: List your unhealthy character traits

What’s the point? Simple. We all have instinctive defenses, such as those listed in column 4.

What lies behind those defense mechanisms, the motivations for our ill behavior, is a set of traits. In the 1930s language of Alcoholics Anonymous, those traits or weaknesses are called character defects.

Taking this in baby steps requires that we keep it simple. So, here are the basic defects that we’re looking for: dishonesty, selfishness, self-seeking, and fear. If none of those fit, you can use inconsiderate.

Here is an example: I used to raise my voice and argue when I felt threatened. The following basic defects applied:

  • Dishonesty – I didn’t want anyone (especially myself) to see how fearful I felt, so I confidently reacted in anger. My confidence, though not honest, was very loud.
  • Selfish – Like a toddler, I wanted what I wanted. When that wasn’t likely, I attacked the uncooperative person or group.
  • Self-seeking – It was important to me that I accomplish my goals or get my needs met. I never considered anyone else’s needs or desires unless they helped mine. I didn’t ask people for their perspective. I didn’t really care.
  • Fear – I never expected life to turn out well. Every little thing scared me and further proved to me that I was right; life was out to get me. Fear fueled my attacks on others and I felt justified using anger against them or isolating to protect myself.

In the above example, all 4 character defects came into play. Usually, listing the top 2 is enough. You don’t have to go overboard.

Contact me if you have any questions. This part of the inventory is the hardest. The reality is not easy to find when we begin this process. You are not alone. Reach out to others who have been through this Step. You can read more examples in Peeling and the Foul Four.

Finish this and you’re done with the Not So Scary Resentments Inventory of Step 4. Congratulations! Really, congrats!!

The next part of Step 4 Inventory is the Baby Steps of Fear. Click here to start.