Adapting personality types are most often the clients that come to me because they are experiencing panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive issues. I am not saying that other personality types do not or cannot experience these anxiety symptoms, but I DO BELIEVE that the adapting personalities are much more prone. Why?
Adapting personality types are best described by examples of how they manifest themselves. They are most often the Caregivers, Conformers, Peacekeepers and the Perfectionists.
These four personality types have a very strong need for approval, whether they see it in themselves, or not.
The Caregivers want approval, and seek that approval by being needed by other people. They are very quick to jump to the aide of others, very much enjoying the role of being needed and respected for what they do. Problem is, that when in this mode, they often repress their own needs, seldom asking for the help of others for fear of being seen as needy, which then can become a threat to their need for being seen as having it altogether and being so dependable. They tend to repress their own needs. Others take it for granted that they are rather self-sufficient. The end result is that the Caregivers can begin to feel frustrated and resentful that no one can read their minds and be there for them. This can cause such inner frustration and conflict for them, that anxiety, panic or OCD symptoms often result.
The Conformers seek approval by always trying to do what they feel is expected of them, the SHOULDS. In an effort to please and secure respect and approval, they find themselves seldom able to say NO, and set boundaries, often over-extending themselves and feeling conflicted. Eventually, the frustration that their needs are not truly being met, yet dependent on approval, the conflict leads to anxiety, panic or OCD.
The Peacekeepers want to AVOID conflict at all cost. To do this, they find themselves going along with what others want. They can carry this avoidance on for so long, but eventually, it leads to a blow-up which then creates conflict, the worst thing they fear, so they withdraw even more.
The Perfectionist tries so hard to do all they can to gain a secure foothold in life, the more you do and harder you work, the more guaranteed they are of feeling of secure and safe, and gaining a sense of approval in a world they often see as an uphill struggle where no one does it quite like them. It is only a matter of time before they over-whelm themselves, taking on more and more, and feeling less satisfaction. When they eventually hit the wall or burnout, panic and OCD are common results.
We must recognize that Adapting Personalities are the salt of the earth, good people but at the same time, they must learn to set boundaries and limits as to how far they stretch to gain approval from others, especially the controlling and manipulative personalities. The adapting types are so obsessed with approval, that they can easily become targets for people of lesser conscience who crave control and power.