A Personality Defect We All Share

by Bill Brenner on August 6, 2011

When you hear about people with conflicting personalities, the image of an insane asylum patient comes to mind. If that were indeed the accurate picture, we would all be committed.

Mood music:

The truth is that we all have more than one personality. We can be one person in one group setting, then go to another group setting and become somebody else.

I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, either.

This all came up a couple weeks ago as I had coffee with my friend Audrey Clark, a Marblehead, Mass. native and singer-guitarist for The 360s. We were talking about how we can be at ease and talkative in a one-on-one setting or in a small group, then go off to another group setting — in this case, a crowded rock club where the lighting is dim or nonexistent and people don’t look like they do on Facebook.

For me the multiple personalities are something I treasure.

I consider my multiple personalities a strength, with a bunch of recovery tools rolled up into one happy mess.

On one side of my brain is the metal head. The guy who used to sing in a band and who to this day listens to all the hard-edged music he grew up on.

There’s the history nerd who has his work stations at work and home festooned with busts of historic figures, old news clippings and framed copies of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address and a variety of nautical artifacts. The guy who put his family in the station wagon last year and drove to Washington D.C.for a private tour of the White House West Wing (a friend works there).

There’s the security scribe who writes about the world of hackers, security vendors and government cybersecurity officials for CSOonline and CSO Magazine. On this one I actually have multiple personalities within multiple personalities.

Many of my friends in the security industry are a colorful mix of characters. Some are the hacking types who dress like rock stars and share my musical tastes. Others wear a suit and tie every day and work for multi-billion-dollar corporations and government agencies, and they often share my love for history. I float easily between both camps.

Then there’s the Catholic.

Faith is connected to everything I do. I live for God — or try to — and in all my other pursuits that’s what drives me. I’m active in my church community, getting up and doing readings at Mass and helping out with programs like RCIA. My personality is much different from that of my fellow parishioners, but we get on well, bound by a love for our families, children and God.

Finally and most importantly — I actually consider this central to my Faith journey — there’s the family man, the one who adores his wife and children and tries hard to make decisions that put them before work. I don’t always pull it off, but in the end, they are THE MOST IMPORTANT forces in my life. Well, God is, but my Faith does compel me to put family first. It’s complicated, I know, but I’m sure most of you understand.

All these things make for a challenging life. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ever since I lifted the chains of depression, OCD, fear-anxiety and addiction off of me, I’ve loved all the jagged pieces of my life all the more.

So if you have multiple personalities, don’t hide them. Don’t run from them. Embrace them.

As long as those personalities aren’t dominated by the darker forces of human nature.

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