Are you more of a Problem Stopper, or Problem Passer?

In a previous post entitled, “Are problems usually pregnant, with intrusive parents?” I offered to follow-up “to further unpack what that really means by demonstrating some recent findings in empirical research” (St. Jean 2022). The main gist of the blog was as follows: “The idea is that when you become aware of a presenting problem, if you examine it further, there will most likely be at least one more little problem on the inside, and one or more bigger problem on the outside.”

In terms of empirical research, Coleman et. al (2022) found that, “Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is highly comorbid with substance use, mood, and other personality disorders.” The idea is that when there is one problem, other problems are often hanging around. I guess you can say that sometimes problems like other problems as company. A narcissistic type person is one who primarily focuses on their self-interests over that of others, mostly thinks of themselves as being entitled to be served by others, and feel considerably vulnerable when not receiving such self-prioritized treatment.

The example above is one demonstration of instances where problems bring more problems. The mood issues may relate to their reactions when not getting their way, or technique to get their way with others. The substance use related problems may relate to their attempts to self-medicate to manage associated stressors.

You may know some people who display narcissistic traits. Do their behavioral traits usually cause less or more complications with communication? Do you usually feel more or less comfortable around them? Do the difficulties you face in the process influence you to be more or less agitated in your interactions with others?

Keep in mind that since problems are likely to bring more problems, if you do not like problems in your life, then you are encouraged to be a problem stopper as much as possible. This means that when you find yourself being the recipient of problems passed on by someone else, do your best not to pass them along to someone else. Work with your therapist to develop certain techniques that can be effective at helping you to be more of a “problem stopper”, than a “problem passer.” You will be glad that you did.

Written By: Peter K. B. St. Jean, Masters Level Intern


Coleman, S. R. M., Oliver, A. C., Klemperer, E. M., DeSarno, M. J., Atwood, G. S., & Higgins, S. T. (2022). Delay Discounting and Narcissism: A Meta-Analysis With Implications for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. Advance online publication.

St. Jean, Peter. 2022. Are Problems Usually Pregnant with Intrusive Parents?

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