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Signs of a Weak Character

by Shannon Philpott

Although most people strive to exhibit strong character, the reality is that everyone has flaws. Actions that display a weak character may include selfishness, judgmental tendencies, angry outbursts and an unwillingness to work hard or show initiative.

Self-Centered

A person who is self-absorbed largely focuses on himself at the expense of others. This character trait is exhibited by behavior that dominates others through control and competition. A self-centered person sometimes attempts to achieve personal goals by denying others the opportunity to succeed, according to the study “Personality Traits: Their Classification and Measurement” by Floyd H. Allport and Gordon W. Allport, published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology.

Judgmental and Narrow-Minded

An individual who sticks to actions, behaviors and thoughts that are comfortable and familiar exhibits weak character. Fear and anxiety often limit the individual’s beliefs and thinking patterns, according to licensed marriage and family therapist Athena Staik in the Psych Central article “Ego Versus Ego-Strength: The Characteristics of a Healthy Ego and Why It’s Essential to Your Happiness.” As a result, this character trait leads others to believe that you are narrow-minded, unkind or even foolish. A person of strong character considers the feelings of others.

Lack of Motivation

When someone cannot find the will to work hard or show initiative, this lack of motivation is often a sign of a weak character. Shirking responsibilities, sub par work at school or on the job and displaying a disregard for deadlines leads to underachievement, a trait some are willing to accept, according to psychotherapist Steven Reiss in the book “The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking About People.” This weak personality trait is often a factor in personality and relationship problems that can affect partnerships, careers and family relations.

Minimal Self-Control

Although you are bound to lose your temper now and then, a lack of self-control shows weakness, according to clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer in the Psychology Today article “The Paradox of Anger: Strength or Weakness?” When you allow other people or situations to enrage you into outbursts, this vulnerability displays emotional weakness and a lack of self-control. The real strength is in calmly expressing your feelings versus acting out in anger or with violence.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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