Her Best Friend Moved Away and Now They Fight All the Time

Dear Vicki: I read your blog regularly and have enjoyed learning about the elemental personalities. Based on what you’ve written, I think I may be a primary Fire personality because, before I had children, I loved going to parties, I was very spontaneous, and would often say yes to something before I thought it through. My problem is that my best friend in the world moved away six months ago for an exciting opportunity as a corporate planner with a large firm. Maisy loves the job, but I really miss her. For several months I’ve been telling her how much I miss her and she always asks when we’re going to get together. I have three young children, so can’t easily travel, and Maisy doesn’t have much vacation time yet, so we haven’t been together since she moved. Last night, while talking on the phone, I told her again how much I miss her and she exploded, asking me why I keep telling her that if I’m not going to do anything about it. What is going on? Signed, Missing Maisy

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Dear Missing Maisy: This is an interesting problem, and one that really makes sense when you consider the elemental personalities involved. It does sound like you are a primary Fire personality for all the reasons you shared in your letter. As a Fire, you do want connections and will miss them when they are gone. The other elemental personality that really values connections, especially long-term ones, is the Earth personality. And since you have three small children and clearly must love being a mom, I suspect you probably have Earth as your secondary elemental personality.

Being a Fire/Earth personality combination will make connections all the more important to you. It will also make letting go of long-term relationships of any kind that much harder. With both Fire and Earth energy as the dominant force in your personality, it will be very natural – and truly a compliment from your soul – to tell Maisy how much you miss her whenever you can. But it’s clear that Maisy doesn’t get your meaning, which likely has to do with her elemental personality.

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New Boyfriend Makes Her Laugh, but Will It Last?

Dear Vicki: I’m writing because I had the great misfortune to fall in love with a wonderfully funny and outgoing guy. We met on a blind date and he’s like no one I’ve ever been with before. I laughed more than I’d laughed for years that first evening, so naturally agreed to see him again. It’s been a whirlwind of activity, which is so not me. All of my well-ordered ways seem to have gone out the window since Tad’s been in my life. And while part of me finds this exciting, another part is afraid that I’m losing who I am. I’m new to the Five Elements, so am unsure of my primary elemental personality, but can tell you that I’m a software programmer, if that helps. Oh, and Tad is a salesman who is very active in our local theatre. Surely this relationship can’t last, so should I just stop seeing him now before it really hurts? Signed, Losing My Way

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Dear Losing My Way: Normally, if you are both adults and are both having fun, I would ask why would you want to end the relationship. However, I suspect that what might be going on for you is that time with Tad sometimes feels a little uncomfortable. While it is fun, it probably also comes off as a bit out of control, which makes you feel like you are losing who you are. So, let’s look at why that might be.

Your belief that you should probably end the relationship with Tad before things get too crazy for you, coupled with concern about losing control and your occupation as a software programmer, suggest to me that you are a primary Metal personality. Metal people care deeply about order and process. They do detail very well, too, so make excellent programmers. The top priority for most Metal personalities is the ability to maintain control at all times. And finally, in the Five Elements model, endings sit in the Metal element. There is little doubt in my mind that you are a primary Metal elemental personality.

Tad, on the other hand, sounds a lot like a Fire elemental personality. Fire people don’t value order or process. In fact, they usually find too much order rather boring and drab. Fire people appreciate spontaneity and fun, which as you have aptly noted, isn’t something Metal people usually experience on their own. The ability to jump quickly from one place/project/idea to another is a hallmark of the Fire personality. In fact, this spontaneity is one of the major reasons that Fire people are not only great at acting, but also selling. They can easily go wherever the part – or the sale – needs them to go. But, this means that the life of a Fire person is usually the exact opposite of the well-ordered and structured life of a Metal person. So, what does that mean for your relationship?

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His Sister Dumped Him for a Party

Dear Vicki: I like your blog but haven’t seen many questions from guys. Here’s one and I hope you can help me; I’m having a problem with my sister, Anita. I’m 24 and she’s 22 and we’ve been close most of our lives. We are both working our way up the corporate ladder, although in different companies, and months ago set up to go to a business seminar together in a nearby city. We planned to drive there and back with each other and make a whole day of it. I know I’d been looking forward to it, and I think Anita had, too. Well, last week she called and told me that while she will drive to the event with me, she’s going to go straight from it to a “girls only” party at a friend’s nearby cabin. Now, I’m a big boy and can certainly drive home alone, but it feels like she’s dumping me and part of our time together for something else, which sort of sucks. Signed, Dumped Dude 

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Dear Dumped Dude: It’s very interesting that both you and your sister would end up in business. And that you are both “working your way up the corporate ladder” implies that you must both be primary Wood personalities. Wood people do well in business and, given their emphasis on the future, are usually very focused on getting ahead. The big difference between you and Anita is in the secondary element of your personalities. Anita’s ability to quickly change plans, especially in the name of fun, suggests she has Fire as her secondary personality. Your hurt at her changing plans suggests you probably have Earth as your secondary personality.

It’s very understandable that you would feel dumped by your sister. Your Wood personality will have specific expectations for your time together with Anita and those expectations matter. Also, Wood is the planning element and honoring plans, once made, also matters a lot to Wood people. On the surface, it would seem that, as a fellow Wood, Anita should feel the same way. And at one level, she probably does. If you asked her, I’m sure she’d say that the time with you and your plans together are very important to her. So why did she change them slightly and why is it bothering you so much? The answer lies in the significant difference between your secondary elemental personalities.

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Her Husband Never Finishes Anything

Dear Vicki: My husband of two years is a sensitive, creative, artistic man. Bart makes pottery, hand-builds furniture, and paints a lot. When not involved in a creative endeavor, he can usually be found at a coffee shop with friends discussing some profound topic. The problem I’m having with Bart is his inability to stay focused long enough to finish projects and promote them. He’s had many offers to paint murals for people or make furniture, but he never does because he’s still working on his other projects. I do freelance marketing for small businesses and not-for-profit groups and really love helping people. I have tried to help Bart get his act together, but as you can imagine, my trying to structure him doesn’t go over well. Frankly, I’m getting a little frustrated that he can’t seem to finish anything and it’s beginning to affect our marriage. Can you help? Signed, Frustrated in Franklin

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Dear Frustrated: You are at a key point in your marriage. The honeymoon is over and now you’re dealing with the nitty gritty of who you are at your core and how compatible you two really are. The good news for you and Bart is that you probably have very compatible elemental personalities. Bart clearly sounds like a primary Water personality. Water people are creative, artistic, and usually ready to discuss anything that seems big picture or philosophic. You, on the other hand, sound like a primary Wood personality. Your occupation in marketing – which is the ability to plan how to position and promote someone or something – is right up Wood’s alley. The fact that you are frustrated also speaks to Wood, because anger and frustration are where stressed Wood people usually go.

In the Five Elements model, Water and Wood relate to each other the Nurturing Cycle, with Water feeding Wood, which means you should have a happy, nurturing relationship. And you probably do; there are probably many times you feel loved and supported by your Water husband, and he feels the exactly the same about you. That is all well and good, but what you’re describing is a big issue that quite often creates tension in Water/Wood relationships and that’s the issue of structure.

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Move to New City Brings Out the Worst in Her Sons

Dear Vicki: I have two teenage sons who used to get along well, but lately seem to be at each other’s throats. Jack, age 17, can come off like a know-it-all but, in his defense, he is very smart. Timmy doesn’t like Jack correcting him or telling him what to do, especially in front of others, but he’s still young enough (14 years) to make poor choices. I think Jack is just trying to help him, but when he does, Timmy really blows up; he has a very quick temper. I know that siblings can fight, but I’m concerned because since we moved to a new city for my husband’s job a few months ago, they seem to be fighting more and more. I thought the boys would be excited by the move, but apparently not. Any suggestions on how to help them get along? Their constant squabbling over everything is getting unbearable. Signed, Battle Weary Mom

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Dear Battle Weary: To paraphrase Shakespeare, the course of sibling love never did run smooth, at least all the time. Siblings are often each other’s first friends, but also sometimes, first enemies. In the case of your sons, I’m sure you know that some fighting and competition is natural, especially in two boys so close in age. But if it gets out of hand it can hurt them both, so let’s look at what might be going on between them and see what we can do to help.

I suspect there are two primary dynamics at play between Jack and Timmy and, unfortunately, neither works to Timmy’s advantage. First, Timmy is the youngest, so from that perspective Jack will always appear to have the “upper hand” as the older brother. Second, if we look at their individual elemental personalities, I suspect they relate on the Controlling Cycle of the Five Elements model. In adults, Controlling Cycle relationships can take on a sense of support, but in children, it usually feels exactly like it sounds: controlling.

Based on your descriptions and the dynamic that has developed between the boys, I believe that Jack is a primary Metal personality. Metal people are usually very smart, know they are smart, and are very happy to share their wisdom with everyone. Stressed Metal personalities can become critical, controlling, and dismissive, and moving to a new city is stressful for people, whatever their age. For Metal personalities, letting go of things that matter is never easy, either, so a move to a new city will likely be especially hard on Jack. This may be partially why you are seeing his “know-it-all” behavior more with Timmy now. Metal people value control to keep their life stable. That sense of stability and control has gone out the window for Jack because of the move, so he is probably struggling some now and Timmy is bearing the brunt of it.

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