Most of us occasionally act on impulse and usually live to regret it. A person with an impulsive personality acts on impulse continually. It will land him or her in some pretty dreadful situations, and if you associate closely with someone with this personality disorder, you will soon be up to your neck in trouble right along with them.
At first, these people may seem like appealing friends. There is nothing boring about them; they live a free and spontaneous lifestyle. They are always doing something new and different. However it’s only a matter of time until their impulsiveness leads them into trouble, and anyone with them will share their problems.
Here’s how to recognize someone with this personality disorder:
* They are extremely nervous and fidgety. They have difficulty keeping arms, hands, legs and feet still.
* They are easily frustrated.
* They do not consider the past or the future; for the impulsive person there is only now.
* They do not think of the possible consequences of a comment or an action. They indulge in risky behaviors because it seems like fun at the moment.
* They are extremely blunt. They blurt out whatever pops into their head. They are incapable of being tactful, and they frequently “put their foot in their mouth”.
* They interrupt conversations and finish other people’s sentences, because they have a problem with taking turns.
* They want things immediately. They will run up huge credit card bills rather than wait until they can afford something.
* They will have a poor work record, because they will quit their job if anyone offends them in the slightest way.
* They have a tendency to engage in risky behaviors: drug and/ or alcohol abuse, shoplifting, illicit sex, or problem gambling.
* When driving, they have a tendency to speed, run red lights, and are prone to traffic accidents.
* When shopping, they will hurry around the store, grabbing everything which takes their eye, then they may leave the whole works in a grocery cart in the check-out line, rather than wait in the line-up.
* They seldom finish a project, because they become distracted and rush off to do something else before it is completed.
* They have a tendency to brag, lie and make extreme promises they have no way of keeping.
If you are acquainted with someone with an impulsive personality, the most helpful thing you can do is to persuade them to get into therapy. Impulsiveness can be controlled. A qualified psychologist can lead the person to recognize and acknowledge the disorder, and then suggest methods of modifying the behavior so he can lead a normal and fulfilling life.
If you want to be a friend, offer support and encouragement while he is in treatment, but don’t become too involved in mutual projects or activities until you’re sure he’s on the road to recovery.