Personality Traits and Understanding Neuroticism

Do you have the time to listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once?
I am one of those melodramatic fools, 
Neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it

I spend quite a bit of time reading various topics in human behavior, anything related to psychology and sociology. I stumbled upon this website that has various different tests to give you a comprehensive view of your personality and how it changes over time. I found it on Mark Manson's blog, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It used to prompt me to take a survey every 30 days but there seemed to be a glitch there for a while, so I just take it as consistently as I possibly can. The website allows you to assess your Big Five Personality traits, attachment styles, relationship commitment levels, and recently narcissism. In addition, the website shows you your scores and the average scores from users who have taken the tests as well.

I've taken six surveys as of today and I took more notice to the neuroticism trait, labeled as 'N' in the table below, in the Big Five Personality test results.  Note that this table is only representative of one day, scroll further to see the traits over time.

The Big Five Personality Traits - 10/15/2020

Dark Green = Me
Light Green = Average

When you test for neuroticism, you are testing for 'emotional stability'. After analyzing my results, I consistently scored a little higher than average for neuroticism. This piqued my interest, because I thought it just meant you are slightly more emotional and maybe it was temporary, like a bad week. Maybe I would score closer to a 3.0 (average) sooner or later. But I couldn't help but think, this word sounded like I was consistently a basket case--cue the Green Day Song.

I decided to read more on the topic and take a few more tests on different websites to see if I got the same result. I did. The more research I did, however, the more I came to understand that this was just another word in psychology that has been demonized as 'crazy emotional person'. So, if you are scoring higher here and it sounds like a scary word, do some research. It's kind of like when someone uses the term 'psychotic' to describe a normal emotional reaction, because it made them uncomfortable. Hyperbolic, if you will.

This test in particular scores a bit differently and also gives you more insight into which of those personality traits effect you the most. Essentially the numbers that are furthest away from the 50th percentile (aka the middle) will effect you the most. On this test, I scored an 82 for neuroticism (or 16 in emotional stability, as it is labeled on another test) and 80 in Openness. So these two personality traits will have the most impact on my personality. 

I laugh at this and agree wholeheartedly, but I realize why I'm so mentally exhausted all the time. It's like I want to explore the world and everything in it, but it can also be quite overwhelming. My openness makes me fun, exciting, and intelligent. There are so many choices-- things to learn and do. And yet, I'm paralyzed by my empathetic nature and this greater self-awareness: wanting to please everyone and myself at the same time that neither seems to happen, at least not easily.

Of course, I am speaking in extremes here, but I can relate.

In any event, Psychology Today gives a little more perspective:

"While neuroticism has its benefits—such as intelligence, humor, more realistic if 'cynical' expectations, greater self-awareness, drivenness and conscientiousness, lower risk-taking, and a strong need to provide for others—it is also associated with self-criticism, sensitivity to others and social anxiety, moodiness and anxiety, poorer general health, greater day-to-day strain, and strong negative emotional reactions. As a result, neurotic people on average tend to find romantic, personal, and family relationships more effortful and less successful than desired... and generally aren’t as satisfied with life."

I don't believe this is the end all be all trait of why someone may have more difficulty in these areas. Nor should anyone just throw their hands up and call it quits if they are scoring higher in neuroticism. There are so many factors into how someone's life and relationships pan out. It is simply food for thought and is something to use to your advantage. Half the battle is knowing--and you've likely known it before getting the results. Personally, I find it invigorating getting to know each piece of myself and the ebb and flow of topics in mental health studies. We are constantly changing, evolution didn't stop and there's always so much more to learn as we grow as individuals and as a society.

Neuroticism, Empathy, and the HSP

Neuroticism could be a byproduct of being empathetic and/or an HSP (highly sensitive person). I had actually purchased a book about a year ago on the topic of the HSP and consider myself pretty empathetic--sometimes to a fault--ironically. So you could say things are coming full circle, check back here or on the main page of my blog to explore more on those topics.

The Rest of the Traits & Tests

By now, you are probably wondering about the other traits. I think they are pretty self explanatory and the graphs are very readable. I will do more analysis on the other traits and how they may or may not be related in the future.  For now, leave a comment and share your thoughts, feelings, or personal experiences. I'd love to have a conversation and you can submit anonymously!

Big Five Personality Traits

  • Slightly less extraverted than the average person
  • Just about average, sometimes less agreeable than the average person
  • A bit more conscientious than the average person
  • and quite a bit more neurotic and open than the average person

Attachment Style

  • Generally preoccupied (anxious) and this time scored higher in fearful-avoidant.
  • Mother - Secure
  • Father - Dismissive-Avoidant
  • Relationship - Preoccupied & Fearful-Avoidant
  • Friendship - Dismissive-Avoidant

Narcissism - NPI Test

  • A bit more narcisstic than the average person, but still in a range with a very large percentage of people.

Subjective Well Being

  • See the last graph below, remember that this is subjective and everyone measures themselves and their successes differently.

Neuroticism & Openness Over Six Surveys

Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness Over Six Surveys

Attachment Styles

Dark Blue - Me
Light Blue - Average

Attachment Styles

Key to all relationships in upper right hand corner of graph, yellow square represents overall attachment style.

Narcissism as of 10/15/2020

Red line = Average
Dark purple line = Me

Subjective Well Being

This is based on my own perception, general population rates themselves as 2.96.
Interestingly enough, it was above a 3 before the pandemic. My score has always been lower for this test.


Ask me anything!


Email *

Message *