Is it possible?

Is it even possible to change your personality? I need to try to change some of the aspects of my personality/mindset, but is it too late to do so? People don’t change, right?
My theist wife tried for years to get me to change my belief system and become a devout christian like her, but people don’t change, right? I didn’t.
There are large parts of my personality that I know will never change, my love of music(black metal), my atheism, my feelings for my family, even my political leanings.
The things I’m talking about are my reactions to the things around me in daily life, all the idiot drivers I encounter on the road, the media, and all of the crap going on in this country and around the globe.
I’ve been retired for over 7 years now(damn), and am dealing with increasing pain and numbness in both feet and both legs now. My neurologist doesn’t have any answers except to deal with it and come back in a year.
The arthritis in my knees, hips, neck, lower back, and right elbow only add to the daily fun. It’s no wonder I’m always looking at the negative side of basically everything going on around me.
I catch myself thinking like I’m still a teenager/young adult, not a 63 year old goat. I try to react to things like my grandfather might have done, or anyone from that generation, or even my mom’s generation. My dad was a piece of shit, and unfortunately, I catch myself sounding just like he did, and I swore that I wasn’t going to be like him.
My attempts at changing my reactions to things around me last for a couple days, then it’s back to the same old man.
Whenever I catch myself reacting to something(it could be anything) like he did, and even swearing exactly like he did, it makes me angry. My dad was an angry, racist, workaholic who rarely spent time with his kids. As the only son(I had 3 sisters) I was delegated to be his “helper” when it came to working extra jobs on weekends to make extra money. He never “asked” me to do anything, I was always told what I was going to be doing.
He died in late 2001, and I wasn’t sorry to see him go.
Maybe it’s too late to change the parts of my personality that I got from him, and I’ll eventually die an angry old man like he did, I don’t know.
I consider myself to be more intelligent than the “average” person, but there are some very smart people on this forum that I’ve interacted with. Any suggestions or thoughts from others would be appreciated. I need to rid myself of all of this anger in me.
I’m always going to be dealing with chronic pain, that’s never going to change, it’s a big part of the problem I think, but is there anything that might help me be a better person?
Are there any tricks or methods that could help?

1 Like

Too late? Bullshit!

You can change at any point. I’m almost half your age, but I was a rage-aholic, constantly triggered, and a down right negative person. I had a very very very, scarily similar father. I use to be face down in a bag of cocaine dealing with it, it’s seriously like eating an elephant.

I literally started by questioning every single thing I did, I started asking why am I doing this? Why did I react this way? What could I do different?

The harshest question for me was asking, does this help me be perceived as who I want to be?

I honestly had to force myself to try new experiences, I started gardening, went vegan, ate strange foreign food, traveled, etc, etc. I did every single thing that man told me not to do. I took my father and walked the lifestyle he painted as awful shit to me. Hell I experimented with everything, I mean EVERYTHING he told me not to do. I tested everything he drove into my head as facts or direction.

I don’t recommend my self destructive activities, but try experiencing or talking to people you would never talk to or associate with. I had to become a people person in order to change, my circle was just that, putting me in a big circle. It was uncomfortable and horrible, but I’m a much happier content and relaxed person now. I’m no longer him. It really might be as simple as just making “good” choices aligned with who you want to be.


NO! Stop trying to change your personality NOW! This is a bullshit mind-trap that will cost you time and money. You will NEVER change your personality. Your focus is completely backward and I have only read the first two sentences of your post. Prior to commenting further, I will go back and read the rest and see how fucked up you actually are.

Okay, I specifically Quoted you on the major red flags I see and I will comment on each one.

You can change your reactions to things in your daily life. That is not changing your personality. Personality is a nonsense word. It is an accumulation of all your behavior that happens over time. You mentioned driving and the idiots on the road. Do you know you are an angry person who blames everyone else and everything else for your problems? What is ANGER?

Anger, every time you use it, in every life situation, is an attempt to get what you want. You are angry because something is not the way you want it to be. Anger reactions are your primary ‘go-to’ to get what you want. For some reason, it has worked for you until now. This usually indicates someone with a military background, police, upper management, or even self-employed. Someone in a position where they have never been challenged on their bullshit anger reactions before.

Anger is the most basic of all human reactions. When you talk about ‘Changing your Personality’ you are really talking about ‘Acting like a fucking adult and not a god damned spoiled child.’

When a child is young and mommy says, ‘No, you can’t have a cookie.’ The response is to get angry, cry, whine, and complain. All anger is an attempt at manipulation; at getting what you want. When you were told that you could not stay up late and watch TV. All anger is an attempt at manipulation; an attempt to get what you want. All of it!

From the idiot in the car in front of you who is going too fucking slow; and you want the dumbshit to go faster, to the asshole that cut you off. How dare that son of a bitch gets in your fucking lane! You are driving like a fucking child who wants a cookie. YOU ARE THE ASSHOLE. You don’t get what you want so you whine and cry like a little bitch. ‘Why in the fuck can’t these assholes see that you are on the road and you are fucking special.’

You don’t need to change your personality. You need to stop acting like a spoiled little kid.

Getting old sucks. I also have a bit of numbness in my right foot. I am missing the meniscus in my right knee and one of the muscles that hold the patella in place. I have been walking, bone on bone, for years. I’ve had two surgeries and will need a prosthetic if I live long enough. I still play squash 2 or 3 times a week. I just wrap it tight and go. My secret to old man pains has been to stay active. Then, at least in my mind, I blame all my pains on being active and not on getting older.

I suppose I could get ANGRY, and what the fuck would that do but make me look like a grumpy shithead to everyone around. Can I really want to be young and pain-free again? Can I really want my leg to not hurt? How realistic is that? I could just sit in my room and stew, and wish everything in my life were different. Fuck Life! Or, I could just get on with my day.

I plan on being dead soon. That’s certainly not going to keep me from enjoying the squash courts, fishing, a bit of poker now and again, playing guitar, writing (which I love to do,) and more.

NO! ‘IT’ ‘DOES NOT’ ‘MAKE’ ‘YOU’ ‘ANGRY.’ This is complete bullshit. You choose to get angry because you can’t have what you want. Anger is your ‘go-to’ reaction and the fucking idiots in your life have allowed you to get away with this BULLSHIT for way too long. You have turned yourself into an ASSHOLE and no one has stopped you.

No one has a little magic button that they can push that is going to result in you getting angry. Anger is a secondary emotion. It is a choice. It is the result of the way you process information and think about situations. (That does not mean, our anger is always unjustified. Anger works! If it didn’t, we would not use it.)

Aristotle said it best.
"Anybody can become angry-that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. "

NO! Your dad was just like you. Getting through the world the best way he knew how. He made sense out of his environment and then made choices. He made his choices based on the best information he had. He made choices based on his understanding of the world around him. He did some shitty things, all people do. The shitty things may even outweigh the nice things, it happens. The end result of all this is — SO THE FUCK WHAT. Leave your fucking dad alone. He has enough fucking problems without your shitty attitude. YOU CAN’T CHANGE HIM! You don’t get to CHANGE YOUR LIFE. YOU CAN’T HAVE THE FUCKING COOKIE. Live with it. Your dad was a human being with human-being faults. You are a human being with human-being faults. He was the way he was and you are the way you are and this is the life we live. Stop trying to change shit you have no power and no control over. You can not change other people and you can not change the past. You CAN understand the past differently.

I consider myself to be more intelligent than the “average” person,

This is a really-stupid mistake. “A fascinating study into self-perception has found that 55 percent of Americans think they are more intelligent than the average American
So it’s average to think you are smarter than average.

Really smart people know how to see the intelligence in others. There is an expression I have carried with me a long time; “People are whole and complete and capable of making their own life decisions." When doing therapy, this is something I remind myself of constantly. While I may clearly think I know what is going on in a client’s life, what I know does not matter. The client, the person I am talking to, is the one that will come up with his or her own truth. They are the one that will put shit together for their life. They are the ones that will come up with a solution that works for them. When it comes to their life; they are the smart ones. What’s amazing, is that when people begin treating people like they are smart, when we learn to look for what is really-smart in others, we become much smarter as well.

So, back to the main question. Can you change your personality? NO! Stop trying. You are a gruff, crotchety, old piece of shit, accept it. JUST FUCKING ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE AND UNDERSTAND IT IS PERFECTLY OKAY TO BE A GRUFF, CROTCHETY, OLD, PIECE OF SHIT. And that is coming from a poo-flinging primate with a rolling pin stuck up his ass. GROW THE FUCK UP, and understand that you can not have everything you want in this fucking life.

YOU CAN BE A GRUFF, CROTCHETY, OLD MAN who drives a cool car and just understands that there are going to be dangers on the roads from people making mistakes.

You can be a gruff, crotchety, old man, who had a shitty father and a rough childhood that is amazed at how his own life turned out.

You can be a gruff, crotchety old man who understands he is a gruff crotchety old man, admits it to himself, and simply tells others, "Hey, pay me no mind, I’m a gruff crotchety old man.’

You can be a GCOM in all you do. It’s who you are not what you do. So when the woman in front of you at the supermarket is taking too much time digging through her purse and you want the old bag to hurry up and you feel that anger reaction coming on, you can just admit to yourself that you are a GCOM and you have to learn that you can’t always have what you want.

When that person driving by flips you the bird, you might want to wonder if they are going to grow into a GCOM like you. Or you could get ANGRY, honk your horn, flip them off too, and wonder what kind of asshole drives like them!

YOU don’t change. The things you do change. The ways you think, change. The way you deal with problems and the world around you, changes. You are already making those changes. You have already started. The fact that you posted here shows you are searching. You are taking an inventory and now you want to make something different. It is not your personality that you make different. It is what you do with your personality. You become different by doing things differently. You become different by thinking about things differently.

I strongly suggest reading something about REBT. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Principles, Techniques, Efficacy

It is our thinking that controls our behavior.
There is an activating event (Something Happens)
Then there is a consequence (You made me angry.)
This is not the way things work. This is a lie.

There is an activating event.
I have thoughts about that event and an emotional reaction.
I respond to the event based on my thoughts and emotional reactions.

Change your mind and you change the world! (Another favorite expression of mine.)

A great book is "The Situation is Hopeless but Not Serious.’ Carl Whitticar

Good Luck to you. It sounds like you are ready to make some changes for the better.


[quote=“Cognostic, post:3, topic:3180”]
you can just admit to yourself that you are a GCOM and you have to learn that you can’t always have what you want.
[/quote] = wisdom, humanity, maturity, reason.


I like this post and I want to point out some facts. Satanic DID NOT change his personality.

CHANGE YOUR MIND AND YOU CHANGE THE WORLD! You too are beginning to question. That is why you wrote the post. Keep up the questioning. It’s good for you.

So, pushed yourself out of the same old comfort zone. Sounds like a wonderful idea.

I have a story to go along with it. My mother, NEVER, not even once during the time I was growing up, told me she loved me. I reminded her of my father. I looked like the asshole who she divorced and she let me know I was just like him every day of my life. “You are going to grow up to be a useless son of a bitch just like your father.”

I was about 18 and in adult night school finishing up my High School Degree. Not only had I never been told “I love you.” but I had never used the words myself. I knew this was a problem. I got a parrot and the first thing I taught the dumb bird to say was “I love you.” I have no problem with the expression today. I love anyone undertaking a journey to self-improvement. Anyone willing to take a hard look at themselves and recognize that changes can be made. And then begin taking that first step. Your personality does not change, you are the same person. You are the same person doing something completely different!

A wonderful question. Mine was, “What kind of a person do I want to be.” I got into martial arts because one of the most amazing people I ever met was also an amazing martial artist. He was one of the most gentle, soft-spoken guys I had ever seen and he could rip you in half with a look. I wanted to be like that. I got into Zen, meditation, and all sorts of woo woo before finding my way out. The journey was worth it because I like who I am.


Not true at all. You changed and became a people person. Do you think you have lost that piece of shit alcoholic person that you were? You have not. He is there. He is a part of you. Not only that, he is a very useful part of you. He helped you survive. He helped you survive until you got to the point where you decided things could be different. He is still there. He is always there, and now you use him as a strength. You use him in situations like this to share with others. You bring him up and feel him, and remember, and he helps you relate and empathize with others. He is a part of you. He is as much a part of who you are as all the changes you have made. You don’t change your personality. You add to it. You have added amazing things and in doing so, you have set aside things you no longer use. But these things are still in the closet.

The short answer: Start with one thing you want to be different and work on it. Just one. Pick one thing you can do differently today. Start safely. Baby steps. You will not change overnight. And whether you fail or succeed in each step DOES NOT MATTER. You need to learn to pat yourself on the back for the effort. Not everyone has to cooperate with your change. Next time you hop in the car, see if you can’t be amazed at the way some people drive instead of angry at it. See if you can imagine what they might be thinking. Challenge yourself to do something different.

PD Ouspensky had an idea about breaking through our mindless responses to situations. When we catch ourselves in a mindless response, go back and repeat the situation intentionally, and then respond differently. EXAMPLE: I walk into the house bitching after a trip to the market. Fucking drivers! Fucking cashier! Bal bla. You would have to get back in the truck, go back to the store. Buy something else. Drive back home. And do it all differently. (Do it all fully conscious, thus breaking the routine.) ‘It’s called "the Fourth Way,’ by Ouspensky.’ The sly man’s way to enlightenment. (The way of the meditator, the way of the fakir, the way of the Yogi, and the Fourth Way.) This is all esoteric bullshit and nothing to get caught up in. People have been making changes in their lives since the beginning of time. Keep questioning, and asking… “Who do you want to be.” “What can I do differently today?”

Good luck to you.


I concur. This realization was, for me, a major step in overcoming my own horseshit. The anger thing, the pain thing, the fear thing, all eventually shriveled upon the empowering acceptance of the separation between my reactions and me. This does not mean I became impervious to those things. In fact, long after I had adopted this conceptual approach, I endured a disability which resulted in a period of situational depression that indeed presented a real challenge.
I agree @mr.macabre13 that you have already begun a process, by your recognition that what you are doing now is not working.
I also agree that you should recognize who you are and be OK with it. This also helped me when I realized I will likely be a cynical sarcastic bastard old man for the rest of my soon to be short life.

1 Like


CYBERRRRRRR! :smiley::smiley::smiley:… (Oh, no… I think I have tears in my eyes…) Heeeeey! How are you? So good to see you again!.. (Dammit… Now I’m getting a little choked up…)

Edit to add: Sorry. Didn’t mean to sidetrack the thread. (Fascinating subject, by the way.) I just got excited and pleasantly surprised at seeing Cyber on here. Please, carry on. I’m following the discussion with interest.

Hola, TM!
I’ve never completely left…just need time out for conservation of energy.


Well, I reckon we all need that from time to time. I hope all is well now. Great seeing you back out here. Noticed you still have your Mod Badge, too. :blush:

I think it’s called “taking responsibility and stopping blaming others.”


It’s getting better and better, every day, in every way.

1 Like

Thank you, I needed to hear that from someone other than my wife.
By the way, I drive a really cool truck, not a car.

I never heard the expression “I love you” from either one of my parents, not once.
Unlike SATANIC, I’ve never used illegal drugs or consumed alcohol my entire life, I’ve just dealt with all of life’s disappointments by getting angry I guess.
I just don’t want my grandkids remembering me the way our kids remember their grandfather, a grouchy old man that never had a problem yelling at his own grandkids.
One day at a time.

Doc, it hurts when I do this…

Sometimes you have to learn new behaviors from the outside in. In other words, act nicer, even if you aren’t feeling nicer. You may find it grows on you.


Well, Mr.Mac, between Cog, Skrit, and Satan, it looks like they’ve covered most all the bases. Ain’t really much more I can add. Hell, I’ve even picked up a couple of pointers from them myself… (chuckle)… There is one thing I’d like to add, though. Just a little something to consider…

At age 10, I was a different person than I was at age 2. At age 20, I was a different person than I was at age ten. Fast forwarding a bit, I am a different person now in many ways than I was a mere 5 years ago. Some of those changes along the way were simply caused by natural growing and learning experiences. As I got older, however, some of those changes were purposely put into effect by me for specific reasons in wanting to make myself different/better. Through it all, there were some truly fantastic moments. At the same time, there were also some horrendously devastating moments. Bottom line, though, is it is not what happens to you that really matters. It is how you deal with it that determines the type of person you are. And how you deal with it… what lessons you choose to learn from it… that is strictly up to you. Again, just a little food for thought.

1 Like

What a great motivator.

I had to go teach a class. I want to encourage you to change the language a little bit. Instead of, “I don’t want.” Change your sentence to “I want.” The action is contained in the ‘I want’ statemet.

Think about it. I don’t want to be a GOM. But you already are a GOM. Not wanting to be does not change a damn thing. It just gives you something esle to grouch about. What’s the old expression? ‘Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.’ I have not heard anyone interpret this expression the way I interpret it. I’ve not done a lot of looking either. My own thinking goes something like; ‘Even shit is more valuable than a wish.’ If you did shit in one hand and wish in the other, at least you would have a hand full of shit. You have nothing at all in a hand full of wishes. NOTHING. So, even pure shit is more valuable than a wish.

Don’t wish, ‘Do!’ Think about what you what. What kind of a grandpa you want to be. And then Do it. And when you fuck up, you admit it, fix it if you can, learn from it, and move on.

Do you know how to set real goals? “I want to be a better person.” Is NOT a goal. Yesterday, I was mean to the cashier at the store, today I will tell her I am sorry and that I was just having a bad day. I will tell her that I appreciate all she does. (Now That is a realistic goal.) Have goals in line with this ideal self that you want to be. Real goals. Not vague amorphus bullshit, “I’m trying to change!” Horseshit. Real goals that have a real affect on your life are REAL. You do them.


Omg :flushed: what an awesome thread.

I too came from an abusive, loveless, neglectful, controlling family. My journey was different, as we’re individuals and learn differently and different paces - and yet the same. It was my perceptions that changed.

I can speak to the physical aspects.

Waking up, literally one morning and physically different. Thought it was food poisoning. It turned out to be Crohns. That was 28 years ago. The last 7 years I’ve had a gradual debilitating arthritis. Daily. Getting worse and no treatments. Pain and physical limitations to the bone.

I learned a long time ago that I wasn’t defined by my Crohns. It never stopped me. Had a career, kids, family, relationships, travel, surfing, skiing, scuba, paragliding, crazy :roller_coaster:, camping, mountain climbing - you name it… I do it. Like Cog, my aches and pains were blamed on my active lifestyle :smirk:

I work around my arthritis now also. Rural home ownership requires work. I don’t have to work outside the home, but shit - I sure work in it. At my pace. I do everything as I feel a desire to do. Yard work, pool maintenance or a swim, gardening, cooking, teaching (I homeschool, one graduated, 2 to go). Pets (dogs, cats, chicken, rabbit). I’m so sore and exhausted by the end of the day because I’m busy living and sucking this life dry if every little enjoyment.

I’ll rest and be “pain free” when I’m dead.

When I focus on what I like, homemade pizza say, which is an all day cooking even (homemade sauce from homegrown tomatoes, homemade crust, etc) I can’t think or focus on what I “can’t do” or how “it feels” to move. I just work around the limitations (right hand fucked up - oh well, I’ll use the left)…. My condition is migratory throughout my body. Effects different areas daily.

BTW, i have “resting bitch face”. Not friendly, not rude - often told by folks that eventually get to know me that I’m very “intimidating” (which makes me laugh because I don’t see myself that way - I just like being left the fuck alone).


Edit: (Well maybe this is technically changing my mind)

I don’t feel so much as I changed my mind, as much as I stopped hanging onto feelings. I just started playing with all my crayons. I let myself still feel my emotions, I just started questioning how long I dwelled on them. Why am I just getting stuck on shock, anger, or outrage? I was complacent, it was comfortable. It’s what I was taught and learned watching my father, he was stuck himself in these emotions. He has since changed much like myself, but looking back it’s eye opening realizing he is on the same journey, it’s maybe just taken him longer to figure it out. Again most likely because it was comfortable, and known to him. I realized emotions are controllable to a degree, I can choose to be angry or sad or whatever. It isn’t forced on me, is affected by outside sources absolutely but it’s my choice to use which emotion to react with or hold on to in the moment. I believe they all have their time and place now, it’s a matter of consciously checking myself. Is this the best tool for what I’m trying to accomplish with myself?

Good point. Very true, this was not a forced acceptance of being a people person. More a gradually less and less uncomfortable metamorphosis over time.

Hey! What the hell is wrong with being a Grouchy Old Man? I’ve waited my entire life to finally get old enough to be considered a G.O.M., and now that I’m finally here I plan on taking full advantage of the title. My wife calls me a G.O.M., and I beam with pride and feel all nice and happy inside. I feel like I’ve earned that title, and I wear it proudly. “These damn kids today are useless!”… “Fuck that non-driving brain-dead idiot asshole doing only 75 in the left fucking lane!”… “Who the fuck is the moron who decided it would be a good idea to change the Lucky Charms cereal box design every other damn month?”… “Which lazy-ass pathetic piece of shit left the goddamn shopping cart in the middle of the goddamn parking space right BESIDE the goddamn cart rack?”… That’s right, I enjoy being a G.O.M., because prior to reaching a G.O.M.status, everybody just thought I was an unhinged asshole. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

1 Like

Good for you, that’s better than my situation was. I was also leaving Christianity at that same time. Not making excuses, but if you can handle life with anger that’s not self destructive you are doing better than I was. I was treating my anger with substances, it is a horrible place to be and totally counter productive.

I cleaned myself up with the same logic as you have for wanting your grandkids to see a different person. I didn’t want to be seen as the pill popping crazy coke head who was living in a shack by the river. I’m now in an extremely happy sober place. I’m living a great life now, you can too.