NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS

COMPULSIVE



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HELPFUL TIP:

Characters with this flaw will be extra sensitive to certain emotions, so think about how events in your story might specifically trigger these feelings to generate compelling tension and conflict. Another idea is to give a supporting character a positive attribute that is an opposite of this flaw, which will get under the skin of both characters and cause friction in their relationship.
DEFINITION:
Subject to irresistible urges

POSSIBLE CAUSES:
Genetics
Chemical imbalances or structural abnormalities in the brain
Growing up in an environment where certain expectations were taken to an extreme
Low self-esteem
A history of abuse
Diseases that alter the brain (Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
Social pressures (criticism about a child’s weight that results in compulsive eating, etc.)

ASSOCIATED BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES:
Obsessing over certain thoughts or possibilities
Repeating rituals in an attempt to relieve anxiety (ordering/arranging, grooming, hoarding, etc.)
Other compulsive behaviors (stealing, shopping, sexual compulsions, lying, overeating, etc.)
Difficulty focusing on responsibilities
Highly suggestible
Having time management issues
A shortened attention span
Illogical fears that often compound over time
Hiding one’s compulsions from others
Desperately trying to appear normal
Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
Anxiety that may escalate to paranoia
Avoiding places, people, or items that may trigger a compulsion
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ASSOCIATED THOUGHTS:
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ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS:
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POSITIVE ASPECTS:
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NEGATIVE ASPECTS:
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EXAMPLE FROM FILM:
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OVERCOMING THIS TRAIT AS A MAJOR FLAW:
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TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT:
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