Optimists project positive outcome even in face of difficult situations, while pessimists presume negative outcomes even in. The two deciding factors about one's response to challenges are: Their innate personality traits and. This article outlines the difference between optimism and pessimism, how Child to highlight the relationship between optimism and pessimism and . This research challenges the notion that optimism as a precursor for a. optimism, pessimism, and mental health (p relationship between problem-oriented coping strategies.
The part about not being able to do it without support sounds like it could be any combination of anxiety, learned helplessness, and as several people said upthread, low or inadequate coping skills. And you know better than we do, but the part about "I'll just cancel my commitment, I won't go, and whatever issues this creates will just be mine to deal with" sounds a lot like subtle passive aggressiveness and guilt tripping. Is it possible that the way he has learned to cope with difficult or challenging situations in the past, is to kind of just express strong negative feelings and emotions to someone, until that person spends a lot of time comforting him and comes to his rescue?
Again, you know better than we do, but if that seems like it might be the case, I think this isn't just run of the mill pessimism. It sounds like something that could be really helped by can you guess what my next word will be?
Why would he think everything is going to turn up shiny rosy without any evidence of such? Also just wanted to say that at least in the example you gave, your position sounds unquestionably grounded, realistic, and logical.
Sometimes people see themselves as being eminently logical people, describe themselves that way, and in their speech use keywords associated with dispassionate, analytical, and logical thinking "proof," "likelihood," "percentage," etc.
But often those people are the least logical of all, and are in fact just the most blind and defensive to it when they are being illogical, because so much of their identity is wrapped up in being an "analytical" person.
And sometimes we don't realize this about them just because it's natural to think of people the way they think of themselves and have presented themselves to us. So I just want to say, one of my tips is don't fall into the trap of both of you automatically considering him to be the grounded and realistic one, while you are the pollyanna.
Be aware of it when you are being the grounded and realistic one because my bets are that it's actually more frequent. That seems like immaturity. It can be very exhausting sometimes. I do agree with previous responses that noted you two seemed to work things out pretty well in this case though. A few notes from my experience: It can be really frustrating at times, but it's just the way he is.
You're not going to be able to change his knee-jerk pessimism anyvmore than he will be able to change your optimism. So, sometimes my husband will say something is terrible and won't work out, and I just say, "Ok - maybe you're right". That will calm him down so that he doesn't think I'm dismissing his concerns.The Wisdom of Pessimism
And I'll also listen to all the reasons he has for being pessimistic - because usually there are legitimate issues behind his opinions. But then I'll come up with another option, and casually bring it up And then sometimes I'm right and things are actually okay.
So it's not necessarily true that pessimists are wrong! But like you, I agree that life is better when you assume that things will work out.
I'm most pessimistic when I'm tired, so i've ruled out bedtime as a time for evaluating our overall likelihood of success, because if he starts in on a "we will never succeed" discussion then, I will believe it, and I'm not temperamentally suited to live with that, so I get upset and want to go find solutions THEN and can't sleep. I think you may be right that over time, you can get used to one another's approach and say "oh this is an optimism pessimism thing again.
Is that something that might be going on?
You might want to look into it. It might help explain the limited coping skills as well. I know that personally the most pessimistic I have been is when I was depressed. It's learned helplessness and immaturity as I see others have mentioned. My boyfriend was like this when we first started dating.
Initially I tried to fix things in good faith, as you're trying now. It was a hard realization when I figured out he doesn't really want a solution, he wants to be coddled and pout. He reacted this way to all changes in plans, not just the ones I initiate, and would essentially melt down if things weren't turning out exactly to his specifications.
The Psychology of Optimism and Pessimism: Theories and Research Findings
It drove me fucking nuts, and I learned the only way to combat it is to be sympathetic but firm. My rubric generally follows this pattern: The important thing I emphasized was if he cuts off his nose to spite his face, that's his choice, and he is choosing to be miserable by acting as if his misery is a foregone conclusion.
He's a good guy at heart, he's just never had anyone not coddle him baby of the family, grew up with much older sister and mom so he didn't know an alternative way to act. When he no longer had someone feeding his bullshit, he learned sitting alone in his misery wasn't quite so appealing. Since we've been dating and I started implementing the above scheme he's matured a lot and this self-pity behavior has nearly faded out.
He can still be stubborn and immature about some things and he's nowhere near Miss Mary Sunshine, and that's fine, that's just his personality. The important thing is he now takes ownership of his choices and mood and doesn't expect me or anyone else to lavish attention on him trying to wheedle him into happiness. I probably sound like a big jerk but it sounds more awful and severe than it is in practice. The tough love route was the only reason our relationship's survived, honestly.
I guarantee you at the six month mark of dealing with this his emotional manipulation is going to start getting real old.
She's convinced that the end result to nearly every scenario will be us living in a cardboard box beneath the freeway overpass. She can't help it, it's just how she is. She's a worrier, and her glass tends towards half empty. I've actually found that I've become more optimistic over time, almost as a counterbalance.
I figure she's doing enough worrying and doom-projecting for the both of us, so my glass might as well be half or maybe even three-quarters! When she pulls out the cardboard box consequences, I gently point out that we'd be saving a ton of money in mortgage payments, and won't have to do yardwork. As far as mellowing each other out over time, don't pin your hopes on it.
We're 17 years into this. The only thing that's really changed is that I stopped getting angry at her pessimism, and stopped trying to 'logic' her out of it. I just accept that it's part of who she is. Now she can still imagine worst case scenarios, and I don't get stressed out about it.
My wife won't take my shit, and it's forced me to get a much better though not flawless handle on it. Make him take ownership of his choices, and don't feed the self-pity choices with coddling. Most of all, this means convincing him that he's making a choice; he's using "pessimism" and the state of the world beyond his control as a shield from seeing his own agency. I really like schrodinger's technique for coping with it--interject a solution and let him stew in his own stink while you go merrily on your way.
Of course for major issues or occasional breakdowns some coddling and sympathy are ok, but when that kind of things becomes habitual, it's important not to feed into it. Whilst the results are impressive in the studies that work depression significantly reduced in children taught the optimism programme and with no boosters the optimistic child programme prevents depression for two years.
However, by the third year the prevention effects fade Gillham and Reivich et al, Segerstrom argues that learning strategies that create the benefits associated with optimists are achievable.
She cites evidence that shows that optimistic people pursue their goals more doggedly, leading them to build resources through goal pursuit or effective coping with stress. Robins and John have found that optimistic illusions of performance are more likely to be associated with narcissism than mental health. This research challenges the notion that optimism as a precursor for a happy and successful life is a given.
This area of research shows examples where optimism has proven to have poor outcomes. In his studies of unrealistic optimism, Weinstein, Weinstein and Kliein, has proved evidence of the harmful effects of optimistic biases in risk perception related to a host of health hazards.
Those who underestimate the risk, take less action. For example, Weinstein, Lyons, Sandman, and Cuite found that those who underestimated the risk of radon in their homes were less likely than others to engage in risk detection and risk reduction behaviours.
The pendulum is swinging back now into a healthy middle ground which requests depth rather than breadth of study. The last decade has brought us research that is more sophisticated in terms of its preciseness in measurement. There is now a general acceptance that optimism is separate from extraversion and neuroticism and positive effect.
Carver and Scheier conclude that neuroticism is the most interesting and may hold sub-points connected to optimism and pessimism which they encourage researchers to analyse. The evidence strongly supports the notion that optimism is a strong predictor for positive outcomes even when controlling for mood, affect, and other personality dimensions. More studies show positive outcomes than not, and no studies to date have shown pessimism as a predictor for healthy outcomes related to physical health.
Research is encouraging that, whilst optimism may be dispositional, it can indeed be learned.
The Psychology of Optimism and Pessimism: Theories and Research Findings
It has less inherited aspects than some of the other dispositional traits and as such is responsive to interventions. Optimism is more what we do than what we are, and thereby can be learned. This has exciting implications for application and interventions. References and Further Reading: Clinical, experimental and theoretical aspects. A longitudinal study of the effects of pessimism, trait anxiety, and life stress on depressive symptoms in middle-aged women.
Optimism, pessimism, and postpartum depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 11, Dispositional optimism and primary and secondary appraisal of a stressor: Controlling for confounding influences and relations to coping and psychological and physical adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, Distinguishing between optimism and pessimism: The integrative science of William N.
Optimist in love with a pessimist. Any tips? - relationships optimism pessimism | Ask MetaFilter
Optimism and pessimism as partially independent constructs: Relations to positive and negative affectivity and psychological well-being.
Personality and Individual Differences, 23, A new guide to rational living. Prevention of depressive symptoms in school children: Psychological Science, 6, Harnessing anxiety as motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, A Primer In Positive Psychology.
Realistic acceptance as predictor of decreased survival time in gay men with AIDS. Health Psychology, 13, The quest for self-insight: Theory and research on accuracy and bias in self perception.
Briggs, Handbook of personality psychology pp. Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16, Optimism, pessimism, and psychological well-being.
Implications for theory, research, and practice pp. Optimism and survival in lung carcinoma patients. Optimistic explanatory style and dispositional optimism in HIV-infected men. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 51, Unrealistic optimism about future life events.