Forget Dress For Success. Dress To Express!

When you want to be at your best, dress to express your best. Dress to express your best behavior style characteristics. When you express your best behavior style characteristics, your confidence will shine through.

We are combinations of the four basic behavior styles, with most of us having one main or High behavior style modified by a Secondary High behavior style. (For a better understanding of DISC behavior styles, download S&R Keys.)

Four basic behavior styles means four basic ways of dressing. Have you noticed fashion magazines highlighting the latest trends for each behavior style? Of course not. I don’t know how fashion trends start, but being fashionable means dressing one particular way. If the fashion trend of the moment happens to match your High behavior style, then your confidence will shine right through your fashionable wardrobe.

If you are one of the three behavior styles that the fashion trends ignore, dressing according to fashion will prevent your confidence from shining through. If you dress according to fashion trends that do not give you confidence, you give any competitive advantage you could have to the people who do feel confident when dressing according fashion trends.

Think about your wardrobe. Which outfits make you feel like you can do anything? Those outfits give you confidence. Those outfits are your dress to express clothes.

For example, Hillary Clinton felt able to express herself in comfortable pantsuits. Steve Jobs felt able to express himself in black turtlenecks and jeans.

Keep in mind that situation plays a factor. As Secretary of State, Clinton did have to dress in a professional style. But her pantsuits are professional and she wears a variety of colors. Steve Jobs owned his company so he could set his own fashion. Most of us have to be more like Clinton, finding a way to express ourselves while dressing for the situation. If all you can do to express yourself is to add an accessory that lets your confidence shine through, then do that. Or do what Hillary Clinton does and wear the colors that express you.

I learned the clothing styles of the four basic behavior styles from the man who introduced me to the DISC behavior style theory. Since we are all combinations of the four basic behavior styles, we may need to express different behavior styles in different situations. This would be a second reason we need to dress to express ourselves according to the situation.

Think which behavior styles match your behavior. I am a High I over Secondary High S, so I am both outgoing in some situations and reserved in other situations. I am always looking for ways to connect with people. I know what to wear so I speak confidently in front of a group of people. I know what to wear when I want to stay on the sidelines. I know how to express myself with confidence. With understanding, you can express yourself with confidence, too.

High D — Outgoing, gets things done
Neat, functional clothing

High I — Outgoing, connects with people
Dramatic, unconventional clothing

High S — Reserved, connects with people
Traditional clothing (could be women wearing skirts and men wearing ties)

High C — Reserved, gets things done
Conservative clothing

The late personal stylist and image consultant Annie Brumbaugh of AD Wardrobe Works had tips for creating a wardrobe that could change your life. One of her tips was to buy “what you love, what makes you comfortable, what you feel expresses you.” Even Annie’s obituary includes her wardrobe advice:

“You are the star of your life. Your wardrobe is the costume department.
Are you dressed for the role you want to play?”

Dress to express who you are as the star of your life.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots

After Decades Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I Know How To Feel Safe

My post traumatic stress disorder began in my horrific childhood. My method of feeling safe may be more effective for people with similar backgrounds. I had to cope with horrific actions from one person. Military veterans, on the other hand, cope with horrific actions from tens, hundreds, or thousands of people. Veterans with PTSD from war experiences may need different methods or more than one method for feeling safe. Service dogs, for instance, mean many veterans can take less medication and live with fewer unsettling surprises. Service dogs also provide breathing room in social situations, putting themselves between their veteran and other people. Veterans can use their dogs’ need for walks as a reason to leave when a social situation becomes overwhelming. Service dog organizations include Hero Dogs, K9s for Warriors, Patriot PAWS, and Pets for Vets. Perhaps vets could combine service dogs with finding their safety experience for even greater relief. Victims of crime would have experiences closer to mine, since I am the victim of attempted murder.

Farming is another way for vets to get past their PTSD.

Yoga is a way to relieve PTSD trauma.

Civilians can help veterans with PTSD through new hobbies, new activities, new social groups, and new peer groups.

My PTSD  began the first time my mother tried to kill me. It increased after the second time she tried to kill me. After failing to kill me physically, my mother spent the rest of my childhood doing her best to kill me mentally and emotionally. Decades later I finally understood that my mother wanted me dead because I was her second daughter instead of her first son.

My PTSD was compounded by the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. If Abraham was willing to kill his son because God told him to, I feared my mother would kill me if other people told her to. And then I became terrified that anyone who didn’t like something about me would try to kill me. But after decades of terror that anyone could kill me, I now know how to feel safe. I have a happy ending I never expected.

Murder is a physical and emotional experience. My physical and emotional safety experience — the one that washes away the terror — is listening to the main and end title music from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. To read how I made the discovery of my safety experience and why it is a physical and emotional experience for me, read the Murder Secret Families page at You will find the information on To Kill A Mockingbird after my journal entries. Since I wrote about this in detail on that page, I will not write about it in detail here. But, I will explain what to look for so that other people with PTSD can identify their safety experiences. Below are specific steps to take, but first I will explain what I now know about safety experiences.

Your Safety Experience Will Stand Out in Your Life in Some Way, Maybe in Many Ways

I do not remember when I saw To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I do know that it immediately became my favorite movie. As an adult, I recorded the movie to my VCR so I wouldn’t have to wait for a television network to air it. Every time I watched the movie, I made sure to listen to the opening music without distraction. After the movie ended, I kept rewinding so I could listen to the end music repeatedly. If you read or at least skim the Murder Secret Families page, you will see that I wrote about watching the movie in my journal repeatedly. I even wrote that I identified with the character Boo Radley, but wanted to be the character Scout (June 12, 1993 on the Murder Secret Families page). Scout survived attempted murder and was able to feel safe again. I survived attempted murder and wanted to feel safe.

Your Safety Experience Will Probably Satisfy a Behavior Style Need

In the DISC behavior system, I am a High I Influence/High S Steadiness (High I over High S). If you need information about the DISC system, visit My website also explains six basic values to help you identify your guiding values and rank your other values. Knowing your value ranking could help in identifying your safety experience.

High I Influence people ease stress through socializing with other people. High S Steadiness people ease stress through quiet activities. High I Influence people are emotionally expressive. High S Steadiness people are emotionally nonexpressive. I am emotionally expressive when it comes to having fun or telling stories about people who created positive turning points in my life. I can still cry when I tell these stories. One turning point happened in 1981, the other happened in 1996, and I can still cry when I talk about them.

When I need to express my deepest emotions, I do so by writing poetry. Writing poetry is a quiet activity. When I need to reassure myself with positive emotions, I do so through music. Listening to the music that represents positive emotions to me is also a quiet activity. Even though I am a High I Influence first and a High S Steadiness second, I relieve stress and express my deepest emotions through my Secondary High S Steadiness behavior style need for quiet activities.

Your Safety Experience Will Add More to Your Life Than Feelings of Safety

In my first few months of feeling safe every day, my life improved in other ways.

First, I have been doing research for years for various books I’m writing and revising. For all those years, I put the various articles I’ve collected into boxes and brown paper bags, letting them sit instead of filing them. I kept thinking about filing them, but never had the energy to do it. After about four months of feeling safe, I suddenly started filing the articles. At first, I filed at least a few articles everyday. Now I file articles weekly. I’m still doing research, but by the time I finish the research everything will be filed. I’ll be able to start writing the revisions without further delay.

Second, I now know how to write each book more effectively. I know how to determine the purpose of each chapter, I know how to use just the right amount of information to make the points in each chapter, and I know how to explain what needs explaining. One of the books is based on what I wrote in my journal about therapy and about the clues in my life that helped me recognize my mother’s attempts to kill me. That is my most difficult book to write. Over the years since I discovered my safety experience, I have refined the structure of the book to satisfy a variety of readers.

Third, I feel safe taking actions for myself in ongoing relationships. Taking actions for myself used to feel scary. If my own mother could kill me, anyone else in the world could kill me.

Fourth, I can meet new people with less anxiety. In the past, meeting new coworkers or supervisors or groups made me anxious that someone would decide to kill me if they didn’t like something about me. The last time I remember feeling that anxious was in the spring of 2014.

Fifth, I have been doing a talk at a conference every year for five or six years. The talk is based on three examples from my own research and how those examples apply to something completely different. For the first several years of the talk, I kept asking myself why I included the first example. It’s a good thing none of the participants ever asked me why I included that example because I could not have explained why. I did not know why I included that example.

After weeks of feeling safe, I suddenly knew why I included that example. It made perfect sense to me and I could easily explain it. The next time I did that talk, I explained my difficulty understanding why I included that example to my audience. When I told them my new understanding of why I included that example, it made perfect sense to them, too.

Identifying Your Safety Experience

To identify your own safety experience, follow these 5 steps:

Step 1

Identify your High and Secondary High behavior styles.
Use the Quick Look pages for behavior styles from

Step 2

Identify your High and Secondary High stress relief needs
in the Needs&PassionsMe file at

Step 3

Figure out if you ease stress through your High or Secondary
High behavior style, then identify all the activities that ease
your stress.

Step 4

Identify your guiding values using those Quick Look pages
at Rank the remaining values.
Read through the values and think about how each value
affects your feelings.

Step 5

Identify how you express your deepest emotions. Feeling
safe is a deep emotion. If your PTSD is so overwhelming
that you cannot identify any feelings of safety, start with
any positive emotion you can identify.

I talked about being afraid of my mother in therapy with two different therapists. Neither therapist ever asked what made me feel safe. If they had asked, I would not have been able to answer right away. I would have had to think about it, probably for weeks or months. I wasn’t looking for my safety experience when I found it. I was adding different pieces of my favorite music for experiencing feelings to my iPod. I put Mockingbird on my iPod thinking I would listen to it occasionally. Instead, I felt a need to listen to it everyday. I hadn’t even identified the feelings I experienced while listening to Mockingbird. I just knew it allowed me to experience feelings I needed to experience. I finally figured out that Mockingbird meant safety to me one night while I was listening to it. I was sitting in the dark in my parlor, listening to Mockingbird and wondering why I needed to listen to it. I suddenly understood.

My PTSD was part of a terrible secret in my life and in my family. I had to acknowledge feelings of terror before I could acknowledge feelings of safety. It took four decades to acknowledge the feelings of terror. It took another two decades before I learned how to recognize the feelings of safety. But I didn’t have anyone helping me recognize my safety experience. If my therapists had asked what made me feel safe, I would have at least started thinking about it. I could have discovered my safety experience sooner if professionals had given me the help that fit my needs instead of their perspectives.

I hope this blog post is enough to get you to your safety experience sooner.

Make full use of all the downloads you find at

After You Identify Your Safety Experience

Once you have identified your safety experience, bring that experience into your life as much as possible. At first, I listened to Mockingbird on my iPod every evening. Then I started listening to it as I fell asleep. I was sleeping the first time my mother tried to kill me. I woke up to my mother trying to smother me. For decades, I had trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. I still have trouble sleeping at times.

On bad days I listened to Mockingbird for hours.

Now I have a playlist that has the main and end titles listed twice. I listen to that just about everyday when I write my journal in the morning.

I listen to Mockingbird while reading through the book based on my journal. I can read only a few pages at a time, but I started the book years ago and couldn’t reread it to finish writing it until I discovered my safety experience.

I listened to Mockingbird while writing this blog post.

Each Person with PTSD Has to Identify His or Her Own Safety Experience

I am unable to identify a safety experience for anyone else. Please do not email me with questions because I will not respond. After identifying your behavior style and guiding value combination, think about how your behavior styles and guiding values interact in your life.

Could Safety Experiences Erase PSTD?

If I listen to Mockingbird often enough will it erase my PTSD for good? I don’t know. I do have a chronology of improvement, however.

For decades, terror episodes were so real I didn’t know I was in a terror episode. Some of the terror episodes lasted for days.

After listening to Mockingbird for months, I became able to recognize terror episodes while I was in them. I could listen to Mockingbird to help me get out of them.

Then, I became able to talk myself out of the terror episodes when I wasn’t able to listen to Mockingbird. At first, talking myself out took hours, then dwindled down to minutes.

Almost four years after I started purposefully listening to Mockingbird to feel safe, I have not experienced any terror for almost three years. This is in part due to an experience that happened the last time I felt the terror.

I still do not feel completely comfortable meeting people in certain situations. But I only feel uncomfortable, not anxious.

Even if I someday experience another terror episode, I now know how to feel safe. Knowing how to feel safe is enough for me. I can have days and weeks and months and years of feeling safe. For me, feeling safe for any part of any day is a happy ending.

If you have PTSD, I hope you find your happy ending.

“Research On Yoga & Meditation”
Warriors At Ease

“Tips & Resources for Helping Veterans with PTSD”
The American Institute of Stress
October 29, 2019

“Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Chronic PTSD”
Trauma Center At Justice Resource Center


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots

Married To Share Life, Or Married To Satisfy Needs?

For thousands of years, people have married each other for all kinds of unromantic reasons — political alliance, financial gain, social climbing, escape from abusive parents, the legal right to stay in a country, etc. Another reason people marry is to satisfy behavior style needs. People who have already found healthy ways to satisfy their own behavior style needs marry to share their lives — their feelings, experiences, and dreams. People who do not know how to satisfy their own behavior style needs often do not know how to share feelings, experiences, and dreams. Three types of marriages are possible:

Both spouses marry to share feelings, experiences, and dreams (sharing life marriage)

One spouse marries to share feelings, experiences, and dreams; one spouse marries to satisfy needs (sharing life/seeking satisfaction marriage)

Both spouses marry to satisfy needs (seeking satisfaction marriage)

Only a sharing life marriage will be good for both spouses. Each spouse wants to share in the other spouse’s feelings, experiences, and dreams. Because they want to share, they pay attention to what matters to each other and make what matters happen. By making what matters happen, they keep each other’s needs satisfied. These spouses marry to share life and benefit from keeping their needs satisfied as well.

In a sharing life/seeking satisfaction marriage, both spouses will be disappointed. The sharing life spouse will feel unloved while the seeking satisfaction spouse will feel unsatisfied.

In a seeking satisfaction marriage, both spouses will feel unsatisfied. Their unsatisfied needs plus the inability to share feelings, experiences, and dreams will damage their marriage.

The following examples illustrate the differences between the three types of marriage. All three couples are real couples who used to be part of my life.

Sharing Life Marriage

The spouses in this marriage are from different racial groups. They shared their feelings, experiences, and dreams through all of their ups and downs. The wife helped the husband cope with the discrimination he endured for their interracial marriage before the Civil Rights era. The wife had been unable to get her driver’s license when she was young, so her husband helped her overcome her fears and learn to drive in her forties. When the husband had to get up at 3:00 a.m. to work long hours an hour’s drive away, the wife got up with him so they could have time together. If one of them did something for the other, the other one responded with the same, as in trading back rubs.

In later years after their finances improved, they shared their dream of traveling far and wide. After decades of the wife having to make do with a very tight budget, the husband made sure to buy her a piece of her favorite jewelry on every trip. As the wife’s health worsened, the husband did more and more of the housework and cooking. He also changed his work schedule to make daily life easier for his wife. This couple will share anything life brings them as long as they have each other. Along the way, they have kept each other’s needs satisfied.

Sharing Life/Seeking Satisfaction Marriage

The husband had dated little when he married to share his feelings, experiences, and dreams. The wife had been far more sociable, but married to satisfy her need to improve her social and financial status. For a time, the wife enjoyed being married to her husband. His career gave her a better social status, though his salary would never be high. After the babies started coming, the husband had to choose a profession that paid enough to support his family. His new profession lowered the wife’s social status, but there was little she could do about it. The one thing she could do was to make him work extra hours to earn even more money. The husband had expected to share the feelings, experiences, and dreams of his children. Instead, he found himself spending time away from his children in order to satisfy his wife’s need for more and more money.

When their children were older, the wife took a job at a company that allowed her to advance further than her husband had been able to advance. After several years, her salary was greater than his. She had improved her own social and financial status. The husband had to bury his feelings and set aside his dreams because his wife didn’t care about his dreams. She only wanted her husband to work long hours to make as much money as he could. The wife considered herself superior to her husband and felt that he had failed her. The wife did not share in her husband’s feelings, experiences, and dreams. Instead, she punished him by treating him like a servant, expecting him to do whatever she wanted. In this sharing life/satisfying need marriage, the unloved husband became an alcoholic and the unsatisfied wife became an abuser.

This was my parents’ marriage.

Seeking Satisfaction Marriage

The man felt his father had never given him approval. He filled that emotional hole with drugs and alcohol. He lived across the street from his father and parked a fancy car in his driveway, hoping to prove himself as a man to his father. The woman had an artistic profession that she lost because of a crippling illness. She became depressed and turned to alcohol.

This couple met when the man’s friend started dating the woman. Her dating relationship was a long distance, rocky relationship and both were alcoholics. When the boyfriend’s drinking led to his sudden death at age 50, the woman threw herself into the man’s arms. Less than three week’s after the death of the friend/boyfriend, the man and woman were sleeping together. Within months, they were engaged.

This couple married a year after the friend/boyfriend’s death. The husband married the woman to satisfy his need for his father’s approval. He thought if he married an alcoholic woman and made her happy enough to quit drinking, his father would have to see he was a good husband and give him approval as a man. The wife married the man to satisfy her need to have someone take care of her while she drank herself to death. She thought that if she acted helpless the husband would have to take care of her.

The husband had stopped drinking and doing drugs years before he met his wife. The wife sweet-talked her husband into drinking again so she could continue drinking herself to death. The husband became abusive to his wife, laughed about the abuse to a friend, and talked about suicide to a friend. Both husband and wife felt unloved.

Neither spouse married to share feelings, experiences, and dreams. The husband stayed focused on his relationship with his father, using his wife as a prop to improve that relationship. The wife stayed focused on herself, using her husband as a caregiver while she drank herself to death. Their use of alcohol and drugs further prevented them from sharing feelings, experiences, and dreams.

What to Do

If you are married and concerned about your marriage after reading this, there is something you can do. Look through the information at to help you identify and learn how to satisfy your behavior style needs and your spouse’s behavior style needs. If you feel your spouse married you to satisfy his or her needs, your marriage may never give you the sharing you want. But do not immediately decide to end the marriage. Use what you learn about satisfying each of your needs. Identify activities you could do with your spouse that would satisfy both of your needs. You will then be able to make an informed decision about how much your spouse is willing to share or not share feelings, experiences, and dreams with you.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots

If John Lennon Wanted Peace, Why Did He Create Conflict?

John Lennon advocated peace, but did not live peace. John Lennon repeatedly created conflict with individuals in his own life. All of the following references come from the book, John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman.

Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, described him as needing to “shock and disgust people” (page 158).

Lennon had a “sarcastic tongue” and an “impulse to pillory human weakness or frailty wherever they revealed themselves”. Lennon targeted people with “cruel, usually pointless” practical jokes (page 182).

Lennon repeatedly mocked Stu Sutcliffe’s “musicianship and appearance” and made sure Stu always sat on the least comfortable seat on the van, “the metal ledge over the rear wheel”. Lennon repeatedly told Sutcliffe “he couldn’t sit with us or eat with us” (page 183).

Lennon shoplifted “jewelry, handkerchiefs, guitar stings, and a harmonica” (page 195).

During a concert in Germany, Lennon taunted his audience with the words “fuckin’ Nazis” and Hitlerites” (page 202).

Lennon called Brian Epstein “Eppy”, a name he knew Epstein hated and “wouldn’t care what he said to deflate” Epstein (page 257). Lennon’s “public cruelties” towards Epstein included “jibes at his race if not his sexuality” (page 503).

While in Germany, Lennon drew a picture of Jesus on the cross “with this big prick”. Lennon held up his picture on a balcony for everyone on the street to see (pages 267-268).

Again in Germany, Lennon put a table knife into his pocket after a meal. During a concert that night, “the first thing he does is pull out the knife and throw it at someone in the audience” ( pages 291-292).

Paul McCartney felt “bitterness” that Lennon made sure the songs they wrote together after the Please Please Me album would always be credited to “Lennon-McCartney” (page 297).

At a party to celebrate Paul McCartney’s twenty-first birthday, Lennon “repeatedly” punched DJ Bob Wooler “around the face and body”. Wooler suffered “bruised ribs and a black eye”. Lennon apologized under pressure, “muttering that he wasn’t sorry at all” (pages 310 and 311).

Alcohol could turn Lennon “moody, bellicose, cruel”. Even when sober Lennon could be “thoughtlessly malicious” (page 331).

Lennon’s attitude towards people with physical disabilities was “unrepentant mockery and mimicry” (page 334).

Lennon described George Harrison’s massively successful All Things Must Pass album as “All right”. He described Paul McCartney’s McCartney album as “rubbish” and “so poor” (page 657).

In Paul McCartney’s Ram album, the song “Too Many People” suggested that Lennon had rejected the Beatles for Yoko Ono (page 668). On his Imagine album, Lennon included the song “How Do You Sleep?” in response to McCartney’s “Too Many People”. Biographer Philip Norman described McCartney’s attack as “mild and sidelong”. Norman described Lennon’s response as “violent and full-on, a nuclear missile answering a pinprick” (671-672).

In an interview Paul McCartney did with United Kingdom magazine Melody Maker, he said Lennon was the holdout to resolving their financial disputes. Lennon responded with a letter to the editor. Nine lines in the letter had to be removed “for fear of legal repercussions” (page 702).

Lennon spent time in Los Angeles where he wrote about his “gratuitous vandalism” in his diary (page 743).

John Lennon talked about peace but created conflict because he was in conflict with himself. He would have been able to create peace in his life only if he had been able to create peace with himself. If Lennon had understood his behavior style needs and how to satisfy them, he could have created some peace for himself.

Using the DISC behavior system, John Lennon was probably a High I Influence. He enjoyed the spotlight when it satisfied his needs. He liked to talk, talking to reporters for hours during his first bed-in with his new wife, Yoko Ono. He used words to attack people when he felt stressed.

High I behavior style people like Lennon need recognition, approval, and admiration. They need to feel prestige. They need to maintain their dignity. They need support for their ideas.

Lennon could have gained peace with himself in two ways. First, he could have acknowledged the conflict he created and apologized for creating it. He could have figured out ways to work with people without sarcasm or insults.

Second, other people could have satisfied his needs. Concert audiences could have shown respect for Lennon by listening while he played his music, waiting to scream while they applauded. Audience members unable to sit quietly could have sung along with Lennon. Listening to Lennon would have preserved his dignity. Singing along with him would have shown support for the ideas behind his songs. That dignity and support would have given him prestige. Instead, Lennon’s continuously screaming audiences stripped him of his dignity, ignored his ideas, and denied him prestige for his ideas.

Lennon had other issues that probably needed other solutions. He may have been able to find those solutions if his behavior style needs had been satisfied.

One tragedy of John Lennon’s life is that he did not have what he needed to be able create what he wanted. Fame did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. Wealth did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. Screaming audiences did not satisfy Lennon’s needs. John Lennon did not have the behavior style satisfaction he needed to be able to create the peace he wanted.

You can avoid the same tragedy in your life. Give yourself what you need so you have the ability to create what you want. Give your loved ones what they need so they have the ability to create what they want.

Visit for pages of information about satisfying DISC behavior style needs as well Spranger guiding value passions. Take advantage of the free PDF files for sparking both personal and professional success.

We could all create more of the peace John Lennon imagined by satisfying our own needs.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present.
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots