Excerpts from Power of the Five Elements

Excerpt # 2 Chapter Four
The Adaptation Type describes the abilities that enhance adaptation based on the unique characteristics of each Element as well as their specific tendencies for maladaptive behavior. Everyone has aspects of all the behaviors discussed here, yet each Type has specific patterns that can be more dominant. For example, the Wood Adaptation Type is goal oriented and hard driving, useful and effective qualities when appropriate. If maladapted, the Wood Type can be combative, abrasive and controlling. Each Adaptation Type has predictable behaviors under stress. Becoming aware of these patters can provide a means of minimizing the impact of stressful situations, preserving adaptation and enhancing knowing how. Ultimately that is the goal of understanding the Adaptation Types.

One of the Wood Adaptation Type’s underlying needs (which is stronger than other Type’s,) is for a sense of direction in life and feeling in control over life circumstances. Maladapted, behavior can include poor decision- making, feelings of frustration and inappropriate anger. The Wood Type thrives on competition and achievement, however they can experience frequent conflicts in life. The Fire Adaptation’s drive is for mental clarity and emotional protection, when maladapted leading to anxiety, vulnerability and shyness. The Fire Type, driven to find love and intimacy, might be most focused on relationships even at the expense of other aspects of their life.

The Earth Adaptation Type wants understanding, support and a sense of community. Maladapted they can be self centered and stubborn. The Metal Adaptation Type’s drive is for deeper meaning and respect, when maladapted leading to cynicism, perfectionism and rejection. The Metal Type expects perfection, and is often disappointed in others’ lack of moral fiber, as well as in their own achievements. The Water Adaptation Type’s drive is for reassurance and knowledge, when maladapted behavior is avoidance, withdrawal and mistrust. The Water Type needs reassurance and a ‘safe harbor’, sensing danger in many areas of life.

In relationships, for example, each Type, if maladapted, would have a different ‘lens’ coloring their experience. The Wood Type might be in conflict over control in the relationship; the Fire Type feels emotionally vulnerable and sensitive to possible abandonment; the Earth Type wants attention and security above all else; the Metal Type seeks respect and a deeper meaning from the relationship; the Water Type needs to trust their partner and feel protected so that life does not overwhelm them. The more out of balance, (or ‘sick’ as the Nei Jing would say) a person is, the stronger these tendencies would be, the more unhealthy the relationship.

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