A transient lifestyle can make a TCK want to live in the moment. They have a sense of urgency and a willingness to try new things as they never know if, and when, they will get the chance to experience something again. While some deliberate, most TCKs will already have signed up and committed.
Other TCKs do the complete opposite however, to the point of not feeling excited by the opportunity at hand. These individuals may not have experienced things like fully engaging in interesting activities or pursuing desires and dreams because of their transient lifestyles. The knowledge that they may be moving to a different country, at a moment’s notice, often means they are reticent to engage and commit, as the chances are they will not be around to see anything through. Why bother?
Some mental health professionals have called this ‘the delusion of choice’. The delusion comes when an individual is offered the opportunity to do something, but at the same time the experience is denied because of circumstances or interventions. A TCK’s goals, perhaps regarding a relationship they are building with someone, or an interesting project they have started, can easily and abruptly come to nothing.
A common trait observed in TCKs is a difficulty, or reticence, to commit to anything that involves a significant amount of time and dedication. They believe that something more interesting and more exciting is surely to show up soon. They want to be free to engage in the ‘new’.
Both approaches – living spontaneously, or waiting until the last minute to make a choice (or plan), rather than risk disappointment – is often very tiresome and frustrating for those who are not directly involved in the process, for example a spouse or children. This trait can affect the TCK in education or their career; opportunities slip past and it can be too late to follow through.
The most disruptive outcome of this delusion of choice can manifest itself in the form of ‘victim mentality’. Some TCKs / CCKs become unhappy with their circumstances, complaining terribly, but are unable to make positive choices for change. Others can become very frustrated when they see this, knowing that a small change could make all the difference. But the victim mentality is not rational and it insists that there is nothing that can be done. What is the point anyway? There seems to be no way to avoid future similar disappointments in life. Coupled with this is perhaps a fear of taking responsibility, so that there are no recriminations, or guilt, if one fails.