THE CHARACTER STRUCTURES

SCHIZOID CHARACTER STRUCTURE

TYPICAL PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first arriving to therapy)

- Lack of feelings, numbness, little or no joy or pleasure in life;
- Inability to engage in intimate relationships;
- Intense fears, paranoia, phobias, panic attacks, dissociative episodes, chronic anxiety, intense perfectionism, procrastination;
- Physical problems that could not be diagnosed medically; hypochondriasis;
- “Existential angst”, questioning one’s right to exist; feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness;
- Suicidal/homicidal ideations, impulses or actions; excessive concerns about death;
- Episodes of explosiveness, which may include physical violence;
- Self-mutilating behavior (biting, burning or cutting of the skin);
- Primary “falling” fear: falling apart;
- Primary holding pattern: holding together
- Primary longing: to feel whole;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to exist.


EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period – Prenatal to First Four Months of Life)

- Mother (or primary caretaker) was chronically any or all of the following very early in the child’s life, including during pregnancy: cold, hostile, rageful, abusive, erratic, unreliable, removed, distant, disconnected emotionally, fearful and/or anxious;
- Eye contact and physical contact between mother and child was avoided by mother, due to mother’s schizoid elements, or interfered with due to physical illness of mother or child, or due to traumatic birth circumstances (Caesarian, premature or breech delivery, incubator, etc.);
- Home environment was chaotic or threatening due to alcohol/drug abuse, violence, poverty, or external traumatic environmental circumstances (i.e. - natural disasters, political oppression, war);
- One or both parents were resentful of child’s presence (exacerbated by being unprepared for child-rearing due to an unwanted pregnancy, youth or other social conditions);
- Child did not meet parents’ idealized expectations of a “perfect baby”, and was greeted with disappointment or avoidance.


BODY STATUS

- Body is often narrow and contracted in an effort to hold together against the fear of falling apart (body may be fuller and more athletic if there are paranoid elements present due to sexualizing by parents); pervasive tension and stiffness throughout the body, with a frozen or wooden quality;
- Head, often large or with a large forehead, is pushed forward, drooping down or off to the side (due to tension created at base of skull to sever the head from the body and feelings);
- Shoulders up (in fear), and arms hang like appendages (to prevent contact with others or violent acting out);
- Feet are often cold and contracted; person is frequently “on their toes”, ungrounded, in the “fight or flight” position (curled, flexed and/or tight in the Achilles tendon);
- Splits in the body are quite marked, most often between the upper and lower halves, but also between front and back and left and right sides, including the eyes, and between the head and the body (correlates to use of splitting defense);
- Twisted spine (trying to get away from the threatening environment or parent that it also needs); person has particular difficulty with the “bow” position;
- Ocular blocks are very common, causing vision problems (doesn’t want to see the coldness or hostility), and the expression in the eyes is often either frozen terror or disconnectedness, with flashes of murderous fury; expression in the eyes is split from the expression of the rest of the face;
- Lack of color to the body and coldness in the extremities; also cold to the touch in the areas of chronic constriction;
- Skin is hypersensitive due to the withdrawal of energy from the exterior surface; touch is experienced as uncomfortable or painful;
- Shallow, constricted breathing (cannot embrace life), and high-pitched or constricted voice; choke response is easily elicited if the person is asked to breathe deeply (or on roller);
- Psychosomatic illnesses (headaches, eczema, digestive and respiratory problems common) due to chronic contractions and de-energized condition which tend to be worse in persons who are more strongly defended;
- Chronic areas of severe tension: base of the skull, joints of the shoulders, legs and hips, the diaphragm, and the ocular segment of the face;
- Dominant spasticities are in the small muscles around joints (fear of moving), so there is either inflexibility or hyperflexibility (more severe because muscles have given out).


ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Energy is withheld from the peripheral structures of the body, those that make contact with the world: the face, hands, genitals and feet (correlates to poor reality testing);
- Organs are not fully connected energetically to the core, but are blocked by chronic tensions at the base of the skull, shoulders, pelvis and hip joints;
- The inner charge tends to be frozen in the core, making the will weak, but also precipitating explosive eruptions because of the compression;
- Energy flow is severely diminished at the waist due to severe contraction in the diaphragm and the separation from sexual feelings, and at the base of the head due to separation of thoughts from feelings;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) open but asymmetrical; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open, but asymmetrical; Throat - (self-expression) contracted and inverted; Heart - (love feelings) contracted and inverted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) contracted and inverted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) contracted and inverted.


OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- Tremendous efforts are made internally to avoid and control any feelings due to the presence of deep-seated terror and murderous rage, which leads to intense fears of annihilation if feelings are expressed (this later becomes attached to any experiences of perceived rejection or failure); crippling anxiety, panic attacks and phobias often arise when feelings threaten to emerge;
- “As if” feelings are expressed according to what one “should feel” in a given situation, but there is no real spontaneity; self-expression is mechanical and controlled; aggression is expressed through passive withdrawal, though explosions are a potential;
- Feelings are talked about, or thought about, but not really felt or acknowledged as being in the body;
- Will is used predominantly to withdraw from external reality and to freeze feelings internally, so outward, assertive expressions have no energy and are weak and scattered;
- Mental faculties are usually highly developed, frequently with a brilliant intellect; the mind is valued above all else, and deduction, reasoning, calculating, and “figuring things out” logically are the only modes of operating that are trusted; gut feelings and intuition are denigrated and feared; this person is always “in their mind.”

PSYCH0LOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self because of a lack of identification with the body;
- Hypersensitivity and hyperawareness because of weak ego boundaries (correlates to the lack of peripheral charge in the body);
- Poor reality testing;
- Paranoia, from projected rage, which is exacerbated if either parent invested sexual energy in the child;
- Psyche is experienced as a “house of many rooms” without access between them;
- Person feels possessed by a demonic, alien presence or voice at times (introjected hostile parental image);
- Subject to dissociation, depersonalization and fugue states;
- Main defenses: denial, projection, introjection, splitting, disintegration, withdrawal, fragmentation, compartmentalization and intellectualization;
- Typical masks: spiritual or mental arrogance or aloofness (“I am special, I am superior because I am above physical existence.”), exaggerated appearance of serenity or peacefulness (“I am never angry or afraid.”), “Don Quixote”- like Idealized Self Image (“I dream the ‘Impossible Dream”; “I am an unrecognized genius”; “legends in their own mind.”)
- Childhood history may include: frequent nightmares or sleep disturbances, withdrawn behavior with occasional outbursts of rage, autism, pervasive fears, preference for fantasy over reality, psychosomatic illnesses, head-banging or self-mutilation, school phobia.


INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- Reaching out or self-assertion in connecting to others is avoided (very little eye contact or physical closeness can be tolerated);
- Intimacy and emotional and physical letting go are intensely feared, so relating is mental and abstract; others will often experience this person as “spacey” or “not really there”;
- Sexual interaction is mechanical, with fear of losing control; sex is desired mainly to subscribe to a romantic or erotic idea, rather than for actual feeling; some warmth and closeness physically is desired, but in limited quantities; orgasm is not an important objective;
- Others, including love objects, are idealized (positively or negatively) as are relationships, which are seen in a lofty spiritual light with little real human contact.


PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “I should not exist.” “There is something essentially wrong with me.”
- “I am my mind.” “I think therefore I am.”
- “Life is threatening to my life.” “I will survive by deadening myself.”
- “I must control my feelings and others with my mind.” “If I feel, I will disintegrate.”
- “My rage will annihilate others and me.” “The world is a dangerous place.”


HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- Strong connection to and awareness of the profoundly spiritual nature of life;
- Access to vast universal wisdom and the capacity to teach others how to make the connection to that wisdom;
- Great courage and fearlessness to connect with feelings;
- Great capacity to create and appreciate beauty, including through artistic abilities.


THERAPEUTIC TASKS

- Become grounded and energized in physical life and in the body as a whole;
- Develop basic trust in the self, others and life;
- Become aware of, feel consciously, accept and express the deep primal rage and terror in a non-destructive way without retreating to primitive defenses;
- Face original state of helplessness and hurt underlying perfectionistic attitude;
- Reverse the denial of early trauma at the hands of parents and the environment;
- Develop tolerance for ambivalence in oneself and others (correct “good-or-bad”, “right-or-wrong” and other dualistic images); and heal the splits between thoughts and feelings, and between positive and negative feelings;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality (child, adult, higher self), opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion and recognize and express one’s higher self aspects with less fear of being annihilated;
- Primary negative expression that needs release: “I hate you!” “I kill you!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to be.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

- Establish an accepting, non-critical, “human” environment, understanding that trusting the therapist and the environment may take a long time; even fairly well into the treatment, this person can become paranoid;
- Engage the formidable intellect in a playful, patient and respectful way to begin the process of exposing the attitudes and beliefs of the mask, and their fallibility, including wrong conclusions made in childhood;
- Address concrete self-care, daily living tasks that may be ineffectively tended to with information, advice, direct teaching and personal anecdotes to relieve the judgmental attitude towards the self as a failure or outcast;
- Gradually guide the person into their body through breathing and grounding exercises initially, then introduce the roller; touching or hands-on work must be very limited at first, nothing too penetrating or soothing; help the person to feel their feet on the ground, to feel energy in their body, to begin noticing the increasing aliveness;
- Remind the person periodically that they survived their childhood, that the real trauma was in the past;
- Move into the expression of rage using the body once some basic trust in the therapeutic relationship has been established and there is some physical groundedness; remind the person that no one gets destroyed by expressing rage this way; have them look in a mirror to see that they haven’t disintegrated after bodywork;
- When the person has become able to tolerate some exposure of the mask and to feel moderate emotions consistently, more penetrating bodywork and group process can be added to the therapy;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their wisdom, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
- In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback;
- The major vehicle for healing the inner splits of this structure is the relationship itself; the therapist can reveal his own struggles, imperfections and mistakes at carefully chosen moments, in small doses, reminding the person that neither of them is perfect and that even when there is conflict in their relationship, the connection between them is still a viable and caring one. (Aloofness in the therapist cannot aid someone who wears a mask of aloofness!).


DEFINITIONS

Denial: a primitive defense consisting of an attempt to disavow the existence of unpleasant reality or feeling.

Depersonalization: a state in which the person feels as though he has lost his identity, that he is different or strange or unreal, or that the environment is strange or unreal (“derealization”).

Disintegration: collapsing into a state of disorganized mental chaos.

Dissociation: sudden and temporary alteration in the functions of consciousness, the fracturing of the integration of one’s identity, or the splitting off of certain mental process from the main body of consciousness (i.e. – thinking from feeling)

Fragmentation: functioning as though the psyche is broken up into many separate parts. (When fragmented feelings such as rage are projected, one may feel plagued by many apparently external voices or faces.)

Fugue: an episode in which a person suddenly leaves an intolerable situation or activity in a way that appears to have no connection to what the person was just doing and of which he or she has amnesia afterwards.

Intellectualization: an attempt to avoid objectionable impulses or feelings by escaping from the world of emotions into a world of intellectual concepts and words.

Introjection: incorporating into one’s mental structure an image, usually harsh and not necessarily accurate or complete, of another. (This can be experienced as an inner alien or demonic oppressive presence.)

Projection: the process of throwing out upon another the ideas, feelings or impulses that belong to oneself.

Splitting: compartmentalization of opposite and conflicting affect states; a defense mechanism in which a person, when faced with emotional stress or conflict, views himself or others as all good or all bad, or alternates between idealizing and devaluing the self or another; positive and negative qualities in the self or others are unable to be integrated into cohesive images.

Withdrawal: the turning away from reality and shutting off the perceptive system in order to avoid the anxiety aroused by interpersonal relationships or feelings.


THE ORAL CHARACTER STRUCTURE

TYPICAL PRESENTING PROBLEMS

- Inability to sustain relationships, projects, jobs or interests, often after a brief period of intense involvement;
- Lack of motivation and energy, chronic fatigue;
- Addictions, eating disorders, chronic money problems (under-earning/compulsive spending);
- Depression and/or chronic mood swings, manic-depressive disorder;
- Inability to let go of relationships, or recover from loss;
- Intense fears of being alone or abandoned;
- Difficulty delaying gratification, impatience, chronic irritability;
- Frequent physical injuries with slow, drawn out recovery periods;
- Dependency on institutions, parents or others for basic survival needs well into adulthood;
- Primary “falling” fear: falling behind;
- Primary holding pattern: holding on;
- Primary longing: for independence;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to need.


EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period – First Eighteen Months of Life)

- Mother, during first year and a half of child’s life, offered some warmth and nurturance, but was not consistently available, or was prematurely taken away, due to financial problems (i.e.- mother needing to go to work), marital problems, another pregnancy, depression, illness or death, or mother’s orality in general (i.e. - lack of energy, substance abuse or addictions, etc.);
- Mother was uncomfortable allowing the child to bond with her symbiotically and so pushed the child away prematurely, or mother was unwilling to separate and so held onto the child;
- Child was left alone for long periods, and cries were not heard or answered;
- Parents overly relied on child’s premature independence and precocious development (walking and talking early, playing alone, etc.);
- Giving to the child was based on the parents’ needs rather than the child’s, both in terms of timing and what was given (i.e. - food or pacifier given instead of being picked up and held);
- Trauma occurred during child’s first eighteen months that separated mother and child (hospitalization, placement in foster care or adoption, etc.)


BODY STATUS

- Posture is often one of tiredness and collapse; body is generally child-like in appearance (there may be very little body hair), underdeveloped in musculature and the body may be either long and thin (compensated) or very tiny (collapsed); body is generally not extensively armored;

- Neck is often long and reaching forward (looking for nourishment);

- Lips are often thin (holding against reaching out), jaw is clenched (against rage) and there are frequent dental problems or other physical problems around the mouth and throat; chin may be pulled in (against swallowing) or jutting out (determined not to need); in some, mouth may be very large, showing a lot of teeth (aggression, for biting); teeth may be pushed out due to an extensive period of thumb-sucking in childhood;

- Eyes have a longing, pleading look;

- Shoulders are rolled forward, collapsing chest and causing shallow breathing (negating the need to take in); breasts in women tend to be either very large (compensated) or very small (collapsed);

- Tender pain in between shoulder blades (collapsed will center) and in lower back (premature self-support); chronic lower back problems;

- Hands, feet and pelvis (points of contact with the world) are immature-looking, undercharged and often very small; arches in feet may be fallen and knees locked (making this person a “pushover”); feet and legs are not experienced as offering good support;

- Body overall is often in pain, with frequent injuries or illnesses (lower back, knees, respiratory) that take a long time to heal;

- Chronic areas of tension: jaw, shoulder girdle, between the shoulder blades, lower abdomen and lower back, root of the neck (all of these to prevent crying, reaching out or the expression of aggression), and in the back of the knees.


ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Generally undercharged, especially so in chest and the lower half of the body, and in the points of contact with the environment;
- Energy tends to come to the periphery weakly and leak out;
- “Energy vampires”, seeking to get energy by “sucking it” from others;
- The core is accessible, but the energy is not metabolized (correlates to shallow breathing not allowing the “burning of fuel” for action);
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) partially open; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open; Throat - (self-expression) partially collapsed; Heart - (love feelings) partially open; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened and asymmetrical; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) partially collapsed and inverted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) partially collapsed.


OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- Emotional needs are frequently denied mentally and suppressed by the will, creating an inner emotional climate of deprivation, grief, despair and bitterness;
- The intense fear of abandonment and loss of love, combined with an equal fear of losing oneself in love, creates an ambivalent attitude towards surrendering to feelings; separation anxiety is extreme;
- Deep rage at unmet needs is often turned against the self into depression (sometimes alternating with unsustainable periods of exaggerated elation), and aggression is expressed passively and indirectly (through verbal sarcasm, refusing to follow through on tasks, getting sick, not paying bills, chronic lateness, etc.);
- Deep crying and reaching out are suppressed, though a lot of superficial “bitter” crying and clutching and clinging may be manifested;
- The will is used either to try and give excessively to others (in order to get) or to cling desperately onto others for direct support;
- There is a genuine capacity to express love, but relationships often very romanticized by the mind to an unattainable height, or easily given up on;
- Mentally, there are strong intuitive and intellectual capacities, but creative ideas are not charged or put into action, because the will is being used to prevent self-sufficiency in order to get taken care of;


PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self caused by feelings of unfulfillment, incompleteness, and a perceived inability to be independent, combined with intense self-loathing for the perceived weakness and dependency;
- Extreme dependency conflicts may manifest in addictions (in an effort to substitute for the needed, but ambivalent caretaker and genuine sustenance);
- There is an intense focus in the personality on the functions of the mouth and their related psychosocial correlates: taking in (acquisitiveness), holding on (tenacity & determination), biting (destructiveness), spitting out (rejection, contempt), and closing (refusal); continuous smoking, eating, drinking, talking (often fast), biting, etc., may be present, or self-depriving behaviors, like poverty or self-starvation may be acted out;
- Mood swings, cyclothymic disorders, depression, borderline or manic-depressive disorders may be present;
- Main defenses: identification, displacement, reversal, turning against the self, denial, projection, splitting;
- Typical masks: rescuer, caretaker, compulsive giver (“I have so much to give because I have no needs of my own.”); exaggerated self-reliance and pseudo independence (“I stand alone.” “I have to do it all myself.” “No one can do it as good as me.”); helplessness, inadequacy, neediness (“You have to take care of me because I can’t do it.” “I can’t!”); Idealized Self-images: “the Lone Ranger” (“I hide myself and stay alone, coming out only to rescue others.”), “Scarlett O’Hara” (“I will survive by being alone, even though I once had the greatest lover of all time.”), “Mother Theresa” (“I am a saint, devoted to the needy.”)
- Childhood history may include: very early accomplishment of developmental tasks (walking, talking, toilet training, getting dressed and other self-care tasks, reading, writing, etc.), disturbances around eating, intense separation anxiety (i.e. - refusal to go to school, unable to sleep over someone else’s house or be with a babysitter), frequent illnesses or injuries, collecting, clinging and holding onto objects excessively, thumb-sucking well into later childhood, romanticized relationships with teachers or others adults, wishing to be adopted by them.


INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- Trying to get love and support is the predominant motivation in relationships; this is often attempted either through insistent care-giving (that is experienced by the recipient as intrusive, controlling and demanding), through a helpless, deprived presentation of the self (hiding a covert demandingness and feeling of entitlement); or by direct, self-righteous demanding (“You owe it to me!”); the alienating effects on others of these behaviors will seem to reinforce the experience of early abandonment, causing the person to “give up” on relationships at times;
- Relationships will go back and forth between intense, totally “lost-in-love” involvement to sudden and absolute endings as the symbiotic struggle is acted out (wanting to merge with the all-powerful, giving parent versus wanting to separate from her and individuate);
- Relationships are frequently sought out with people who are extremely needy as the defenses of denial, projection and identification are employed (“I’ll take care of you as the needy me that I’m not.”);
- Love is related to as both “manna from Heaven” and potentially suffocating or devouring (“Can’t live with it; can’t live without it!”);
- Sexual interactions may be used to avoid abandonment and loneliness and for some sense of belongingness; orgasms may be frequent and easy but not particularly charged or strong in women, and men may not have full erections or they may ejaculate easily and prematurely without much charge; being held or cuddled is often more desired than actual sex;
- Surrendering to the love feelings for another brings up intense fears of abandonment and falling behind, losing oneself, being left alone.


PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “I must not need.” “If I need, I will be abandoned.”
- “I am alone.” “No one will ever be there for me.”
- “If I connect with another, I will lose myself.” “If I am independent, I must be alone.”
- “I cannot stand on my own two feet.”
- “I must give to others in order to get.” “The needs of others will devour or suffocate me.”
- “There is not enough.” “The world is a depriving place.”


HIGHER SELF APSECTS

- Great capacity to give to others in a deeply nurturing, truly healing way;
- An appreciation for the vastly abundant nature of existence and the joy of sharing;
- Genuine independence, autonomy and self-confidence with full capacity to surrender to the oneness with another;
- Powerful intuitive abilities and the capacity to follow insights through to fruition by sustained, patient effort.


THERAPEUTIC TASKS

- Acknowledge, accept and express emotional needs and longings;
- Develop the capacity to reach out, while releasing clinging or grabbing impulse;
- Face the reality of the early deprivation in childhood and finish grieving for losses;
- Face and move through the fears of rejection and abandonment;
- Develop the capacity to experience the self as autonomous without needing to be alone in the world;
- Develop the capacity to connect to others without feeling the loss of identity and autonomy;
- Relinquish addictions to transitional objects and self-numbing substances by experiencing direct pleasure and self-nurturance;
- Create a foundation of support in the physical world by stabilizing and sustaining relationships, work-life and income, and basic self-care functions;
- Energize and strengthen the feet and legs as a foundation of support;
- Recharge the chest and open the capacity to receive life and give and receive love;
- Energize aggression and release rage held in the oral segment and the hands;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality, opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion, and recognize and express one’s Higher Self aspects with less fear of losing one’s self;
- Primary raw negative expression that needs release: “Give it to me!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to need.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

- Establish a supportive, nurturing environment, acknowledging the frustration, despair and hopelessness the person has felt in trying to get their needs met; listen patiently and empathetically to the person’s expression of his or her considerable pain (including physical) and feelings of loss;
- While acknowledging the person’s genuine desire to give to others, begin confronting the hidden agenda to get from others through a mask of giving;
- Demystify the underlying causes of addictive behaviors and repetitive cycles and challenge the helpless, out-of-control image the person has of the inner self and of his or her needs and longings;
- Engage the person’s innate belief in the abundance of life that has been denied but is demonstrated by the very fact of their frustration;
- Guide the person into fuller breathing by opening up the chest, and also facilitate the experience of self-support by grounding the legs and feet; energize the hands and mouth by facilitating the expressing of rage through hitting, towel-twisting (choking the suffocating mother), biting, yelling, and by reaching for help with the hands and arms; extensive rage held in the jaw can be released through massage and then kicking; facilitate deeper crying by opening up the lower abdomen through rolling and massage of the diaphragmatic segment and lower back; consistent encouragement, creativity and patience will be needed to help the person engage the body in the therapy when the impulse to collapse surfaces; the person with this structure will not want to “do the work”, but rather will try to get the therapist to “do it for them”; massaging the body, holding and cuddling, allowing the person to receive support and comfort directly without having to reciprocate can be a very corrective experience;
- Help the person face the impossible dilemma of the symbiotic bind they were in - needing to merge with a parent who didn’t give enough, and then needing to separate when they felt too weak to do so or weren’t let go of by a clinging parent; reassure the person that they can now experience that bond with the therapist, and ultimately their own adult self, without risk of abandonment or suffocation;
- While allowing the dependency feelings of the person to be experienced positively with the therapist, challenge any idealizations of the therapist, and explore, without confrontation, passive behaviors that express the resentment that comes from those idealizations and hidden demands to be taken care of (i.e.- not paying fees);
- The person who employs this character structure is an inherently giving person who needs to open up to receiving again in the child aspect of the personality that has been deprived; if the therapist gives directly and genuinely to this person, without “rescuing”, and “lends” his or her ego temporarily to the person, he or she will flourish as the deep capacities for love and gratitude become directed towards self-nurturance and self-love by the adult;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their truly giving nature, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
- In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance,

- based on experience, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


DEFINITIONS

Denial: a primitive defense consisting of an attempt to disavow the existence of unpleasant reality.

Displacement: the process by which energy, feelings or impulses are transferred from one idea, experience, place in the body or object to another; the substitution of one object for another as the target of feeling.

Identification: the process by which one either blurs or eliminates the distinction between the self and others by extending his or her identity into another, borrowing one’s identity from another, or fusing identities with another (merging).

Projection: the process of throwing out upon another the ideas, feelings or impulses that belong to oneself.

Reversal: the process by which an energetic expression, an impulse or feeling, is changed into its opposite. Through this mechanism, hate may change to love, sadism to masochism, longing for an object to rejection of it, etc.

Splitting: compartmentalization of opposite and conflicting affect states; a defense mechanism in which a person, when faced with emotional stress or conflict, views himself or others as all good or all bad, or alternates between idealizing and devaluing the self or another; positive and negative qualities in the self or others are unable to be integrated into cohesive images.

Symbiosis: a bond between a mother and child in which the child functions as though the mother and child form a single, omnipotent unit. During the “symbiotic phase” of development (4 months to 18 months), the mother functions as the auxiliary ego for the child, performing functions the child cannot yet perform for itself.

Transitional Object: an inanimate object that a little child uses to sooth itself with that serves as a substitute for the comforting mother (blanket, stuffed animal, pacifier, etc.);

Turning Against The Self: the process by which an individual directs hatred for another against the self; the desire to retaliate becomes the propensity to self-torture.


MASOCHISTIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE

PRESENTING PROBLEMS (When first coming to therapy)

- Chronic feelings of suffering and chronic low-level anxiety, both emotionally and physically;
- Submissive behavior, and lack of self-assertion (inability to say, “No”);
- Intense feelings of shame and humiliation;
- Feeling trapped;
- Self-destructive behavior patterns (sabotaging success in jobs and relationships, accidents, sexual acting out, etc.);
- Obsessive/compulsive problems, particularly around sex, cleanliness and orderliness;
- Preoccupations with sex, masturbation, pornography and/or excretory functions, accompanied by intense guilt, shame and self-punishment;
- An inability to let go of or change repetitive patterns in abusive or ungratifying relationships;
- Inability to tolerate pleasure or success without guilt or anxiety;
- Sadistic, cruel and abusive acting out, or pervasive worrying about urges to do so;
- Primary “falling” fear: of the bottom falling out;
- Primary holding pattern: holding in;
- Primary longing: to be free/spontaneous;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to be assertive.

EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period - 19th to 30th Months)

- Parents offered conditional love to the child based on compliance with their will (that the child “be a good boy or girl” and control impulses);
- Attempts by child to assert its own will or say “No” were overpowered by parents and greeted with threats of abandonment or withdrawal of love;
- Parents were excessively involved in child’s eating and excretory functions (child may have been pushed to eat more than it wanted, toilet training may have been severe, enemas given, etc.), and in general, there was a strong focus on eating and defecating in the family;
- Father may have been passive, submissive or absent while mother was dominating, smothering, or harsh (often with a self-sacrificing, martyr-type mask), or father may have been harsh, controlling or sadistic while mother was permissive and indulgent;
- Parents may have been excessively concerned about “messing up” (around personal hygiene, household cleanliness, finances, order in general, etc.);
- A sudden interruption in the parent-child relationships may have occurred in the child’s second year of life (birth of a sibling, divorce, absent parent due to work, illness, death, etc., or a physical illness of child).

BODY STATUS

- Body is typically shortened, thick and muscular (to restrain assertiveness and negative impulses), with chronic tension in the body; there may be excessive body hair;

- Neck is short and thick (from a “turtle-like” pulling in of the head);

- Shoulder muscles enlarged (to bear burdens);

- Buttocks are pulled in and squeezed together (to control the impulse to mess up and let out), which pushes the pelvis forward;

- Waist is short and thick, encased, compressed and collapsed (from pulling in and down from the top and up and in from the bottom to control impulses to let out); in women, hips and thighs are often thick and heavy; in men, the abdomen often balloons;

- The abdominal compression affects the whole diaphragmatic segment, making exhalation difficult and hindering all of the organs in the area;

- There is often an awkwardness or clumsiness in the person’s gait and movements, with frequent minor accidents (messing up), along with a general uncomfortability in the body;

- There is anal and genital tension and spasticity (causing acute suffering and inability to freely experience pleasure) as the whole pelvic floor is contracted;

- Skin tends to have a brownish hue due to stagnant, held energy charge; there may be severe problems with acne;

- Chronic areas of tension: the neck, shoulder girdle, pelvis and buttocks, and most of the large muscles;

- Chronic physical ailments of the throat and colon/anal region, such as sore throats, colitis, constipation and hemorrhoids, and digestive problems;

- Expression in the eyes is one of suffering, often combined with compulsive smiling.

ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Fully charged energetically, but energy is tightly held in check (though not frozen), so this person is “boiling” inside;
- Energy moving upward and downward is choked off at the neck and waist (causing compression) and outlets for energy discharge are blocked (throat, anus, genitals);
- The highly charged energy is stagnant in the skin;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) deflated; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open; Throat - (self-expression) contracted; Heart - (love feelings) open, but constricted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) open; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) partially open; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) partially blocked.

OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- Feelings are often predominant and strongly felt, but held in, literally packed within by massive armoring, creating chronic feelings of pain, suffering and anxiety;
- Negative feelings, which are intense in this structure (including desires to punish, crush or be sadistic to others), and their expressions, are severely prohibited, accompanied by powerful feelings of guilt, shame and humiliation if any self-assertion is made, and a fear of exploding violently;
- Positive feelings of love, including humor and joy are very active, but encased deep within and inhibited from full expression; pleasure and any strong surges of energy are perceived as a threat (of exploding or the bottom falling out);
- Extreme efforts are made to be kind, pleasant, pleasing, servile, self-sacrificing and ingratiating in order to hide the inner hostility and spitefulness, which is considerable; negative feelings are expressed mainly through passive-aggressive behavior or provocative attitudes;
- The will is weakened by the constant holding pattern, but it is strong enough to express its resistance (to the parents’ crushing will) through stubbornness, defiance and passive refusal (to move, to be successful or happy, etc.); the will is also often directed to make the individual appear stupid or eccentric, or to dissimulate, so there is much inner doubting about one’s own intelligence or wisdom;
- The mind can be very orderly, but usually obsessively so, with much ruminating on details, serving as a distraction from feelings;

PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self caused by the negation of spontaneous, assertive expressions and deep feelings of inferiority; self-assertion is severely limited and there is an emotional heaviness (feeling burdened, “stuck in the mud”, “too hard to move”);
- Consciously identified with trying to please, while unconsciously identified with sadism, spite and hostility;
- Disguised exhibitionism combined with self-derogation and self-deprecation and a chronic compulsion to damage the self;
- Strong castration/mutilation anxieties (fear of retaliation for inner negativity and exhibitionism);
- Intense fears of being abandoned, due to a perceived reliance on others for both stimulation and “decompression” from stimulation and pent-up feelings;
- In the “anal-compulsive” (“retentive”) character type, there is great concern about orderliness, cleanliness, efficiency and control, with great difficulty tolerating change;
- Main defenses: reaction formation, ruminative thinking, undoing, externalization, reversal, rationalization;
- Typical masks: self-sacrificing, martyr (“I suffer for you.” “I am special, noble and superior because I suffer.”), pleasing, submissive, ingratiating, slave (“I live only to serve.” “I have no selfishness in me.”), efficiency expert, perfectionist (“I am superior because I never mess up.” “If I fail, it is because I didn’t try hard enough.”), pacifism (“I have no hurtful intentions towards anyone.” “I have no aggression or hostility in me.”);
- Childhood history may include: clumsiness and many minor accidents, “good boy” or “good girl” behavior patterns in childhood, followed by rebellious or cruel acting out behavior in adolescence, overeating (to stuff down feelings), chronic sore throats, acne, digestive problems (coupled with anxiety about vomiting), constipation, and excessive neatness or sloppiness.

INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- Relationships, while able to be engaged in and sustained, are fraught with tension and pressure, at times exploding into outright hostility and abusiveness as the suppressed and highly charged negativity seeks an outlet;
- Trying to get appreciation and approval, permission to feel, and relief from guilt are predominant motivations in relationships; this is attempted either through exaggerated pleasing, servile and submissive behavior (that is experienced by the recipient as hostile, controlling and contemptuous), through self-deprecating attitudes and self-damaging behavior, constant whining and complaining, or through directly provocative behavior; the angry reactions provoked in others by these characteristics will then seem to justify this person’s self-righteous fury and/or self-punishing guilt;
- Intense preoccupation with sex and frequent masturbation are common as this person continually seeks pleasure and release, both of which are intensely desired and also inhibited; fascination with pornography and/or sadomasochistic fantasy is common (seeking to turn pain, submission and humiliation into “pleasure”); orgasms are controlled by pushing and squeezing actions (of the buttocks, thighs and pelvis);
- Surrendering to love is related to as both potentially liberating and potentially crushing, with pain as a necessary ingredient and good feelings in love and sex as “too much.”

PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “I will be loved as long as I submit to the will of others.” “If I assert my independence, I will be crushed.”
- “To get love, I must please others.” “I can never say no.”
- “I must never express my negativity.” “I will hurt myself to prevent others from hurting me.”
- “If I feel too much, I will explode.”
- “I am inferior and disgusting because of my negative feelings.”
- “Life is hard and suffering unavoidable.”


HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- Great capacities for pleasure, humor, optimism, playfulness and joy;
- Genuine supportiveness, strength and desire to be of service to others;
- An expansive, open heart with deep compassion, true kindness and understanding;
- Positive assertiveness and healthy aggression with substantial amounts of energy;
- Ability to be spontaneously creative in the moment, surrender ego control and trust the natural order in all things;

THERAPEUTIC TASKS

- Develop spontaneity, assertiveness and healthy aggression without fears of humiliation or retaliation;
- Become aware of, accept and release negative feelings and attitudes, and sadistic impulses, without guilt or anxiety;
- Relinquish the obsessive-compulsive patterns, and the excessive need to control and not mess up;
- Recognize and relinquish the self-sabotaging and passive-aggressive behavior patterns that have been a resistance to expansion and an illusory form of vengeance against the dominating parents of childhood;
- Stretch and decompress the body, opening it up to its full length; release the held aggression everywhere in the body, and particularly let go of the spasticity in the entire pelvic floor area;
- Experience sexual feelings freely without guilt or the fear that the bottom will fall out; let go of the pushing and stopping as a way of controlling the energy flow;
- Release the judgmental attitudes and disgust toward bodily functions and needs, particularly sex, eating and excretory functions;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality, opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion, and recognize and express one’s Higher Self aspects with less fear of exploding;
- Primary raw negative expression that needs release: “No!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to be free.”


THERAPUETIC APPROACH

- Establish a light and warm environment, acknowledging the genuine kindness, compassion and goodness in this person who suffers from a belief in his or her own “badness”;
- Engage the person’s capacity for humor to counteract the heaviness in their emotional climate and despondent view of their life as a burden;
- Encourage the person to talk about their perceived “disgusting” habits and self-destructive patterns to neutralize the shame and guilt;
- Help the person face the reality of having been controlled and dominated by the parents, and that “being good” was a desperate attempt to get love and acceptance;
- Confront the person’s defiance and hostility underneath their passivity; the person employing this structure can tolerate and even needs provocation by the therapist to get their anger acknowledged and moving;
- Use full bodywork regimen early on and regularly, including group; use rolling to stretch out the compressed torso, pelvic thrusts, hitting and kicking to free up the aggression; massage the heavily armored large muscles deeply, even pounding them, to release pain and tension; massage chest and diaphragmatic segment to facilitate fuller exhalation; facilitate crying through deep massaging of the neck, chest and abdomen, which will be necessary to clear the massive contractions there;
- Energize the “No!’ fully and regularly in this person through verbal expressions while doing the bodywork; also have this person energetically verbalize scatological expressions and sounds during bodywork (“Shit on you!”);
- Confront the person’s passive resistance to therapy as a way of spiting the perceived controlling will of the therapist (as parent); this person will tend to be a “model patient” (“good boy or girl”) by always being on time, always paying, following up advice, etc., but will “thwart” the therapist by “never feeling any better”;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their compassionate and joyful nature, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
- In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on experience, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


DEFINITIONS

Compulsion: a repeated action, the need for whose performance insistently forces itself into consciousness even though the person simultaneously does not wish to perform the act; compulsions are obsessions in action, are ego-alien and are therefore always resisted.

Dissimulation: the act of pretending.

Externalization: a process by which one’s feelings toward oneself are experienced as feelings toward others.

Obsession: an idea or impulse that repetitively and insistently forces itself into consciousness even though it is unwelcome; an example of an intellectual obsession is a preoccupation with metaphysical questions concerning one’s purpose in life, ultimate destiny, etc.; an example of an impulsive obsession is an idea that leads to action like concerns about germs leading to repeated hand-washing.

Rationalization: making a thing appear reasonable, when otherwise its irrationality would be evident; meant to act as a screen, to cover up ideas or actions intended to gratify an unconscious need.

Reaction Formation: the development of conscious attitudes and interests that are socially acceptable that are the antithesis of unconscious attitudes and impulses that are not acceptable.

Reversal: the process by which an energetic expression, an impulse or feeling, is changed into its opposite. Through this mechanism, hate may change to love, sadism to masochism, longing for an object to rejection of it, etc. (precursor to reaction formation)

Ruminative Thinking: repetitively going over ideas (often unpleasant ones), recollections or plans mentally that serves no adaptive purpose, but rather serves to distract one’s conscious mind from being aware of feelings deemed unacceptable.

Undoing: a defense mechanism consisting of positive action that actually (or in fantasy) is the opposite of something against which the ego must defend itself (i.e. – eating health food to defend against an impulse to literally “eat shit”).



PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE

PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first arriving to therapy)

- Intense fears of being defeated, humiliated, controlled, or used;
- Feelings of falseness, insincerity, and a lack of integrity;
- Feelings of emptiness and boredom, counteracted by episodes of recklessness, risk-taking and thrill-seeking behavior;
- addiction to intensity;
- Conflicts with authority (including employers, institutions and the legal system);
- Impulsive sexual acting out, promiscuity, many shallow relationships, but no real intimacy or trusting friendships;
- Criminal, sociopathic behavior; antisocial personality disorder;
- Primary falling fear: falling down;
- Primary holding pattern: holding up;
- Primary longing: to have integrity;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to trust.

EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period – Birth to 4 Years)

- One or both parents manipulated, seduced, sexualized, or otherwise used child (covertly or directly) for their own narcissistic purposes; parents instilled in the child an image of how they wanted the child to be in order for the adults to feel good about themselves;
- The parents used the child as a buffer or weapon against each other; the child was overly involved in the marital relationship;
- There was a role reversal in which the child was maneuvered, often with sexual overtones and promises of love that were never delivered, into being the pseudo-spouse or pseudo-parent to a parent (frequently of the opposite sex); the child was expected to be more than he or she was to that parent (“Mommy’s little man”; “Daddy’s little princess”);
- One or both parents invested child with feelings of specialness and importance and then rejected or ignored child, or otherwise became unavailable (frequently the parent of the opposite sex);
- One or both parents competed with the child, feeling threatened by the child’s real or imagined accomplishments, and sadistically exploited the child’s weaknesses to humiliate, control and diminish the child’s self-confidence;
- Child experienced horror from witnessing events that could not be understood or integrated, such as verbal or physical abuse (either of a violent or sexual nature); a major trauma occurred in the child’s life, usually after the second year, that could not be understood intellectually by the child and was experienced as a betrayal; (i.e. – hospitalization and surgery, exposure to sex acts by adults, witnessing extreme violence, etc., while being told that all was well by the adults, or blaming the child for the trauma);
- Parent of the same sex was significantly absent from child’s early life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.).

BODY STATUS

- Body is “designed” to serve the purposes of dominating or seducing and can take almost any form, following whatever main image the person is primarily attached to (i.e.- athletic and powerful, youthful and innocent, sexual and alluring); generally, however, there are two types of body formations typical of this character structure:
1. The “overpowering type” which is inflated on top, “blown-up” looking, with a barreled chest, broad shoulders, and large head, while rigid and small in the pelvis, with small buttocks and thin legs, particularly the calves; or 2. The “seductive type” which is inflated in the pelvis (but numb to feelings there), with broad hips and hyperflexibility in the back, while deflated and immature in the chest area;
- Armoring is particularly marked in the chest, diaphragm, legs and shoulders;
- Eyes are highly charged, often large, and frequently gleaming or sparkling; in the dominating type, the eyes are penetrating and compelling; in the seductive type, they are soft and intriguing, cunning, dreamy or sleepy looking (“Bette Davis eyes”);
- Often, there is a pronounced split (correlates to a lack of integrity in the personality) between the head and the body (mature body, with a small child-like face and head, or visa versa); this split is facilitated by severe tension at the base of the skull and in the shoulder girdle, which holds the head tightly in place (“I must never lose my head.”);
- Arms tend to be immobilized and away from the body (due to the inflated chest and severe shoulder girdle tensions);
- Feet tend to be “pulled off the ground” and may be small; calves and thighs may be short and thin, even when the torso is heavy;
- Physical illnesses are often not felt or manifested until late in life due to extreme willfulness and numbness (later life problems may be in the hips, prostate, pelvis in general, or the heart);
- Spine may be twisted or fused and immobile;
- Chronic areas of tension: base of the skull, shoulder girdle, chest and rib cage, including the diaphragm, waist and abdominal muscles (which are often hard and clenched to pull sexual energy away from genitals), pelvic area in general, genitals specifically.

ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Highly charged, with energy displaced and pulled upwards into the top half of the body and away from the pelvis;
- Eyes are particularly highly charged, used to penetrate, intimidate and/or seduce;
- Energy is directed outwardly to control, hook and dominate others, and directed inwardly to deny feelings in the self by contracting all feeling centers;
- Energy is not allowed to flow downwards, cut off by severe tensions in the pelvis, waist, diaphragm, shoulders and base of skull;
- Chakras (energy centers): Will Centers – (in the back of the body) are open; Crown - (spiritual connection) can be open and lopsided; can be collapsed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open, but exaggerated; Throat - (self-expression) contracted; Heart - (love feelings) contracted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially contracted; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) severely contracted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) contracted.

OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- The will is powerfully exerted to control others and to control feelings; feelings are alive in the body, however, but denied recognition by the mind;
- Feelings and the body are denigrated and not trusted, so neither are the external senses; therefore only what’s in one’s head, only one’s own ideas in the moment, are treated as valid and real;
- Power rather than pleasure is sought from life;
- The mind is the servant of the will in this structure, so reasoning can be dramatically inconsistent, though capable of brilliance; arguing both sides of a situation or mixing lies with truth is common if it suits a manipulative purpose to gain power or be “right”; one’s own lies are often believed; there is also a tendency to poor judgement and an inability to learn from mistakes;
- Pain is numbed, and genuine feelings are denied, but dramatic emotionality and false feelings are acted out to achieve some purpose, like intimidation or seduction;
- Fear of being wrong or of submitting to the will of others is extreme and is powerfully denied;
- Intuitive capacities of the mind are formidable, with very strong abilities to read what is going on inside of other people, although the understanding of the meaning of what is going on is often very distorted.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self due to a lack of integrity and treating the self and others as objects for manipulation and control;
- Lack of empathy or compassion and a lack of conscious feelings of remorse or guilt due to numbness defense (numbness is often augmented by alcohol and drug abuse);
- Craving for intensity and excessive stimulation to counteract numbness;
- Poor impulse control and an intolerance of boundaries and structure;
- Paranoia about being controlled or humiliated underlying an extreme need to be in control of feelings, others and all situations; intense fears of losing power, being defeated or helpless, and collapsing into desperate neediness (orality);
- Aggression is used as a defense against surrender to feelings (which are equated with weakness) or to the will of others;
- Powerful investment in and identification with idealized self-images; desperate need to be special and important;
- Main defenses: displacement, numbing, denial, acting out, rationalization, confusion;
- Typical masks: grandiosity, self-dramatization, outlandishness (“I am the one and only of my kind, the greatest, the best, the most, the first, the worst, the baddest”. “There’s nobody like me.”), exaggerated false sincerity (“I would never lie to you.”), the hero (“Only I have the power to save you.”), the guru (“Only I can take you to the light.”), the great promise giver (“I know what you want and I can give it to you.”), the courtesan (“I will control you by letting you use me…on my terms.”), the chameleon (“I can be whatever the situation calls for in order to get my way.”); Idealized Self-images: “Don Juan” or “Venus” (the God or Goddess of Eros), “the Godfather” or “Black Widow” (“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” “I always get what I want.”), the “blowfish/monster” (“I am a very scary, dangerous person, so be afraid of me.”);
- Childhood history may include: restlessness and hyperactivity, dangerous behavior (i.e. - fire-setting), severe tantrums, spectacular achievements (in school, sports or the arts) coupled with spectacular self-sabotage or delinquency, cruelty to animals or other children, premature sexual behavior, “troublemaker” persona, inappropriate lack of fear and a lack of crying when hurt.

INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- People are primarily related to as objects, as sources of “narcissistic supply” to support images of power and specialness; since others are objectified, anything can be said or done to get what is wanted from another without concern for the other’s feelings or well-being;
- A “divide and conquer” approach is often taken to gain control of others, individually and in groups, pitting people against each other, then sometimes taking the role of mediator or peacemaker;
- Eccentric, radical, dramatic, unpredictable or extreme behavior and appearance are often used to gain attention and/or to keep others off balance;
- The need to have “followers” is felt as an essential reason to engage with others; it is through the “needing to be needed” that the person with this character structure maintains his or her feeling of power, while denying the inherent dependency (orality) of the dynamic at the same time;
- Antisocial behavior may be engaged in with very little provocation, though it may be seen as justified by the person in the moment; these actions are not followed by feelings of remorse afterwards; only getting caught or confined is of concern, not hurting others or the self;
- This person looks directly at others, but doesn’t really see them as real (whereas the schizoid character sees but doesn’t look!);
- Sex is seen as a means to an end, or a contest, often used to gain power, not pleasure, or to express revenge feelings; sex is related to as a conquest of the other person and as further proof of one’s prowess;
- In men, maintaining an erection is more important than having an orgasm, and extreme pride is taken in the penis; in women, likewise, being seen as sexually powerful and technically skilled is more important than sensual or orgasmic pleasure; feelings in the genitals are greatly diminished, so performances of great endurance are possible, but genuine surrender to sexual feelings and orgasm is experienced as humiliating or terrifying.

PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “I must never surrender.” “If I surrender, I will be helpless.”
- “Everything is a lie, including love, including me.” “Whatever I believe in the moment is the truth.”
- “I must never be wrong.” “If I am wrong, I will be humiliated.”
- “I must get others to need me, so I can control them, in order to get what I need.”
- “If I acknowledge my feelings, I will be weak and get abused.” “The world is an abusive place.”

HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- Great leadership and executive qualities and capacities to bring people with differences together in a harmonious effort;
- Strong abilities to guide and inspire others to accomplish their chosen tasks in life and see their own specialness without competitiveness or separation;
- True innovators and adventurers able to travel “the road not taken”, or “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, without recklessness or excess;
- A genuine seeker of truth, with genuine humility, honesty, loyalty and unwavering integrity;
- A truly big heart full of love and fearlessness to surrender to the flow of feelings, life and the Higher Self.


THERAPUETIC TASKS

Develop the capacity for empathy and compassion by reversing the numbing of pain in the body and the denial of feelings in general;
Deflate the grandiose self-images by facing their falseness and discovering the longing for truth, sincerity and integrity in the self;
Deflate the overcharged upper half of the body and become grounded and energized in the lower half of the body, allowing for the experience of real pleasure and safety;
Release the tensions at the base of the skull and shoulders, and in the diaphragm and abdomen, allowing for the flow of energy between the mind, heart and genitals;
Become aware of the feelings of emptiness from trying to “win”, “be right”, “be on top”, “get revenge”, “have it my way”, etc., when the real desire is to be able to trust;
Face the horror and confusion in childhood that came from being lied to, used and manipulated by the parents that the child was dependent on and helpless to defend against; confront the illusions that the abuse by the parents meant the child was special, powerful or bad;
Express and release the feelings of hurt and rage at the betrayal by the parents that are hidden by the mask of pride and grandiosity and the fear of humiliation, and discover that those feelings are not devastating to the self now;
Acknowledge, feel and release the early dependency feelings and neediness underneath the fear of collapsing and falling down;
Release the addiction to intensity, overstimulation and exaggerated expansiveness by experiencing the true aliveness of surrendering to feelings;
Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality (child, adult, higher self), opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
Experience pleasure and expansion and recognize and express one’s higher self aspects with less fear of being humiliated;
Primary negative expression that needs release: “My way!”
Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to trust.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

Establish an honest and sincere environment being clear and direct about the nature and boundaries of the therapeutic relationship, understanding that this person will test them to discover where the hidden agendas and lies are; do not make promises about the outcome of therapy;
Engage playfully with this person’s challenging manner to begin confronting his or her efforts to be in control of the therapy and the therapist; it is important to establish a balance in which control feels and is shared, but not at the expense of the therapy; allowing acting out against the therapy or therapist will undermine the person’s feelings of trust and safety, which are minimal to begin with;
Encourage the person to talk about the betrayals he or she has experienced, and the desire for revenge, beginning with current circumstances, then tracing back to related childhood experiences; help the person face the reality that the desire for revenge is a cover for the feelings of helplessness and impotent fury he or she felt in childhood when they were being used by parents;
Use rolling to begin softening up the rigidity in the chest and to open up to feelings; use kicking, including on the roller, to begin opening up the pelvis; use massage of the neck, shoulders and chest to soften up the armoring there and to begin establishing contact with the person, providing an experience that is physically intimate, but not sexualized or abusive; use hitting and vocalization to access the real rage underneath the “blowfish” mask; use grounding and vibrating to get energy moving downwards, reversing the upward displacement; generally, a person employing this character structure will resist the bodywork early on, and maybe for a long time, experiencing it as “embarrassing”, “silly”, “not what I need”, etc., and when the feelings do start to come they may feel humiliated afterwards; acknowledge those feelings and explain the reasons for the body work, but let the person know that it’s his or her decision whether or not to do it;
In group, this person will want to “take over”, one way or the other, by challenging the therapist’s role or approach, by trying to be the smartest, funniest, most advanced, most dramatic member, etc., or by being disruptive; it is risky to directly deflate this mask with confrontation publicly, because it will feel like a re-creation of the intense feelings of humiliation from childhood, but it may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the person and the group; as an alternative to confrontation, openly support the genuine special qualities of the person and his or her genuine importance to the group; remember that this person carries a deep longing to be genuine and to constructively bring people together;
Tell this person the truth to counteract the belief that everyone lies; with the highly developed intuitive capacities that this person has, he or she will readily sense things going on inside of the therapist, but often misinterpret their meaning; within the boundaries established, it’s helpful to answer personal questions, especially about how the therapist is feeling in the moment; it is also helpful to this person to hear about the reasons for what the therapist is choosing to do, and to have diagnostic updates, encouraging the person to join with the therapist in assessing their progress;
When the underlying feelings of helplessness, dependency and abandonment first begin to surface in this person, it will be a very tenuous moment; even after a long-standing positive relationship, a person using this defensive structure can “turn on you”; impulses to quit therapy or attack the therapist may be acted out; acknowledge that the person always has the power to leave therapy, but that acting out against the therapist is not allowed; give a clear and compassionate diagnostic understanding of what is going on, and “leave the door open” for this person to come back if they want to;
When this person’s powerful feelings of rage have been released, and the body has become more supple, deep grieving may emerge, along with the true courage this person has, as well as a deep capacity to give and receive love;
Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their integrity, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


DEFINITIONS

Acting Out: a discharge of tension, impulses or feelings through action that attempts to alter or control the environment as if that environment and those in it were part of a transferential (from childhood) conflict or threat.

Denial: a primitive defense consisting of an attempt to disavow the existence of unpleasant reality.

Confusion: a defense that creates a disturbance of consciousness in which awareness of time, place, or person is unclear; this also serves the purpose of keeping others, perceived as a threat, off balance;

Displacement: the process by which energy, feelings or impulses are transferred from one idea, experience, place in the body or object to another; the substitution of one object for another as the target of feeling.

Numbing: a defense mechanism that causes insensitivity to feelings and sensations in general, and in particular, pain.

Rationalization: making a thing appear reasonable, when otherwise its irrationality would be evident; meant to act as a screen, to cover up ideas or actions intended to gratify an unconscious need.


THE RIGID CHARACTER STRUCTURE

PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first coming to therapy)

- Unwillingness to fall too deeply in love or engage in a long-term, monogamous love relationship;
- Series of broken relationships, marriages or extramarital affairs in which either some sexual or emotional gratification is experienced, but never the two together with the same person;
- Drivenness, competitiveness, restlessness, hyperactivity, relentless need to “look good” and “achieve”;
- Feelings of unfulfillment in spite of substantial success in work-life; never feeling satisfied;
- Intense fears around vulnerability and betrayal and concerns about looking foolish;
- Hysterical outbursts, psychosomatic symptoms, insomnia;
- Primary falling fear: falling forward (on one’s face);
- Primary holding pattern: holding back;
- Primary longing: to surrender;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to love sexually.


EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period – 40th to 60th Months)

- Child’s natural erotic strivings and expressions, including masturbation, were greeted with anxiety, rejection, severe disapproval or punishment by sexually repressed parents;
- The parent of the opposite sex reacted to the child’s amorous advances, flirtatiousness and romantic fantasies with rejection, possessiveness, or overstimulation;
- The parent of the same sex vicariously encouraged the child to express that parent’s repressed sexual feelings (mother dressing daughter up in “sexy” outfits, father encouraging son to be a “ladies’ man”, encouraging coy, provocative behavior, etc.), or that parent inappropriately confided in the child about the details of the marital relationship;
- The parent of the opposite sex was significantly absent from the child’s life during the 3rd to 5th year of life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.);
- A major trauma (severe illness, surgery, accident, etc.) occurred in the child’s 3rd to 5th year of life.


BODY STATUS

- Though the body is generally integrated and harmonious, with body parts proportionate, there is often rigidity and excessive uprightness in the posture;

- Rigidly held straight back and neck (correlates to pride);

- Pelvis is pulled back, while the chest is pushed out with exaggerated authority or seductiveness (“You can want me, but you can’t have me.”);

- The jaw is often set in a look of determination;

- In men, the face may be sharply masculine and very hard-looking; in women the face may be doll-like;

- Physical armoring tends to be superficial and can move around; there are spasticities in the extensor and flexor muscles that create the rigidity in the posture;

- Walking or gesturing tends to be sexual and flirtatious, or very businesslike;

- History of unexplained psychosomatic (“hysterical”) symptoms that appear and disappear without any apparent physical cause (vertigo, fainting, loss of vision, skin rashes, allergies, hyperventilating, heart palpitations, paralysis, etc.);

- Chronic areas of tension: the long muscles of the body, inner thigh muscles, vaginal muscles in women.


ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Strong, vigorous energy charge, but held back somewhat at the periphery of the feeling side of the body, allowing for the movement of energy internally and through the will, but with a controlled receptivity;
- Energy is often directed to “getting things done”, often with some hyperactivity; the “rest” rhythm is resisted, while all of the will centers are active and open;
- There is little capacity to bind energy with armoring, so this person is prone to the development of psychosomatic symptoms;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) varies, can be open or closed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) developed and open; Throat - (self-expression) partially blocked; Heart - (love feelings) developed, but partially blocked; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened and asymmetrical; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) developed, but partially blocked; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) open.


OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- Love and erotic feelings are strong, but are controlled by the mind and will; there are intense fears of having one’s “heart broken” in love;
- Surrendering to another is deemed unacceptable and collapse is unthinkable;
- The mind is developed, with an efficient, but unyielding intellect that is trusted much more than feelings or impulses; thinking tends to be very linear, with good concentration, but little capacity for abstraction; creativity is controlled;
- Pride is the driving force in this structure and great efforts of the will are directed towards performance and outer appearances (always being attractive and never appearing vulnerable or foolish);
- Aggression, is generally expressed through competitiveness in socially acceptable ways, without much inhibition.


PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self caused by the separation of love feelings from sexual feelings;
- A strong Reality Principle that dominates a mistrusted Pleasure Principle;
- Intense pride and competitiveness with an excessive focus on accomplishments, appearances and performing for self-esteem;
- Feelings of emptiness, boredom and dissatisfaction caused by the resistance to receiving from and surrendering to others and feelings;
- Passivity and submissiveness are intensely avoided and experienced as weakness, while stubbornness and rigidity are seen as strength;
- Repressed sexual feelings are pathologically expressed through psychosomatic symptoms, in frequent sexual activity without any love involvement (“flings” or affairs), restlessness, hyperactivity or “flighty” behavior”, or diverted into ambitiousness in the material world (“No time for love in my busy life.”);
- Unresolved Oedipal conflicts are repressed, causing deep longings for the opposite sex, but with persistent fears of betrayal; there is intense competitiveness with the same sex, but with fears of retaliation (“castration anxiety”);
- Constant attention-seeking, trendiness, and a need for compliments pervade the personality;
- Main defenses: repression, sublimation, somatization, identification;
- Typical masks: the flirt or tease (“I’m available…not!”), the alluring temptress (“I’ll give you my magnificent beauty and unimaginable sensual pleasures…maybe if you’re lucky!”), the real man (“I take what I want!”), the serious man of business (“There’s no time for fooling around or getting involved. There’s work to be done.”), the “Barbie doll” (“I’ll be the perfect girlfriend, cheerleader or trophy wife, the ‘Perfect Ten’, just for you!”), the proud one (“At least I’ve got my pride.”), the high society lady or gentleman (“Manners, formality and civility are all that really matters.”);
- Childhood history may include driven perfectionism and competitiveness in learning situations, extreme frustration around any perceived failures (“sore losers”), constant participation in activities that are socially approved of (sports, school plays, musical training, religion, etc.), constant attention-seeking through performing, intense same-sex sibling rivalry, psychosomatic symptoms (allergic reactions, fainting, nosebleeds, etc.); early “dating” or going steady and a preoccupation with romance and gossip.


INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- Relationships often exhibit a push-pull quality, especially around sexual contact, with a constant seeking out of sexual situations and simultaneous flight from them; often one person is chosen as a sexual partner, while another is chosen as a love partner;
- Relationships are often sought out with people who are seen as having status in socially acceptable ways (the "checklist"); others are often related to as either competitors (to be defeated) or suitors (to be seduced);
- There tends to be a superficial or formal quality to interactions, though often with undertones of intrigue (gossiping or a soap opera kind of drama as the style of communicating), argumentativeness, or there may be an hysterical quality to self-expression;
- Something is always held back in relationships to maintain interest and mystery and an “edge”;
- Sex is primarily sought after for validation of one’s attractiveness and prowess and secondarily for pleasure; sexual energy is often re-routed into external or material accomplishments;
- Sexual desires are often experienced as incestuous;
- Sexual pleasure and full orgasm are possible, but often avoided out of the fear of surrendering and appearing vulnerable; orgasms, when allowed, may take a long time and a lot of effort.


PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “If I love, I will be vulnerable.” “I will get love by appearing invulnerable and attractive.”
- “If I desire sexually, I will be rejected.” “I will get sexual gratification by controlling my sexual longings.”
- “I will accept praise, attention and accomplishments as a substitute for love and pleasure.”
- “No one surrenders to another.” “I will survive by never surrendering.”
- “The world is a rejecting, competitive place.”


HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- Tremendous passion and connection to the sensuality of human relationships, with a true appreciation for and capacity to express the wonder of coming together physically in love with another;
- Great capacity to let go and surrender to the flow of love, to fall in love with life and with others;
- Genuine capacities to make and sustain commitments;
- Strong organizational skills combined with flexibility, patience and acceptance of new approaches to situations;
- A deep appreciation for the beauty of physical life, and sensibilities to integrate the elements of form to create beauty.


THERAPUETIC TASKS

- Develop the capacity to experience love and sexual passion at the same time, connecting the heart and genitals energetically;
- Bring into consciousness and release the guilt feelings and judgements for having had loving desires for the parent of the opposite sex, and reverse the repression of those desires caused by fears of retaliation by the parent of the same sex;
- Develop the capacity to yield to others and to surrender to feelings without fears of becoming weak, vulnerable or losing face;
- Develop the capacity to experience the full pleasure of sexual release without ego control, and the joy of falling (falling in love, falling asleep, etc.);
- Become able to make and sustain commitments without fears of being rejected;
- Relax the fierce competitiveness and hyperactivity and constant need to prove oneself;
- Develop flexibility in the body, particularly the back of the body and neck (will centers) and the tensor and flexor muscles; develop natural sensual movements rather than exaggerated gestures of sexual “come on”;
- Develop flexibility in approaches to life’s tasks and relationships, relinquishing the exaggerated pride and need to hold back;
- Eliminate psychosomatic symptoms by making the connection with the repressed impulses behind them, and allowing those impulses to be felt;
- Become aware of and open up to the true depth and beauty of the self that exists beyond the superficiality of appearances and performances;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality, opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion, and recognize and express one’s Higher Self aspects with less fear of embarrassment;
- Primary raw negative expression that needs release: “I won’t surrender!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to love.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

- Establish a respectful and professional environment, acknowledging the person’s genuine accomplishments in life, and the seriousness and concern for how he or she has successfully managed many aspects of adult living; also acknowledge the confusion and disappointment the person feels that in spite of these achievements, he or she is bored, lonely, restless and dissatisfied;
- Engage the person’s subtly provocative manner with warmth and an accepting neutrality; do not initially confront any seductive behavior or offer praise for superficial attributes;
- Use unsatisfying experiences in adult relationships to make connections with childhood experiences, particularly to illuminate times in which the child may have felt disappointment and rejection by the parent of the opposite sex, or an uncomfortable possessiveness by that parent (i.e. – not allowing dating as a teenager); also uncover memories in which the parent of the same sex may have shown moralistic disapproval towards, competitiveness with or vicarious involvement in the person’s young love life (i.e. - being overly involved with the teenager’s boyfriends or girlfriends);
- Encourage the person to give examples of having had his or her heart broken in relationships, and the vows they may have made secretly to never be vulnerable again; surface the controlled longing to “have it all” (love and passion) in one relationship, but the fear of surrendering to that longing or believing in its possibility;
- Use stretching, bending, massaging, rolling and vibrating to loosen the rigidly held back and neck, and the spasticities in the tensor and flexor muscles; use pelvic thrusts and rotations to release the holding back in that area and to allow for the experience of pleasure moving through the pelvis; use hitting and kicking to express aggression and pride and refusal to surrender; use massage and hands-on touch over the heart to help opening up to the love feelings, and use visualizations to help the person focus on connecting their heart center to their sexual center; this person will experience the body work as embarrassing, so a professional and technical explanation of its usefulness can be helpful;
- Analyze the meanings of psychosomatic symptoms, their timing, the part of the body affected, etc., and make connections to guilt or anxiety about sexual feelings, competitive impulses, etc.;
- Explore hidden and emerging feelings, desires and fantasies towards the therapist as a love object in a matter-of-fact way, including using dream interpretation, to decrease guilt and anxiety about the feelings, to normalize them, and to begin undoing the pride defense that anticipates rejection or exploitation; when transferences are made to the therapist (i.e. – accusing the therapist of being seductive or rejecting), clarify them as they occur;
- As this person’s heart and genitals become connected and the powerful onrush of integrated love feelings comes forward, he or she will become very sensitive to any perceived insults to their pride or any abuse of their perceived vulnerability; simultaneously, because of the openness, the person will feel exhilarated yet relaxed, confident yet supple, secure yet not rigid; re-assure the person that those new feeling combinations are real, and that now in fact he or she is truly not vulnerable, because of the flexibility and strength of being open;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their capacity to love fully, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs; in the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


DEFINITIONS

Hysterical Personality: (also known as “Histrionic or Repressed Personality) vain, attention-seeking, sexually provocative, dramatic presentation of the self, with a history of many vague symptoms, chronic feelings of disappointment, excitability and exaggerated emotionality; primary repressed conflicts center around genital incestuous strivings.


Identification: the process by which one either blurs or eliminates the distinction between the self and others by extending his or her identity into another, borrowing one’s identity from another, or fusing identities with another (merging).


Oedipal Complex: the dilemma of early childhood, occurring after the 4th year, in which the genitally charged child focuses on the parent of the opposite sex as a primary love object, and comes into internal conflict over perceived competition with the parent of the same sex.


Repression: the process of banishing from consciousness ideas or impulses that are deemed unacceptable.


Somatization: bodily disorders arising from deep-seated emotional and mental conflicts through which repressed instinctual tendencies gain expression.


Sublimation: the modification of an instinctual impulse, expressed in such a way as to conform to the demand of societal norms.
posted by peter loffredo, lcsw at 6/22/2009 0 comments links to this post

4 comments:

Aliveindarknlight said...

Thank-you for this wonderful blog on Character Structure! You're blog on the Schizoid Structure is one of the most in-depth descriptions I've come across yet. Great job and Thank-you again!

-Matt

PS: I'm wondering if you could post a blog about the Narcissistic & Sociopathic Character Structures? I have some information on both, but it's rather limited. It would be great to read this kind of detail applied to those structures!

Gabriella said...

woow thank you for making this blog, and sharing your knolegde and believing in the yoga meditation, you are a role model, for those like us, who need encouragement.

Andy KwoK said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful info!! It is an in-depth understanding of character structure !!

According to Wilhelm Reich, there is one more type of rigid character structure. Did you cover it or i miss it somewhere??

Peter Loffredo said...

There are subdivisions, as such, or variations and combinations of certain character structures. The sociopathic or "ominous" type of the psychopathic character structure, for example, and the passive-feminine (in men) and aggressive-masculine (in women) types which represent a blend of rigid and masochistic character structure traits.
Thank you for your interest in FPL.
Best,
Peter Loffredo

 

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