The neurotic character has access and comfort to who they are but is plagued by issues in the arena of love and sex, where the breakdown of functioning is severe, leading to depression and asking for help and support Is humiliating. They need to release energetic blocks through breathing and mobilise muscular spasms and character amour via stretching of movement. They solve their fear of losing their reality through a merger with idealised parent imago. Fear of loss of contact with reality and permanent isolation through the experiences of unrealistic grandiosity, shame or intrusion of exhibitionist libido.  During the rapprochement phase, one should be able to share discoveries as an independent entity rather than an extension of the mother’s self, where parental interest in the discovery process and then greater interest in social interaction should be the norm. This creates increased anxiety about separation and more concern for the mother’s whereabouts and availability.

Overstimulation in practice period, the child learns they are all-powerful, and when they are not fused with their mother and her magical powers, they are confronted with a sense of helplessness and despair. The parent must be able to oppose and confront the child without losing love, support and approval. This helps the child move from viewing the other as an experience of one’s needs (self-object) to viewing the other as an individual apart from their own needs and limitations (Real object). During the Oedipal period (3 years of age), the statement If I express myself, I will lose my sexuality. Is embedded.

If frustration persists, impulses will be denied and inhibited, creating negative reactions in the environment identified with parental prohibition. The child’s behaviour will be robotic without spontaneous aliveness, as Independence is too costly in terms of guilt. Parental oppression seeks responsibility and approval by caring for others, caught between security and self-expression—a five-step process to autonomy.

  1. Self-affirmations expressing the right to expand and exist, the right to separate, to love and love sexually
  2. Negative environment responses of rage, terror and grief. If the parent does not heal these responses, the child is left in turmoil, negating themselves and life expression.
  3. A child commits Self-negation by giving up and suppressing life force expressed via rage, terror and grief. Gives upright for support and autonomy
  4. Adjustment process in the negation of self m the child reinvests in the false self or ego ideal. Ego ideal is created and inflated to rise above his human needs of overwhelming emotions.
  5. Needs to learn about the failure of the compromise and attainment of false success.


The release of rage will lead to abandonment and annihilation—no symbiotic attachment with primitive ego abilities and defences with no right to exist. Life is threatening before any real organisation of the ego and life force is cut off, creating tension and tightness throughout the body, living a life of intellectual pursuits. Extreme anxiety in social and performance situations, as the fear of exposure, can feel humiliating.

Adapting to illusion if one`s life force is blocked, maintained if I am special, nurturing or accomplished.

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to be
  • Environment response -hostile /cold
  • Reaction -terror /destructive rage
  • Self-negation (S/N) – Muscular holding -joints and neck. I don’t have the right to exist.
  • Adjustment process (AP) -Ego compromise. Intellectualising, spiritual and withdrawal. Ego ideal. I will be special.
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – mind specialness and can live through ideas
  • The illusion of release (IR)- I will be annihilated.

The character shows no active crying and signs of sorrow or sadness with no positive /negative affect, ungrounded euphoria by some spiritual idea, drugs or philosophy. Solo activities such as a workaholic with no wish to intimate relationships. Shy in social functions versus domination at work or secluded areas of concentration. Something is wrong with me, and the world is dangerous. A sense of holding onto life, one’s job, money and attachments. Direct denial of reality and introjected hostile parent. Difficulty in differentiating between their own thoughts and feelings from others. Survival vs oppression. It can’t exist in the chronic state of war (environment) and the internal state of rage, terror and despair that accompanies the rejection of spontaneity. Release leads to the annihilation of oneself and others. The schizoid surmounts the whole belief system and characteristics of others, with paranoid projections, due to lack of assimilation and discrimination of the past/present.

Oral Character

They give up protesting, and their needs through learned helplessness and energy are weak through being emotionally abandoned. Underlying helplessness in oral aggression and assertiveness makes them unable to reach out for support or maintain a continued commitment to goals. It finds it hard to stand up for themselves and have balance in their lives. Compromises by becoming loving and giving, expecting and sometimes demanding reciprocity. A manic-depressive quality with a fear of emotional collapse into depression when the narcissistic supply run out. Through the loss of attachment to the object, the oral character lets others define them and is reluctant to get too close. They assimilate but can’t accommodate and learn gratification for themselves, as any threat to others is a threat to them. They need to create new attachments to cement identity and object constancy.

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to need
  • Environment response-deprivation
  • Reaction -voracious rage
  • Self-negation (S/N) –I don’t need jaw/throat. betrayal in the eyes
  • Adjustment process (AP) – romantically longing, yearning, clinging and collapse.
  • Ego ideal – I will be loving and giving.
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – I am not needy, giving and needed.
  • The illusion of release (IR)- I will be abandoned and helpless

Symbiotic Character

The mother withdraws when the child starts to separate, greatly impacting the rapprochement phase. Clings to symbiotic fusion as individuation is aborted and transferred to another primary attachment figure or clinging to the primary caretaker. The symbiotic character has continued difficulty with any form of separation, be it in relationships, jobs or even vacations. Chronic holding with outbursts of anger and expressions, stifled by immediate panic regarding object loss and abandonment issues. The oral separation was too soon in development, and the child was not allowed to separate. The mother is threatened, panics and withdraws, creating boundary-less identification with the child. The mother absorbs a symbiotic union of boundaries to construct an identity (flip-flopping), negating any mature need for others to respect and admire her. Fear of engulfment (boundary-less) and boundaries elicit abandonment. The idealised parent is there to protect and love. Whereby any loss of control leads to disillusionment and fear of protection and security

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to separate and be myself
  • Environment response – withdrawal /panic
  • Reaction – intense frustrations and ambivalence, alternating between anger and panic
  • Self-negation (S/N) –I don’t want to separate, holding still, undercharged body.
  • Adjustment process (AP) – live through another. dependent,/clinging. I will be loyal
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – I am safe if I hold on
  • The illusion of release (IR)- I will be abandoned and helpless

Narcissistic character

Narcissistic behaviour is developed during the practising subphase, where the child is learning to express and be assertive and is manipulated or denied any exhibitionism. In the practising subphase, there is deflation of the self on rapprochement. The parent fails to appreciate /support and participate but slaps down, humiliates or exploits the child to fulfil their own narcissistic needs. The child cannot confront his own weakness, creating a self-inflated omnipotent false self to gain parental approval and acceptance. The parent in need of a partner crosses the child’s sexual boundaries, confiding and colluding with the child to help deny helplessness and the need for support.

The child replaces intimacy and closeness for perfection in pursuits of wealth, image and power

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to be autonomous
  • Environment response– humiliation, using others or self
  • Reaction – impotent fury
  • Self-negation (S/N) –I don’t need support, shoulders/chest
  • Adjustment process (AP) – live without feeling. helpless/controlling, scheming, dodging and performing
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – I want to be on top
  • The illusion of release (IR)- used, manipulated and helpless.

Rigid character

As object constancy is established, the child realises their own separateness at a deeper level and begins to reach out in a loving and infantile sexual way towards the parent of the opposite sex; the child may be met with alternating frustration and withdrawal dependent on the parents capacity to hold and contain the child`s new impulses. An impaired parent may seduce the child for gratification and then be rejected if the needs and strivings are too much. The child self-negates and splits off their loving response from the aggressive infantile sexual part, fulfilling their needs through accomplishment and appearance. The rigid character is the most effective, best defended and culturally approved.

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to love sexually
  • Environment response – rejection or seduction.
  • Reaction – deep hurt
  • Self-negation (S/N) –I can’t love surface armour, sad eyes.
  • Adjustment process (AP) – live without love. Make myself attractive, achieving and self-sufficient. Performing. More accomplished and attractive
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – I will be loved if I am attractive
  • The illusion of release (IR)- is rejected if I open my heart

Masochistic character

The child learns they can say “No” but can’t self-determine and become an independent identity. A parent needs to be dominant and overpowers the child, persisting invasion of the individuation process and personal autonomy. On the surface, the Character does not give up but holds extreme resentment, spitefulness and hostility towards the parents and others. They build a body armour of strong, powerful muscles to restrain direct assertion but end up being overly pleasing and self-sacrificing via passive-aggressive behaviours to remain in contact.

  • Self-affirmation – I have the right to be assertive
  • Environment response– crushing, invasive
  • Reaction – defiant anger
  • Self-negation (S/N) –I am yours. With muscular structure and suffering eyes
  • Adjustment process (AP) – live life without being assertive. Over compliant, and I want to be good ever, pleasing and self-scarifying.
  • The illusion of contraction (IC) – I will be loved if I am good
  • The illusion of release (IR)- I will be crushed and humiliated
Johnson, S., 1985. Characterological Transformation, The Hard Work Miracle. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton.