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1. Core Theory, Nomenclature, and Place in the Enneagram

In Christianity pride is not only regarded as one of the deadly sins, but the first and most serious one—more fundamental than the others. In that great monument of the Christian vision, Dante’s Divine Comedy, we find Lucifer—whose pride prompted him to say “I” in the presence of the Only One—at the center of hell—itself shaped as a cone sloping to the center of the earth. This enormous cavity, according to Dante’s myth, was created by the weight of the prideful angel upon his fall from heaven. In line with religious orthodoxy, Dante assigns to pride the innermost pit of hell, and correspondingly (according to inverse sequence of the sins in hell and purgatory) the first circle on the slopes of the mount of purification. On Mount Purgatory, where the pilgrims escalate successive terraces in the traditional sequence of the sins, the cornice of pride is the lowest, nearest to the mountain’s foundation.

Dante’s near-contemporary Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales gives us a good but incomplete characterological allusion to proud people in “The Parson’s Tale,” which is essentially a preaching on the sins. He mentions among the “evil branches that spring from pride”: disobedience, boasting, hypocrisy, scorn, arrogance, impudence, swelling of the heart, insolence, elation, impatience, contumacy, presumption, irreverence, obstinacy, and vainglory. The picture that these traits create characterizes an individual who not only asserts his own value, but also does so with an aggressive self-elevation vis-a-vis others and a disregard for established values and authorities.

True to life as Chaucer’s portrayal may be, it fails to convey the whole range of the manifestations of pride-centered character. Fundamental to it is the strategy of giving in the service of both seduction and self-elevation. The “official psychology” of ennea-type II has failed to properly describe this characteristic false generosity in the character, for the descriptions of hysterical character have emphasized impulsive egocentricity, whereas it would be more exact to speak of a complementarity of egocentricity and seeming generosity. The account of hysterical character also tends to interpret the eroticism of hysterical personality as a phenomenon of ultimate sexual origin, whereas it may be truer to regard eroticism as a means of seductiveness inspired by a love wish.

The view of pride as more sinful than other inclinations may be a good teaching strategy to counteract proud people’s lightness about their way of being, yet this is not the view of the body of psychological knowledge that I am presenting in these pages. According to Protoanalysis, all the passions are of an equivalent seriousness and though one is regarded as more fundamental—accidia or psychological deadness—this is not a statement concerning degrees of sinfulness or a ranking according to prognosis. The position of point 9 at the top of the enneagram, rather, evokes the fact that laziness may be regarded as a neutral middle point of the spectrum of the passions and that active unconsciousness, though present in every fallen mind, is in the foreground of the ennea-type IX phenomenon.

We may envision pride as a passion for self-inflation: or, in other words, a passion for the aggrandizement of the self-image. The corresponding fixation or fixed and implicit preconception involved in pride, Ichazo successively called “flattery” and “ego-flat”—not only in reference to flattery towards others, but to the self-flattery implicit in self-aggrandizement. The word has the disadvantage of evoking a person whose behavior is mostly that of flattery—whereas the reality is that of a personality given not only to flattery but, in similar measure, to disdain. The person flatters those who through nearness gratify his pride, disdains most of the rest in haughty superiority. More than anybody else, the proud practice something that Idries Shah has called M.C.O.—”mutual comfort operation.”

From its position in the enneagram we see that pride stands in the “hysteroid” corner of it, aligned with the preoccupation with self-image that is the essence of vanity. In all three character ennea-types at this corner—II, III and IV—we may say that there operates a mistaken sense of “being” in what others see and value, so that it is the self-image rather than the true self upon which the psyche gravitates, out of which action flows, and on which is supported a person’s sense of value.
Points 2 and 4 stand in opposite positions in regard to point 3, and involve internal gestures of expansion and contraction of the self-image, respectively. Whereas envy tends to sadness, pride characteristically is supported by a happy internal atmosphere: ennea-type IV is “tragic,” ennea-type II “comic.” Just as with other sets of antipodal characters in the enneagram there is an affinity between those at points 7 and 2. Both the gluttons and the proud are gentle, sweet, and warm people; both may be said to be seductive; and they are both narcissistic in the general sense of being delighted with themselves. Also, both are impulsive; moreover, they use seductiveness in the service of their impulsiveness, yet they do this in different ways; the proud seduces emotionally and the glutton intellectually.
The main contrast between the two characters is that, while the glutton is amiable and diplomatic, the proud can be either sweet or aggressive (so that, as I have sometimes remarked, their motto might be “make love and war”).

Their narcissism also differs. We may say that the former is sustained through an intellectual apparatus: the activity of charlatanism in the broad sense of the word. In ennea-type II it is supported by a more naive falling in love with oneself, an emotional process of self-loving through identification with the glorified self-image and repression of the deprecated image. Also, the narcissism of the glutton is more inner-directed, in that he becomes an arbiter of his own values, as Samuel Butler has stated in describing one of his characters as “a messenger from his church to himself.”: Ennea-type II is more outer directed, so that there is more admixture of borrowed values in the glorified self-image.

A polarity also exists between ennea-types II and VIII, pride and lust, in that both are impulsive and also arrogant—though ennea-type II adopts more often an attitude of being so good as not to need to compete, whereas the lusty is intensely competitive and visibly arrogant. The characterological constellation of ennea-type II is acknowledged in current psychology under the labels of “hysterical” or “histrionic” personality, yet I am not aware of any discussion of pride as a major aspect of its dynamics.

2. Antecedents in the Scientific Literature on Character

Describing those “in need of esteem” Schneider quotes Koch concerning certain psychopaths with “an ego inconveniently transposed to the place at the center of things” and individuals with “a fatuous and prideful intent of making themselves visible.” According to Kraepelin there is in these people an “increased access to emotions, lack of perseverance, being seduced by novelty, exaltation, curiosity, gossip, fantasy, tendency to lying, great excitability, sudden ups and downs in enthusiasm, sensibility, deep fickleness, selfishness, boasting, pride, wish to be at the center, absurd abnegation, susceptibility to be influenced, hypochondriac representations, insufficient wills to health in spite of all their laments, a tendency to scenes and romanticisms and impulsive behavior that can go as far as suicide.”

Further describing the character in question Schneider quotes Jaspers for whom the central trait among these individuals is “seeming to be more than what they are.” “The more that theatricalness is developed the more that there lacks in these personalities true emotions: they are false, incapable of durable or deep affective relations. There is only a stage of theatrical and imitative experiences; this is the extreme of hysterical personality.” As with many of the psychopathological syndromes; we find an exaggerated version of type II described by Kraepelin under the label of “Psychopaths in need of Affection.” In his book on psychopathic personalities Kurt Schneider, commenting on Koch’s description of the same, adds: “It is easy to recognize that this is no different from hysterical character.”

Reading “Hysterical Personality,” by Easser and Lesser, I find the observation that “Freud and Abraham originally described the basic character traits of obsessive character, but there has been almost no attempt to systematize the concept of hysterical personality.” Though it is true that the erotic orientation of ennea-type II is coherent with Freud’s concept of erotic personality (when in his late statement he distinguishes super-ego and ego-driven characters from a character with the predominance of the id), ennea-type II is not alone as an id’s character, however, for the same term could be applied to ennea-types VII and VIII.

From a survey of Lazare on the history of “The Hysterical Character In Psychoanalytic Theory” throughout time, I learn that “although the textbooks of general psychiatry at the turn of the century described the hysterical character, it was not until 1930 that the first psychoanalytic description of hysterical character was presented and discussed by Franz Wittels.” Indeed, I have been surprised that “not withstanding the fact that Freud’s vocation was awakened through the consideration of hysteria; the hysteria he was dealing with seems not to have existed in the context of hysterical character as we today understand it. (Furthermore, Freud hardly makes any comments on character in his early cases—where he concentrates nearly exclusively on symptoms and past history).”

Wilhelm Reich describes the hysterical character as having the following traits:

· Obvious sexual behavior
· A specific kind of body agility
· An undisguised coquetry
· Apprehensiveness when the sexual behavior seems close to attaining its goal
· An easy excitability
· A strong suggestibility
· A vivid imagination and pathological lying.

Lazare, by collecting the information from what he regards the three most important papers appearing between 1953 and 1968 (by Lesser, Kernberg, and Setzel) arrives at the following list of personality traits:

· Self-absorption
· Aggressive exhibitionism with inappropriate demanding nature
· A “coldness” which reflects primitive narcissistic need
· A “coldness” which reflects primitive narcissistic need
· Sexual provocativeness
· Impulsivity
· Emotional Lability

Undertaking to distinguish the sicker from the healthier manifestations of hysterical character, he noticed that “the healthier hysteric is apt to be ambitious, competitive, buoyant and energetic. She is more apt to have a strict punitive super-ego as well as other obsessional personality traits which are likely to be adaptive. The sick hysteric in contrast experiences little guilt.” I am of the opinion that his “healthier” cases correspond to our ennea-type III, and only the “sicker” (i.e., more impulsive, labile, and provocative) to our ennea-type II.

Seeking to clarify hysterical character as distinct from hysteria, Easser, in the paper quoted above, discusses six cases and concludes that the presenting problems revolved in the main about sexual behavior and the real or fantasized sexual object. They all complained of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with their lovers. This followed a shattering of a romantic fantasy. They all expressed concern over their passion-ate sexuality and their fear of the consequence of such passion.

“Unconsciously they were motivated to compete with women, to seduce and conquer men and to achieve security and power vicariously through the passionate engagement of the man with themselves … The fantasies usually involved an irresistible, magnetic body that was to be exhibited to conquer the male and exclude all other women. The burlesque queen, the femme fatale, the diva served to portray this image. The other major presenting complaint was the sense of social shyness and apprehensiveness which contrasted with active social involvement … this continued apprehensiveness was associated with severe humiliation and shame should rejection occur. They obtained pleasure in entertaining others and assumed the role of hostess with graciousness as long as they held the center of the stage through ingratiation and seductiveness as a rule, through temper tantrums when necessary.” In conclusion, the author finds the following traits to be more intimately associated with the hysterical personality: Labile emotionality, direct and active engagement with the human world, a poor response to frustration, and over-excitability.

In the DSM III, ennea-type II is found under the label of “Histrionic Personality Disorder” for which the following diagnostic criteria are given:


  1. Behavior that is overly dramatic, reactive, and intensely expressed, as indicated by at least three of the following:

  1. self-dramatization, e.g. exaggerated expressions of emotions
  2. incessant drawing of attention to oneself
  3. craving for activity and excitement
  4. over reaction to minor events
  5. irrational, angry outbursts or tantrums

  1. Characteristic disturbances in interpersonal relationships as indicated by at least two of the following:

  1. perceived by others as shallow and lacking genuineness, even if superficially warm and charming
  2. egocentric, self-indulgent, and inconsiderate of others
  3. vain and demanding
  4. dependent, helpless, constantly seeking reassurance
  5. prone to manipulative suicidal threats, gestures, or attempts
In Disorders of Personality Millon mentions the important feature that “usually these individuals show little interest in intellectual achievement and careful analytic thinking, though they are often creative and imaginative … though they adopt convictions strongly and readily, their judgment is not firmly rooted and they often play hunches.” In this book he discusses histrionic personality immediately after dependent personality (ennea-type IV), and I think it is of interest to quote his description of the former in contrast to the latter:

“Histrionics are no less dependent upon others for attention and affection but, in contrast to dependents, takes the initiative in assuring these reinforcements. Rather than placing their fate in the hands of the others, and thereby having their security in constant jeopardy, histrionic personalities actively solicit the interest of others through a series of seductive ploys that are likely to assure receipt of the admiration and esteem they need. Toward these ends histrionics develop an exquisite sensitivity to the moods and thoughts of those they wish to please. This hyperalertness enables them to quickly access what maneuvers will succeed in attaining the ends they desire. This extreme ‘other-directedness’, devised in the service of achieving approval, results, however, in a life-style characterized by a shifting and fickle pattern of behaviors and emotions. Unlike dependent personalities, who anchor themselves usually to only one object of attachment, the histrionic tends to be lacking in fidelity and loyalty. The dissatisfaction with single attachments, combined with a need for constant stimulation and attention, results in a seductive, dramatic, and capricious pattern of personal relationships.”

Although Jung’s descriptions of psychological types are not as rich in observations bearing on interpersonal styles as others, it is hard to doubt that, as he formulated the extraverted feeling type, he had cases of type II before his inner eye: “Examples of this type that I can call to mind are, almost without exception, women. The woman of this type follows her feeling as a guide throughout life … Her personality appears adjusted in relation to external conditions. Her feelings harmonize with objective situations and general values. This is seen nowhere more clearly than in her love choice: the ‘suitable’ man is loved, and no one else; he is suitable not because he appeals to her hidden subjective nature … but because he comes up to all reasonable expectations in the matter of age, position, income, size, and respectability of his family, etc… .

“But one can feel ‘correctly’ only when feeling is not disturbed by anything else. Nothing disturbs feeling so much as thinking. It is therefore understandable than in this type thinking will be kept in abeyance as much as possible … every conclusion, however logical, that might lead to a disturbance of feeling is rejected at the outset … “But since actual life is a constant succession of situations that evoke different and even contradictory feelings, the personality gets split up into many different feeling states … this shows itself, first of all, in an extravagant display of feelings, gushing talk, loud expostulations, etc. which ring hollow … As a result of these experiences the observer is unable to take any pronouncement seriously. He begins to reserve judgment. But since, for this type it is of highest importance to establish an intense feeling of rapport with the environment, redoubled efforts are now required to overcome this reserve. “Hysteria, with the characteristic infantile sexuality of its unconscious world of ideas, is the principal form of neurosis in this type.”

I think that the picture described in homeopathic literature of the Pulsatilla personality competes with any account of ennea-type II given in psychological literature. “The constitutional type, found predominantly in women and children, is generally delicate and pretty … and a physique that can fluctuate easily in weight loss and gain, with the fat tending to a shapely plumpness rather than the flabby or formless fleshiness of Calcarea carbonica. “Like the flower swaying in the wind, Pulsatilla symptoms are characteristically changeful … we will examine in detail five seminal mental characteristics: sweetness, dependence, companionability, flexibility, and a gentle emotionalism.” All of these descriptors correspond with the characteristics of ennea-type II individuals. Coulter continues: “Traditionally regarded as a female remedy … and in these pages referred to in the feminine, it can also be unhesitatingly administered as a constitutional remedy to boys and men who manifest the typical sweet and gentle manner… “Pulsatilla’s sweetness and desire to please do not exclude an under-lying ability to look after her own interests; it is just that she realizes early in life that sugar catches more flies than vinegar. She likes being fussed over and is content to pass even the simplest responsibilities on to others. To be sure, she graciously thanks those who help her, offering her own affection in return as good and legal tender… .”

Dependence in the Pulsatilla individual manifests as clinging in the child and, sometimes, in adults who don’t mature, as helplessness and childlikeness: “As the child grows into adolescence, dependence begins to be directed away from the family and toward the opposite sex. Pulsatilla is attractive to men, being the highly feminine young woman whose whole manner flatters the ego … In her dependence; however, she can place severe demands on the time, solicitude and emotional reserves of friends, relatives, and acquaintances. In family, amorous, and even friendly relationships, she seeks ever more support until, at length, others feel they are captives… ”Coulter presents Pulsatilla’s companionability as a positive quality, while flexibility can be constructive or, more negatively, can manifest as indecisiveness, as in poring over grocery-store produce to make a selection or vacillating as to what items to order from a restaurant menu.

Coulter’s description of Pulsatilla’s emotionalism corresponds very strongly with ennea-type II: “Pulsatilla’s fifth characteristic, emotionalism, is marked by fluctuation, self-pity and sentimentality… . Pulsatilla has been aptly called the ‘weathercock among remedies’ (Boericke) due to her fluctuating, readily swayed nature and her changeable, sometimes ‘whimsical’ (Hahnemann) or ‘capricious’ (Hering) moods… “Ruled by her sensibilities, Pulsatilla is essentially non-intellectual. Of course, as with any constitutional type, some are more and some less intelligent, but she generally operates in a highly personal and non-intellectual mode… . Pulsatilla is not interested in facts, statistics, scholarly ideas or theories. Her mind feels more comfortable dealing with the particulars of everyday life and human relations… . Influenced by her emotions, she systematically interprets abstractions and generalities in personal terms—in the light of her own thoughts, feelings or preferences.”

3. Trait Structure

Pride

While a number of descriptors might be grouped together as direct manifestations of pride—i.e., the imaginary exaltation of self-worth and attractiveness, “playing the part of the princess,” demanding privileges, boasting, needing to be the center of attention, and so on —there are others which may be understood as psychological “corollaries” of pride, and to them I now turn.

Love Need

The intense love need of ennea-type II individuals may be sometimes obscured by their characteristic independence—particularly when in the presence of frustration and humiliated pride. The proud person can rarely be fulfilled in life without a great love. The excessively romantic orientation of type II toward life can be understood as the result of an early frustration associated with a loss of support in one’s experience of personal value. Just as the need to confirm an inflated sense of worth overflows into an erotic motivation, pride overflows in the need for love (in turn expressed through physical and emotional intimacy), for the need to regard oneself as special is satisfied through the love of another. The need for intimacy of ennea-type II makes of the person a “touchy feely” type and at a subtler level leads to an intolerance of limits and invasiveness. Also, the strong need for love of the proud makes them “over-involved” in relationships and possessive. Theirs is a possessiveness supported in such seductiveness as has inspired the expression “femme fatale” (which suggests that seductiveness serves a destructive power drive).

Hedonism

Hedonism may also be understood as a trait related to the need for love, in that the wish for pleasure can be usually seen as a substitute for pleasure. Indeed these persons typically need to be loved erotically or through delicate expression of tenderness in the measure to which they equate being loved with being pleased, like in Grimm’s fairy tale of “The Princess and the Pea,” whose noble blood is discovered in the fact that she is distressed by the pea under the mattress. The affectionate and tender type II individual can become a fury when not indulged and made to feel loved through pampering such as is characteristic of a spoiled child. The compulsive pursuit of pleasure of the ennea-type II person naturally supports the gay persona of histrionic people, with its pretended contentedness and animation. It is reflected, also, through a propensity to be frustrated and when not especially pleased (through attention, novelty, stimulation), through a low tolerance to routine, discipline, and other obstacles to an irresponsible, playful life.

Seductiveness

It is understandable that the histrionic individual bent on the pursuit of love and pleasure is also keenly interested in being attractive. Such persons work for it, we might say, and are, above all, seductive. There are traits that we can, in turn, understand as tools of seductiveness —whether erotic or social. Thus the histrionic person is affectionate. Those who are in need of affection, because of being secretly insecure in regard to it, are, in turn, warm, supportive, sensitive, empathic … even though their display of love may have inspired epithets such as “superficial,” “fickle,” “unstable,” and so forth. The support seductively offered by the individual is typically what may be called “emotional” support or perhaps “moral” support in the sense that one is an unconditional friend, yet may be not as helpful a person as may be suggested through the expression of feelings. (Ennea-type III and others can be more helpful when it comes to doing something practical.) Thus their seductiveness entails not only a histrionic love display but also a failure to deliver and, motivationally speaking, a “giving to get” kind of generosity.

Flattery, too, may be valued as a means of seduction exhibited by ennea-type II individuals. It must be pointed out that type II only flatters those seen as worthy enough to be seduced. Eroticism is thus one of the vehicles of seductiveness. If we look at the erotic inclination of the histrionic individual as something that serves a broader purpose of proving personal significance (rather than in biologistic Freudian terms), we can, I think, understand both eroticism and pride better.

Assertiveness

Along with an intense love need and its derivatives, we may say that dominance is also a characteristic of ennea-type II and constitutes a derivative of pride. Rather than the harsh, tyrannical demandingness of ennea-type VIII and the moralistic dominance of ennea-type I, who exacts his due as an authority, type II gets his or her wishes met through daring assertiveness—chutzpah. It is the assertiveness of one who at the same time is supported in a good self-concept and propelled by a strong, uninhibited drive–which contributes to the aura of vitality of this adventurous character. (As I have remarked already, proud character involves a rare combination of tenderness and pugnacity.) Another descriptor belonging to this category of assertiveness is willfulness, a trait of “having to have one’s own way” even at the expense of an emotional “scene” or broken dishes.

Nurturance and False Abundance

Of great significance to the structure of proud character is the repression of neediness that pride involves. Much as we may be dealing with a zestful individual, who seems to be compulsively pursuing excitement and high drama, the person is typically unaware of the neediness that underlies this compulsion to please and to be extraordinary. The proud are supposedly OK and better than OK, and to sustain this they must indeed pursue their pleasure in a compensatory manner. Yet nothing would be less OK than to be in need of love—for pride in the course of personality development has been particularly attached to an image of self as a giver rather than as a receiver: one who is filled with satisfaction to the point of generous overflowing.

Repression of neediness is not only supported by hedonism, but also by vicarious identification with the neediness of others, of those towards whom the individual extends sympathy, empathy, and seductive nurturance. Thus we may understand the frequent attraction of ennea-type II to children: they represent not only an unconstrained wildness, but also little ones in need of protection. They sustain the proud in the sense of having much love to offer, as well as covertly satisfying their love need.

Histrionism

I could have written at the head of this trait cluster “histrionic implementation of the idealized self-image,” in reference to what may be abstracted as an over-riding strategy in ennea-type II of which false love and false self-satisfaction are a strong form of expression. The affectionate characteristic, however, can be seen as only one of the facets of the typical ideal image the proud enacts and identifies with.

Such image also contains the happy characteristic that we have already encountered in the analysis of seductiveness, an independence that involves the denial of dependency needs, and also a characteristic for which the word “free” might be an approximate term, if we understand it to be not the true freedom of liberation from characterological structures, but the freedom of willfulness, impulsiveness, and wildness. This freedom is an ideal of impulse gratification that exists not only in the service of hedonism, but also as an avoidance of the humiliation of having to submit to somebody else’s power, societal rules and all manner of constraints. Enneatype II is not only too proud to conform to such rules, but is rebellious to authority in general —often in a mischievous and humorous way.

Also “intensity,” which can be considered, along with wit, a means of attracting attention (and which feeds on the pursuit of pleasure), can be understood as an ingredient in a larger than life self-image. It is not only an addiction but also a form of posing and sustaining the illusion of positivity. The histrionic posing of ennea-type II is in contrast to the efforts of type III to implement the idealized self through achievement and performance—just as her histrionic manipulation (through scandalous expression of emotion) is in contrast with type Ill’s explosiveness, which supervenes upon the breakdown of over-control.

Impressionable Emotionality

While ennea-types IV and II are distinctly the most emotional in the enneagram, type II can be regarded a more specifically emotional type, in that ennea-type IV emotionality frequently coexists with intellectual interests, while type II is usually not only a feeling type, but an anti-intellectual one.

4. Defense Mechanisms

The association between hysterical personality and simple repression is not only the earliest relationship reported between a defense mechanism and a neurotic disposition but the one most thoroughly documented and agreed upon. When the word repression is used to mean a specific defense mechanism rather than as a symptom for defense, it stands for a defense mechanism where the ideational representative of impulses is impeded from becoming conscious. What this selective elimination from consciousness of the cognitive aspect of the experience of wishing implies, is a state of affairs in which the person acts upon his or her impulses without acknowledgment of such impulses—which amounts to an attitude of irresponsibility and impresses us as deception.

The boundary here between not knowing what one does and pretending not to know, is as difficult to draw as it is difficult to distinguish a hysterical condition from malingering. Just as it might be said that clinical hysteria is unconscious malingering, we may say that repression is unconscious “not wanting to know,” a pretense that has become acceptable through the decision to deceive not only the world but oneself as well. Of course this can be accomplished only through a certain dulling of the intellect, through a sort of vagueness, a loss of precision or clarity, which goes hand in hand with (or rather is sustained by) a de-valuation of the cognitive sphere. This explains the emotional characteristic of the type, supported in a constitutional disposition.

In the case of every defense mechanism, unconsciousness seems to require a compensatory phenomenon. Just as unconsciousness of destructive or passive tendencies in ennea-type I is maintained through a conscious pursuit of goodness and an anti-hedonic bias, we may ask whether there is also a compensation for the loss of awareness of needs in ennea-type II. The answer lies, I think, in an intensification of the feeling states associated with impulse. Just as there exists a mechanism of intellectualization that serves to distance oneself from one’s feelings, we may say that here there is an “emotionalization” or “emotionalism,” that facilitates the process of distracting attention from the awareness of need or, more exactly, “the intellectual representation of instinct.”

But not only is there an emotional amplification in this type, there is also a characteristic impulsiveness, a pushiness in the interpersonal relation, an impatient need for satisfaction and a childlike inability to defer gratification. It is as if the experience of unconscious satisfaction failed to bring about true satisfaction; as if satisfaction without the awareness of need failed to bring the individual to a sense that the need has been met and resulted in an insatiable thirst for intensity.

It is easy to see how unawareness of needing—and particularly unawareness of needing love—supports pride, for if pride is built upon self-worth, what measure of worth presents itself more naturally to a child’s mind than being worthy of the love of her parents? To the extent that the proud is implicitly saying “I am worthy of love, and feel loved,” she is saying, “My love wish is satiated, I am not frustrated in my love thirst.” Yet this image of self as not wanting necessarily clashes with the ongoing acknowledgment of want—and the gap is made up by “histrionics.”

The connection between repression and the “universal giver” or “Jewish mother” aspect of type II is similar: it is not congruent to hold in the mind simultaneously the awareness of emotional neediness and of overflowing givingness. For a specialist in the manipulation and seduction of others through giving, it would also be “dangerous” to acknowledge one’s own wishes, for then “givingness” would be suspected for what indeed it is in its characteristic excess: a giving to get or a giving motivated by a personal need to identify oneself with the position and role of a giver.

To end, let me remark that to speak of a repression of neediness is practically equivalent to speaking of a repression of the psychological atmosphere of envy—and just as in the case of ennea-type I we understood anger as a reaction-formation to gluttony, we may in this case understand pride as a transformation of envy through the joint action of repression and histrionic emotionalism. Just as for the perfectionist it is self-indulgence that is most avoided, in the proud and histrionic character nothing is more avoided than the love thirst and the sense of unlovability that are characteristics of envy. Thus we may say that through a combination of repression and histrionic emotionalism envy is transformed into pride, and (to speak in Murray’s terms) succorance into nurturance.

5. Etiological and Further Psychodynamic Remarks

The body build of ennea-type II is typically more rounded than ennea-type I and also softer than ennea-type III, and so it is possible to think that a genetically determined endomorphia supports the viscerotonic need for affection. Since physical beauty is more common in type II than in any other character, it is also possible to speculate that this and perhaps a constitutionally-given playful disposition are “seductive” beyond any attempt of the child to be seductive—particularly as a stimulus to a seductive parent.

As in the case of type IV, type II is much more common in women than in men, and however true it may be that Daddy’s favorite little girl has an attractiveness that makes him want to caress her and speak to her tenderly (and in the little girl’s reaction there is a conscious or unconscious erotic ingredient) I think that the seduction scenario observed by Freud at the beginning of his career represents a typical manifestation rather than the heart of the matter (just as in the case of the anal character the biological interpretation, however evocative, fails to address itself to the more important issue of interpersonal strategy). I am convinced that the parent’s favorite is eminently a seducer and only secondarily one who puts Eros into seduction, and I think the more modern turn in psychoanalysis to lean towards a preoedipal view of the histrionic personality is correct—for just as in the grown-up’s desire to be caressed there lingers the baby’s desire to be held by a tender mother, also in the “spoiled, adorable and demanding” five year old there lingers an oral frustration that is here finding a compensation.

Here is how a student of protoanalysis described her situation growing up: “I was my father’s bride. He made me believe that I was the woman of his life, and that was a lie. He loved me so much … but he didn’t marry with me, he was married to mother. I was happy with my father, the pity is that it had an end.” Here is another account reflecting the special father-daughter bond: “My father called me his ‘sign.’ He said I had a special mark on my neck that only he could see, and because of that I was magnificent and unique. I believed it.” Not every type II person remembers a childhood as a happy, loved, and pampered princess or an adorable, favorite son. In some we hear a story of deprivation, and on occasion this surfaces after some therapeutic exploration. It is possible to bring the person to see how the time of becoming a little princess was preceded by one of emotional pain. In these cases it seems as if the child wanted to be specially reassured of mother’s or father’s love through being specially cared for, delighted in, and tolerated in her whims or bouts of crying. It is as if the child were saying: “Prove to me that you really love me!,” and as the demand for special expression of love were essentially a reaction to having felt rejected.

Thus, for instance, a patient says: “For my mother I was ugly, dirty, ordinary … and I could not allow any of her view to get into me, for I would panic at sinking into this ugly image. It is in this way that I defended myself with pride and through feeling the center of the universe.” In this case it can be seen that the imaginary reconstruction of the self can precede and be more fundamental than the seeking for an external alliance to confirm the proud self-image.

It also suggests that the compensation for oral frustrations of infancy involves not only the denial of frustration, but also a compensatory assertiveness. Just as this person asserted being the center of the universe, another had to adopt an attitude of “don’t step on me” in face of two very hard brothers, and still another says: “I had a twin who was a model child, and I was the opposite. I rebelled. I reacted with prideful rebellion in face of my mother’s rejection.”

A transition from frustration to a self-satisfied and self-satisfying stance, and self-image generally can be seen, among women, as a shift from the experience of relative rejection by the mother to the development of seductiveness in view of becoming father’s favorite. “My mother was dry and skinny. My father was immense, happy, with a round face and with a very beautiful skin. It was no help for my becoming fat. Who doesn’t like it let him go to the skinny and dry ones.”

The following example involves a variant: “I did not receive attention, I felt abandoned by my mother. I had two fathers. My fantasy has been more that of Cinderella than that of a princess. I had to expect my prince, who was my father, who had abandoned me. And this has been a clear fantasy always. It was with my second father that I was the favorite, in spite of not being his daughter. I have much of my mother’s perfectionism, but I was also very seductive. With that mother there was no help to being in the shadow.”

Hearing ennea-type II histories I have noticed something akin to a breaking of the will that seeks compensation in willfulness. Frustration is transformed in the compulsive search for freedom that characterizes this character’s intolerance for rules and boundaries. As a woman has said: “Whims were the proof of love” An instance of this is an acquaintance who remembers that when she was taken away from mother’s to her grandmother’s house as a child, she was promised many beautiful things to lure her, overcoming her reluctance. Later, feeling betrayed, she demanded ever more beautiful things, seeking her compensation with a “vengeance.”

Here is another quote on egocentrism as a compensatory love thirst: “There were economical differences and I began to work at fourteen, and I think whims were demands through which I charged what I felt was due to me.” It is not surprising that often type VII fathers appeared in the history of ennea-type II women, which makes sense given their typical seductiveness, gaiety, orientation to pleasure, and family orientation. Just as in type I the desire for love becomes a search for respect, in type II the love-wish becomes a search for intimacy and the expression of tender feelings through words and caressing. In one case as in the other the secondary search interferes with the primal satisfaction. Not only, in this case, because the development of the “seductive apparatus” makes the person less than complete and thus less lovable, but also because to feel loved a person needs to be in touch with his/her love-wish, and this is repressed in the proud along with their denigrated self-image.

A feature of early life history coherent with the position of superiority and giving of ennea-type II that I have observed is that of becoming a mother’s helper vis-a-vis the care of siblings. I illustrate with a fragment of a report by a group of type II women: “All of us carried a lot of adult responsibility as very young children; became the little mother in the house or the mother in the house at early ages. And we kept, we strove to keep our parents happy, so that our needs would be met. If parents were happy, then we got some love and attention and approval, but if not, then we were the ones that had the wrath poured on us or whatever. It was a safer environment to be in if parents were happy. Most of us expressed ourselves in a way that said that we were providing for one parent what the other expressed ourselves in a way that said that we were providing for one parent what the other parent wasn’t in some ways, became the companion for the father if the mother wasn’t that or vice versa in many activities.”

The following individual report suggests that an ennea-type II can seek to be a “good little girl”: “After you established a certain level of performance it became expected and after that you had to do a little more because you did make them happy, but after a while that was just expected, so in order to make them happy you had to do more.” And so they had to keep the performance extraordinary. While it may be said of a type II girl that she is a “good little girl” just as the type I girl is, the difference is that in this case performance occurs in an atmosphere of wish fulfillment rather than frustration.

Another factor in early childhood history that had been brought to my attention is some measure of over-protectiveness and over-possessiveness by one of the parents—a problematic side of being a favorite related to the thirst for freedom and which has led some to become independent at an early age. It is common for type II girls who did not have freedom to be with friends, come from large families and have been told: “You know you got siblings to play with, you don’t need anybody else,” and to be relatively confined.”

6. Existential Psychodynamics

If we understand pride as the result of an early love frustration that was equated in the child’s mind with worthlessness (so that the impulse to worthiness and toward being special amounts to a compulsive repetition of the original maneuver of compensating for that early lack), it may be a mistake to continue to interpret pride as the elaboration of a love need. This may amount to putting the cart before the horse, since the intense love need of ennea-type II individuals is rather a consequence of pride than a more deeply seated antecedent. In line with the manner of interpretation undertaken thus far, which seeks to replace libido theory in the understanding of neurotic wants with an existential one, we can look at pride (as each of the passions) as a compensation for a perceived lack of value which goes hand-in-hand with an obscuration of the sense of one’s being—the natural, original, and truest support for one’s sense of personal value.

We may say that, despite superficial elation, vitality, and flamboyance, there lurks in proud character a secret recognition of emptiness—a recognition transformed into the pain of hysterical symptoms, into eroticism and clinging to love relationships. Not withstanding the usual interpretation of this pain as a love pain, it may be more exact to regard it as no different from the universal pain of fallen consciousness, beyond type-bound characteristics. If we do so, we can understand that it may be transformed not only in libido, but that, interpreted as a sense of personal insignificance, it sustains the will to significance that is in the nature of pride.

Such an interpretation is useful, for it orients us to look for what in the present life of the individual is perpetuating this “hole” at the center of the personality. How this hole arises is not difficult to understand, for, as Horney has remarked, embracing the pursuit of glory amounts to something like selling one’s soul to the devil—inasmuch as one’s energy becomes involved in the realization of an image rather than in the realization of one’s self.

The sense of being rests in the integrated wholeness of one’s experience, and is not compatible with the repression of one’s neediness any more than it is compatible with the failure to live one’s true life (while occupied in dramatizing an ideal image for a selected audience of supporters). Excitement may capture one’s attention and serves as an ontic pacifier from moment to moment, but only in a superficial level of awareness. The same may be said of pleasure. The individual fails to be as he or she is while driven to seek pleasure and excitement instead while trying to live in the continuous ecstasy of being the center of attention.

False abundance, thus, is doomed to be, after all, an emotional lie that the individual does not fully believe—for otherwise he or she would not continue to be driven to fill up frantically the hole of deeply felt beinglessness. If it is ontic deficiency that supports pride and, indirectly, the whole edifice of pride-centered character, ontic deficiency is, in turn, brought about by each one of the traits that constitutes its structure: a gaiety that implies (by repression of sadness) a loss of reality; a hedonism that, in its chasing after immediate gratification, only affords a substitute satisfaction and not what growth requires; the compulsive indiscipline that goes along with this hedonism, with its free and wild characteristics of “hysteria,” which also get in the way of accomplishing such life goals as would bring about a deeper satisfaction.

In conclusion, in recognition of this vicious circle whereby ontic insufficiency supports pride, which through its manifestation, in turn, supports ontic insufficiency, lies therapeutic hope; for the aim of therapy should not stop at providing the good relationship that was absent in early life: it can include re-educating the individual toward self-realization and the daily elaboration of that deep satisfaction that comes from an authentic existence.
 
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