Monday, August 16, 2010

The Nine Types of Lovers - Part Two

On my blog post of August 7, I talked about the Nine Types of Lovers, as identified by Daphne Rose Kingma in her book “The Nine Types of Lovers – Why we love the people we do and & how they drive us crazy”. I tried to relate her real observations to characters in our novels. Today I’ll continue with the remaining 5 lovers.

5. The Workaholic

Emotional Wound: Abandonment
Coping Behavior: Distraction/Avoidance
Unconscious Emotion that needs to be addressed: Grief

Telltale Signs:

- Always busy
- Highly successful and over committed.
- Puts others off with delays and “other” priorities.
- Prefers to share activities rather than conversation, feelings or experiences.
- He doesn’t want to get too emotionally involved.

We love Workaholics because they have energy, and bring a sense that life is interesting. They inspire us with all they accomplish, and are strong willed, clear and decisive. They are wonderful providers and powerful and interesting people. On the flip side, they keep intimacy at bay. We feel rejected because they’re always too busy for us, and make us feel guilty for complaining.

The emotional wound they suffered may be subtle, such as an emotional abandonment by a Workaholic parent or a parent overloaded by responsibility. Or it may be obvious, such as a parent’s death. Instead of dealing with their grief, they stuffed down their feelings, choosing to keep busy rather than to feel. They avoid feelings of being unloved and unworthy of attention.

In a romance novel, a love interest who is the exact opposite of the Workaholic, a Dharma to his Greg, may force him to slow down and examine his feelings. The results could be comic or dramatic, depending on how they’re played.

6. The Perfectionist

Emotional Wound: Lack of Safety.
Coping behavior: Control
Unconscious emotion that needs to be addressed: Feeling overly responsible.

Telltale Signs:

- Believes that things should be perfect.
- Has very high standards, for everything and everyone, including herself. No one can meet her exacting standards.
- May have trouble committing to a relationship.
- Relationships always disappoint her. Whoever she loves “betrays” them.

We like Perfectionists because they are patient, strong, determined and will pursue a goal to its perfect end. But nothing we can do will make them happy. Insisting on perfection is irritating and exhausting.

They feel a profound lack of safety. They often had one Perfectionist and one out-of control parent. To create balance, she would follow the example of the Perfectionist parent. If both parents were out-of-control, she often took over the parent role, trying to make things perfect. The Perfectionist feels if she lets down her guard, her world will fall apart.

A Perfectionist in a romance novel can often be a comic character, especially if partnered with her opposite in an “Odd Couple” scenario. The Perfectionist must learn to loosen her standards. The world won’t fall apart, and she won’t lose the love of her life, if a little imperfection creeps into her life.

7. The Fantasizer

Emotional Wound: Deception
Coping Behavior: Fantasizing
Unconscious Emotion that need to be addressed: Anger

Telltale signs:

- Often lives in the future.
- Others have to call her back to reality, or tell her that things aren’t the way she thinks they are.
- Is a “romantic”.
- Disregards facts
- Easily and frequently crushed.
- Uses fantasies to avoid hard work.

Fantasizers lift us out of the mundane and into the extraordinary, but they don’t want to live in the real world. They never believe who we are, and they don’t believe what we say we want.

Fantasizers grew up with a deception. For example, she may have had an alcoholic mother, but her father denied it. She may have been adopted or illegitimate, but was never told the truth. One of her parents may have lived a secret life as a homosexual. The Fantasizer was forced to live with the deception and could not express normal anger because her parents denied the problem. So she continues the lie with fantasies of her own.

I see this character as more appropriate for a secondary character rather than a main character. However, it might be fun to put a Fantasizer together with a character who hates lies and deception and watch the fireworks!

8. The Controller

Emotional Wound: Loss of Power
Coping Behavior: Aggression/passive aggression
Unconscious emotion that need to be addressed: Power

Telltale signs:

- Likes to be in control.
- Great at keeping track of everything and everyone.
- Manipulates time and circumstances so that he can be in charge.
- Has trouble delegating.
- See all relationship issues as control issues.
- Maintains power through intimidation – sometimes overt, sometimes more subtle.

We like Controllers because they take charge and make decisions. They are powerful, charismatic and energizing. However, partners of controllers can end up doubting their own perceptions and abilities.

Controllers were likely over-controlled by others in their early life such as an overly critical father. In a romance novel a Controller may be an abusive ex-boyfriend or husband. Or perhaps the Controller is an uptight corporate type who has to learn to let others be in control once in a while.

9. The People Pleaser

Emotional Wound: Feeling Unworthy
Coping Behavior: Accommodation
Unconscious emotion that needs to be addressed: Shame

Telltale Signs:

- Puts herself down.
- Can’t take compliments or receive gifts or attention.
- Feels not quite good enough; suffers from low self-esteem.
- Has trouble making decisions.
- Always trying to improve to get love/attention.
- Helpful, considerate, accommodating and empathetic. Sometimes they try so hard to make others happy, they make themselves sick.
- Mismatch between self concept and the views of others.

We like People Pleasers because they want to please us. They are easy-going, good natured, cooperative and accommodating. They are sensitive to our emotions and needs and work hard at trying to be helpful . However, because they are so focused on their failures, they can’t enjoy the good things in life. Their lack of self-esteem, their insecurity and indecision is exhausting.

People Pleasers have a deep sense of unworthiness for various reasons, such as their family’s poverty, or being the result of an unwanted pregnancy that forced marriage. Childhood neglect or abuse (physical, verbal or sexual) could also trigger this response.

If a People Pleaser is used as a main character in a romance novel, her journey is to overcome feelings of shame and learn to love herself, with the help and love of her hero.

Like other personality tests, I think people fall into these categories in various degrees. We may also see bits of ourselves in more than one category. I felt these love personalities were useful tools for identifying our characters’ emotional background, creating conflict for them by placing them with her/his opposite, and showing how they can grow in the story.

I think they are also great story starters too. Can you come up with a story premise based on a pairing of any of these personalities, or perhaps by just using one of the personalities?


Jana Richards said...

Hi all,
I asked if anyone could come up with a story starter, or a story premise, using one or two of these nine personality types. I thought I'd give it a whirl myself.

One of my favorite characters is The Workaholic. What if a workaholic, high-achieving, high-flyer type male character, (a businessman or CEO) one day suddenly suffers an anxiety attack that totally incapacitates him. He finds he just can't function in his job. Another company is trying to stage a hostile takeover of his company, and a big stockholders' meeting is set for a few weeks down the road. As CEO, he has to show strength and confidence to the stockholders and to the world, or else his company, which was founded by his great-grandfather, will cease to exist.

Because he's in such rough shape, a therapist suggests he goes away for a while to destress and relax. The therapist recommends a friend who runs a ranch in Montana; no TV, no Internet, no distractions. The CEO believes that if he goes away for a while and gets his act together, he can come back to the city ready to fight the hostile takeover bid and face his stockholders.

At first he finds life on the ranch too quiet. But as the days pass, he lets go of stress and worries that have haunted him for years. And he's attracted to the strong, capable owner of the ranch. Eventually he has to decide what he's willing to give up: a business that's been in his family for 4 generations or the love of his life.

I could see writing this with a light touch, a romantic comedy. I'd want to explore the reasons he became a workaholic in the first place, and show him turning his life around. This is just a rough idea off the top of my head, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how these nine love types might be used.

Happy writing,

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey, Jana. As I was reading your list, characters started forming and so yes, I agree it can be a great story and idea motivator.

Thanks for posting the list.

Anita Mae.

Karyn Good said...

These are great posts, Jana. Very interesting and useful info to use when matching up characters.

I have to say one of my favorite characters to write is The Cool Cucumber (Wounded Warrior). I think it would be fun to pair him with a Fantasizer (at least a heroine with certain aspects of this type).

He craves peace and quiet. She's all about color and movement.

Twelve months ago someone strangled Logan West's sister and dressed her dead body in a designer, one-of-a-kind gown. Frustrated at the lack of progress in the investigation, he leaves his private island and his precious lab behind to get some answers.

Autumn Rhys, reclusive designer and privacy freak, wants her life back. And her dress. Both for very good reasons. But when a second body shows up in an exclusive Rhys Original, everyone's private agenda will have to wait. Because the killer's done interning and now he's ready to showcase the real deal.

Hey, that was fun!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
I hope these ideas can help with a character's motivation, as well as a story starter.

Keep writing!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Wow, did you come up with that off the top of your head? I'm impressed!

I think a lot of us may have elements of these personalities in us to some degree. A person who is 100% Fantansizer would be impossible to live with I think. But a designer who can lose herself in a fantasy world while she creates is an interesting character. She's also one that will be likeable and believeable.

The Cool Cucumber/Wounded Warrior always makes a great hero. It's always fun to torture him a little until he loses his cool!


Janet said...

Karyn - you are the queen of blurbs and you better have that on your 'to be written' list because it sounds fabulous!! I bow down to your awesomeness :)

A great follow-up post, Jana. Again, I will be bookmarking this to come back to over and over again. And your story idea is great, too - are you writing it? If not, it needs to go in your 'idea file'.

Brilliant idea to look outside the box when it comes to generating story ideas. Thanks, Jana :)

Jana Richards said...

Hi Janet,
Karyn really is the queen of the blurbs, isn't she? I'd love to read this story.

No, I'm not writing the story I talked about. I really did just make that up off the top of my head this morning - you can tell, it's pretty rough. But I kind of like it. So many ideas, so little time.

It does pay to think outside of the box occassionally.