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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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?