The Aggressive Type

Reichian Characterology #4


Also known as the Inspirer, the Leader, the Dominator, or the Aggressive Pattern, and formerly known as the Psychopath, this character type is inevitably the subject of much mystique and general negativity, which does little to promote understanding, acceptance and change. The most basic characteristic of the Aggressive type is a marked tendency to channel their energy up their body into the chest and face, thus creating a powerful, charismatic front to show the world.

Aggressive types are leaders, though they likely became so as a learned adaptive strategy to the circumstances of their childhood. The developmental challenges for Aggressive types are to show vulnerability, to not be in control and to allow deep intimacy with others. Usually, they learned not to trust as children, and had sufficient ego strength to forge a path out of feeling vulnerable through taking the world by storm.

Appearance & Behaviour

  • Historically, aggressive types have tended to be male. However, this appears to be more cultural bias and it is nowadays not at all uncommon to find women in this character.

  • Most tend towards a triangular upper body shape, created to dominate situations when needed. Though there is a sub-type which instead exhibit high fluidity of movement, physically and emotionally, and prefer seduction rather than domination.

  • Aggressive types have learned to access emotional energy rather than suppress it, something which sets them aside from the other 4 types. However, instead of allowing the human emotions which are the natural result of this energy, they prefer to channel it up the body and to the front, creating a dominant facade with which to meet the world. They thus tend to be high in charisma and animal magnetism.

  • They tend to be more interested in power than in pleasure.

  • They thus tend to pursue sex more for a sense of power or status, rather than for physical pleasure.

  • They can be highly manipulative and distinctly Machiavellian in their approach to life and power.

  • They may struggle to learn from negative outcomes, as it can be very challenging for them to admit they were wrong.

  • They tend to exhibit very low levels of self-doubt and rarely allow space for such a thing to develop.

  • Their default in new situations is to meet them with a dominating, controlling front.

  • Aggressives also tend to thrive on challenge and on being in the moment. They are far more comfortable living on adrenaline than other types.

  • Their inner world is fluid and changing, but they rarely allow an emotional charge to build to the point where they might lose control over it.

  • They tend to be more likely to be involved in crime or drug-taking than the other types, an aspect of their need for intensity.


  • The childhood origins of this type often seem harder to distinguish than the other types but there will frequently have been a major loss of trust in one or both parents sometime around the ages of 5 to 10. At this point they elected to dominate life rather than face such a disappointment again.

  • They usually don't have high levels of Dreamer, Oral or Endurer traits as these would diminish their ego strength and make being an Aggressive non-viable. It is characteristic of the Aggressive that they need to access high levels of energy and earlier trauma would make this difficult.

  • They will often believe inside that others are simply weaker than them and thus deserving of being exploited.

  • They tend to vastly favour rational thought and decisive action over introspection and allowing or trusting feelings.

  • They may constantly crave challenging and intense experiences as a means to overcome the numbness that can result from the lack of human feelings they allow.

  • Before they can allow any vulnerability they will usually need to feel they are totally in control.

  • They may at times struggle to feel grounded, through holding too much energy in their upper body, and controlling sexual energy at the hips.

  • They may find themselves still beset by regular feelings of low self-worth, despite their focus on status and accomplishment.

Treatment Direction

  • Aggressive types will rarely seek therapy unless they perceive no other way to move forwards. This may come through criminal or substance-use issues leading them into trouble with the law. It can also happen if they become highly successful and simply wish to now resolve childhood issues.

  • Like Endurers, it is often necessary for them to understand their condition before they can easily make progress. The Aggressive character is so adept at channelling emotional energy, it can be very hard for him or her to allow it to build into human feelings.

  • They will generally pick only a therapist that they believe they can totally dominate, in order to feel safe.

  • Any therapy which can allow the Aggressive to feel and accept human emotions, especially those associated with vulnerability, will be useful.