The Endurer Type

Reichian Character Types #3


Also known as the Enduring Pattern, and previously labelled the “masochist,” what most denotes this character is their heavy-set appearance and their tendency to reject any form of change. Endurers bear life as a heavy load. They accept that they have no possibility to change their lives, that it is “set in stone.” But they will nevertheless complain about their lot, and often attempt to subtly undermine power structures around them. Their inner world tends to be filled with angst and images of violence and conflict, despite their overtly passive behaviour.

When aged around two years old, and beginning to assert themselves, Endurers were harshly subjugated by one or both parents, more usually the mother. They learned at this age that there was no point in them trying to do their own thing, or have their own opinion. That was not allowed. They thus accepted that life was about obeying the rules set by authority, and allowing their own developing self to simply be subjugated.

To heal from the past, Endurers need to learn to value their inner world. They have to take steps to appreciate themselves, value their feelings, and to explore who they are as individuals. They also need to accept that they will inevitably be filled with repressed rage and to learn healthy ways to access and release this.

Appearance & Behaviour

  • Endurers are more likely to be male.

  • They tend to be heavyset or musclebound.

  • They may have a short bull-neck.

  • They may appear big and dangerous but are invariably passive.

  • They perceive life as a burden that needs to be endured.

  • They tend to be hardworking, but rarely take much joy in what they do.

  • When talking about work or a relationship, they will usually portray their partner, boss or company as something they have no choice but to be subjugated to.

  • They may act stupid to avoid taking responsibility.

  • They tend to be complaining.

  • They often act as though they are interested in change, but when possibilities emerge they will invariably find reasons why they can’t get involved.

  • They will often tend to subtly undermine any perceived sense of authority around them.


  • Endurers invariably experienced being heavily oppressed by one or both parents during the beginning of the egoic phase – 2-4 years old.

  • Their developing ego was “broken” and they learned that life was something that just needed to be survived without expectation of improvement.

  • Their musculature developed to suppress their inner emotionality, especially their natural rage at how they were treated as an infant.

  • Their inner world is marked by opposing forces, angst, conflict and stress. Revenge fantasies are common. They will particularly enjoy movies where the decent, honest person is finally pushed too far and goes all out to beat their oppressors, or those of a loved one.

  • There is invariably huge suppressed anger.

  • They have usually developed an especially dominating superego (Freud) that controls their thinking and behaviour, telling them what is or is not acceptable or safe.

Treatment Direction

  • The Endurer has to learn the value of their own feelings, even though they have been suppressed and denied for so long. For this reason, having a theoretical understanding of the condition can be very useful for them. They especially have to accept that huge suppressed rage will be there.

  • Endurers must learn to value their own inner world.

  • Learning to express anger will not be easy for them. But if they can go there it will prove a fast-track to self-development.

  • It can be great for Endurers to simply play like children, especially with others.

  • Exercises that allow them to progressively learn to trust can be very useful.

  • Although Endurers will start out submissive to authority, it’s important to be aware that this is merely a learned behaviour. As they learn to come into a more authentic relationship with their personal power, it’s common for them to act out on authority. Experienced therapists are thus fairly cautious in how they work with Endurers and aware of how easy it is for them to project negative authority outwards on them.