Characteristic Attitudes of the Creator (Schizoid)
The Creator is characterized by the dissociation of the ego from feeling and from the body. Feelings may be expressed according to what one “should feel” in a given situation, but there is no real spontaneity. What the person thinks seems to have little connection to how the person feels or behaves.When feelings are asked about, cognitions, general philosophical positions, and assessments of future prospects are usually given as answers. For this reason it is often said of this character that there is a dissociation between thought and feeling, and that is so. Almost more importantly, there is a dissociation between perception and feeling. It is the feeling that makes 'what happens' into an experience. The creator character can describe what happened but not describe his or her experience. As a result, this character often feels more like an observer of his or her own life rather than a participant.
The link between desire and impulse is weak. This leaves the creator both short on impulses, but also at a loss to understand his or her own desires. The will is used to motivate action, which gives the behavior an "as if" quality. The will can be strong, but it is used predominantly to withdraw from external reality and to freeze feelings internally, so outward, assertive expressions have no energy and are weak and scattered. Self-expression is mechanical and controlled. Aggression is expressed through passive withdrawal, though explosions are a rare potential.
For a creator, existence seems tied to being separate or different from others. This existence always seems tenuous, so involvement with others more than superficially threatens existence. This can be called 'fear of engulfment.' Engulfment fears can lead to the development of a 'secret self' which is not to disclosed to others and which the Creator may consider her or his 'real' self.
Creators know the difference between idea and actuality, but seem to prefer idea to actuality. Ideas are often not tested or implemented, almost as though ideas "are as good as" actualities. The fear of engulfment makes actual accomplishment risky for entanglement, and so accomplishment is often put off for a 'safe' future time that never arrives. This is not a bluff covering an inability to accomplish so much as an actual permanent postponement.
The creator is almost always “in their mind.” Mental faculties are usually highly developed, frequently with a brilliant but abstract intellect. The mind is valued above all else, and deduction, reasoning, calculating, and “figuring things out” logically are the only modes of operating that are trusted. Gut feelings are usually unavailable and not trusted when they are. Speech and writing can be very precise, partly because this character does not trust the intention of others to understand. To this end language can be highly developed but in the service of conveying ideas--not through the innate love of words as in the Communicator character.
Creators often prize efficiency, utility, and frugality, which are cognitive or ego values. Creators usually eschew comfort, taste, beauty which are sensual or body goals. . Strategies of living oriented toward survival, such as rationing or saving are particularly prized and provide both a purpose to living (because existence is never taken for granted) and a mental pleasure. In fact, this style of life may be pursued when material existence is actually quite secure, through self-deprivation and self-denial. Often a philosophy develops that attempts to 'normalize' or glorify austerity and pleasurelessness
Self-interest holds no interest for the creator. Others' pursuit of their self-interest may be disparaged where it is recognized, but there is often a naivete or blindspot about the role of self-interest in the actions of others.
Depersonalization is present to some extent. Sometimes the person will fail to recognize him or herself in photos or mirror, or in the descriptions of others. Sometimes extreme sports or situations, like un-roped rock climbing, are sought out to 'force' strong feeling and contact with the body, and also perhaps to act out a persistent 'hanging on to the edge of a cliff' feeling.
If they have an objective, creators are able to work long stretches without boredom or without a break. They may actually work to the point of collapse without recognizing tiredness. Creators work well without supervision, accomplish a lot, and are often valued employees. They strongly avoid positions supervising others however. Creators often do well dealing with things, technology, or information. They may struggle dealing with people and social dilemmas. If involved in a team, they usually like to have their part defined clearly.
Creator characters are often deemed to be passive. This relates to a need to look to the outside for initiative in the absence of feeling. Creators are not passive in the sense of being suggestible or often 'drug along" with a fad. In fact it is a strength of the creator to see through or past mere enthusiasm. Creators are often the first to that 'the emperor has no clothes.' However creators can be vulnerable to cults or cultish undertakings. This is because having a purpose, style of life, structured relationships, and plentiful tasks conveniently placed into one 'basket' can seem like a dream come true. Moreover, most cults take a view of existence that is outside place and time, which is familiar and understandable to most creators.
Creators avoid and control any feelings due to the subconscious presence of deep-seated terror and intense rage, which leads to intense subconscious fears of annihilation if feelings are expressed. This 'life and death' quality may later become attached to any experiences of perceived rejection or failure. Crippling anxiety, panic attacks and phobias often arise when feelings threaten to emerge into consciousness.
Creators usually have a weak sense of self because of a lack of identification with the body. Creators usually demonstrate hypersensitivity and hyperawareness to threat or challenge because of weak ego boundaries. This correlates to the lack of peripheral charge in the body, and is sometimes known as thin skin. Because creators tend both not to be aware of their discomfort and not to communicate discomfort straightforwardly, however, they may appear insensitive. They may pride themselves on "not being easily upset." This hypersensitivity may only be evident either through frequent withdrawal (ostensibly for logical, impersonal, and external reasons) or through a pattern of under-achievement and avoidance of challenges that involve other people.
Creators tend to intellectualize, philosophize, or spiritualize problems. Creators may become interested in spiritual movements, but likelier the esoteric type and not the social type. Creators are also spiritual in that they value ideas and intention highly. However, in contrast to Communicators, they often have at least a strong curiosity about results. This is the origin of 'creator'--this character often tries to make a bridge between great ideas and the world. That is, they think about creating in the world what is interesting or valuable in principle, but may have trouble taking concrete steps to implement these ideas.
Both as readers and writers, Creators favor science fiction, or horror. Science fiction is about ideas being purposefully implemented into the world. Horror is about an omnipresent threat of annihilation that the protagonist senses but the other characters do not.
Suspiciousness and distrust is usually present, but may be deep, and so it cannot be felt or expressed, but is lived out over time, or shows up in a strong reluctance to get involved more than superficially. There may also be projected rage, which is experienced as living in a dangerous world. At times this may reach the level of paranoia. Moreover, creators are very sensitive to the hostility in others, and less sensitive to those things in others, such as good will, that make acting on the hostility very unlikely. This can increase isolation.
Creators may have trouble both understanding and using social cues, and recognizing faces, facial expressions, signs of mild distress in others, or non-verbal subtleties. This arises from the estrangement from the body and from body feeling. The social awkwardness that results has in recent years been popularly melded into the increasingly popular construct of Asperger's Syndrome, which merits a discussion of its own: Page on Asperger's Syndrome
Schizophrenia: It is with the creator or schizoid character that schizophrenia occurs, however only a very small potion of creator characters develop schizophrenia. There is clearly a qualitative difference between schizophrenia, and the creator or schizoid condition, and so it is not adequate or satisfying to think of schizophrenia as merely an intensification of the schizoid condition. In Character Analysis, Wilhelm Reich illustrated many of his ideas through the description of his work with a schizophrenic woman, but he did not describe what made for the presence of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia emerges mostly at puberty or at 'launching'. It has been suggested strong ego strength prevents the development of schizophrenia. R.D. Laing, who was sympathetic to Reichian ideas, proposed that the schizoid condition arises from a basic split between a a minimal public self and a private (real) self. Schizophrenia occurs, Laing believed when the private self split again (secondary split) due to starvation of real contact. Just as a person with two watches never really knows what time it is, a person with two selves never really knows who or where he or she is, or with whom he or she is. Creators can be subject to dissociation, depersonalization and fugue states.
Main psychological defenses: denial, projection, introjection, splitting, disintegration, withdrawal, fragmentation, compartmentalization and intellectualization.
Predominant negative core beliefs: “I should not exist.” “There is something essentially wrong with me.” “I am my mind.” “I think therefore I am." “Life is threatening to my life.” “I will survive by deadening myself.” “I must control my feelings and others with my mind.” “If I feel, I will disintegrate.” “My rage will annihilate others and me.” “The world is a dangerous place.”
Characteristic Illusion: "I'll survive if I use my understanding to eliminate needing."
Primary “falling” fear: falling apart
Primary holding pattern: holding together
Primary longing: for acceptance
Primary Struggle: the right to exist on a material plane
Illusion of Contraction: "My life is my mind, my thought, and my specialness. I can live through them."
Illusion of Release: "I will be annihilated"
The Creator Character in Relationship
Creators often live alone for long periods. For this reason, others might conclude that they do not want intimate relationships. However this is rarely true. Creators simply have little idea how to initiate relationships. Moreover, desire and impulse are split. Creators usually require the initiative to come from the other person to enter into a relationship. This limits opportunities, more for males than females. For this reason, even a poor relationship that does get started somehow is highly valued. Creators are usually unable to end a relationship without a strong compelling logical external reason--suffering from the relationship is not enough. Within a primary relationship, creators create a void into which the partner usually becomes dominant whether that is the partner's main tendency or not. However, creators mitigate submissiveness with withdrawal and detachment.
Once in a relationship, creators will try to bond through the exchange of ideas and 'parallel play' (for instance two people reading different books but in the same room). A deep fear in relationship for creators is being engulfed by the other. In a sense, creators tend to make others into ideas and relate to these ideas rather than the people. Overall there is a tendency to substitute non-human objects for human objects.
Overall, creators tend to relate by 'being of use' to others or to abstract causes. That is, with diminished impulses, there is a tendency to fulfill the expectations of others, which become a purpose for living. Even though there may be considerable judgment and selection about what or whose expectations to fulfill, in the long run, sheer lack of 'selfishness' can lead to being exploited, even in good organizations and with good people. This may appear similar to the 'social masochism' of the consolidator character, but it is not done to gain the love of the other, but to have a reason to live and function.
Because of deadened feeling in the body, creators may engage in sex to feel alive. This may lead to promiscuousness or a large volume of sexual activity, and partners may be chosen mechanically, as in a club, or chosen more on availability than attraction. Alternately, creators may not have any sexual relationships, because the impulse (not the same as desire) is weak, or the way of initiating relationships is mysterious to them. In a monogamous relationship, sex may be frequent, but will represent a weak release and may seem mechanical.
The head often does not seem at ease with the body, often it is held at an angle. The face is masklike. Sometimes there is myopia, as with the communicator character, and the eyes appear pale and weak. Sometimes there is 'vision-sparing', but where this occurs, the eyes are especially vacant and unalive, and do not make contact. This 'expressionlessness' is exactly that, nothing is coming out of the eyes, though the eyes are taking in. Commonly also the eyelids are tense and retracted in a permanent look of horror. The scalp tends to be tight. The skin is pale and there is usually little body hair.
Usually, the body is narrowed side to side, and contracted. The arms hang like appendages rather than extensions of the body. The arm movements may look like a windmill because the scapulae (shoulder blades) stay fixed. The feet are contracted and cold. The hips are very tight, and as a result, the feet are set wide apart, 'splayed' into a 'v' stance,. The ankles are very tight and the metatarsal arch is very weak Often the feet are inverted (collapsed arch) or everted (a compensation for a collapsed arch.)
The main tension areas are the base of the skull, the shoulder joints, the leg joints, the pelvic joints, and the diaphragm. The diaphragm tightness can be so severe in this character that it splits the body in two. It can also result in a depressed sternum. and flared out lower ribs. The diaphragm is dome shaped with the edges attached to the lower ribs. Ideally when the diaphragm contracts, the lower ribs expand out but also stay within their segment. This allows for the center of the diaphragm to pull itself down and create a vacuum in the chest. If the diaphragm is tight however, the center will not move, and the edges will instead be pulled up. Eventually these ribs stay fixed in an up and flared out position and the diaphragm cannot move itself. Also the flared ribs act like a lever prying the sternum back into a depressed position. Respiration becomes paradoxical; that is, the abdomen is sucked up on inhalation, and subsides down on exhalation. This requires most of the breathing to occur high in the chest, using accessory mechanisms that are inefficient and that leave the feeling of fear.
Muscular spasticity is mainly in the small muscles that surround the joints ('intrinsics'), therefore there may be either a hyperflexibility or an inflexibility. 'Tone-deafness' is common with hearing. The voice is usually soft and unenergized, but on occasion it may be "larger-than-life" and seem almost not to come from within the person.
The sensory apparatus has an uneasy relationship with the environment. In general senses are adequate to determine the bare facts of a situation, especially survival aspects, but fine detail or sensual qualities are not taken in. There may be a hypersensitivity, especially with touch. Eye contact is difficult, not only with the eyes of others, but with any intense visual stimulus. Sometimes an intense perceptual stimulus is sought out to penetrate deadness of feeling, but the stimulus is not relaxing or pleasureable, and the person seems to 'fling' him- or herself toward it. Creators may be found living and working in sensory impoverished environments. Creative projects tend to organized around a ideational theme rather than the effect the work may have on the senses of others.
The two pictures on the left are of the late chess champion Bobby Fischer. The upper picture is unusual in that it shows movement, which is perhaps the most 'characteristic' aspect of the creator body. Note the narrow body, the unbending knee of the right leg, and the windmilling of the arms. In the more characteristic picture below it, notice the head cocked to the side, and the faraway look in the eyes.
Respiration is markedly decreased. Paradoxical respiration is sometimes seen in which the diaphragm actually rises during inspiration. Energy is reduced overall and largely held in the core. Stuart Black, writing in the Core Energetics tradition, states that with this character energy leaks out of the joints. There is little energy accumulated at the surface. The person often will not sense their tiredness, and be able to work "like a machine" right up to a point of collapse. Energy is withdrawn from points of contact with the world: hands, feet, eyes. There can be a sense of dense, explosive energy in the core, but it is not available for creative activities. The apparent energy density comes from compression, overall this is a low-energy character.
Origins of the Creator Character (Prenatal to Six Months)
Perinatal medical complications, or serious illness in the first year of life may have a strong contribution to this character. Possibly, there is an early, even prenatal, unconscious rejection by the mother which the infant experienced as a threat to his or her existence. This rejection may only be evident to very discerning observers because on a mechanical level the mothering is adequate. But at times the rejection is accompanied by covert or even overt hostility. The rejection and hostility creates a fear that reaching out, demanding, or self-assertion will result in annihilation. The child will usually develop a habit of withdrawal and learn to avoid notice. Often an intense fantasy life develops. There usually are not close relationships with other children. Play is usually solitary and the social aspects of play may not be understood. The child may develop a precocious interest in and mastery of adult matters from an informational or factual standpoint. Childhood history may include: frequent nightmares or sleep disturbances, withdrawn behavior with occasional outbursts of rage, autism, pervasive fears, preference for fantasy over reality, psychosomatic illnesses, head-banging or self-mutilation, or school phobia.
Possible Difficulties for the Creator Character
Because of the dissociation between ideas and feeling. the 'talking cure' which involves affecting a person via the 'verbal intimacy' of personal topics is the least likely to be effective for this character. More beneficial is a bodywork approach, and coaching to increase sensory experience.
- Partner complains of a lack of emotional investment in the relationship
- Lack of advancement in work despite expertise and conscientiousness
- Tendency to withdraw, literally or figuratively from conflict, opportunities, or excitement.
- Deep exhaustion
- Pleasurelessness, meaninglessness, desperation