Reichian Character Structures #2. The Endurer

(formerly known as The Masochist)

Appearance & Behaviour:

  • More likely to be male
  • Tend to be heavyset / musclebound
  • Short bull-neck
  • May look big and dangerous but actually very passive
  • They perceive life as a burden that needs to be endured
  • Hardworking, but little joy in what they do
  • Talking about work or relationship, they usually portray their partner, boss or company as something they have no choice but to be subjugated to.
  • May act stupid to avoid taking responsibility
  • Complaining
  • They often act as though interested in change. But when possibilities are suggested, they will claim that it is “easy enough for you to say these things… but that in reality it’s just not possible.”
  • Reaching out for help, they may really be trying to pull the other into their own hole.


  • Like Oral characters, Endurers have very early life wounding (pre-genital) but theirs is an invasion wound
  • The wound is frequently from an overly controlling mother, exerting high control over how often the infant eats or defecates.
  • The infant’s developing ego has been “broken” and the musculature that later develops is to block the feeling of rage
  • Inner world – opposing forces, angst, conflict and stress
  • Huge suppressed anger
  • Brutal, controlling superego (Freudian psychology)


  • Whilst Endurers are often highly willing to undertake therapy, they are not easy to help. They comply with the therapy but are usually not emotionally present, rather they do it to try and “please” the therapist. After a while, if the therapy is seen not to “work,” because of their lack of emotional presence, they frequently seek to bring the therapist themselves down, claiming that the therapy or therapist is no good!
  • 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, psychotherapy or theoretical understanding of the condition can be very useful for them.
  • They need to learn to do things with feeling or with heart because they learned to just obey to survive.
  • Expressing rage is not easy for them, and will take time and regular practice. But it is very useful, esp rage towards the controlling parent.
  • Where muscles are very big, they can be massaged or myo-fascial release can be done
  • Exercises that allow them to progressively learn to trust can be very useful
  • Group therapy can be better than one to one, to reduce the amount that they can create an unhealthy relationship with the therapist

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