Reichian Character Structures #3.1 The Phallic Narcissist

Rigid subtype – Male


  • Contrast with Oral or Endurer – these are pregenital phase trauma characters, sometimes called “ego deficient.” Orals tend to collapse. Endurers provoke then collapse. Phallic Narcissists can carry things through because the ego is better developed.
  • Affect Block, rather than deficient. Armouring.
  • Compare and contrast with Influencer (psychopath). They are far less flexible in their personality and more human in their emotionality. They are far more interested in pleasure and not just power.

Appearance & Behaviour

  • Athletic physique, high body symmetry
  • Rigid exterior containing strong emotions, esp rigid neck and upper back. High body tension generally. Classic armoured character
  • Breathing good but shallow, to keep feelings down
  • Blocked throat, controlling expression
  • Strong need to be in control
  • Arrogant
  • Very focussed on being the best, dominating competition
  • Tries to be an idealized version of themselves by pushing away aspects perceived as not fitting in
  • A strong sense of pride and competitiveness
  • Intense fear of vulnerability, humiliation or failure
  • Attention seeking, narcissistic
  • In therapy, they typically want to “get rid of” feelings
  • Rat on a treadmill approach to life


  • This structure is traditionally believed to emerge around ages 4-6 when infantile sexual urges towards parent of opp gender are rebuffed or shamed
  • Father or other formative figures pushed them and denied them appreciation. They developed the attitude “I’ll show you.”
  • Frequently one parent is also rigid
  • They struggle with sudden change
  • Head and genitals strongly charged
  • Highly sexualized inner world
  • Separation between love and sex
  • Control fantasies in sex maybe
  • Vision of Reality – accurate but highly competitive (contrast Oral or Endurer)


  • Don’t often go for therapy unless in crisis or they have achieved what they wanted and now seek to relax
  • They need to accept who they are and allow vulnerability
  • More awareness in the whole body, not just the genitals and head
  • Open the heart
  • Strengthen legs and belly

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