Reichian Characterology #5 – The Influencer

(aka Inspirer or Leader, formerly Psychopath)

This is the only one of the Characters that is clearly recognised in mental health circles (DSM) – psychopath. This word has such extreme negative connotations that it is no use here, so other terms have been adopted. 

These characters exert a fascination because nearly every significant and influential figure in human civilisation has been from this category. Aristotle, Socrates, Jesus, Mohammed, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Isaac Newton, Elizabeth I, Einstein, Churchill, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, Madonna, Osho, Donald Trump, and Greta Thunberg, to name but a few, can all been placed in this category.

The extreme negative connotations – Ted Bundy, Hannibal Lector etc – result from Influencers who are completely cut off from their heart and simply cannot feel empathy. 

(Note: Reich himself is widely recognised as this personality type. In his original work, he did not recognise it as a character structure and it was added later.)

Appearance & Behaviour:

  • More likely male, but these days more women also.
  • Some have a triangular upper body shape – upward displacement, it looks dominating. Others are more seductive – energy in hips and eyes, with a more flexible spine.
  • They can access all the energy of emotion, they are not cut off. But instead of simply feeling emotions and being more human, they channel the energy upwards and direct it outwards to further their vision. Thus they are highly influential, full of animal magnetism and inspiring speakers.
  • More interested in power than in pleasure
  • Highly manipulative, Machiavellian. Use people for their own ends.
  • Inability to learn from mistakes, would involve admitting they were wrong!
  • Virtually zero self-doubt. “Teflon-coated” ego means that they see all problems as external.
  • All new situations are met with a dominating, controlling attitude.
  • Prefer taking charge, as opposed to learning or understanding.
  • Whilst controlling they also thrive on being in the moment, living the adrenaline rush to keeping their image up in changing conditions.
  • Inner world – numb. But with anxiety that rapidly builds if not discharged.


  • Childhood origins are not as well recognised as with other character types. There may be a larger genetic component in this character type than others. They may have had a seductive or manipulating parent and the child learned to reject his or her vulnerability and just do the same.
  • May have been used by the parents as a buffer, or weapon, in their own dysfunctional relationship.
  • Child may have witnessed abuse in family situation.
  • Feelings, sensations, and external stimuli tend to not be trusted, but rather rejected in favour of rational thought.
  • Showing emotional pain is regarded as a sign of weakness.
  • Craving intense experience to alleviate inner numbness.
  • Need to feel in total control before they can allow vulnerability.
  • In life, they prefer to have followers rather than intimate relationships.
  • Pursue sex for the thrill of conquest rather than sensual pleasure.
  • Anxiety builds up rapidly when not allowed to move around.
  • Energy is driven up into the chest and eyes especially, and not allowed to ground, usually through pelvic constriction.
  • Generally low self-esteem, which is bolstered by a high focus on achievement.


  • Rarely seek therapy, unless in crisis. Substance addiction or criminal tendencies are higher than average in this type, this may lead to therapy.
  • Hard to help as they can only see issues as external.
  • Will usually need to feel that they can totally dominate the therapist in order to allow any vulnerability.
  • Any therapy which can allow them to feel and accept human emotions will be useful.
  • This character, in many ways, is only problematic when their heart is closed.

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