Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Benefactor meets Individualist or, Gary Sinese meets Stevie Nicks

Today's letter is B, and we're looking at the way the Benefactor personality (Gary Sinese) and the Individualist personality (Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame) would relate to each other.

The Benefactor personality is as often male as female. He or she makes a good coach, counselor, or referee. He or she might also be a choir director, because choirs are about creating harmony. Or she might be a quilter. As a type who has no trouble blending in or harmonizing with others, they need to be mindful of not blending in so much that they don’t develop themselves as individuals. Books and movies that have the Benefactor personality as the hero focus on helping the unassertive Benefactor to stand up for his values, or to speak up for others. (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Pleasantville.) They are ordinary people who learn to stand up for what they think is right. (The Hiding Place; Pay it Forward.) This is also the realm of Coming of Age stories, when a young person becomes an individual with a social conscience.

When the Benefactor personality finally stops fearing being cut off from others and stands up for herself, life finally opens up for her. She will have the courage to fulfill her personal destiny, and she will discover that, instead of feeling disconnected from others (her greatest fear), she feels even more connected with herself, others and nature. We are all unique, but we are also all the same. The things that divide us may seem large but are actually minor. Read more about the Benefactor personality.   

The Individualist personality is more often female than male. She’s also known as the Gypsy, the Bohemian, or the lone artisan. Books or movies featuring this personality type will be about the disdain that can sometimes comes from insisting on being fully self-expressed, no matter how outlandish. These are highly emotional, even melodramatic or tragic-romantic people. Themes also include surviving, even thriving, after a soul-shattering loss, which is accomplished by finding new reasons to be. These are often deeply emotionally scarred people, earthy and tough on the outside, but tender on the inside, and often with a sense of humor that gets them through the tough times.  

Often loners, they prefer it that way, in order for there to be time for creative work. They enjoy travel—but not first class; they’d rather do it on a shoestring and find the riches that can be had for less. They’re able to find magic in the mundane. You see this type at craft fairs. They’re good listeners, especially if the story is a harrowing one that no one else wants to hear about. Having gained wisdom from life’s trials themselves, they can offer guidance to the teller. They aren’t fancy talkers, but plainspoken. Read more about the Individualist personality. 
What might a relationship between Gary Sinese and Stevie Nicks look like, or if not them per se, people of similar personality types?

This is a frequent pairing. Both are essentially withdrawn and sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. Both want deep connection, but also need privacy. Both are highly creative and supportive of each other’s creativity by giving each other space to develop it. Both are looking for the one right match. Both love comfort and the sensual side of life. She needs to feel accepted for who she is, and he can do that for her. He needs to learn how express himself, and to learn the language of feelings, and she can help him. Solidly grounded, he won’t mind her emotional storms and melodramatic reactions.

If there were problems in the relationship, it would come from their differing reactions to stress. She’ll become more demanding, and he’ll become more withdrawing. The very thing he enjoyed about her—her mood swings and drama—will become too unsettling for him, and his lack of response will further upset her. She’d loved his unconditional acceptance of her, truly flaws and all, and had wanted permanent emotional satisfaction from him. With him, she’d stopped fearing abandonment, and her low self-esteem had improved.

He’d wanted her to give him a life. He’d wanted her to accept him unconditionally as well. 
Except that she’s always finding things that are missing in him, and wanting him to change.

Emotionally volatile herself, she’d hoped she could help him become more like her, but it’s not in him to be that way, and she starts to feel ignored. Unable to be more tragic-romantic, the mild, easy-going Benefactor will turn his attention to other activities or simply check out. She might accuse him of leaving her. He’ll respond by saying he’s standing right in front of her. If he recognizes this as a wake-up call, his real emotions, which are normally deeply buried within him, will surface.

But from his point of view, she’s always rejecting and then adoring him (part of her push-pull nature), and so, initially, he won’t see the point of changing. The solution is for him to find his own interests. When he’s gone from her, her longing for him will reignite. It helps if he understands that her attacking behavior is only because of her need for intensity in a relationship. His personal interests will inspire her, and he’ll be more patient with her volatile emotional nature. 

Additional Information:
What are Instinctual Subtypes?  
Sources from which I collected and synthesized information about the matches 


  1. Oh, nice personality profiling. I am much more the individualistic and sometimes have them for characters, though I also use a lot of self-identified protectors--people who feel obliged to do one thing, even if it is opposed to what might be the easy way.

  2. This is such a neat concept..not only to further clinically define the personality types, but then to be abel to deduce how the two would interact, what sort of problems they might encounter with those differences, etc,...I imagine this would be immensely helpful in writing, in a number of ways. NIce job!

  3. Ah! Very interesting, indeed! I'm a playwright and am always delving into what makes a person (character) tick. I've seen this type of 'harmony' around me before and your post was extremely beneficial to me. Great job!

  4. Wow, you've put a lot of work into these posts--fascinating pairings and great discussion. I'm learning a lot :-)

  5. This is great, Cathy. Thanks for putting this together.

  6. I saw Gary Senese in concert last month. He is such a good guy-perfect choice for benefactor. Fun idea you have for A to Z. Thanks for the follow. I'm now following here:D

  7. This is super interesting, Cathy, and super helpful. I am glad to see that many writers are finding your profiles useful. I know I certainly am!


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