PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Main Interests of the Personality Types Idiosyncratic Type

Aggressive Personality Type

The interests of the Aggressive Personality Type include (Oldham, pg. 344):

  • being the boss
  • moving to positions of leadership
  • assuming command
  • undertaking huge responsibilities
  • weilding power
  • competing with confidence
  • never backing away from a fight

Main Interests of the Aggressive Personality Type

  1. being able to dominate and command others, and exercise power

  2. being a part of a traditional power structure

  3. being self-disciplined; being able to impose discipline on others

  4. accomplishing objectives

  5. reaching goals

  6. being active and adventurous; being physically assertive and competitive in sports

  7. getting people to do what you want them to do

Characteristic Traits and Behaviors

Dr. John M. Oldham has defined the Aggressive personality style. The following six characteristic traits and behaviors are listed in his The New Personality Self-Portrait.

  1. Command. Aggressive individuals take charge. They are comfortable with power, authority, and responsibility.

  2. Hierarchy. They operate best within a traditional power structure where everyone knows his or her place and the lines of authority are clear.

  3. Tight ship. They are highly disciplined and impose rules of order that they expect others in their charge to follow.

  4. Expedience. Aggressive men and women are highly goal-directed. They take a practical, pragmatic approach to accomplishing their objectives. They do what is necessary to get the job done.

  5. Guts. They are neither squeamish nor fainthearted. They can function well and bravely in difficult and dangerous situations without being distracted by fear or horror.

  6. The rough-and-tumble. Aggressive people like action and adventure. They are physically assertive and often participate in or enjoy playing competitive sports, especially contact sports.

Source: Oldham, John M., and Lois B. Morris. The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam, 1995.

Idealized Image

I did conceive of "character strengths and virtues" in a positive way as Martin Seligman does in his Positive Psychology, but now see them as images of perfection that inflate the idealized self theorized by Karen Horney.

Character Strengths and Virtues (what the Sadistic type is proud of)

The "Character Strengths and Virtues" are attributes of the idealized self, or ego ideal. As "conditions of worth" they are idols.

  1. Disposition to command, disposition to dominate, leadership, strength, powerfulness, authoritativeness, responsibleness.
  2. Orderliness, conservatism.
  3. Discipline, self-control, self-restraint, craftiness, shrewdness, benevolence, protectiveness, generosity, liberality.
  4. Purposefulness, goal-directedness, expediency, practicality, pragmatism, disposition to achieve, disposition to accomplish, productiveness.
  5. Bravery, fearlessness, fortitude, toughness.
  6. Energy, activeness, aggressiveness, adventurousness, assertiveness, confidence, competitiveness.

Top Strengths*

"Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same [time maintain] good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen"

"Open-mindedness [judgment, critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; Not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one's mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly "

"Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people"

"Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it"

"Persistence [perseverance, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; "getting it out the door"; taking pleasure in completing tasks"

"Vitality [zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; Not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated"

"Prudence: Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted"

"Self-regulation [self-control]: regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions"

"Spirituality [religiousness, faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort" (Peterson & Seligman, 29, 30).

* Selected from Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, (2004). Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Oxford: Oxford UP.


1. Aggressive: "Inclined to move or act in a hostile fashion." (AHD)

Synonyms: "attacking, offensive"

Analogous: "invading, encroaching, trespassing"

Antonyms: "resisting, repelling" (MW, 30)


2. Aggressive: "Assertive; bold; enterprising." (AHD)

Synonyms: "militant, assertive, self-assertive, pushing, pushy"

""Aggressive, militant, assertive, self-assertive, pushing, pushy are here compared as applied to persons, their dispositions, or their behavior, and as meaning conspicuously or obtrusively active or energetic. Aggressive implies a disposition to assume or maintain leadership or domination, sometimes by bullying, sometimes by indifference to others' rights, but more often by self-confident and forceful prosecution of one's ends ... Militant, like aggressive implies a fighting disposition but seldom conveys a suggestion of self-seeking. It usually implies extreme devotion to some cause, movement, or institution and energetic and often self-sacrificing prosecution of its ends ... Assertive stresses self-confidence and boldness in action or, especially, in the expression of one's opinions. It often implies a determined attempt to make oneself or one's influence felt ... Self-assertive usually adds to assertive the implication of bumptiousness or undue forwardness ... Pushing, when used without any intent to depreciate, comes very close to aggressive in the current sense of the latter; however, the word is more commonly derogatory and implies, variously, officiousness, social climbing, or offensive intrusiveness ... Pushy is very close in meaning to pushing but is more consistently derogatory in connotation ... "

Analogous: "energetic, strenuous, vigorous: masterful, domineering, imperious: fighting, combating or combative ... " (MW, 30)



The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1981, c.1969). William Morris, Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Merriam-Webster (1984). Webster's New Dictionary of Synonyms: A Dictionary of Discriminated Synonyms with Antonyms and Analogous and Contrasted Words. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

My Web - Aggressiveness   

Clusty // Clustering aggressiveness

Google Directory: aggressiveness

Careers and Jobs for the Aggressive type

Google Answers: selecting the right career for me

This list represents careers and jobs people of the Aggressive type tend to enjoy doing.

program designer
office manager
chemical engineer
sales manager
logistics consultant
franchise owner
new business developer
personnel manager
investment banker
labor relations
management trainer
credit investigator
mortgage broker
corporate team trainer
environmental engineer
biomedical engineer
business consultant
educational consultant
personal financial planner
network integration
media planner/buyer

Source: U.S. Department of Interior, Career Manager - ENTJ.

Noteworthy examples of the Aggressive personality type

Many people (and not just those of the Aggressive personality type) have aggressive traits or behave in a aggressive manner. But the traits and behaviors of the Aggressive personality type are not so inflexible and maladaptive or the cause of such significant subjective distress or functional impairment as to constitute

Sadistic personality disorder.
The noteworthy examples of the Aggressive personality type are examples of a *type*, not of a disorder. It is my opinion that the ideal type which is described above is best characterized as aggressive, and that the Aggressive personality type represents the pervasive and enduring pattern of the personalities of the people listed below better than any other type.

Famous persons on this list may serve as ego ideals, idealized images, and idols for individuals of the Aggressive type.

Noteworthy Examples of the Conscientious Personality Type

Noteworthy examples of the Conscientious personality type are: Index of noteworthy examples

Bella Abzug | Alexander the Great | Bruno Bettelheim | Al Capone | Fidel Castro | "Sgt. Sam Croft" | "General Cummings" | Jeffrey Dahmer | Bette Davis | Hans Eysenck | Betty Friedan | Indira Gandhi | George Gurdjieff | Saddam Hussein | Lyndon B. Johnson | Jim Jones | Martin Luther Jr.King | Norman Mailer | Mao Zedong | Golda Meir | Robert Moses | Napoleon Bonaparte | Pablo Picasso | Mario Puzo | Frank Sinatra | Joseph Stalin |

Power is the intentional influence over the beliefs, emotions, and behaviors of people. Potential power is the capacity to do so, but kinetic power is the act of doing so. If you made Jimmy believe, feel, or do what you had wanted him to believe, feel, or do, or prevented him from what he had wanted to believe, feel, or do, you would have then have exercised power over him in that particular episode. One person exerts power over another to the degree that he is able to exact compliance as desired. No power is exhibited without an empowering response. The techniques of eliciting empowering responses of the kind and at the same time desired from targeted individuals constitute the craft of power.

R. G. H. Siu, The Craft of Power.



  "Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir" - Friedrich Nietzsche.

I hypothesize that the personality theories of personality theorists best describe themselves and those of their own type.

Bruno Bettelheim

Bruno Bettelheim: Austrian-born American psychologist known for his work in treating and educating emotionally disturbed children.

From Madness on the couch: blaming the victim in the heyday of psychoanalysis by Edward Dolnick:

The whole idea behind the school was to take the lessons Bettelheim had learned from the concentration camps and invert them by substituting kindness for cruelty. "He turned it upside down when he started his school for disturbed children," explained Rudolf Ekstein, a psychoanalyst and one of Bettelheim's closest friends. "It was a protected, caring environment, the mirror opposite of the camps."

Physical discipline was the great taboo. "Punishment teaches a child that those who have power can force others to do their will," Bettelheim had written, "And when the child is old enough and able, he will try to use such force himself." He invoked Shakespeare: "They that have power to hurt and will do none...They rightly do inherit heaven's graces."

Still, there had been clues over the years that philosophy was one thing and practice another. In 1983, for example, an ex-student named Tom Lyons wrote a thinly disguised novel about the Orthogenic School (and dedicated it, "with gratitude and affection," to Bettelheim). In one representative scene, Lyons described an encounter between "Dr. V" (Bettelheim was known as Dr. B) and a boy named Ronny, who had hit a classmate during a game of dodgeball:

"Since ven do ve hit people in zhe eye?" The question that broke the silence was soft and menacing.

"I didn't mean to," Ronny's voice was a subdued, protesting whine. Tony winced as Dr. V's left hand caught Ronny on one side of the face, then returned with a swift backhand across the other. SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! Dr. V's left hand moved quickly, methodically back and forth across Ronny's face. Then: SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! with both hands on the back of the head as Ronny ducked forward. Dr. V grabbed a small tuft of his hair and shook. And with both hands he caught Ronny by the shirt and hauled him halfway out of his chair.

"Vhy did you hit her in zhe eye?"

Tony realized that he felt helplessly, humbly subdued before Dr. V's thundering anger.

"It was an accident," Ronny's voice was distinctly tearful.

Dr. V stepped back; he watched Ronny while the latter sniffled once or twice. Suddenly he extended his hands, palms up, in grandiose gesticulation. "I didn't mean to! It vas an accident!" he shrilled mockingly. This made him appear less frightening. In his more normal, but still menacing voice, he asked, "Does zat make it feel any better?" Ronny shook his head. "All right, zhen, remember zat ven you have accidents, I vill have zem also. Is zat clear?"

Such hints went largely unheeded while Bettelheim was alive. But soon after his death, one former student and counselor after another came forward to confirm the rumors. Today, Bettelheim supporters as well as his critics concede that the beatings took place. (pp. 214-215)

According to Richard Pollak in The creation of Dr. B: a biography of Bruno Bettelheim, a paper by Eric Schopler (who became a leading authority on autism), "Parents of Psychotic Children as Scapegoats," casts some light on the personality and behavior of Bruno Bettelheim:

Reviewing the motives and conditions that Allport said led to scapegoating, Schopler reminded his audience that one of the chief frustrations in the field of mental health was the lack of any clear understanding of what caused mysterious disorders like autism, an opacity that often made clinicians feel guilty about their inability to help their patients. This left the therapists prone to projecting their guilt onto the child himself; but this would not do, since he was, after all, the patient, so his mother and father became the convenient substitutes for the therapists' aggression. Such parents were almost always confused and desperate, which allowed the clinician to maintain his role as powerful authority and to keep his sense of self-enhancement intact, though his progress with their child was uneven at best and sometimes nonexistent. For the psychoanalytically oriented therapist, there was also the comfort of conformity, of knowing that in emphasizing parental pathology he was striding safely along a popular therapeutic trail. Bruno Bettelheim's personality and behavior can be seen to some degree in all these aspects of scapegoating, and in particular in what Allport called tabloid thinking: the inclination to give complex subjects easy explanations, to oversimplify by blaming the snafu at the motor pool on the brass hats, the high cost of the social safety net on welfare queens, the greed in Wall Street on money-grubbing Jews, autism on mothers. (pg. 283)

Dolnick, Edward. Madness on the couch: blaming the victim in the heyday of psychoanalysis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Pollak, Richard. The creation of Dr. B: a biography of Bruno Bettelheim. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Michael Stone

Norman Mailer

  • Mailer's theory of man (ergo of himself, and, in my theory, the Aggressive type) is that man is a combination of the visionary and the beast.

    The Naked and the Dead: The Beast and the Seer in Man - Robert Merrill

    As noted previously, Mailer is often criticized for refusing to create ideologically satisfying characters. The assumption here is that Mailer wrote his book to "defend liberalism," to warn against the antiliberal forces within the American system. But Mailer has made it clear that he "intended" something quite different--something that might even require the treatment of character we find in The Naked and the Dead. Mailer says that he conceived the book as "a parable about the movement of man through history"; he defines its basic theme as "the conflict between the beast and the seer in man" (Current Biography). It would seem that for Mailer the movement of man through history is an ongoing struggle between the bestial and the visionary forces in man himself. This idea is not terribly original, of course, but the power of The Naked and the Dead depends not on the originality of its ideas but on how well they are embodied in the novel's characters and events.
  • Salon Books | Punch drunk

    An old enemy looks over Norman Mailer's collected essays and finds, to her startled sorrow, a man who couldn't stop fighting.

    To read this book through from beginning to end is to be made sharply aware of how compelled Norman Mailer has been by an aggression that speaks directly to the feeling of having been left out, dismissed and discounted: a condition common to many writers who successfully turn early grievance to writerly effect, and a thing Mailer himself did brilliantly and repeatedly in his prime.

    What is curious is how little affect his confessionalism achieves. "Himself" is nothing he confesses to. Himself is the driving quality of the prose. It's the rhetoric that is the compulsive confessor, the finger pointer come alive in the jabbing, prodding, taunting feel -- not the substance, the feel -- of the sentences. The way those sentences are accumulating, that is Mailer's self on the page, and the aggression in them never lets up. It contains all his intelligence, all his bravado, all his shrewdness and insight. Literally: contains it. It -- the aggression -- is never changed by the subject, never influenced, never deflected. It does the changing.

  • Adele Mailer - The Last Party - American Legends Bookstore.

    On the surface, he was the man who had everything: famous in his twenties as the author of The Naked and the Dead, co-founder of The Village Voice, Norman Mailer appeared to be a Prince of the City-- someone whose promise was boundless. But, according to Adele Mailer, who has written a riveting memoir of their stormy marriage (The Last Party, Barricade Books/ hardcover, 377 pages), beneath the cool image, Norman Mailer was insecure, sadistic, twisted, a spoiled mama's boy who was troubled by his background and wanted to have been born a rich WASP.
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer -

    Yet it is in struggles, ideological and personal, between the general and his aide that the novel's central theme is given its most explicit expression. War, Mailer appears to think, is made by evil, sadistic men, who might happen to be sergeants like Croft or generals like Cummings. Men like these provide the motor power that drives the war-making machine; the others—the fools, the sentimentalists, the good, the honest, and the brave—are lashed ahead by these demoniac taskmasters.
  • Norman Mailer on what it means to be macho - Guardian Unlimited Books.

    War is the subject that made Mailer; in 1945, aged 21, he was drafted to fight in the Philippines, and the novel he wrote on his return, The Naked and the Dead, catapulted him to disorienting celebrity. It is a pounding, unflinching study of men in war; of strength and sadism and masculine rivalry amid the colossal waste of conflict. It was also, according to the Sunday Times, a book that "no decent man could leave... lying about the house, or know without shame that his womenfolk were reading it." It was energetically obscene - even though, at the publisher's behest, it was full of "fugs" and "fugging" - and that was what made its heroes heroic, Mailer argued. "What none of the editorial writers ever mentioned," he later wrote, "is that the noble common man is as obscene as an old goat, and his obscenity was what saved him. The sanity... was in his humour; his humour was in his obscenity."
  • The Beleaguered Individual III: A study of twentieth-century American war novels.

Mario Puzo



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