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

Vigilant Personality Type

The interests of the Vigilant Personality Type include (Oldham, pg. 157):

  • letting nothing escape your notice
  • being aware of your environment
  • being a survivor
  • scanning the people and situations around you
  • being aware of mixed messages, hidden motivations, evasions and subtle distortions of the truth
  • assuming the roles of social critic, watchdog, ombudsman, and crusader

Main Interests of the Vigilant Personality Type

  1. not being exploited, harmed, or deceived by others

  2. having the loyalty of others

  3. not having information confided to others used against you

  4. not being subjected to demeaning or threatening remarks or events

  5. not receiving insults, injuries, or attacks to your character or reputation

  6. having the faithfulness and loyalty of your spouse, or partner

Characteristic Traits and Behaviors

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

  1. Autonomy. Vigilant-style individuals possess a resilient independence. They keep their own counsel, they require no outside reassurance or advice, they make decisions easily, and they can take care of themselves.

  2. Caution. They are careful in their dealings with others, preferring to size up a person before entering into a relationship.

  3. Perceptiveness. They are good listeners, with an ear for subtlety, tone, and multiple levels of communication.

  4. Self-defense. Individuals with Vigilant style are feisty and do not hesitate to stand up for themselves, especially when they are under attack.

  5. Alertness to criticism. They take criticism very seriously, without becoming intimidated.

  6. Fidelity. They place a high premium on fidelity and loyalty. They work hard to earn it, and they never take it for granted.

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 Paranoid 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. Autonomy, independence, self-sufficiency, purposefulness, a sense of themselves, an inner sense of rightness.
  2. Cautiousness, carefulness, prudence, self-restraint, self-control
  3. Attentiveness, anticipation, perceptiveness, awareness, vigilance, concentration, understanding.
  4. Self-defence, bravery, courage, resilience.
  5. Alertness, sensitivity, seriousness, responsibility.
  6. Fidelity, loyalty, protectiveness, sympathy, idealism, zealousness, enthusiasm.

Signature Strengths*

"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"

"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"

"Social intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick"

"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"

"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"

"Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about" (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.


Vigilant: "On the alert; watchful" (AHD)

Synonyms: "alert, wide-awake, watchful" (MW, 860)

"watchful, vigilant, wide-awake, alert are comparable when they mean on the lookout especially for danger or for opportunities. Watchful is the general word ... Vigilant implies keen, courageous, often wary, watchfulness ... Wide-awake stresses keen awareness, more often of opportunities and relevant developments than of dangers ... Alert stresses readiness or promptness in apprehending and meeting a danger, an opportunity, or an emergency ..." (869)

Analogous: "anxious, agog, keen, avid, eager: circumspect, wary, chary, cautious: quick, ready, prompt: sharp, keen, acute" (860)

Antonyms: unvigilant, unalert, unwatchful, inattentive

Contrasted: "negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss: forgetful, unmindful, oblivious" (MW, 860)

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.

Careers and Jobs for the Vigilant type

Google Answers: selecting the right career for me

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

conference planner
speech pathologist
HR development trainer
career counselor
housing director
character actor
marketing consultant
human resource manager
merchandise planner
advertising account manager
speech pathologist
massage therapist
editor/art director

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

Noteworthy examples of the Vigilant personality type

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

Paranoid Personality Disorder

The noteworthy examples of the Vigilant 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 vigilant, and that the Vigilant 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 Vigilant type.

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

Alfred Adler | Mahmoud Ahmadinejad | Ian Anderson | Lew Archer | Julian Assange | Kevin Bacon | Saul Bellow | Captain John Black | Harold Bloom | Simone de Beauvour | Ray Bradbury | Marlon Brando | Dan Brown | Edgar Rice Burroughs | James Carville | Willa Cather | Dick Cheney | Kate Chopin | Calvin Coolidge | Bob Costas | Howard Dean | James Dean | Don DeLillo | Jacques Derrida | Philip K. Dick | Bob Dole | Fyodor Dostoyevsky | Matt Drudge | Wayne Dyer | Melissa Etheridge | Greta Garbo | Rudolph Giuliani | Billy Graham | Ulysses S. Grant | John Grisham | Andrew S. Grove | Alexander Hamilton | Joseph Heller | Moses Herzog | L. Ron Hubbard | Henry James | William James | Janis Joplin | Robert F. Kennedy | Ken Kesey | Jessica Lange | Vladimir Ilich Lenin | G. Gordon Liddy | Jack London | Ross Macdonald | David Mamet | John McCain | Joseph McCarthy | Randle McMurphy | Reba McEntire | Steve McQueen | Herman Melville | Thomas Merton | Walter F. Mondale | Guy Montag | Demi Moore | Henry A. Murray | Benito Mussolini | Salman Rushdie | Winona Ryder | Artur Sammler |

  "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.

Alfred Adler

If ever theory was personal confession, Adler's theory of the 'inferiority complex' was. -- Rudolph Binion, Frau Lou, pg. 335.

Stephen A. Diamond (pp. 142-143) neatly represents the core of Adler's theory:

Austrian physician Alfred Adler (1870-1937) proposed, in 1908--almost two decades prior to Freud's paying any attention to it--that there exists a primary, powerful, and distinct aggressive drive which cannot be accounted for by mere sexual frustration: "From early childhood," wrote Adler,

we can say from the first day (first cry), we find a stand of the child toward the environment which cannot be called anything but hostile. If one looks for the cause of this position, one finds it determined by the difficulty of affording satisfaction for the organ [i.e., frustration]. This circumstance as well as the further relationships of the hostile, belligerent position of the individual toward the environment indicate a drive toward fighting for satisfaction which I call "aggression drive." *(p. 34)

Adler further felt that "inferiority feelings"--a phrase he first coined--in the form of "increased dependency and the intensified feeling of our own littleness and weakness, lead to inhibition of aggression and thereby to the phenomenon of anxiety." What he called "masculine protest" consisted of a compensatory striving for superiority (to counteract feelings of inferiority), aggression, ambition, avarice, and envy, coupled with constant "defiance, vengeance, and resentment." For Adler, "fighting, wrestling, beating, biting, and cruelties show the aggression drive in its pure form" *(p. 35). The "refinement" (or what Freud called "sublimation" of the aggressive instinct, according to Adler, resulted in such diverse--and often destructive --human activities as competitive sports, strivings for interpersonal power and social dominance, racial, religious, and international hostilities, and war. Moreover, he maintained that the myriad "manifestations of the aggression drive are found again in the neuroses and psychoses," describing how

we find pure expressions of the aggression drive in temper tantrums and attacks of hysteria, epilepsy, and paranoia. Phases of the turning round of the drive upon the self are hypochondria, neurasthenic and hysterical pain, the entire syndrome of complaints in neurasthenia, hysteria, accident neurosis, ideas of reference and persecution, self-mutilation, and suicide....

...The various forms of anxiety come about because the aggression drive, which is at the basis of anxiety, can take hold of various systems. It may enervate motor systems (tremor, shaking, cramps, catatonic phenomena, functional paralysis as inhibition of aggression). It may also excite the vasomotor system (heart palpitations, paleness, blushing) or other tracts, so that we may find perspiration, incontinency and vomiting, or prevention of secretion as an inhibition phenomenon. *(pp. 36-37)

Adler's legendarily keen powers of observation foreshadowed the future field of psychosomatic medicine.

*Ansbacher, Heinz, and Rowena Ansbacher, eds. The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A Systematic Presentation in Selections from His Writings. New York: Harper and Row, 1956.

Diamond, Stephen A. Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity. Albany: State University of New York, 1996.

  • Alfred Adler - Dr. C. George Boeree.

    Alfred Adler postulates a single "drive" or motivating force behind all our behavior and experience. By the time his theory had gelled into its most mature form, he called that motivating force the striving for perfection. It is the desire we all have to fulfill our potentials, to come closer and closer to our ideal. It is, as many of you will already see, very similar to the more popular idea of self-actualization.
  • Adler - outline of Adler's theory of personality.
  • Alfred Adler Institute of San Francisco [via Google]
  • An Historical Look at Alfred Adler

    Vaihinger (1911), in his writings on fictionalism, heavily informed Adler and his development of the idea of fictional goals (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956), fictions that individuals come to believe are what is required to overcome a sense of inferiority.  Vaihinger (1911) saw fictions as ideas, both conscious and unconscious, which are not grounded in reality but allow us to better deal with reality.  Ansbacher and Ansbacher (1956) offer an example of the fiction "All men are created equal," which has no grounding in reality but encourages individuals in their own sense of self-agency.  The pragmatic approach (again, fictionalism) of Vaihinger has also been linked to William James' concept of pragmatism and John Dewey's instrumentalism (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956).

Ken Kesey

  • Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Randall P. McMurphy:
    A con man who becomes a modern-day rebel and hero cast in the mode of the cowboy hero of the American Western. Charming and manipulating, he is a forceful character living a generation too late. He challenges authority. Using a strong sense of humor and comic exaggeration, he instigates the changes at the sanitarium and teaches the inmates to be sane.

Harold Bloom

  • On re-reading Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence

    Bloom's title concerns the anxiety felt by poets when they are influenced by their precursors. This anxiety causes misprision. What is most strange is that Bloom cannot even give examples that support this thesis, although one would think that you could always quote scripture to prove any point. Again and again, Bloom is forced to admit that Goethe, Milton, Shakespeare, Nietzsche did not agree with him, and (even in his own opinion) do not seem to have been anxious at all. This at the same time that he is stressing that his is a theory of what strong poets do. All that Bloom really proves is that he feels a terrible anxiety of influence, and that perhaps where several lesser poets -- such as Wilde -- failed was often in succumbing to this anxiety. But I do not think he proves even this. What those like Wilde felt was not an anxiety of influence; it was simply disappointment. Disappointment caused by the recognition that they could never write as well, in any style, as those they admired. It was a recognition of inferiority, which may or may not cause anxiety. Anxiety is a complex internalized emotion. And it is possible, I believe, for a healthy person to feel not anxiety, but only disappointment. Disappointment is a fairly straightforward thing. But as such, of course, it is not as interesting to the armchair psychologist and severe critic.
  • Harold Bloom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American literary critic, best known as an apologist for establishing and maintaining a canon of Western literature...

Jimmy Wales

  • Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales: Personal History [12.04.07]

    Wales is a self-avowed "Objectivist to the core", to the extent of having named his daughter Kira after the heroine in Ayn Rand's We the Living,[24] although he says, "I think I do a better job � than a lot of people who self-identify as Objectivists � of not pushing my point of view on other people."[51] When asked by Brian Lamb in his appearance on C-SPAN's Q&A about Rand, Wales cited "the virtue of independence" as important to him personally. When asked if he could trace "the Ayn Rand connection" to having a political philosophy at the time of the interview, Wales reluctantly labeled himself a libertarian, qualifying his remark by referring to the Libertarian Party as "lunatics" and citing "freedom, liberty, basically individual rights, that idea of dealing with other people in a matter that is not initiating force against them" as his guiding principles.[9] From 1992 to 1996, he ran the electronic mailing list "Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy."[52] An interview with Wales served as the cover feature of the June 2007 issue of the libertarian magazine Reason.

William James

Herman Melville

  • Melville, Shame, and the evil Eye: A Psychoanalytic Reading by Joseph Adamson [ via The Narcissism List]

    "Doubtless, the affect that one is most likely to think of in relation to his work is anger. More specifically, it is what Kohut calls narcissistic rage, the anger that results from narcissistic injury an emotional reaction that any student of shame would explain as a response to searing shame or humiliation (Adamson, 2)."

    "... Melville's writings are attuned to the various modes of shame (such as feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, and the reactions to shame (narcissism, excessive idealization, destructive feelings of rage, resentment, and envy, turning the tables, scorn, contempt, and defiance (16)."

    "As has been widely argued Ahab's absolute wish for autonomy stands as a devastating parody of self-reliance inasmuch as it is precisely this sense of being inevitably constrained and limited by obligation, of finding oneself at one time or another, in a reduced position of gratitude, of having to say thank you for a kindness, of being in a state of socially regulated shame -- against which the entirely self-obsessed Ahab despairingly protests when he curses "that moral indebtedness which will not do away with ledgers" (91)."

    "The pride that drives Ahab is, rather, one of the most obdurate narcissistic defenses against shame affect. Pride so easily becomes a defense because, as Nathanson observes, "anything that can give us a moment of pride is capable of acting as an antidote for what amounts to a chronic sense of shame."
    Tragedy may occur when the self's compulsive need to experience pride and expand its power conflicts with pity in the form of "caring and identification with the other as suffering," and there results a dangerous disregard for "the needs to belong, to love, to care and to be cared for; and the needs to be treated with justice or fairness and hence to treat others fairly too (101)."

    "From the onset of his quest to hunt down and annihilate the white whale, Ahab is tempted, from time to time to repent, but he blots out feelings of guilt in favor of the more dominant concerns bearing on the self's perceived power or weakness. One of the most dramatic instances of this is in chapter 128 ("The Pequod meets the Rachel") in which Captain Gardiner is unable, in spite of the most desperate and humiliating appeals, to persuade Ahab to put aside his vendetta, if only for a short time, in order to assist him in his search for a son abandoned at sea.

    Adamson, Joseph, (1997). Melville, shame and the evil eye: a psychoanalytic reading.New York: State University of New York.

  • Melville's Moby Dick - the megalomanic character of Captain Ahab - Jan den Breejen.

    So clearly Ahab, Hitler and Satan are paranoid personality archetypes. But what about God/Jahweh, isn't there a paranoid mind at work when the holy scriptures tell us that those who follow other belief systems will burn in hell forever for disobeying the Almighty?
  • The Life and Works of Herman Melville [via Robot Wisdom]
  • buying info: Ishmael Alone Survived

    "The Paradigm of the Survivor"

    In focusing on Ishmael rather than Melville, my method is analogous to, but not identical with, Freudian criticism, which often applies to literary characters theory derived from clinical findings about real people. I first will describe the psychological paradigm of "the survivor" based on expert findings. Then I will explore how the form of Moby-Dick seems to have been devised by the narrator as if to permit him to heal himself psychologically through the writing of the story. I hope this method of analysis will assist the reader in making sense of many of the curious, even troubling, formal features of the book--such as Ishmael's excursions in cetology, his prophetic or biblical language, his occasionally jocular tone, or the heavy concentration of funeral imagery at the end of the book. My basic assumption is that Moby-Dick demonstrates a subtle psychological process: because Ishmael survived a catastrophe, he told his story in the way he did so as to accomplish the objectives of a survivor. Telling his story permitted him to heal his shattered self.

Henry James

  • The Henry James scholar's Guide to Web Sites * R. Hathaway *
  • Like Hypatia before the Mob: Desire, Resentment, and Sacrifice in James' The Bostonians

    Paglia notes that Basil stands out among James' male protagonists in being "a virile hero" (611). What Paglia calls Basil's virility (and it certainly is that) needs to be linked, however, to what we have identified as his ethical character. Virtually everyone else in the novel, all of those quasi-somnolent people at Miss Birdseye's seance, require a victim (Paglia calls it vampirism), whereas Basil himself, aided at last by Verena (just as she is aided by him), acts to rescue--to ransom--the designated victim from her sacrificers. The sacrificial impulse in this milieu stems from the milieu's intensely agonistic character, a character that the morbid "want of conviviality" noticed by Basil clearly if indirectly reveals. Olive and Miss Farrinder and those around them all dote obsessively on what each takes to be his or her own intolerable peripherality; yet none wants to become central, precisely, either, since that would entail a dangerous conspicuity. Each wants, rather, to acquire quasi-central importance by controlling the center through a surrogate, no matter what the cost to the surrogate.
  • Google Search: henry.james paranoid OR paranoia

George Orwell

  • George Orwell
  • George Orwell: The Art of Donald McGill

    The Don Quixote-Sancho Panza combination, which of course is simply the ancient dualism of body and soul in fiction form, recurs more frequently in the literature of the last four hundred years than can be explained by mere imitation. It comes up again and again, in endless variations, Bouvard and P�cuchet, Jeeves and Wooster, Bloom and Dedalus, Holmes and Watson (the Holmes-Watson variant is an exceptionally subtle one, because the usual physical characteristics of two partners have been transposed). Evidently it corresponds to something enduring in our civilization, not in the sense that either character is to be found in a �pure� state in real life, but in the sense that the two principles, noble folly and base wisdom, exist side by side in nearly every human being. If you look into your own mind, which are you, Don Quixote or Sancho Panza? Almost certainly you are both. There is one part of you that wishes to be a hero or a saint, but another part of you is a little fat man who sees very clearly the advantages of staying alive with a whole skin. He is your unofficial self, the voice of the belly protesting against the soul. His tastes lie towards safety, soft beds, no work, pots of beer and women with �voluptuous� figures. He it is who punctures your fine attitudes and urges you to look after Number One, to be unfaithful to your wife, to bilk your debts, and so on and so forth. Whether you allow yourself to be influenced by him is a different question. But it is simply a lie to say that he is not part of you, just as it is a lie to say that Don Quixote is not part of you either, though most of what is said and written consists of one lie or the other, usually the first.

Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Szasz

  • #TL05T: Thomas Szasz and Slavespeak

    Review of Thomas Szasz: Primary Values and Major Contentions
    Thomas Szasz is a champion of individual autonomy and personal responsibility. This is his primary value.

Oscar Ichazo

  • Buenos Aires Mystery School

    The Arica work also changes one's perception of reality: "[T]he main thing that a student feels is the reversing of the attitude about his world. What we call the waking state becomes the dream state and what we call the dream state becomes the waking state. A student becomes aware of different spaces and different realities which are more real than this reality. In making this transition, a student really needs a guide who has been there and is an expert." (1981 interview.) [But not a "guru."]
  • The Enneagram Institute Discussion Board - oscar ichazo and arica

    Marie: "Maybe you'd care to speculate a bit? I've often wondered what enneatype Ichazo is. Carlos argued for Six and I've come to agree. Unhealthy type Six sounds about right because of the reactivity, authoritarianism and paranoia. Does that sound reasonable to you? He did have some truly original insights way back when, but he strikes me as an instance of what Gurdjieff called "negative crystallization.""



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