“There appears to be a conscience in mankind which severely punishes the man who does not, somehow and at some time, at whatever cost to his pride, cease to defend and assert himself, and instead confess himself fallible and human. Until he can do this, an impenetrable wall shuts him out from the living experience of feeling himself a man among men.” ~ C.G. Jung
Of all of the character structures, the Rigid begins forming the latest—during the puberty/genital phase of childhood at about 4 to 6 years old.
THE RIGID’S MAIN ISSUE
The Rigid’s main issue is inauthenticity—a rejection of the authentic self. The structure is triggered by the rejection of a parent during the phase of childhood when the heart chakra is developing. This trauma can occur through a sexual rejection by the parent of the opposite sex or by an abrupt shift in either parent’s attitude toward the child. Once loving and supportive, a parent suddenly demands that the child puts his or her needs and feelings aside and acts more “grown up.” Instead of being allowed to be a dependent child, the child is required to “perform.”
Traumas like these can cause children to feel they are not good enough simply as they are. An implicit message is sent that, because these children have feelings and needs, they are not okay. To compensate, these children try to control their feelings and make them go away. They hold everything back in order to not look foolish. They try to be “perfect.” In doing so, they lose touch with their core, their authentic self.
Vulnerability is the primary fear for this character type. Therefore, instead of asking for what they want—which could set them up for more rejection— they manipulate to get their way. They don’t dare risk anything that might harm their pride. To rise above their need for love, Rigids often focus on outer-world achievement, yet no amount of accomplishment will suffice. Even if they win others’ love, they are unable to fully take it in. This keeps them striving for still more and greater achievement, but without any real satisfaction.
At some point, Rigids realize something is missing—their heart. Everything they do lacks this important connection. Like success, they choose sex over love but this proves to be unsatisfying too. Though they would like to surrender to feelings, they are terrified of how that might hurt. They tell themselves: “Either choice is wrong.”
HOW THE RIGID CHARACTER RESPONDS TO LIFE
Believing that experiencing and revealing their feelings will bring rejection, those with a Rigid character withdraw into a stance of holding back. Their energy is held primarily in the extremities and away from their core. They put on an appearance of capability and perfection while denying their inner reality. They lose all contact with their core essence.
The Rigid’s energy is especially strong in the will centers along the back, while the feeling centers in the front tend to be closed—resulting in immense self-control and an avoidance of meaningful contact with others. A tightening in the chest restricts emotional energy from flowing in or out and protects a closed heart.
This defense only backfires in creating the love, approval and acceptance they desire. Holding back their feelings generates more pride, making it harder for them to surrender and let others in.
THE CHAKRAS OF THE RIGID STRUCTURE
An integral part of the Rigid’s defense is closing the fourth chakra, and possibly the second. The Rigid’s life source is instead pushed into the ego/activity center of the third chakra. Only the rear will centers, sexual chakras, and mental chakras tend to be open—keeping the Rigid living primarily by the mind and will. The front become more transformational work.
THE PHYSICAL BODY OF THE RIGID STRUCTURE
As the name implies, the posture of the Rigid character tends to be stiff and erect with pride. The backbone is straight and the head held high. A tight chest puffs with confidence. Muscles are toned, like a suit of armor. The energy of Rigids is high, and they radiate vitality. The pelvis, however, is cold and tipped back. The eyes tend to be present, sparkling and bright.
THE LIFE LESSONS AND LIFE PURPOSE OF THE RIGID CHARACTER
With a securely walled-off heart, the life challenge for the Rigid character is to let go of the need for perfection and self-control, and instead to feel more. They need to allow all of their feelings to flow, and then share them with others. This helps them bring feeling and compassion into all of their activities —including sexuality.
THE PATH TO HEALING FOR THE RIGID CHARACTER
Healing for the Rigid character requires feeling feelings, which increases their flow. The vulnerable inner child must also be met and accepted as enough, exactly as he or she is. This work can be extremely scary for Rigids character; therefore, to pursue healing, Rigids must keep clearly in view the heavy price they pay for maintaining their defense.