Hot Headed Characters
(Some hyphens deliberately not used in this article.)
Hot headed characters are a problem, to be sure. But they’re slightly less problematic than the cold hearted among us. And I’ll have more to say about those folks in just a bit.
What do I mean by “hot headed”? Actually, I borrowed the term from a famous researcher. He used it to describe the archetypal rebels among us. These are the folks we’ve often called “antisocial.”
Now, to be clear, antisocial does not mean socially aloof. Sadly, a lot of folks these days use the term this way, however. Rather, the term applies those who pit themselves against society. These hot headed fighters among us hate obeying orders. They want to be in control and set all the rules. So, they resist power and authority exercised over them.
I describe the hot headed fighters among us in detail in Character Disturbance. And I explain the roots of their dysfunctional attitudes. Granted, a few might have developed good reason to abhor subordination. But most simply harbor an innate detest. Accordingly, they navigated critical phases of their character development fighting restrictions and limits the whole way. They resisted the entire socialization process.
Hot Headed Characters in Relationships
Hot headed characters in relationships are notoriously problematic. They’re easily irritated and agitated. And their tempers are legend. Moreover, they can’t seem to regain control once they lose it. They might promise to behave better the next time. But that time never comes. They become too accustomed to fighting and getting their way. So, they never learn how or when to back off or back down.
When these characters get their way, there’s peace for a while. But there’s big trouble when they feel denied. And there’s bigger trouble still when you try to be heard.
Cold Hearted Characters
The hot headed among us are a big enough problem. But the cold hearted are even more so. They lack empathy capacity. So, they callously, and remorselessly use and abuse others. Moreover, they feel entitled to do so. They’re a particular brand of malignant narcissist. They consider themselves superior. And they see that as justification to exploit.
Cold hearted characters have no use for people of conscience. They regard qualms and scruples as signs of weakness. And they also regard them as signs of inferiority. They know people of conscience will stop at something. The heartless and ruthless among us, however, stop at nothing. We’ve alternately called these folks psychopathic or sociopathic. (See also: Psychopathy and Sociopathy.)
Both cold hearted and hot headed characters have always been with us. And if it weren’t for them, we probably wouldn’t have made it through some difficult evolutionary times. But in a civilized world, these folks are usually big trouble. And we gravely err when we afford them the reins of power. That’s particularly true when it comes to the cold hearted. They’re the type who can inflict great terror without compunction.
I have more to say on this topic on the latest Character Matters podcast. And I’ll be talking more about it in future episodes.