I recently had a request to post information about the Antiheroes. The timing was perfect because I was at that moment revising and cutting a the long article where I inctroduce that type for inclusion in my manuscript. The long article is really an in-depth essay reviewing the work of Stanley Farrell and Michael Rosenberg in their book Types of Men at Midlife. The essay introduces their work and then leads to my reasons for adapting it with some slightly different conclusions. You can purchase the entire essay here Store on the main site. But the revision removes extra details that may not interest you or they may get in the way–it may not be important to you why I came to my conclusions!
This will be a three-part series. With an introduction to both Stresss-Coping Styles followed by a more in-depth overview of each.
The Stress Coping Styles
Antihero: controls anger by withdrawing, imploding and self-punishment.
Accommodater: controls anger through rigid adherence to structure and logic.
The Antihero values individuality and thus is a self-explorer; this creates in him a more diffuse identity—especially in times of transition. The Accommodater seeks structure and thus concentrates toward a specific and often regimented identity, following societal expectations and valuing rules and order. Self-exploration involves interiority and thus the Antihero has a greater tendency to turn inward when coping with stress, conversely, the Accommodater who conforms to societal expectations, turns outward toward anger when dealing with stress. Either of these coping styles may be anywhere on the functionality spectrum.
The Accommodater follows the status quo, building a facade of success and stability, whereas the Antihero rebels against such falsehood, refusing to sell out. Though reacting to stress in opposite ways, in dysfunction both are Thoreau’s quietly desperate men. Accommodaters dismiss, ignore, hide and avoid, pretending—and with practice believing—that all is well; they react to stress covertly. They are able to compartmentalize their lives into work and home, problems in one not showing in the other. The Antihero is less skilled at compartmentalization and may feel that doing so would be like severing a part of his body and leaving it at one place or the other; he is in touch with his emotions—sometimes too much—and somatically attentive to the degree that in the extreme he may be a hypochondriac; his reaction to stress is overt. In contrast the Accommodater avoids feelings and may be detached from both his emotions and physical body—in the extreme he may seem to be a living heart donor.
Either type may attempt to prevent their breakdown by medicating with addictive substances or behaviors as their last resort to maintain control or hide their loss of control—ironically this only makes the situation worse.
A person’s stress coping type may be determined by inner or natural tendencies rather than through learned behaviors. When experiencing a threat to control, consider how an individual tries to maintain a grasp on control—what is a specific individual’s method for dealing with stress? Consider this outside of the context of MLC and look at long-term patterns. Does a person turn inward in a depressive implosion, stifle and pretend nothing bothers, or explode outward in anger? Even if a person usually dealt openly by confronting stress head-on and maintained control, review the occasions where they lost it. In MLC the ability
to suppress, either through stifling or withdrawing, becomes compromised and eventually results in explosions indicative of the Separation phase.