Tag Archive: oral character structure

The Oral Character Structure

Oral Character Structure

In the first part of the 20th century, Austrian Psychoanalist Wilhelm Reich developed a theory explaining how we respond both physically and emotionally to the challenges we meet in life, especially in early life.   For the past few weeks, I’ve introduced you, in broad terms, to Character Structures in general, and to the Masochist, or Endurer.  This week I’ll introduce you to the Oral body and character type.

The Oral  structure is characterized as rounded: rounded shoulders, rounded breasts and hips. Often, an oral is generous in their proportions, but not always.  In the diagram above, you can see that the Oral body type very often holds themselves so that their chest is concave.

The main issue with the Oral is early abandonment. It might have been because they were born prematurely, or that their mother was ill, or any number of reasons; the end result is that the child felt abandoned and developed a neediness from that point onward for the connection they missed as a young infant.

Neediness isn’t something that’s encouraged in our society, so the Oral will often over-compensate for this need, they becone super independent, and the caregivers of others – giving to others what they crave from others.

At their best, the Oral person is the nurturer –  Earth Mother or Earth Father. Open-hearted and truly generous to others.  They tend to see things differently from the rest of us – a refreshing change and valuable addition to any group or team.

The primary challenge of the Oral is to learn to nurture themselves – to learn true self-dependence. When they are trudy self-dependent, any service they do for others is solely from their heart and not invested in developing dependencies form others.

Next week, I’ll introduce the Schizoid character Type.  If you find this series interesting, and want to know more, and I along with my friend and colleague Jane Mactinger will be holding a workshop on Character Structures in the near future.  Stay tuned for a date and time.


Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .