I was watching the latest Men Tell All episode of the Bachelorette with my daughter to explain to her what gaslighting is and to explore ways to spot manipulation in relationships. And it occurred to me that Luke Parker's actions on this season of the show perfectly illustrate the defense mechanisms of a Type 8, The Challenger.
For those of you who aren't watching the Bachelorette, here is a taste of the drama that came up. Here's a link to a clip from the scene where Hannah broke up with him. And here's a clip from when he returned to the rose ceremony after he had been sent home to beg Hannah to give him another chance.
There was lots of unhealthy behavior from Luke to observe from this season, including:
This behavior illustrates some of the unhealthier tactics that type 8 can resort to when they are on automatic, with a low level of consciousness or self-awareness. But what I want to explore a little bit more now is the defense mechanism of Type 8 and how it works with the personality structure.
The thought pattern for the 8 is Objectification, which means that the ego will objectify others so they don't seem real or special. Others are seen as objects that get in the way, a threat to control; so they are made an enemy. Doing so allows the 8 to express their anger and rage. Evidence of this from Luke this season includes: body checking Luke S. in a game, calling the other men contestants so they seem less human, using over/against energy to remove obstacles via conflict, and the blame, anger, and intimidation he used when he perceived a threat to his control.
You can see how this thought pattern sets up the the defense mechanism of Denial. As I learned from Ginger Lapid-Bogda, type 8 individuals unconsciously negate something that makes them feel anxious by disavowing its very existence - like thoughts, feelings, wishes, sensations, needs, and other external factors that are uncomfortable or unacceptable to them. So a type 8 will unconsciously rewrite history as it happens because they can't handle it. They don't realize they are doing it until someone reflects it back to them, and even then it is hard to believe and accept. Only through self-awareness practices can you begin to shift this dynamic.
You can see that he is experiencing denial in the breakup clips above, when he told Hannah that "I feel like you owe me..." despite the fact that she'd given him plenty of time to explain himself and demonstrate that he was a man of integrity. In the interview in the Men Tell All episode, he repeatedly paused and said something like "Let me say this so you understand..." or "I want to think about how to say this so you I can be clear." And in the latest interview, he said he had no regrets about the season and wouldn't do anything differently.
Now, I can't be sure that Luke is a type 8, as he hasn't shared his type and it is hard to tell what is motivating people's behavior. But I do think the drama gives you a taste of how this defense mechanism works.
Want to see more? I'm currently developing an online course to explore the different types in the context of love and relationships. If you'd like to get a heads up when it is ready, sign up for updates. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you want to see more of. I'd love to hear from you.