Individuals who use this type of personality strategy to avoid anxiety are usually modest, soft-spoken, critical of themselves, submissive, quick to embarassment and view themselves as lesser or inferior or always having some fault or flaw. This strategy avoids presenting oneself in a prideful or powerful manner and trains others to view them as a weak, inferior individual which may result in a variety of reactions from others such as derogation, displays of superiority or helpful affiliative attempts. These individuals generally use self-depreciation as a means of avoiding anxiety and view this position/strategy as the safest and most practical.

With this personality type we can illustrate how this theory utilizes a multi-level diagram of personality consisting of the conscious self (how you describe/think of yourself) the projected self (how others, objectively describe you/your behavior) the subconscious self (symbolic themes underlying certain behaviors/thoughts some may or may not be aware of) the future or ideal self (“deeper” than the subconscious self, this incorporates themes/dreams of who/what one wants to become relative to who/what they are and how they percieve who/what they are) and lastly the current self (holistic way of how the prior factors interact with one another relative to past self/memories).

This personality type is riddled with “self-guilt”, and guilt does not exist without some theme, introjection or underlying acceptance of punitive aspects of personality/behavior. Therefore, some of these individuals actually have sadistic feelings (towards others or self) at a “deeper” level of personality and, perhaps because they are unable to manifest these feelings on the surface level instead they “morph” on the way up to the surface into the masochistic self-depreciating form.

Another illustration of this personality type “matched” with its “inverse” is the reciprocal relationship seen in the masochistic marriage. The depressed, martyred and abused wife, hopelessly tied to the brutal husband or the masochistic overltly shy, weak and self-effacing man running around on a “doggie leash” in service of the exploitative, narcisstic wife. These type of relationships are common because self-effacing, masochistic individuals are most comfortable (feel the least amount of anxiety) when freely and openly manifesting their masochistic submissive reflexes. Therefore, they gravitate towards individuals who “open the door” allowing them to easily express these reflexes. These individuals are often aggressive, narcisstic, exploitative and dominant. This example shows the reciprocal nature of the personality types and how masochism and guilt provoke disdain, superiority and exploitation and vice-versa.