Sanguine type (N)

From:  "NPA Theory of Personality"
©  2008 A.M. Benis

Sanguine non-perfectionistic non-aggressive type

     N types are typically extroverted, sanguine complexioned, non-perfectionistic, and prone to narcissistic posturing and adornment. Low temperament individuals can be soft-spoken, gallant or angelic. High temperament individuals can be charismatic, or intrusive, overbearing and brash. The N type is quite common in politics, aristocratic families and in all lists of famous people, especially in the arts.

Phenotype:  N

Genetics: based on the N trait being recessive

Animal Model: bonobo

Inheritance pattern: An N type must have at least one parent who is either an N or an NP type. Parents who are both N types can have only N or NA children.

Infertility: Increased probability of miscarriages and stillbirths when mated with either an A or PA type.

Rage: Narcissistic rage (florid rage resembling a childish tantrum).

Also known as: Sanguine, or narcissistic type. The non-aggressive non-perfectionist. The self-anointed glory seeker. Charismatic personality. "Narcissus".

Complexion: Sanguine, florid, flushed to blood-red in individuals of light skin color. Blushes easily.

Smile: Radiant "gingival" smile, broadly exposing gums and teeth.

Photograph: Looks at camera. Broad charismatic gingival smile. Starry-eyed smile.

Voice: Confident, smooth, unctuous, pontificating.

Gestures: Deep bow, accompanied by sweeping arm. "Narcissistic arms gesture" in which the arms are extended to the front or sides, with the palms up and the fingers somewhat spread apart. It is a pose often assumed by singers and by religious leaders. "Joan of Arc pose" in which the individual's eyes are directed toward the heavens when accepting recognition in the limelight.

Handwriting: Very variable. May be beautifully well formed with flourishes, but non-perfectionistic. May be illegible scribbling, especially in male. Exhibitionistic signature (“John Hancock”) is common. 

Sexuality: Tendency to promiscuity: high. Tendency to LGBT in sexual orientation: relatively high.

Color preference: Red, especially deep red, is the darling color of the N type.

Population genetics: "The Sublime Habitancy", having a high prevalence of N types, some NP types, and very few types having the trait of aggression. Examples: South Sea Islanders, natives of Hawaii, indigenous East Africa and southern Asia.

Susceptibilities: Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), megalomania, messianism. Attention deficit disorders (ADD, ADHD). Unfocused personality. Borderline personality disorder. Confidence man/woman. Vagabond. Uncontrollable florid rages. Munchausen syndrome. Down's syndrome parent. Congenital or rheumatic heart disease. CVA (stroke). Anorexia nervosa, bulimia. Bipolar depression. 

Pitfalls: Until their lack of compulsive perfectionism becomes apparent, N types can resemble NP types. High temperament, seductive N types can mimic NA types. Loud N types (especially male) can be confused with NPA types. Sexually profligate NP or NPA types could possibly be mistaken for N types. N types with insipient psychosis can exhibit behavior that resembles aggression. Criminal violence in sociopathic N types can lead to mistaken conclusion of A trait

 From Chapter 5:  A model of human behavior [1}

The Narcissistic type (N)

        He would convey the impression that "I will be the greatest, the most glorious and the most beautiful, and in fact I think that I already am!" He is self-admiring. He has great ambitions with regard to future accomplishments, but does not recognize his limitations. His eyes are set more toward himself and toward the limelight of recognition to be attained in the future than toward the actual tasks with which he must deal. His voice is soothing and clear, and may be directed toward the horizon where all can hear it. His pride is also invested in the beauty of his physical body when in the presence of others. With his not so subtle body postures, mannerisms, and self-congratulatory laughter, he flaunts himself.

Lacking perfectionist qualities, he may have difficulties in organizing himself. He lacks persistence or staying power. Perfectionism by careful repetitive action is alien to him. He has no aggressive-vindictive qualities, does not "play the game" of dominance and submission and does not become involved in the dependency of subjugation. He does not split his personality to a subdued state. He cannot be incited into an aggressive-vindictive rage.

He cannot tolerate any serious criticism of his qualities, or interference in his ambition to attain the limelight. When frustrated he may, on the one hand, be incited into the narcissistic rage of defense and withdrawal, or on the other hand, he may undergo a depression to an abject state of hopelessness.

Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics gives us this character sketch of the narcissistic personality:  

« Conceited people, on the other hand, are fools ignorant of themselves, who make themselves conspicuous by being so; they try for positions of honor under an impression of their own abilities, and then, if they get them, prove failures. They rig themselves up in fine clothes and pose for effect, and so on; they wish what good fortune they have to be known to the world, and talk about themselves, as if that were the road to honor... 

« So boastful people, if their object is reputation, pretend to the qualities that win praise or congratulation, and, if their object is gain, pretend to qualities useful to their neighbors, their own lack of which cannot easily be proved, as, for example, a skill in prophesying or in healing... »

Note that we have discovered the personality type of the proselytizing evangelist or the self-anointed prophet. The important qualities of such a personality are as follows. First, he does not recognize his limitations, and his glorious goals become frank delusions of grandeur. Second, lacking perfectionist qualities, he does not occupy himself with the fine details of the means by which his goals are to be attained. For this he requires disciples and other followers to rally around him for the Cause. Third, he is self-anointed; thus, in glorifying his Cause, he is in inverted terms glorifying himself. Finally, lacking aggressive qualities, he is not only sexually unaggressive but also essentially defenseless against attack. If brought before a tribunal he can only repeat in direct or inverted terms that he is the anointed one. And if maltreated and physically abused, he can but turn the other cheek. If led to the gibbet or burned at stake, the anointed one will die the death of a passive martyr, all the while hearing inner voices reassuring him that in the glory of his death lies the glory of his purpose in life.

From Chapter 6:  Character caricatures

          He is the epitome of unbridled narcissism. Hence, his complexion tends to be sanguine and his smile sublime. If he is at all handsome or beautiful, or even if he is not, he will adorn himself in finery. The female, especially, will not be able to resist wearing colorful clothes or painting her face in a manner that may startle onlookers. If the opportunity arises to flaunt his body in the nude, or semi-nude, he will not be able to resist it. Thus, he displays immense vanity with regard to personal appearance, for example in matters of cleanliness and hair style, but there his punctiliousness stops. In other matters, we shall see, he is flamboyant and extravagant, but as he rides his tiger through life he never seems to achieve any true sense of order or stability.

In placid circumstances this individual is a friendly, unaggressive, perennially optimistic, often charming individual who becomes radiant like a sunflower when flattered. Rather than be embarrassed by adulation, he will revel in it. Whatever his station in life, he will not be able to resist the temptation to mount the podium if the opportunity presents itself. If he has even mediocre talent, he will be a compulsive jokester, a mimic, an amateur singer, or will play some kind of musical instrument. If he has real talent or physical beauty, he will be inexorably drawn to a career in the field of fashion modeling, in the performing arts or in show business. Alternatively he may be drawn to any one of the professions where public oratory is possible. He may thus be a politician, a social activist or an evangelist. As an engineer, a businessman or a physician his genuinely friendly manner may mystify those with whom he comes in contact. They may think his extroverted affectations to be somewhat strange, and may consider him to be either incredibly naive, incredibly conceited or simply groutheaded.

If he inverts his mannerisms of self-importance, he shows no trace of conceit. He presents himself as a dedicated individual with a soothing, self-assured manner. The male may have a starry-eyed appearance and may be accused of being elfish, effeminate or "flaky." The female may be described as "angelic" or "dreamy." If his voice is loud, which it often is in the male, it is a voice of hollowness rather than forcefulness, as if it were a clarion call being delivered into the void around him

Although he is not predatory in a sexual manner, he is extremely vulnerable to flattery and may seek adulation. Hence, he is prone to attracting sycophantic parasites and may even develop intimate physical relations with adulators of the same sex. He may present himself as a sexually promiscuous person but in a naive and ingenuous manner. More than sexual pleasure, he needs the constant reassurance of the opposite sex that he is indeed the wonderful person of his dreams. To others, therefore, he appears to have the amorality of innocence, rather than of vice.

As an unaggressive individual, the N type may, at first blush, be confused with the NP type. However, the NP type tends to be poker-faced or melancholic, and tends to work by himself in a perfectionistic manner. The N individual, on the contrary, tends to be buoyant, self-assured, jocular, expansive or even charismatic, and tends to seek people out in order to enlist their aid in his projects. Thus, the NP individual will work quietly to solve a particular problem, while the N individual will organize a conference so that he may lead a discussion on how his ideas may be implemented.

In competitive society, it may be difficult to avoid him, for although he is not aggressive he is obtrusive. He may precede his visit with a letter, definitely written in the first person, describing his extraordinary talents, the fine things that he has done in the past, despite all odds against him, and the grand things that he hopes to accomplish, nay will accomplish. He stands proud, tends to flaunt his body, and projects his resonant voice not only to his partner in conversation, but also to anyone within earshot, or even beyond. His objectives may be grandiose and far beyond the limits of reasonableness in relation to his present status in life.

Any new activity or new person arriving on the scene arouses his great interest, and he will not be able to resist imposing himself on others, ostensibly to see if he can help. And he wishes to help because he believes that he has the qualities and talents to help. On close examination, though, it is he who desires assistance, and his favors done to others reflect this ulterior motive, especially with regard to long-range assistance in his career. And in the background, deep in his unconscious mind, there lives a pervasive suspicion that perhaps all those glorious deeds will never come to fruition. Hence, he requires constant reassurance from others of his worth to them.

What emerges in this character type is an individual who has everything invested in the attainment of the fruits of his ambition, namely in the attainment of the limelight. However, lacking perfectionist qualities, he lacks the ability to apply himself to the finer details of the tasks to be done. This may not be obvious to others at first because he does indeed have boundless energy, and he may seem to have endless "persistence" when it comes to adorning himself or his abode to "perfection," often to the point of garishness. And, it is true, he may be an enthusiastic author when it comes to writing his autobiography or other epic, soaring literary efforts that glorify himself in direct or in barely camouflaged inverted terms. Nevertheless, despite such occasional activities of self-glorification, where he appears to be motivated, dynamic and goal oriented, on closer examination he lacks the persistence to create a meaningful synthesis of the mass of interrelated details that surround him. He is vague. He may be grossly, illogically imprudent. He has infinite pride in being recognized for his nebulous "creativity." But he is like a Don Quixote who leaps onto his horse and tries to gallop off in four directions at once.

For the narcissistic type the ends justify the means, and in fact, he would rather not have to bother with the means at all! We see, then, that he judges people not even so much for their potential for future accomplishments as for their already proven abilities to deliver the goods to him. And, of course, his estimation of others varies in direct proportion to the reassurance, deference and outright flattery that they give him.

Having so much invested in attainment of the limelight, once he arrives there it may be difficult to ease him out. His showmanship may take precedence over virtually all other aspects of his character. He may, then, neglect the accepted modalities of human decorum, as he talks endlessly in the first person, and in so doing he inevitably begins to neglect the truth.*

Finally, he is vulnerable in the limelight and may be self destructive there. If he is a sports figure, he may risk his life in attempting a dazzling but dangerous play. And it is he, of course, who will perform the most courageous of courageous acts if they are done in the presence of others, but will be strangely immobile if his noble deed would remain unknown to them.

At work he flaunts himself with his unctuous manner, his ostentatious handwriting and his mellifluous voice. In meetings he arouses resentment in others when he speaks of himself in overt or inverted terms. If others protest, he will not know what they are talking about, for he is the anointed one. And if he is seriously criticized or otherwise frustrated, he will explode into the red-faced narcissistic rage of defense: "I, in fact, am the only one who does anything worthwhile around here!" and of withdrawal: "If you people don't appreciate me, I'm leaving!"

He does not "play the game" and is not overtly vindictive. If he does raise his voice in frustration to reprimand someone, his bark is but a hollow bellow, and everyone knows it. He is usually a person who would not hurt a fly. His love relations are not based on subjugation but on his conviction of his own beauty, his sexual wiles, and his irresistibility. And in his self-glorification he shows his Achilles heel, for he may become less able to interact meaningfully with those around him, and more and more a prisoner of his own inflated image of himself.

Nevertheless, an individual of the N type may, despite the constraints of his character structure, achieve great success in life. Although lacking the behavioral complex of perfectionism, his narcissistic drive for achievement may allow him to arrive at real accomplishments, especially if his perennial optimism can attract others to help him bring to fruition those dazzling visions of future triumphs.

Those of his acquaintances who do not know him well will be among those who like him the least. They will titter behind his back for his unctuous manner, his conceit, his extravagance and his frivolousness. They may ridicule him for his affected charisma, his perpetual smile, his weakness for empty-headed adulators of either sex, or for his outlandish cosmetics and dress. But those who come to know him more than casually may come to be enchanted by his kindness, his accessibility, his ingenuousness and his impeccable manners.

Individuals of the N type are fairly common in Western society. Illustrious examples may be found in personages such as Lorenzo the Magnificent of the Medici, Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon III, Catherine the Great, Theodore Roosevelt and Marc Chagall.

In the works of Somerset Maugham we find examples of females of the N type in the characters of Louise in The Narrow Corner, and of Maugham's beloved Rosie in his later novel, Cakes and Ale.

As an example of an illustrious N type, the reader is referred to Castelot's perceptive biography of the Empress Josephine: 

« It is true  and it had often embarrassed him  that Josephine, with a Creole's naive and unthinking immorality, often talked shamelessly of her former lovers. Without doubt, she was fickle, light, flirtatious, "even somewhat amorous," as he was to say on St. Helena, and where love was concerned "made a few zigzags." Again, her education often left something to be desired. She seldom, if ever, read anything and holding a pen tired her out. Only the pleasure of adorning herself, ordering a dress, matching a ribbon for her hair could arouse her from indolence.

« She was indeed ignorant, but she had nevertheless managed to acquire and retain a certain amount of knowledge which she knew how to use. She was said to have no brains. But she appeared to have enough, or at least to be very clever at making the most of what she had. Her rival, Mme. de Vaudey, said she had "only a quarter of an hour's wit a day" ... 

« To be convinced that he was right to make his wife an empress, Bonaparte only had to recall with what grace, charm and distinction she received people. One might perhaps reproach her with being almost too welcoming, too easy of approach. But those were the defects of her virtues. And he was pleased, moreover, to find her "usefully captivating."

« It was enough also to watch her walk with a "suppleness in her movements, a lightness that gave something aerial to her step without excluding the majesty of a queen." 

« Then there was the point of her beauty. Was Josephine beautiful? She was more than pretty. Her countenance "was affected by all the impressions of her mind without ever losing that charming gentleness which was its main character." When his wife's "bright and gentle" eyes were turned on him, Bonaparte was often touched as in the old days. He loved her "long, silky" chestnut hair, which she dressed so prettily in the morning with a red madras kerchief "which gave her the most attractive Creole air." He loved her skin, whose "transparent satin" amazed him. He loved that body which had lost none of its suppleness, those arms and bosom like those of a girl. He loved the perpetual mobility of her features, which constantly assumed new expressions. Above all, he loved that gentle, silvery, caressing voice, whose tones were so enchanting that "one stood still simply for the pleasure of hearing it," that voice which caused him to say to Bourrienne, after Marengo, when the populace were shouting their enthusiasm:

« "Do you hear the noise of that continuing acclaim? It is as sweet to me as the voice of Josephine." »


1. Benis A.M. (1985, 2nd edition 2008: NPA Theory of Personality): Chaps. 5 & 6, in Toward Self & Sanity: On the genetic origins of the human character. Psychological Dimensions, New York, pp. 51-52, 96-101.  

2.  Aristotle (ca. 350 B.C.): "Nicomachean Ethics", in Loomis L.R. (1943): Aristotle: On Man in the Universe, W.J. Black, New York.

3.  Maugham W.S. (1932):The Narrow Corner, Doubleday, New York.

4.  Maugham W.S. (1930): Cakes and Ale, Doubleday, New York.

5.  Castelot A. (1965): Josephine, Trans. by D. Folliot, Harper and Row, New York.

See Also:

Horney K. (1950): Neurosis and Human Growth, Norton, New York.

Benis A.M. (1990): A theory of personality traits leads to a genetic model for borderline types and schizophrenia. Speculations in Science and Technology Vol. 13, No. 3, 167-175.