Wounded Characters Part II by Nancy Brophy

Personalities mold us (see Part I, Friday November 18, 2011), but social economics factors are heavy contributors.

 

What if your hero/heroine’s family was wealthy? Not just a few bucks in the bank, but owned so many homes/private islands/retreats they’d lost count of the number. A common fantasy we harbor, involves slipping into the life of the idle rich, but most would have no idea how to handle the money or the situation. Like lottery winners, we’d have to declare bankruptcy within a few years.

But if one were that rich, how would another person overcome your character’s inability to trust? Is it the person they like or the money? Would they have to be even richer to prove their sincerity? Can one really fall in love with a rich man as easily as a poor one?

In the regency period, you could expect a marriage based upon an exchange of goods and services. An arrangement with status would allow you, a rich American, to marry a poor but upper crust titled aristocrat who found you crass, but needed your money.

What if the life your characters lived turned out to be a lie? Like the children of Bernie Madoff? Or Aldrich Ames? What if everything they valued – respectability, honesty, financial stability, position within the community – disappeared overnight because of someone else’s actions?

Or what if your hero/heroine lived their entire life under the shadow of an evil relative? Not imaginary, family secret evil, but known by all – scorned and hated solely because of a last name? Living in Germany with the last name of Goebbels or Hess cannot be popular even 65 years after the end of WWII.

And then, there is the physical aspect. Most of us fall in the middle of the looks continuum, not hunchback of Notre Dame ugly and not Sleeping Beauty beautiful. But if strangers wrote sonnets to your appearance, would anyone ever see you for who you truly were?

Catherine the Great had young lovers into her old age when she was so fat it was reported she needed two chairs to sit. Russian families lined up their good-looking sons, no matter the age difference, to try and catch her eye. Because when she was finished with them, she showered them with gifts, money and position. Catherine avoided marriage because, for her, power was more important, and she was not fooled into thinking extravagant gifts meant love.

Even our superhero must have vulnerabilities. Kryptonite can be overcome but finding a person who can see beyond the mask is difficult. My friend, Jessie, hated the ending to Captain America (SPOILER ALERT!) because she wanted the hero to return to the heroine who liked him even when he was a wimp.

Whether you are fictional or real, the truth is simple. It is hard to find someone who truly loves and understands you, as it is popular to say – warts and all.

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Posted on November 25, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. The nice thing about constantly working on relationships is that the rewards of the effort are so very very sweet.

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  2. Yeah! I was mentioned in a post – I feel so special – Thank you Nancy.
    I love your post. Yes, I really didn’t like the ending of the movie —
    (SPOILER)
    The ending line “But I had a date” can go down as worst movie ending line ever, in my book. It acknowledges that the movie dropped the whole romance thread of the storyline. As a romantic, I rooted for them the entire movie and was so ticked off at the ending.

    Great post Nancy – Go Catherine the Great!

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  3. Su, while I do believe, like you that we are all our own worst enemies, I think a lot of our self-destructive actions come from the way we view the world. Our filters which influence how we hear what other say and how we react to it are all results of earlier wounds.

    When I first married my second husband, i learned certain phrases are fighting phrases. “We need to talk” is the best example I can give you. Those words make my husband get all his ducks in a row and arm them with AK47s.

    I finally had to use flashcards and told him. These are your lines. “I’m sorry.” (card one)
    “I didn’t know that would piss you off.” (card two) “I’ll try not to do it again.” (card three)

    Also I learned to stop using the trigger phrase ‘we need to talk’.

    Working on relationships is constant.

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  4. The most enlightening thing for me along the growth continuum has been the realization that we all have our own Kryptonite…including me 😀 It’s made working on my relationships much easier.

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  5. One of my recently married cousins once complimented a couple on surviving together past the time of considering divorce. The couple looked surprised, then laughed. “I don’t know what you mean. There is never a time one is that secure in a relationship.” But if you believed your husband would never leave you, would you treat him differently? I think I would. Thanks for thoughtful comments.

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  6. Another wonderful post, Nancy. My father was an accountant for many years for a wealthy family. I’ll never forget when he said, “Maggie, the truly wealthy live in a different world than the rest of us. You can’t begin to imagine their life, their struggles, and how they view money. It’s completely different from the rest of us.” And yet, so many romances are about that life.

    You are right, we all have masks–weather wealthy or poor–and we all have trust issues. At least for me, even though I’ve found the love of my life, someone who truly understands me and loves me anyway, I still have moments of fear that it’s not what it seems. That one day he will decide one of those warts is just too much. Fortunately, those moments are not everyday and not too frequent. I guess they keep me working at love. 🙂

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