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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-06 00:00

Character Trait: Destructive

Character Trait Destructive

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait "Destructive" refers to a behavior or attitude that causes harm or damage to oneself or others. It can manifest in a variety of ways, such as impulsiveness, self-sabotage, aggression, or addiction. A character with this trait can be a complex and compelling figure, but it's important to approach the portrayal with sensitivity and nuance, avoiding stereotypes or glorification of harmful behavior. Instead, aim to explore the root causes and consequences of the character's destructive tendencies, and provide a realistic portrayal of their struggles and potential for growth.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being destructive
  2. Behaviors associated with being destructive
  3. Attitudes associated with being destructive
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being destructive
  5. Emotions associated with being destructive
  6. Facial expressions associated with being destructive
  7. Body language associated with being destructive
  8. Behaviors associated with being destructive
  9. Growth and evolution of destructive characters
  10. Stereotypes of destructive characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being destructive
  12. Positives of being destructive
  13. Verbal expressions of destructive characters
  14. Relationships of destructive characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are destructive
  16. Writing exercises for writing destructive characters

Possible causes of being destructive

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Learned behaviors from family or social environments
  • Past experiences of rejection or abandonment
  • Mental health disorders such as borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder
  • Traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood
  • Lack of impulse control or emotional regulation skills
  • Genetic or biological factors
  • Substance abuse or addiction

Behaviors associated with being destructive

You may be able to show your character's trait of destructive by using these.

  • Making choices that harm oneself or others
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions and blaming others for their problems
  • Engaging in impulsive or reckless behavior without considering the consequences
  • Being aggressive or violent towards others
  • Sabotaging relationships with others, either intentionally or unintentionally
  • Engaging in criminal activity or behavior that violates societal norms
  • Engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or risky sexual behavior

Attitudes associated with being destructive

You may be able to show destructive through their attitudes.

  • A sense of power or control derived from destructive behavior
  • A lack of empathy or concern for the well-being of others
  • A difficulty regulating intense emotions, leading to impulsive or destructive actions
  • A tendency to cause harm or damage to oneself or others
  • A belief that destruction is necessary or even desirable in certain situations
  • A lack of consideration for the consequences of one's actions
  • A willingness to engage in risky or dangerous behavior
  • A belief that destruction is a form of self-expression or creativity
  • A tendency to sabotage oneself or others

Thoughts and struggles associated with being destructive

Here are some ideas for things your destructive character may think or struggle with.

  • Self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse or risky actions
  • A fear of vulnerability and a need to protect oneself at all costs
  • A desire for power and control over others
  • Feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness
  • A lack of empathy or concern for the well-being of others
  • A belief that destruction and chaos are necessary for change or progress
  • A tendency to lash out or act impulsively
  • An inability to form healthy relationships
  • An internal battle between their destructive tendencies and a desire to be better

Emotions associated with being destructive

Here are some ideas for emotions your destructive character may experience.

  • Jealousy
  • Anxiety
  • Self-loathing
  • Frustration
  • Resentment
  • Revenge
  • Sadness
  • Bitterness
  • Hatred
  • Anger
  • Restlessness
  • Guilt
  • Impulsiveness
  • Envy

Facial expressions associated with being destructive

Here are some facial expressions your destructive character may exhibit.

  • Twitching or facial tics
  • Narrowed or squinted eyes
  • Tensed facial muscles
  • Raised eyebrows in anger or frustration
  • Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
  • Baring teeth or snarling
  • Furrowed brow or scowling
  • Rigid or tense lips

Body language associated with being destructive

Here is some body language your destructive character may exhibit.

  • Grinding teeth or jaw clenching
  • Biting or chewing on nails or lips
  • Tense facial expressions, including furrowed eyebrows and a scowling mouth
  • Shallow breathing or holding breath
  • Stiff or rigid posture
  • Pacing or fidgeting
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Clenched fists
  • Aggressive gestures, such as pointing or jabbing

Behaviors associated with being destructive

Here are some behaviors your destructive character may exhibit.

  • Sabotaging relationships with others, either intentionally or unintentionally
  • Making choices that harm oneself or others
  • Being aggressive or violent towards others
  • Engaging in impulsive or reckless behavior without considering the consequences
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions and blaming others for their problems
  • Engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse or risky sexual behavior
  • Engaging in criminal activity or behavior that violates societal norms

Growth and evolution of destructive characters

Here are some ways that your destructive character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Developing a sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions
  • Recognizing the consequences of their actions and making amends
  • Overcoming past traumas or negative experiences that may have contributed to their destructive behavior
  • Learning to control their impulses and channel their destructive tendencies in a positive way
  • Forming healthy relationships and learning to communicate effectively
  • Realizing the root causes of their destructive behavior and working to address them
  • Gaining empathy for others and understanding the impact of their behavior on others

Stereotypes of destructive characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical destructive character like these examples.

  • Characters who lack any sense of self-awareness or personal responsibility for their destructive behavior
  • Characters who lack any empathy or emotional depth, making it difficult for readers to relate to or understand their actions
  • Characters who are destructive solely for the sake of being destructive, with no clear motivation or backstory
  • Characters who are overly exaggerated or caricatured in their destructiveness, coming across as unrealistic or cartoonish
  • Characters who are written as purely reactive, without any agency or personal drive to cause destruction
  • One-dimensional "evil" characters without any redeeming qualities

Negatives of being destructive

Here are some potential negatives of being destructive. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • It can lead to legal problems and financial difficulties.
  • It can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
  • Destructive behavior can harm oneself and others.
  • It can damage relationships, careers, and reputations.
  • It can hinder personal growth and development.
  • It can create a cycle of negativity and self-destructive patterns.

Positives of being destructive

Here are some potential positives of being destructive. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • These characters can be great catalysts for change and growth in other characters.
  • Destructive characters can be unpredictable and add excitement to a story.
  • Destructive behavior can also be a way for characters to break free from societal norms and expectations.
  • Characters who are destructive can be complex and have a lot of depth, making them interesting and engaging for readers.
  • Destructiveness can be a coping mechanism for characters who have experienced trauma or loss.
  • They can have a strong drive to accomplish their goals, even if it means destroying obstacles in their path.

Verbal expressions of destructive characters

Here are some potential expressions used by destructive characters.

  • Making hurtful or demeaning comments
  • Dismissing other people's ideas or opinions
  • Being sarcastic or cynical
  • Using foul language or profanity
  • Refusing to take responsibility for their actions
  • Talking over others or interrupting them
  • Blaming others for their problems
  • Engaging in confrontational or aggressive behavior
  • Using harsh or critical language

Relationships of destructive characters

Here are some ways that being destructive could affect your character's relationships.

  • Being emotionally volatile, prone to outbursts of anger or sadness that can be directed at others
  • Being jealous and possessive, often feeling threatened by others' successes or relationships
  • Being overly dependent on others and expecting them to cater to their every need
  • Being self-centered and lacking empathy for others, only caring about their own needs and desires
  • Being dishonest and deceitful, lying or withholding information to manipulate others
  • Being hostile and aggressive, using intimidation or physical violence to get their way
  • Being controlling and manipulative, often using guilt or fear to get what they want
  • Being critical and judgmental, frequently putting others down and making them feel small
  • Blaming others for their problems and refusing to take responsibility for their actions

Examples from books of characters who are destructive

  • Humbert Humbert from "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Heathcliff from "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte
  • Lady Macbeth from "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare
  • Amy Dunne from "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
  • Iago from "Othello" by William Shakespeare
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Annie Wilkes from "Misery" by Stephen King
  • Tom Ripley from "The Talented Mr. Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith
  • Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis

Writing exercises for writing destructive characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write destructive characters.

  • Write a scene in which your character's destructive behavior has severe consequences. This can help you understand the impact of their actions on themselves and those around them.
  • Consider the root cause of your character's destructive behavior. Is it a result of trauma, fear, or a desire for control? Use this knowledge to inform how your character behaves and reacts in different situations.
  • Experiment with different writing styles and techniques to show your character's destructive behavior, such as foreshadowing, inner monologues, or external reactions from other characters.
  • Think about a character you admire or are inspired by and identify the destructive traits they possess. This can help you understand how to realistically portray a destructive character without making them seem one-dimensional or cartoonish.
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