Traits of a Leader

Graphology at Home – Lesson 12 – How Strong are You?

Joel Engel asked:

Pressure is a sign of how forceful the individual is. But first, we have to make sure that the writing tool is the one the writer usually employs. The amount of pressure one uses reflects the libido-the strength of the individual. So if the subject were to use a much heavier writing tool than he ordinarily does (or vice versa), the result would obviously not reflect his true writing strength. Many graphologists say that the more physically minded the individual is and the more drive he has, the more apt he is to use a heavier writing tool than his counterpart does. This heavier writing tool suits his personality. The more spiritually motivated writer, with less physical drive, would be more likely to use a lighter writing tool.

Still, it is important for the graphologist to be aware of variations. In any given day, a healthy individual can go through quite a few changes of mood. So if the writer is naturally an “up” person and an analysis were done of him at a time in the day when he was “down,” then this analysis would probably be an inaccurate refection of his permanent personality traits. Thus, when we do an analysis, we like to have as much written material as possible taken from different periods.

Picture light pressured writing. The writing is quite fine, almost threadlike. This writer’s major personality trait is his sensitivity. He is usually idealistic, often spiritual, and is affected by what goes on around him. In contrast to these “soft” traits, he often seems to be quite critical. He is an introvert, and yet many people who write with light pressure go against their basic natures to take on outgoing, high-pressure jobs-that of a salesman, for example.

Imagine heavy pressured writing. This writer’s major drives are physical (try writing this hand and see how much strength it requires). He is materialistic, forceful, and rarely modest. At work, if perseverance is necessary, he is the man for the job, for he rarely gives up. He has natural energy and is determined to succeed. He enjoys being among people, is an extrovert, and prefers a “fast” crowd.

Most people write with medium pressure. This writer is the happy balance between the previous two, neither overly sensitive nor overly materialistic. Because he does not have these excesses, it is much easier for him to be understood than the other two-he is an ambivert.

These points about pressure can be further broken down. When we have light pressure with small middle-zone letters, we see a writer who is inventive (remember that small middle-zone letters indicate the scientific thinker) as well as sensitive. Light pressure with larger and rounder middle-zone letters reveal sensitivity manifesting itself in helping others and cooperating with them.

When the light-pressured writing has an irregular base line and the t bar is both small and light, we see the born follower. The light pressure shows him to be sensitive, not the aggressive type. When he writes the irregular base line, his thinking is not straight, and small and light t-bars show him to have a lack of confidence.

The light-pressured writer can have an occasional heavier stroke. In that case, though he may be sensitive, he probably is prone to sudden outbursts of temper and lacks patience, expressed by the sudden appearance of the heavy strokes.

A heavy-pressured writing that shows uniqueness, especially in the capitals (representing the ego), will indicate qualities of leadership. Such a writer thinks big. The heavy pressure indicates strength of personality, and his sense of his own uniqueness shows up in his capitals. These qualities combined make him a true leader.

Consider heavy-pressured writing coupled with muddy writing. This writer is extremely sensuous, difficult to control, and often violent. The accent is on the physical.

Pressure that constantly varies, from light to medium to heavy or any other order, indicates a person who is in the process of changing. This does not necessarily mean a youngster, for many older people go through changes in life-style, too. This illustrates why the graphologist cannot determine the chronological age of the writer.

Inconsistent pressure can also be an indication of emotional imbalance.

Thus the various types of pressures represent all the conflicting aspects of the personality, and the graphologist therefore requires various samples of writing from different periods of time to make a complete analysis.

Pressure/stress can be found in any and all zones, in vertical direction (‘stable axis’) and in horizontal direction (‘mobile axis.’)


Notice the excessive and disproportionate stress attributed to the vertical, ‘up and down’ direction (‘stable axis’) in the above sample.


In contrast, the above sample displays excessive and disproportionate stress horizontally (‘mobile axis’).

The one interpretative word for stress in the stable axis that always fits is “egocentricity,” with strength of character on the intellectual level (upper zone only) and irrational obstinacy and blind virility on the instinctual level (lower zone only). Another term is “life-preserving instinct,” still another, “complete personality,” again for one who stresses the whole axis.

His positive personality description appears to me as follows:

Able to conceive ideas, or at least to take the initiative, he also has the will and the capacity to carry out what he undertakes; the strong and full-length stable axis is a good illustration of this. No doubt he is headstrong, too, and that frequently makes him a difficult person to deal with. He is of upright character, though somewhat stiff and inflexible and a reliable and thorough worker-so long as his personal interests go with the task at hand. No appeal to his “magnanimity” will ever fail, for he wants to be the protector of the weak. But once his personal interest is extinguished, he breaks away as easily and impetuously as he conceived, or joined in, the undertaking. For better or for worse, he is made of one piece, wholly with or against you. Therefore, as a person of convictions, he is willing to fight for his beliefs, and his most unshakable belief is his belief in himself. In fact, he may be called an egoist of the first water. Similarly, he is Don Juan, Julius Caesar, and King Solomon in one, and no matter how old he is, his mind remains young and bold. Since he has convictions, he can convince others. Since he has the strength to carry out his ideas, he also has the power to eliminate resisting forces. He is a man, a leader, a “father ideal.”

The negative description of a writer who stresses the whole stable axis runs somewhat as follows:

To him the concept of egocentricity assumes a more primitive and negative hue. He is the “he-man” in the negative sense of the word. Under any pretext he will seize the reins and drive any undertaking with which he is connected in the direction his boundless pride and selfishness point. He cannot be appeased because he is unwilling to listen. Besides, he wants his decisions to be looked upon as laws. Therefore, where he has passed through once, no one can dwell. He is often brutal and inconsiderate, and this becomes particularly apparent as soon as his interest in a matter or a person ends. For then he assumes the right to crush it or him. Indeed, his relation to his fellow men is one of complete disregard; he recognizes neither the rights nor cherished traditions of others. He takes a person when he needs him, and drops him when he has served his purpose. These jungle principles also determine his relations to the other sex. All his thinking and doing are exclusively directed toward self-preservation. He is a “he-man,” a “mis-leader,” a “father terror.”

This negative personality portrait, together with that of the writer with the positive full-length accent on the stable axis, bea
rs some resemblance to what may be called the mascu
line character. Certain graphologists, perhaps with this thought in mind, have taken the stable axis as the masculine symbol. I am inclined to concur.

I have mentioned that the stable axis, through its slanted ness or frailty, mirrors the writer’s protest or his weakness and sensitivity. It does still more. Sometimes the downstrokes are arched (particularly in such letters as H, T, h, t, and f, as in the sample below).

The interpretation assumes that these arcs, when they open toward the right, do so under “pressure” from the right (future), and when they open toward the left, do so to ward off those invigorating forces. I am speaking here of the writers who “face” the future hopefully and in good fighting trim, and of the others who do not wish to “face” it at all. In the

interpretation of “limited” downstrokes, such as ing’s and y’s, our sense of proportion is of decisive importance. Disproportionately short, these downstrokes are suggestive of early sexual trauma resulting in an infantile emotionality.

Particularly when coquettishly ornate they betray a playful (feminine) pretense of maturity.

Even though my experience is too limited for certainty, I believe it is necessary to mention here that shrunken lower projections have also been indicative of writers with deformed or incapacitated feet. (The p in “Hopkins,” which looks like a golf club, was written by a man with a clubfoot.)

Disproportionately long downstrokes in the lower zone, on the other hand, betray a desire for sexual satisfaction and an inversely proportionate capacity for finding it.

Such elongated, heavy, yet “trembling” downstrokes have been seen in the hands of senile writers, whose thoughts would not leave the instinctual zone.

The well-proportioned and stressed downstroke in the lower zone is suggestive of stressed sexual desire and the determination to find

satisfaction. But because of its location in the lower zone, this stroke has also been identified with a certain assertiveness and obstinacy that is all the more difficult to dispel because its background is purely emotional. The same stroke, left-slanted (in a right-slanted script), would then betray either opposition to or resignation (frustration) with respect to marital relations. These downstrokes, heavy and left-slanted, were quite characteristic of soldiers’ letters, particularly those from the less “hospitable” Pacific fronts.

And the stable axis completely devoid of any stress and pressure, in the presence of pressure in left-right strokes, has been found in the handwriting of men with “heavy lapses of potency.”

From the foregoing facts and considerations, the conclusion seems indeed permissible that, whatever its name, the stable axis is a most important pen stroke in a person’s script. Without the strokes of the stable axis the script would be illegible, the personality indefinable. With all strokes erased but those of the stable axis, we still could not only read the script but also interpret the personality of the subject to a considerable degree.

Provided that we are told of its length and its place in relation to the three zones, the strength, shape, and slantedness of this one stroke furnish us with many very valuable clues. The stable axis, therefore, is not only the backbone of a person’s script; it is also the backbone of his character picture.

Moreover, the stable axis is the stage of a person’s libido. Pressure in the stable axis gives us a means of determining the amount of libido invested there. Excessive pressure warns us of serious sexual inhibitions and of an overcompensated libidinal deficiency, while in some cases lack of pressure betrays an accomplished sublimation.

That the stable axis is the masculine symbol in handwriting appears confirmed in my experience. For whenever I found stress in the stable axis of a script, I assumed the subject to be male or masculine, and when the stable axis was free of stress, I took it for granted that a female or feminine person had written the sample, and I have never been wrong in this respect. It is true, of course, the “masculine” and “feminine” have to be defined anew in each case.

There are only two kinds of horizontal strokes in the lower zone: one with, the other without, pressure.

We underline a word to draw the reader’s special attention to it. The horizontal stroke underlining the writer’s name is interpreted as the writer’s unconscious desire for greatness, importance, fame, immortality. The same pressureless stroke, but short and not below the writer’s name, is indicative of the writer’s unconscious desire to dominate. It is the prerogative of feminine (female)

writers, both the “domestic tyrant” and the crank. Close scrutiny may reveal that these are sisters under the skin.

However, in writing, the nagger’s stroke may be written without pressure, whereas the people who write “letters to the editor” underline certain words or phrases in these letters with all the pressure they can exert. I shall give this aspect of the mobile axis special attention.

Underlined words and phrases in personal letters are not often seen. Normally, if need be, the writer will phrase his sentences so that the stress quite naturally falls on a certain word; to underline it would seem to be an improper overemphasis that offends first his, then the addressee’s, taste. In fact, the habit of underlining words or phrases has always been associated with people who insist on their own opinions, whether or not they thereby offend anyone, and who are not only prepared but also willing to fight anyone who is so imprudent as to contradict them. Such an irrational (and sometimes pathological) attitude is indicative of the choleric or irascible (or paranoiac) writer to whom almost every word (and the thought it stands for) is emotionally stressed and fraught with repressed and suppressed meanings, so that every doubt, even the mildest, or any counterproposal arouses in him all the resistance and emotional opposition he is able to muster.

Note: The following writing samples show stress in the mobile (horizontal) axis:

Excessive and disproportionate pressure is placed upon the horizontal strokes. Notice that the downstrokes are written comparatively lighter.

When the mobile axis is comparatively heavier than the downstrokes:

Mother appears to be the actively domineering or aggressive head of the family; the father remains relatively weak and ineffectual, though perhaps a man of intellectual stature; or he may be hated, or dead, or absent.

The child feels neglected or overpowered by the mother, depending on whether her love is lacking or overwhelming. The child never really feels secure, is always either slighted or fondled, emotionally starved or smothered; in one word, confused.

It is typical of writers with most of their pressure in the mobile axis that they can conceive neither of their own nor, for that matter, of any limitations, nor can they stop “making the best of themselves.” (Overcompensation)

Notice the pressure in the mobile (horizontal) axis in the t¬ bars and in the finals in the following sample:

Examination for Lesson 12

1. The one interpretative word that always fits for stress in the stable (vertical) axis is___?

2. He takes a person when he needs him, drops him when he has served his purpose,

describes what type of writing?

3. Describe the stroke where one either is in opposition to or frustrated with marital


4. Which stroke and location describes one with an unconscious desire for greatness,


5. Underlined words, phrases, especially in personal notes, are associated with people

that insist on their own opinions, or people looking for comfort?

A. Insist on their own opinions___ B. People looking for comfort___

6. Whic
h type of writing is being defined? The mother appears to be the actively

domineering head of the family, the father remaining relatively weak; or he may be

hated, dead or absent.

7. Overcompensation may be said about what type of writer?

8. If pressure in the mobile (horizontal) axis can be found other than in the ‘t’ bars,

where, for example, might this be?

Answers for Lesson 12

1. Egocentricity

2. The writer of (exclusively) excessive pressure in the stable axis

3. (Stressed) lower zone downstrokes that are left-slanted in a right-slanted script.

4. The horizontal stroke underlining the writer’s name.

5. Insist on their own opinions

6. The writer of (exclusively) excessive pressure in the mobile axis

7. Writers with most of their pressure in the mobile axis.

8. In the finals

Joel Engel is the author of “Handwriting Analysis Self-Taught” (Penguin Books)

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