"I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen." - Charlie Sheen
By: Rebecca Murray

Carlos Irwin Estevez better known as Charlie Sheen was born on September 3, 1965. In 2010, Sheen was named the highest paid actor in television nearing $1.8 million an episode for the hit series Two and a Half Men (“Charlie Sheen,” 2011). Although Sheen has a very successful career, he has seen his ups and downs in his life, to say the least. Sheen has been married three times and all have ended up in divorce, and has five children between two of his ex-wives, and one with an ex-girlfriend. Sheen does not even have his high school diploma because of his lack of attendance and skipping classes in exchange for playing baseball (“Charlie Sheen: Biography,” 2011).
Sheen’s antics proceeded throughout his successful career and he has become known for his negative media attention and ‘bad boy’ behavior. In August 1990 Sheen’s family staged an intervention for Sheen’s excessive drug and alcohol abuse and enrolled him into a rehabilitation facility for 366 days (“Charlie Sheen Biography,” 2011). This was only the first time Sheen would see a rehab facility; to this date, Sheen has been enrolled in at least three more terms due to drugs, alcohol and sex addiction (“Charlie Sheen Biography,” 2011). Also, Sheen has been charged with domestic violence multiple times, possession of narcotics and drugs, paying for prostitution and for shooting his ex-girlfriend by accident which resulted in foul play since it was accidental (“Charlie Sheen Biography,” 2011).
Although Sheen’s home life and relationships seem to be extremely unstable and negative, he has had many successes in career. Sheen has been honored with awards from Emmy’s to Golden Globes for ‘Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series’ and Screen Actor Guild Awards. Although Sheen may be unstable off the set, Sheen is undoubtedly noted as a very successful and talented actor on screen (“Charlie Sheen: Biography,” 2011).
Trait Skill Approach
The trait skill approach is the use of adjectives to describe and scale individuals (Friedman, 2009, p. 257). Recent media outbursts by Sheen have given the public many words to describe him such as confident, cynical, condescending, and pompous. Recent interviews with Sheen have him describing himself as having ‘tiger blood’ and being better than all the people around him and living a constant winning life-style (or so he thinks) (“Charlie Sheen Quotes,” 2011).
The first systematic approach to trait typing was Hippocrates. Hippocrates described human temperament and attitudes in terms of ‘so-called bodily humor’ (Friedman, 2009, p.259). Hippocrates would have termed Sheen choleric, which is described as angry and irascible. In interviews Sheen always seems to be mad at someone or something and you never know what he is going to say. Back in ancient times having choleric temperament meant that Sheen had an abundance of yellow bile in his body, which does not mean much today since we know this simply is not the case. Even though having excess bodily fluids does not help us today in categorizing individual’s temperaments this still is the first case of putting individuals into categories based on certain traits that they possess.
Henry Murray was the founder of motive-based personality studies. His main emphasis was on an individuals needs. An individuals needs impacted how they would respond under certain conditions (Friedman, 2009, p. 281). Based on Murray’s findings he came up with four categories, need for achievement (n Ach), need for affiliation (n Aff), need for power (n Power) and need for exhibition (n Exh) (Friedman, 2009, p. 281-82). Sheen seems to be tied to every category. Although Sheen’s relationships do not tend to be successful, he does continue to look for relationship, participate in marriage, which shows he has a need for affiliation. Second, Sheen shows an intense need for achievement. He is driven by money and makes many comments that he always deserves more money since he is so much better than others, even though he is already the highest paid actor in television. Third, Sheen seems to have an innate drive for power. Domestic violence charges show Sheen’s need to overpower and control the women he is involved with, and possibly that could be a reason for some of his divorces, because he always wants to be in power. Also, Sheen does not take orders easily, such as from his latest boss of "Two and a Half Men", which ends up firing Sheen for misbehaving and being unreliable. Lastly, he has a need for exhibition. This could be seen by him wanting to be in the entertainment industry, he may deep down want to entertain people for pleasure, although he does seem to say he is in it for the fame and money (“Charlie Sheen: Biography,” 2011).
The Big Five trait approach was founded back in the 1960s. Five dimensions characterize personality typing: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness (Friedman, 2009, p. 267). The Big Five Personality Assessment is commonly used in academic research. By doing research on Sheen, it is very simple to type him based on these five dimensions. Sheen would be high in extroversion, due to him being talkative, dominant and enthusiastic about his life, successes and abilities. Second, Sheen would be low in agreeableness. He does not leave much room for arguing with his point of views; he is very set in his beliefs and can come off as cold and uncooperative. Third, Sheen is low in conscientiousness, meaning he is not very cautious in what he says, is not organized, not responsible and is extremely undependable (shown by his recent antics resulting in his firing from “Two and a Half Men”). Fourth, he is high in neuroticism. Sheen is seen as a high-strung individual, being extremely moody and is always tense, which is categorized as high neuroticism. Lastly, Sheen would be low in openness, resulting in Sheen being shallow and simple-Sheen is very shallow in his thinking of others, which goes along with being low in openness.
The last dimension of trait approaches is expressive style explained by Gordon Allport. Emotional expressiveness explains that an individual is likely to have typical ways of expressing him or herself and inhibiting certain emotions, based on their preferences (Friedman, 2009, p. 284). Sheen’s expressive style can be clearly stated. Sheen is entertaining to the public because of his constant outbursts, animated persona, lack of communicating his feelings unless it entails him boasting about himself, high intensity, extroversion, and in constant defense-mode. Although Sheen may be verbally expressive, when watching interviews, he does not engage in many nonverbal expressions other than possibly a smirk and maybe one or two hand motions. This can be seen as a sign of alienation, depression or repressed anxiety (Friedman, 2009, p. 286). Friedman also suggests that if someone is not outwardly expressive it could mean that they have internal struggles, which definitely could be related to Sheen (Friedman, 2009, p. 286). He has unstable relationships and a lot is going on in his world, which could lead to him being confused and depressed inside but not wanting to show weaknesses to others.
Neo- Analytic Perspective
Neo-analytic perspective is described as the individual’s sense of self (ego) as the core of personality (Friedman, 2009, p. 110). There are many approaches within the neo-analytic perspective that will be used to analyze Sheen.
First, Carl Jung focuses on the psyche of the individual, explained as the essence of the human mind or spirit or soul (Friedman, 2009, p. 113). The psyche is divided into three components: the conscious ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious (Friedman, 2009, p. 113). Focusing on the collective unconscious, Jung theorized that people have emotional symbols that are images common to all people. These emotional symbols are derived from our ancestors and influence us to act in certain ways to common stimuli that our ancestors had to deal with (Friedman, 2009, p. 114). One archetype that is specific to Sheen is the persona/ shadow archetype. This is the difference between what we show people, and what we are really feeling and dealing with inside. Sheen is such a confident person who does not care what other people think, but this could undoubtedly be a cover up for the pain he is enduring inside. Sheen has had nothing but broken down relationships that never work out, have had his children taken away from him and been in and out of rehabilitation which drug use is also a sign of an internal problem. Although Sheen puts on a show for the public, sometimes his “shadow” does show through with comments of hatred towards others such as how his co-workers are and how everyone is not as accomplished or deserving as he is.
Second, Jung describes complexes as being “emotionally charged thoughts, feelings and ideas” (Friedman, 2009, p. 116). Jung describes a persons libido as being their general psychic energy. By Sheen’s constant comments on his ‘winning’ lifestyle, constantly boasting about his successes and the money he makes, it is easy to present Sheen with a conceited complex. If Sheen were given a word association test about himself, I believe that he would only have strong, independent, positive words about himself, but if he took one on other people he would choose words such as inferior, unintelligent etc, showing that Sheen thinks extremely highly of himself and not of the others around him.
Third, in 1940 Alfred Adler described a central part of personality being termed ‘striving for superiority’ (Friedman, 2009, p. 119). Striving for superiority is explained, “when people have an overwhelming sense of helplessness or experience an event in their life that leaves them feeling powerless” (Friedman, 2009, p. 119). Two terms that go along with striving for superiority are the inferiority and superiority complexes. An inferiority complex is when an individual is left with feelings of helplessness resulting from an experience they endured. A superiority complex is described as an exaggerated arrogance that someone seems to develop to overcome an inferiority complex (Friedman, 2009, 119). Sheen is a perfect case of a superiority complex. Sheen is excessively arrogant all the time, and this could be because of something in his past that left him feeling inferior to someone or something. Although Sheen shows the world he is strong and successful, on the inside Sheen may be dealing with some major problems such as a superiority complex.
Fourth, when Adler described the superiority complexes and inferiority complexes, later on he made changes to theses statements. He came up with terms such as organ inferiority, aggression drive, masculine protest, perfection striving and fictional goals (Friedman, 2009, p. 119-20). The most related to Sheen is perfection striving and fictional goals. Sheen constantly terms himself as being above individuals and constantly strives for a life of perfection. These fictional goals of having ‘tiger blood’ and being perfect may leave an individual with disappointments, but also can leave someone to achieve more than expected, because setting high standards. Sheen’s successes could be based on this concept, since Sheen has been rewarded with money and fame by setting high standards for himself, he may now think the only next step is perfection, since he thinks so highly of himself.
Lastly, Horney focuses on different aspects of the self. There are three parts of the self: the real self, the despised self, and the ideal self. The real self is the inner core of a persons’ personality, and how we perceive ourselves (Friedman, 2009, p. 126). Sheen’s real self seems to be perfect, he thinks extremely highly of himself, able to accomplish anything, is better than anyone around him and has the ability to be more successful than anyone around him. The despised self consists of the shortcomings in one’s life (Friedman, 2009, p.126). Sheen may not tap into this perspective much since he is so confident in himself, but he is reminded of this side often by the constant negative feedback from the public and media and how they do not like how he acts and what he says. Last, the ideal self is how we want and hope to be like. Without a doubt, Sheen’s ideal self is perfection, he sometimes may also confuse his real self with is ideal self, or even mesh the two together with quotes such as I just didn't believe I was like everybody else. I thought I was unique” (“Charlie Sheen Quotes,” 2011).
Charlie Sheen is an extremely unique individual, which is probably why he is always in the media and is as famous as he is. He constantly gives the media something interesting to talk about and is a talented actor to say the least.
These two approaches have shown that Sheen, an arrogant, selfish man, is actually a person that can be analyzed on a much deeper level. His constant personal struggles with addiction and broken relationships show that Sheen is not perfect and has problems and struggles that do make him human. Sheen undoubtedly is his worst enemy because he puts so much pressure on himself to be perfect, when in reality he could get rid of some of these pressures. His constant strives for power over people will land him in a life of alienation and loneliness.
In conclusion, these personality approaches show insight on Sheen’s lives and struggles that come along with fame and fortune. In order to further understand him as an individual all we can do is sit back and watch Sheen in the media in the near future. Since personality is capable of changing, we all should remain hopeful that Sheen might change and become a better person and have a successful relationship in the future and find true happiness for a happy ending to a crazy story.
Charlie Sheen. (2011). Retrieved April 18, 2011, from

Charlie Sheen: Biography. (2011). Retrieved April 15, 2011, from

Charlie Sheen Quotes. (2011). Retrieved April 15, 2011, from

Friedman, H. S. & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: Classic theories and modern research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson