Cristina and Burke of Grey’s Anatomy (Part III): Does It Have To Be So Complicated?

The choices we make to resolve internal stress are largely influenced by our bodyguard personalities. These bodyguards have developed over our lifetime to pick up the slack when our core personality is not feeling equipped for optimal survival and success in the world. In the case of Cristina and Burke, each has a bodyguard personality that resolves internal turmoil by deferring to respected cultural norms. These bodyguard personalities ultimately determined the course of their relationship and their lives.

Of Cristina’s two bodyguard personalities, her Physical Explorer bodyguard allows her to fully embrace passions of the moment; while her Physical Connector bodyguard is focused on mitigating logistical risks by directing her toward socially acceptable attitudes and behaviors. It is this Physical Connector bodyguard that lay the foundation for Cristina’s decision to marry Burke.

Of Burke’s two bodyguard personalities, the Ideas Changemaker bodyguard encourages him to make choices that set him apart and do not comply with mainstream opinion (like the decision to commit to Cristina despite the intense fluctuations in their relationship); while the Social Connector bodyguard ultimately led him to leave Cristina, as he prioritized the most successful version of his life above romantic and emotional passions.

The functionality of bodyguard personalities is essentially automatic, typically activating before the gears of free-will have been set in motion by our cognitive faculties. This means that making decisions that do not comply with established bodyguard habits requires us to actively override these deeply rooted mechanisms of self-preservation. As is arguably the case for Cristina and Burke, the undercurrents of bodyguard mechanisms are at often at play without our knowledge. Their ability to stay invisible until it is too late to turn back can make them all the more invincible, dooming independent decisions to inevitable failure.

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