Rey is usually kind, thoughtful, reserved, closed-off, hesitant…
However, Rey becomes aggressive, angry, impulsive, violent, offensive, stubborn around Ben. She embodies all of these qualities that frankly we associate with men/the masculine.
Ben is usually hard, angry, tries to be stoic, puts on a persona, conceals, authoritative…
Ben in Rey’s presence, on the other hand, becomes seductive, soft, submissive, emotional, vulnerable, irrational, defensive, seeks/reveals the truth. He becomes a number of qualities often associated with women/the feminine.
This is because in the presence of the other, they begin to take on those opposite qualities which they need to integrate. The process is not complete – and they should never FULLY become their opposite [because balance is the key here], and so they often retain some of their archetypal qualities that represent the original self, too. Ben can be pushy with Rey and insensitive in the way he words things. Rey can be compassionate and sweet with Ben, and hold onto her fantasy ideas and optimism/idealism around him.
For the purpose of this dynamic to work, there are many qualities they can look up to in each other, too – Rey is usually more logical, rational, planned, cool-headed, careful, compassionate, caring, motherly, optimistic and warm; Ben is often ambitious, has his own brand of compassion, is usually VERY truthful/honest [with Rey, at least – he is dishonest with Hux that one time], powerful, knowledgeable, curious, inquisitive, and brave.
Why use anima/animus in storytelling?
One reason they are often presented in these negative/contradictory ways that seem to contradict the archetypes they represent is that they are both reflecting the archetypes themselves while simultaneously reflecting the projections of the brokenness of the other’s psyche. They are both simultaneously protagonists and each other’s projections of their opposite + broken psyche – a reason why Rian must have called them “two halves of our protagonist.” Neither can really be a whole, complete protagonist in this story without the other to balance characteristics and contrast.
Most people look at Ben/Kylo and say immediately, “AHA! He’s broken!” But people forget to realize that Rey is just as broken as he is – she lies to herself, she runs away, she’s often not introspective enough about things, she’s a bit lacking in curiosity for the truth and heart of the matter at first [it really is Ben who pushes her to be more inquisitive]… So they are both negative projections of each other, while simultaneously being the positive light the other needs to realize their truths and question their belonging and place – to “become what they were meant to be.”