Neurosis Neurotic

A separation between one’s basic life urges and one’s conscious personality leads to tension and neurosis. There are many different neuroses: obsessive–compulsive disorder, obsessive–compulsive personality disorder, impulse control disorder, anxiety disorder, hysteria, and a great variety of phobias.

Neurosis may be defined simply as a “poor ability to adapt to one’s environment, an inability to change one’s life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality.”

According to C. George Boeree, professor emeritus at Shippensburg University, the symptoms of neurosis may involve:

… anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioural symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviours, etc.

Carl Jung found his approach particularly effective for patients who are well adjusted by social standards but are troubled by existential questions.

  • I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. (Jung [1961] (1989) p. 140)
  • The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith. (Jung [1961] (1989) p. 140)
  • [Contemporary man] is blind to the fact that, with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by “powers” that are beyond his control. His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with restlessness, vague apprehensions, psychological complications, an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food — and, above all, a large array of neuroses. (Jung (1964) p. 82 
  • A neurotic person experiences emotional distress and unconscious conflict, which are manifested in various physical or mental illnesses. The definitive symptom is anxiety.
  • Neurotic tendencies are common and may manifest themselves as acute or chronic anxiety, depression, an obsessive–compulsive disorder, a phobia, or a personality disorder.
  • Neurosis should not be mistaken for psychosis, which refers to a loss of touch with reality. Neither should it be mistaken for neuroticism, which is a fundamental personality trait according to psychological theory.

It mist be realised that many people suffering from anxiety – or other neurotic symptoms – may live them all their lives, but there are two main routes to deal with them, the medical route which means taking some form of medication – or the self help way, which means the person making efforts to change in some way. As Jung says they are using, “… wrong answers to the questions of life.”

To simplify this, we could say that we suffer from not understanding what the process of Life fundamentally needs, or that we are not relating to the processes of life within us, and maybe need to learn how to relate to it better. See Opening to Life’s Processes

Example: Neurosis may be defined simply as a “poor ability to adapt to one’s environment, an inability to change one’s life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality.”

There is no neurosis/block that can stop Life from Growth and from Harvesting what has grown…………………….for Life is far too creative for that……………

I am looking at a big combine-harvester that is harvesting the wheat in a large green field.
In the middle of the field is a huge “stone block”.
I realise that someone has filmed it and then I look at the film he/she has made and I see how the combine-harvester is placed in front of the block and shakes the block which makes a pile of wheat fall into the combine-harvester as well.
I thank the person for the film, because now I can see how it was all done.
Then I become aware that there are more houses to be cleaned and that we have to take care of Lyn’s food.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved