Who is neurotic?

Conflicts play an infinitely greater role in neurosis than is commonly assumed.

As I see it, the source of the conflict revolves around the neurotic's loss of capacity to wish for anything wholeheartedly because his very wishes are divided, that is, go in opposite directions.

Every person, to the extent that he is neurotic,is like an airplane directed by remote control and so bound to lose touch with himself.

One of the many neurotic ways of creating an artificial harmony, it is an attempt at solution through evasion. But it is no true solution because the compulsive craving for closeness as well as for aggressive domination, exploitation, and excelling remain, and they keep harassing if not paralyzing their carrier. Finally, no real inner peace or freedom can ever be attained as long as the contradictory sets of values continue to exist.

Neurotic person wants to appear, both to himself and others, different from what he really is - more harmonious, more rational, more generous or powerful or ruthless. It would be hard to say whether he is more afraid of being exposed to himself or to others.

Neurotic does not know what he is doing or why he is doing it and has a keen subjective interest in not knowing.

Neurotic will not take pleasure in anything unless, for instance, he is alone - or unless he shares it with someone else; unless he is the dominating factor in the situation - or unless he is approved of on all sides. His chances chances are further narrowed by the fact that the conditions for happiness are so often contradictory.

--Karen Horney

Who is neurotic?

Neurotics are those who are crippled in the pursuit of power by internal constraints, impediments build into character by childhood experiences. All of us start out weak in the hands of the strong, and a parent inclined to exploit that discrepancy can teach a child that any transgression of rules will yield pain and humiliation.

--Allen Wheelis

Who is neurotic?

However, this feeling of individual isolation and powerlessness as it has being expressed by there writers and as it is felt by many so-called neurotic people, is nothing the average normal person is aware of. It is too frightening for that. It is covered over by the daily routing of his activities, by the assurance and approval he finds in his private or social relations, by success in business, by any number of distractions, by "having fun," "making contacts," "going places." But whistling in the dark does not bring light.

If we differentiate the two concepts of normal and neurotic, we come to the following conclusion: the person who is normal in terms of being well adapted is often less healthy than the neurotic person in terms of human values. Often he is well adapted only at the expense of having given up his self in order to become more or less the person he believes he is expected to be. All genuine individuality and spontaneity may have been lost. On the other hand, the neurotic person can be characterized as somebody who was not ready to surrender completely in the battle for his self. To be sure, his attempt to save his individual self was not successful, and instead of expressing his self productively he sought salvation through neurotic symptoms and by withdrawing into a phantasy life. Needless to say there are persons who are not neurotic and yet have not drowned their individuality in the process of adaptation. But the stigma attached to the neurotic person seems to us to be unfounded and justified only if we think of neurotic in terms of social efficiency. As for a whole society, the term neurotic cannot be applied in this latter sense, since a society could not exist if its members did not function socially. From a standpoint of human values, however, a society could be called neurotic in the sense that its members are crippled in the growth of their personality. Since the term neurotic is so often used to denote lack of social functioning, we would prefer not to speak of a society in terms of its being neurotic, but rather in terms of its being adverse to human happiness and self-realization.

What we can observe at the kernel of every neurosis, as well as of normal development, is the struggle for freedom and independence. For many normal persons this struggle has ended in a complete giving up of their individual selves, so that they are thus well adapted and considered to be normal. The neurotic person is the one who has not given up fighting against complete submission, but who, at the same time, has remained bound to the figures of the magic helper, whatever form or shape "he" may have assumed. His neurosis is always to be understood as an attempt, and essentially an unsuccessful one, to solve the conflict between that basic dependency and the quest for freedom.

--Erich Fromm