Psychology for Lawyers
James R. Elkins
"Neurosis is a 'psychic disturbance brought by fears and defenses against these fears, and by attempts to find compromise solutions for conflicting tendencies' This describes an individual having trouble with coping and handling certain psychosocial environmental stressors resulting in problems within their selves."
"Freud has been variously quoted as saying that psychoanalysis could treat hysterical or neurotic misery, but that it could not treat ordinary human unhappiness. The most a patient of psychoanalytic therapy could hope for was deliverance from the neurotic misery; psychoanalysis, in the words of a famous novel, does not promise you a rose garden."
Today, psychiatric classificatory systems have abandoned the category of neurosis as an
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Current lay usage: (Example) Encyclopaedia Britannica. Neuroses are characterized by anxiety,
An Expanded Statement on Neurosis
[extracted from Craig Chalquist's Karen Horney Glossary]
"Neurosis: a form of psychological suffering involving unconscious inner conflicts around basic anxiety and partially determined by cultural factors. All neuroses include anxiety, the defenses against it, numerous fears, a dissipation of energy, pretense, and impairment in vitality, spontaneity, freedom, enjoyment, and achievement. "The neurotic personality of our time" refers to the similarities in neuroses in a given culture; in ours, they include an excessive dependence on affection or approval, feelings of inferiority or inadequacy, inhibited self-assertion, hostility, inhibited or compulsive sexual activity, and competitiveness. Origin: lack of warmth and affection in childhood (children who feel wanted can healthily endure trauma and frustration) kept alive and urgent by present-day defenses.
The essence of a neurosis is the neurotic character structure whose focal points are neurotic trends organized around the central inner conflict between neurotic and healthy dynamics. These in turn constitute three early relationship-management strategies: moving toward people (emphasizes the helplessness aspect of basic anxiety ), against people (hostility), or away from people (isolation). The first tend to be dependent personalities, the second narcissistic, and the third schizoid. These attempts at solution gradually harden into personality traits and pervade the entire character structure.The healthy counterpart is growing with people .
Three later, more internal solutions to conflict correspond with the three earlier ones and provide a rough diagnostic typology: the self-effacing solution , in which love is sought via "morbid dependency"; the expansive solution , in which one identifies with the glorified self (includes narcissistic, perfectionistic, and arrogant-vindictive types); and the resignation solution , in which one withdraws, becomes an onlooker, and resists closeness (subgroups include persistent resignation, rebellion, and shallow living).
Unless treated, neuroses tend to worsen over time because 1. whatever is repressed tends to call forth reinforcing reactions from the environment, and 2. defenses create vicious circles that increase the underlying anxiety."
Reference: Readings|Web Resources
Psychoanalysis, Neurosis and Self after Freud
Jung's Theory of Neurosis
Neurosis and Psychosis
Neurosis vs. Character Disturbance: Anxiety
Games People Play