To differentiate between neurosis and neurotic:
“Neurotic”, or affected by neurosis, has come to describe a person with any degree of depression or anxiety, depressed feelings, lack of emotions, low self-confidence, .
Horney’s theory is perhaps the best theory of neurosis we have,
She saw it as much more continuous with normal life than previous theorists.
Specifically, she saw neurosis as an attempt to make life bearable, as a way of “interpersonal control and coping.” This is, of course, what we all strive to do on a day-to-day basis, only most of us seem to be doing alright, while the neurotic seems to be sinking fast.
Karen Horney :discerned ten particular patterns of neurotic needs.
They are based on things that we all need, but they have become distorted in several ways by the difficulties of some people’s lives:
Let’s take the first need, for affection and approval, as an example
We all need affection, so what makes such a need neurotic?
First, the need is unrealistic, unreasonable, indiscriminate.
For example, we all need affection, but we don’t expect it from everyone we meet.
We don’t expect great outpourings of affection from even our close friends and relations.
We don’t expect our loved ones to show affection at all times, in all circumstances.
We don’t expect great shows of love while our partners are filing out tax forms, for example. And,
we realize that there may be times in our lives where we have to be self-sufficient.
Second, the neurotic’s need is much more intense, and he or she will experience great anxiety if the need is not met, or if it even appears that it may not be met in the future.
It is this, of course, that leads to the unrealistic nature of the need.
Affection, to continue the example, has to be shown clearly at all times, in all circumstances, by all people, or the panic will set in.