From the author: Two indicative features of neurosis on a simple example. Cyclicity and “controlling stress”.
I recently heard a story from a friend who told me about an “unpleasant habit” – avoiding acquaintances if they met somewhere by chance.
Let’s try to analyze this example, highlighting in turn the phenomenology that is observed in such difficulties.
Cold sweat anxiety run to the neighboring street Neurosis
Here is how the girl describes her experience:
“I saw Dima in the distance and drops of cold sweat ran down my back, everything inside gurgled. I remembered that in a different environment I communicate with him perfectly, but now I’m not ready … as if I were taken by surprise. Anxiety and an incessant, oppressive sense of shame , and the thought “he will decide that something is wrong with me. Then, as soon as possible, I’m looking for somewhere to escape …”
Because of what happened, the girl is late for an important exam, she has to walk around university departments in order to “beg” for permission to retake. So she encounters critically-minded teachers who don’t stand on ceremony: “Where was it ?!”, “Seven on the benches or what ? .
The stress level skyrockets, once again confirming the irrational attitude – “I’m helpless”, “I’m acting strange.”
And the whole paradox is this: “strange behavior” arises from the thought of strange behavior.
Thus, cyclicity is the first, indicative feature of neurosis.
The second feature that characterizes this case is the maintained level of anxiety due to the fear of uncertainty. This is how destructive assumptions arise (“what if they meet ?!”), which signal the thought – “you need to worry in order to be ready!”.
My friend initially expected her behavior to be criticized and this idea kept her “stress in control”. Any, even a little significant, fact could trigger this neurotic mechanism.
Thus, a person enters into a cyclical and stressful game that does not provide for alternative options. So you have to run away from every potentially dangerous fact of life that risks causing the thought of your own “weirdness”.
All this is complemented by a negative attitude towards uncertainty, i.e. – for a neurotic – not knowing your future and not controlling everything, even the smallest aspects of life, is bad!