On Neurosis

“Monday Musings”, for Monday September 21, 2015

Volume V. No. 40/248


Sigmund Freud

Social Science Series. No. 51

Measuring Neurosis, Some Reflection

By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA, ScD (Hon)*


Barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure, thermometer for temperature, speedometer for speed, etc. What do we use to measure pain? There is no pain-o-meter. Similarly, how is neurosis measured? No, we do not have a neurosis-o-meter. Below is a simple and reliable way not only to measure neurosis but reflect upon the topic.

Folks who think that you must be loved and approved by virtually everybody you know;

Feel you must be thoroughly competent in all possible respects to consider yourself worthwhile;

Believe that some people are bad and they should be severely blamed and punished for their badness;

Are too dependent on others;

Become quite upset over other people’s problems;

Are convinced that there is a perfect solution to human problems, and believe it is catastrophic if the perfect solution is not found;

Feel that something is dangerous or fearsome, and keep dwelling on the possibility of its occurring. This reminds me of the famous saying of my favorite American, Thomas Jefferson: “How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.” And I might add will never happen.

Folks who believe that human unhappiness is externally caused and people have little or no ability to control their sorrows or disturbances; and

Go around literally purchasing affirmation and approval by allowing others to use and abuse you. This happens rather frequently in the families and with in-laws. The most precious and effective word in the English language is “NO”. It takes care of peer pressure in teen use and abuse of alcohol and substance. It takes care of playing neurotic games and engaging in family soap operas of blame, masochism, martyrdom and self “sacrifice”. Self-respect and love are not for sale, and life is not a game.

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.


*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, Life Member, American Medical Association, Life Member, Southern Medical Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012).

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