PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Neurotic Solutions Cyclothymic

Neurotic Solution: Borderline Type 

The strategy of the Borderline solution can be interpreted from the discussion by John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris of the Mercurial personality style.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Mercurial Personality Type
Self-Effacing SolutionExpansive Solution, and Resignation Solution 



Neurotic Needs

Compulsive Attachments

Compulsive Aversions

  • relationship
  • romance
  • pleasurable experiences
  • attention
  • change
  • instability 
  • crises
  • appearance of competence
  • entitlement
  • spending
  • sex
  • mood altering substances
  • fast driving
  • eating
  • shopping
  • entertainment
  • travel
  • partying
  • cooking
  • gambling
  • idealizing others
  • devaluing others
  • guilt
  • punishment
  • being alone
  • abandonment
  • loss
  • trusting others
  • deprivation
  • discipline
  • losing emotional control
  • mourning
  • unpleasant experiences
  • stability
  • regulation
  • routine
  • a dangerous and malevolent world
  • being powerless and vulnerable
  • being inherently unacceptable



Neurotic Solution

American Psychiatric Association (1994, pg. 654)


Instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.

  • frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment;     


  • a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation;


  • identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self;    


  • impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating);     


  • recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior;     


  • affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days);     


  • chronic feelings of emptiness;    


  • inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights);     


  • transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.




Neurotic Beliefs and Attitudes 

Rationalizations and reinforcements of the compulsive attachments and aversions and the neurotic solution that they engender.

Aaron T. Beck, Arthur M. Freeman and associates (pg. 185) 

  • No one would love me or want to be close to me if they really got to know me.
  • I can't cope on my own. I need someone to rely on.
  • I must subjugate my wants to the desires of others or they'll abandon me or attack me.
  • People will hurt me, attack me, take advantage of me. I must protect myself.
  • It isn't possible for me to control myself or discipline myself.
  • I must control my emotions or something terrible will happen.
  • No one is ever there to meet my needs, to be strong for me, to care for me.



Idealized Image

 The particular "solution" is idealized (Horney, 1950, pg. 22)


John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (293-94):


Life is a roller coaster for those with the Mercurial personality style -- and they'll insist you come along for the ride. From the peaks to the valleys, intensity imbues their every breath. Mercurial women and men yearn for experience, and they jump into a new love or a new lifestyle with both feet, without even a glance backward. No other style, the Dramatic included, is so ardent in its desire to connect with life and with other people. And no other style is quite so capable of enduring the changes in emotional weather that such a fervidly lived life will bring.


  1. Romantic attachment. Mercurial individuals must always be deeply involved in a romantic relationship with one person.

  2. Intensity. They experience a passionate, focused attachment in all their relationships. Nothing that goes on between them and other people is trivial, nothing taken lightly.

  3. Heart. They show what they feel. They are emotionally active and reactive. Mercurial types put their hearts into everything.

  4. Unconstraint. They are uninhibited, spontaneous, fun-loving, and undaunted by risk.

  5. Activity. Energy marks the Mercurial style. These individuals are lively, creative, busy, and engaging. They show initiative and can stir others to activity.

  6. Open mind. They are imaginative and curious, willing to experience and experiment with other cultures, roles, and value systems and to follow new paths.

  7. Alternate states. People with Mercurial style are skilled at distancing or distracting themselves from reality when it is painful or harsh.


Attributes of the Idealized Image


    1. Decency; Earnestness; Thriftiness.
    2. Mercy, Forgiveness; Modesty, Naturalness.
    3. Hope, Cheerfulness, Joyfulness, Sociability.
    4. Sincerity, Straightforwardness; Honesty, Fairness.
    5. Tolerance, Liberalism, Open-mindedness.
    6. Generosity, Liberality; Courtesy, Graciousness, Equitableness; Altruism, Kindness; Affability, Friendliness.
    7. Idealism.
    8. Energy, Enthusiasm.
    9. Artistry, Inquisitiveness; Boldness, Spontaneity; Creativity, Humorousness. 



Neurotic Pride


Neurotic Claims


Neurotic Search for Glory

 The neurotic search for glory is the comprehensive drive to actualize the idealized self. Besides self-idealization it consists of the need for perfection, neurotic ambition, and the drive for vindictive triumph. The need for perfection functions in the personality as, what Horney called, "tyrannical shoulds."

Tyrannical Shoulds






American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed. Washington: Author.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed., text revision. Washington: Author.

Aaron T. Beck, Arthur M. Freeman and Associates (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Terry D. Cooper (2003). Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance: The Problem of Identity in Theology and Psychology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Karen Horney (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W. W. Norton.

John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.

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