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Neurotic Solution: Depressive Type 

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

Depressive Personality Disorder
Serious Personality Type
Resignation Solution 




Neurotic Needs

Compulsive Attachments

Compulsive Aversions

  • duty and responsibility
  • seriousness
  • sobriety
  • solemnity
  • unpretentiousness
  • realism
  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • steadfastness
  • loyalty
  • dependability
  • predictability
  • self-criticism
  • reflection
  • thinking
  • analyzing
  • evaluating
  • ruminating
  • anticipation of problems
  • preparation
  • sharp appraisal of others
  • criticism of others
  • critiques of others
  • contrition
  • self-evaluation
  • no-nonsense behavior
  • work
  • routine
  • productivity
  • frugality
  • risk avoidance
  • perseverance
  • self-reliance
  • survival
  • failing in duty or responsibility
  • irresponsibility
  • emotional expression
  • pretentiousness
  • intoxication
  • frivolity
  • vanity
  • self-importance
  • lack of reflection
  • impulsiveness
  • dishonesty
  • untrustworthiness
  • lack of steadfastness
  • disloyalty
  • undependability
  • unpredictability
  • surprises
  • being fooled
  • being thoughtless to others
  • not being prepared for the worst
  • being impolite to others
  • nonsensical behavior
  • activism
  • asserting one's rights
  • being satisfied with oneself
  • being satisfied with current circumstances
  • being positive toward the future
  • being cheerful
  • looking at the bright side
  • optimism
  • positions of authority
  • politics
  • socializing
  • taking initiative




Neurotic Solution

American Psychiatric Association (1994, pg. 733)


Depressive cognitions and behaviors.

  • usual mood is dominated by dejection, gloominess, cheerlessness, joylessness, unhappiness;     


  • self-concept centers around beliefs of inadequacy, worthlessness, and low self-esteem;     


  • is critical, blaming, and derogatory toward self;    


  • is brooding and given to worry;     


  • is negativistic, critical, and judgmental toward others;     


  • is pessimistic;     


  • is prone to feeling guilty or remorseful.




Neurotic Beliefs and Attitudes 

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

Derived from Oldham and Morris.

  • I am always disappointed with myself and cynical about others and the future (369).
  • I do not consider the spreading of good cheer to be among my responsibilities (369).
  • I am not eager for authority (369).
  • I expect those under me to take on a great deal of work (369).
  • When I'm in charge, the work atmosphere need not be upbeat, personally encouraging, or even supportive (369).
  • I can be quite critical of those who work under me (369).
  • I never expect things to go right (369).
  • I don't get much pleasure from anything outside of work (370).
  • What's the use of looking at life from the bright side (370)?
  • Life is just work, pain, and loss (370).
  • I'll believe it when I see it (371).
  • Life is depressing; I have a right to always be pessimistic (371).
  • I believe that my dark view of things is just being realistic (371).
  • Bad news is interesting and reassuring because it represents reality (372).
  • A person should remain faithful to their spouse, even if their spouse does not (372).
  • I expect the worse from others (372).
  • I am very critical of my mate (372).
  • Other people expect too much of me (373).
  • Parents should teach their children not to expect too much from life (374).
  • Parents should inculcate the value of work; activities outside of homework and chores should be restricted (374).
  • I am severely limited as a person; if only I'd been born with a different temperament (374).
  • My life has been a series of failures and I am helpless in the face of forces beyond my control (374).
  • I should continually prepare for the worst (374).
  • I must keep my nose to the grindstone, adhere to routine, and remain undistracted by impulses and passion (375).
  • I should always think everything through before acting, not take risks or challenge fate, and never try to escape into pleasure (375).
  • There is no hope, now or ever (378).  




Idealized Image


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


John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (pp. 266-67):


Serious men and women suffer no illusions. They don't hitch their wagons to a star, count their chickens before they're hatched, sing that life is just a bowl of cherries, or don rose-colored glasses to paint their existence a more beguiling hue. Even when things are not so pleasant, they seem them as they are. Of course, since the current culture favors individuals who "think positive", look on the bright side, and attempt to always improve themselves, somebody with a Serious style may not exactly fit the image. But Serious people don't expect to be popular. What they sacrifice in silver linings, they gain in ability to carry on in even the worst of circumstances. No other personality style is quite so able to endure when a harsh climate seems to descend on the planet. This is a no-frills, no-nonsense, just-do-it personality style, whose strength in hard times cna help everyone survive. Like many of the other personality styles, it is one where a little goes a long way.


  1. Straight face. Individuals with the Serious personality style maintain a sober demeanor. They are solemn and not given to emotional expression.

  2. No pretentions. They are realistically aware of their own capabilities, but they are also aware of their own limitations; they are not tempted by vanity or self-importance.

  3. Accountability. Serious people hold themselves responsible for their actions. They will not soft-pedal their own faults and do not let themselves off the hook.

  4. Cogitation. They're thinkers, analyzers, evaluators, ruminators: They'll always play things over in their minds before they act.

  5. Nobody's fool. Men and women with Serious personality style are sharp appraises of others. In their ability to critique other people, they are as unhesitating as in their own self-evaluation.

  6. No surprises. They anticipate problems and when the worst happens, they're prepared to deal with it.

  7. Contrition. Serious people suffer greatly when they realize they've been thoughtless or impolite to others.   



Attributes of the Idealized Image


  1. Seriousness, sobriety.
  2. Humility, modesty.
  3. Responsibility.
  4. Deliberateness, cautiousness.
  5. Honesty, realism, judiciousness.
  6. Prudence, attentiveness, preparedness, anticipation.
  7. Contrition, thoughtfulness, justice, fairness, concern, equitableness.


Seriousness, care, diligence, industriousness, honesty, integrity, perseverance, realism, endurance, sobriety, humility, modesty, responsibility, deliberateness, cautiousness, judiciousness, prudence, attentiveness, thoughtfulness, steadfastness, loyalty, trustworthiness, steadiness, reliability, frugality, thriftiness, forbearance, dutifulness, honorableness, sensibility, firmness, stoicism, fortitude, dependability, sincerity, providence, faithfulness, self-control.




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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