PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Neurotic Solutions Histrionic

Neurotic Solution: Paranoid Type 

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

Paranoid Personality Disorder
Vigliant Personality Type
Resignation Solution or Expansive Solution 



Neurotic Needs

Compulsive Attachments

Compulsive Aversions

  • autonomy
  • trustworthiness of others
  • loyalty
  • fidelity
  • to know the hidden motives of others
  • the appearance of righteousness
  • secrecy
  • privacy
  • a double life
  • vigilance
  • wariness
  • suspicion
  • adversaries, enemies, grudges
  • guiltlessness
  • shamelessness
  • authority
  • superiority
  • self-sufficiency
  • independence
  • control
  • perfection
  • withdrawal
  • self-criticism
  • being special
  • isolation
  • being controlled
  • subordination
  • deviousness
  • deception
  • treachery
  • closeness
  • being covertly manipulated
  • interference of others
  • being put down
  • being discriminated against
  • secret coalitions formed by others
  • being undermined or depreciated by others
  • humiliation
  • being abused or being taken advantage of
  • being demeaned
  • authority/authority figures
  • those he or she sees as weak, soft, sickly or defective
  • inferiority
  • making mistakes
  • being different from others



Neurotic Solution

American Psychiatric Association (1994, pp. 637-38)


Distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent.

  • suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her;     


  • is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates;     


  • is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her;    


  • reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events;     


  • persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults , injuries, or slights perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack;     


  • has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.    




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 (pp. 362-63)

  • I cannot trust other people.          
  • Other people have hidden motives.          
  • Others will try to use me or manipulate me if I don't watch out.          
  • I have to be on guard at all times.          
  • It isn't safe to confide in other people.          
  • If people act friendly, they may be trying to use or exploit me.          
  • People will take advantage of me if I give them the chance.          
  • For the most part, other people are unfriendly.          
  • Other people will deliberately try to demean me.          
  • Often people deliberately want to annoy me.          
  • I will be in serious trouble if I let other people think they can get away with mistreating me.          
  • If other people find out things about me, they will use them against me.          
  • People often say one thing and mean something else.          
  • A person whom I am close to could be disloyal or unfaithful.



Idealized Image


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


John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (pp. 157-58):


Nothing escapes the notice of the men and women who have Vigilant personality style. These individuals posess an exceptional awareness of their environment. Call them Survivors. Their sensory antennae, continuously scanning the people and situations around them, alert them immediately to what is awry, out of place, dissonant, or dangerous, especially in their dealings with other people. Vigilant types have a special kind of hearing. They are immediately aware of the mixed messages, the hidden motivations, the evasions, and the subtlest distortions of the truth that elude or delude less gifted observers. With such a focus, Vigilant individuals naturally assume the roles of social critic, watchdog, ombudsman, and crusader in their private or our public domain, ready to spring upon the improprieties -- especially the abuses of power -- that poison human affairs.


  1. Autonomy. Vigilant-style individuals possess a resilient independence. They keep their own counsel, they require no outside reassurance or advice, they make decisions easily, and they can take care of themselves.

  2. Caution. They are careful in their dealings with others, preferring to size up a person before entering into a relationship.

  3. Perceptiveness. They are good listeners, with an ear for subtlety, tone, and multiple levels of communication.

  4. Self-defense. Individuals with Vigilant style are feisty and do not hesitate to stand up for themselves, especially when they are under attack.

  5. Alertness to criticism. They take criticism very seriously, without becoming intimidated.

  6. Fidelity. They place a high premium on fidelity and loyalty. They work hard to earn it, and they never take it for granted.


Attributes of the Idealized Image


    1. Autonomy, independence, self-sufficiency, purposefulness, a sense of themselves, an inner sense of rightness.
    2. Cautiousness, carefulness, prudence, self-restraint, self-control
    3. Attentiveness, anticipation, perceptiveness, awareness, vigilance, concentration, understanding.
    4. Self-defence, bravery, courage, resilience.
    5. Alertness, sensitivity, seriousness, responsibility.
    6. Fidelity, loyalty, protectiveness, sympathy, idealism, zealousness, enthusiasm.



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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