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Needs of the Vigilant Type


The needs of the Vigilant type are derived from John M. Oldham's description of the Vigilant style. In Stoic philosophical and psychological theory these needs are vices. They are analogous to Karen Horney's neurotic needs, which are better called irrational needs. They are irrational because they require things not in our power and involve false judgment of what is good or evil. (see G. Sterling).

Irrational needs are vices. The vices listed below are based on certain false values. The source of every vice is a false judgment of what is good or evil. But our judgments are in our power. Therefore, our vices are in our power.

The idealized image is chiefly a glorification of the needs which have developed (Horney, pg. 277).

  • needs to continuously scan the people and situations around them to, to be alert to what is awry, out of place, dissonant, or dangerous, especially in their dealings with other people. (Oldham, 157)
  • needs to be independent, to keep their own counsel, to require no outside reassurance or advice, to make their own decisions, and take care of themselves (157)
  • needs to be careful in their dealings with others, preferring to size up a person before entering into a relationship (158)
  • needs to be a good listener with an ear for subtlety, tone, and multiple levels of communication (158)
  • needs to be feisty and to stand up for themselves, especially when they are under attack (158)
  • needs to be alert to criticism (158)
  • needs fidelity and loyalty from others (158)
  • needs to maintain their freedom and independence from domination (158)
  • needs to avoid being subordinated (158)
  • needs to always be in charge of their own destiny (158)
  • needs to be cautious and reserved in all their dealings with people (158)
  • needs to watch and evaluate until they are certain that a person who shows interest in them can be trusted not to hurt or disappoint them (158-59)
  • needs to almost always be aware of other peoples' motives (161)
  • needs to be alert to what people want from them (161)
  • needs to watch for signs of disrespect and abuses of power in almost every relationship (161)
  • needs to be on guard against abuses of authority and able to detect ulterior motives (162)
  • needs to feel that they are firmly in control (163)
  • needs to avoid loss of control in relationships (163)
  • needs to focus on the other person's errors (163)
  • needs to avoid dependence and subordination (165)
  • needs to be perpetually on guard against abuses of authority at work (165)
  • needs to be quick to spot and perhaps crusade against inequities in company policies and practices serving the watchdog role that comes so naturally to many of them (167)
  • needs to be assured of the loyalty of their subordinates (167)
  • needs to be or to feel in complete command (167)
  • needs to be fully informed about the workings of their departments (167)
  • needs to avoid admitting their mistakes and accepting criticism (168)
  • needs to detect the faults of other people (168)
  • needs to avoid surprises (168)
  • needs to be quick to show the world that they can stand up for themselves (190)
  • needs to believe in a better world (168)
  • needs to avoid abandoning themselves fully to their feelings (170)

Paranoid personality, or character, disorder is comprised of these and other irrational needs, or vices.

Values of the Vigilant Type

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: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.

Grant Sterling (2005). "Core Stoicism." International Stoic Forum.

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Key to the Stoic Philosophy of Epictetus