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Needs of the Dramatic Type


The needs of the Dramatic type are derived from John M. Oldham's description of the Dramatic 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 react emotionally to events (Oldham, 131)
  • needs romance and melodrama (131)
  • needs to be seen and noticed (132)
  • needs to be the center of attention (132)
  • needs to pay a lot of attention to their appearance (132)
  • needs to be sexually attractive, to be seductive, engaging, and charming tempters (132)
  • needs to easily put their trust in others; needs to become quickly involved in relationships (132)
  • needs to eagerly respond to new ideas and suggestions from others (132)
  • needs to know the world through their emotions (132)
  • needs to dwell in a world of flamboyant color, and extract passion from every experience (132)
  • needs to transform the ordinary happenings of life into real theater (132)
  • needs to display their emotions freely and openly (133)
  • needs to react powerfully and often immediately to events (133)
  • needs to express their moods with whatever degree of passion they feel (133)
  • needs emotional experience (133)
  • needs to avoid details, routines, organizing, planning, and finances (162)
  • needs to live their lives intensely (134)
  • needs to plumb the emotional heights and depths of any experience (134)
  • needs to avoid boredom (134)
  • needs to provoke experience by stirring the passions of other people (134)
  • needs to win friends and influence people (134)
  • needs to be the life of the party (134)
  • needs to please others and to make them comfortable (134)
  • needs to draw people to them (135)
  • needs to attend to others desires and needs (135)
  • needs others to respond with admiration and desire (135)
  • needs to willingly respond to others' ideas, suggestions, and activities (136)
  • needs a high degree of excitement in relationships (136)
  • needs to keep making friends and populating their lives with stimulating people (136-37)
  • needs admiration, attention, or expression of feeling from their mates (137)
  • needs to avoid life's mundane chores--like balancing the checkbook, keeping track of important papers, saving tax receipts, or staying within credit card limits (137)
  • needs to look on the bright side (137)
  • needs to repress the unpleasant in order to sustain an optimistic outlook (137)
  • needs to avoid being alone (137)
  • needs loving feedback from their kids (138)
  • needs to define themselves from the outside in, to see themselves as others see them (140)
  • needs to present an appealing and attractive image (140)
  • needs reassurance and feedback--call it applause--from others in order to maintain their self-confidence (140)
  • needs immediate gratification of their wants (141)
  • needs to react on impulse (141)
  • needs to live in the heartfelt moment (141)
  • needs to believe in happy endings (142)
  • needs to ignore unpleasant reality (142)
  • needs an exciting work situation in which they can make an impact (142)
  • needs to operate on hunches and insights instead of reasoning (143)
  • needs a non-regimented work environment; needs to avoid routine, repetitive, and technical work of any kind (144)

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

Values of the Dramatic 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