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Neurotic Claims

From Karen Horney's (pg. 42) chapter "Neurotic Claims" in Neurosis and Human Growth:

"The difference between a need and a claim is a clear-cut one. Nevertheless, if the psychic undercurrents have changed the one into the other, the neurotic is not only unaware of the difference but is indeed averse to seeing it. He speaks of an understandable or natural wish when he really means a claim; and he feels entitled to many things which a bit of clear thinking could show him are not inevitably his. I am thinking, for instance, of some patients who are furiously indignant when they get a ticket for double parking. Once again, the wish to "get by" is completely understandable, but they are not entitled to exemption. It is not that they do not know the laws. But they argue (if they think about it at all) that others get by, and that it is therefore unfair that they should have been caught.

"For these reasons it seems advisable to speak simply of irrational or neurotic claims. They are neurotic needs which individuals have unwittingly turned into claims. And they are irrational because they assume a right, a title, which in reality does not exist. In other words, they are excessive by the very fact of being made as claims instead of being recognized simply as neurotic needs. The special content of the claims that are harbored varies in detail, according to the particular neurotic structure. Generally speaking, however, the patient feels entitled to everything that is important to him--to the fulfillment of his particular neurotic needs."

"Shoulds" and "Claims" in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

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

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