PTypes’ Personality Types
PTypes Core Vices New! Self-Sacrificing Needs

Needs of the Serious Type


The needs of the Serious type are derived from John M. Oldham's description of the Serious 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 see things as worse than they are (Oldham, 366)
  • needs to see current circumstances, themselves, and the future as worse than they are
  • needs to see things in terms of survival in order to carry on (366)
  • needs to maintain a sober demeanor (366)
  • needs to be solemn and avoid affective expression (366)
  • needs to depreciate their own capabilities (366)
  • needs to exaggerate their own limitations (366)
  • needs to be overly responsible for things that happen (366-67)
  • needs to think over, analyze, evaluate, and ruminate upon everything (367)
  • needs to always play things over in their minds before they act (367)
  • needs to appraise others (367)
  • needs to criticize other people (367)
  • needs to anticipate problems and prepare for the worst (367)
  • needs to be overly thoughtful and polite toward others (367)
  • needs to see existence as work (367)
  • needs to do what they have to do to survive (367)
  • needs to do their duty (367)
  • needs to be cautious and avoid risks, to just keep on plodding (368)
  • needs to do their duty as they see it (368)
  • needs to tolerate routine and tedium and prodigious amounts of work (369)
  • needs to be steadfast, loyal, and trustworthy (369)
  • needs to be disappointed with themselves and cynical about others and the future (369)
  • needs to see the dark side of life and avoid coloring it with a positive brush (370)
  • needs to be pessimistic (371)
  • needs to depend on their loved ones (373)
  • needs to chalk up others' as well as their own shortcomings to the imperfections of the world (373)
  • needs to avoid pressure from other people to change (373)
  • needs a mate who is accepting and one who will let them be (373)
  • needs to see the world as a harsh place and hard work as a necessity just to stay in place (374)
  • needs to dwell on their past failures or their helplessness in the face of forces beyond their control (374)
  • needs to prepare for the worst and in so doing prevent other potential calamities (374)
  • needs to remove any potential for surprise (375)
  • needs to keep their noses to the grindstone, adhere to routine, and suppress distracting impulses and affects (375)
  • needs to think everything through before acting, not take risks or challenge fate, and not take part in pleasurable activities (375)

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

Values of the Serious 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