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Susan’s needs for relational value drove her to respond in a maladaptive way.Individuals who hide in their apartments out of social anxiety, individuals who hunt for any signs of betrayal, and individuals who vacillate between being needy and fearing control all engage in neurotic relational patterns in that they each are attempting to manage their needs for relational value, but are doing so in a way that ultimately produces intense conflict or pushes others away leaving such needs fundamentally unmet.The most important thing to distinguish when using the term "neutoric" is to know whether it is referring to personality traits or character adaptations.Personality traits are longstanding patterns of thoughts, feelings, and actions which tend to stabilize in adulthood and remain relatively fixed.Two very common defenses are repression and rationalization.Repression is when material is blocked out of self-conscious recognition (see here for an example).
Unfortunately over time, it comes with significant costs (hangovers, weight gain, health problems, etc).
Originally, borderline individuals were those who generally maintained contact with reality, but under duress exhibited extreme volatility and primitive defenses and were not good candidates for psychoanalysis).
For a host of reasons, I hope the term makes a comeback, and I describe here the various ways the term is still used and how it can be helpful in framing human problems and suffering.
While Brian’s response, “I will be there in a minute” alleviated Susan’s short term anxiety, it is also likely that at some level Brian will register Susan as dependent and needy, which will increase the likely that he will actually avoid her in the future—which, of course, is exactly Susan’s fear.
The importance of understanding the meaning of “neurotic” in terms of character adaptations is that we are all neurotic some of the time, even if we might be low on trait Neuroticism.