I get asked this question a lot and the answer is, “yes.” This is comforting to many and not such welcome news to others. In the psychological world, “screwed up” is better known as “neurotic.” Psychoanalyst Karen Horney described neurosis as “a distorted way of looking at the world and oneself, determined by compulsive needs rather than by a genuine interest in the world as it is.” Yep. Unfortunately we all do this to one degree or another, in one or more areas of our lives. The extent to which this occurs is in proportion to the severity of the mental and emotional suffering we experience. Continue reading
Karen Horney’s book is like a road map of the human psyche, detailing the ways in which we compensate for damage to the self. Her explanation of avoidance, which I’ve included below, is probably the best I’ve come across. It can apply to work, relationships, social situations and thoughts and can go unrecognized or be felt as life threatening as in the case of phobias. I recommend this book to both clients and colleagues.