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prove it to you." The neurotic knows that he cannot justify the situation, the delusional case gives the full force of reality conviction to his modification of environment. What then has the neurotic done? He has abandoned the normal alloplastic modification of instinctual tension in favour of an autoplastic modification. He has regressed to older methods of gratification but, as these are of a forbidden nature and contravene the imperative injunctions of the Super-ego, he has to produce them in a disguised symptom form, that is to say, at the cost of illness. He gives up real gratification but retains a practically unimpaired sense of reality testing. The result is that his symptom solution is completely out of touch with the Ego, it is irrational and dissociated. The psychotic, on the other hand, has ignored reality and at considerable cost substituted a reality of his own. Again, the neurotic by adopting the autoplastic method has obviously localized his solution to his own personality, and in the actual mode of symptom formation may localize it still further to a particular part or activity of his body. The psychotic may succeed in some degree of localization, as in paranoia, but it invariably involves the environment in some projective respect.

These two considerations, viz. (1) individual versus environmental modification, and (2) the degree of localization, enable us to take some measure of the neurotic character. It will be seen that whereas the neurotic can only tolerate an autoplastic solution of instinct tension and the psychotic solution involves giving up reality, the neurotic character takes advantage of the social situation disguising his solution. broadly speaking under accepted social conventions. In so doing he is aided and abetted by the environment in that the social situation up to a point gives general toleration to character abnormalities and the patient's rationalizations tend to be accepted at face value by a society which itself exploits rationalization to the full during waking hours. In other words, the neurotic character justifies himself as the delusional case does, but his justifications, unlike those of the psychotic, are to some extent accepted by society. Clearly there is an absence of any localization in the neurotic character and there is a deficient sense of reality proving. Hence there have arisen two views as to its gravity, the first put forward by Alexander1, who says that the neurotic character makes life his neurosis, that his life is interwoven with neurosis, and the second by Ferenczi who regards character abnormalities as private psychoses tolerated by the Ego2.

Without taking sides in this discussion we may go on to consider

1 Alexander, loc. cit.

2 Ferenczi, loc. cit.

Med. Psych. v


other aspects of the neurotic character. As we have seen, the neurotic character not only makes positive demands on environment but sees to it that the demands are periodically refused, or still further that environment should inflict injuries upon him. This is of course reminiscent of neurotic self-punishment, the difference being that in the symptom we can trace a symbolic punishment, whereas with the neurotic character although the injury has also a symbolic significance, it is a real injury which seems to be almost deliberately inflicted by circumstances or other objects, persons, parents, Gods, Fates, etc. This implies either that the Super-ego in neurotic character has never been firmly established or that the neurotic character represents a regression to a more archaic level of Super-ego formation and is dependent on environment for the drive which in other cases comes from within. Here we have an obvious link with the perversion. The pervert carries out Id-tendencies quite directly, not through disguised symptom formations, yet, as Sachs1 has reminded us, he invokes a punishment situation which is real and is carried out definitely by environment. In fact the pervert's solution is emphatically rejected by society. Another resemblance between the perversion and neurotic character has been pointed out by Freud when considering by what means the Ego can reconcile the claims of the Id and of the Super-ego respectively. He remarks that the Ego can avoid a rupture of its relations by deforming itself and goes on to say, "Thus the illogicalities, eccentricities and follies of mankind would fall into a category similar to their sexual perversions for by accepting them they spare themselves repressions"."

Having thus correlated neurotic character with and at the same time distinguished it from neurosis and perversion through the relation to guilt, to social acceptance or rejection of demands and to the nature of punishment, we are immediately reminded of another link between neurotic character and the psychoses. We have said that the delusional idea is rejected more in sorrow than in anger by society, but there are cases where wide tolerance of psychotic characteristics is displayed. Freud has pointed out concerning jealousy that although, strictly speaking, this is not a normal reaction from the point of view of reality adaptation, nevertheless the condition can be regarded as a normal competitive reaction to the loss of an object. His next grouping is a


1 Sachs, "Zur Genese der Perversionen," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, vol. IX, 2, 1923.

* Freud, “Neurosis and Psychosis," Collected Papers, vol. I, 1924.

3 Freud, "Certain Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality," Collected Papers, vol. II, 1924.

projective one, when the individual's own faithlessness is obscured by an exaggeration of the unconscious signs of infidelity on the part of the object, e.g. where the unconsciously faithless husband interprets his wife's social relations in terms of infidelity. The third grouping is that of delusional jealousy where, to conceal an unconscious love for objects of the same sex, the man is convinced of his wife's love for other men. This last represents a paranoic state. Now to take an extreme instance, whilst expressions of ordinary suspicion may be based on good rationalizations, many paranoics regard themselves as supremely normal, and, what is more, are regarded by others as supremely normal. Many people however, although not paranoic, are paranoidal in type and we find that in the neurotic character exaggerated forms of suspicion exist, which, although essentially psychotic in type, are often accepted at their face value by others.

Apparently then it is going to be a difficult matter to define the neurotic character, without formulating at the same time an additional grouping of psychotic characters. This difficulty becomes more pressing when we meet with character types which have been studied and grouped together by Wilhelm Reich under the designation of 'Triebhaft' (governed by instinct) character1. Reich includes these definitely under the heading of neurotic characters, but distinguishes them from instinct-inhibited characters on several grounds. The most important of these are (1) that they have a closer relation to the repetition compulsion, (2) that they give more direct expression in action to unmodified instincts in contrast. to distorted expression, (3) that there is no single fixation point, but on the other hand a specific developmental disturbance of the Ego. His cases exhibited manifest ambivalence without reaction formation, faulty repression, sadistic actions unaccompanied by guilt and were usually associated with manifest perversions. In addition neurotic symptoms were quite a prominent feature, and although psychotic formations were not always present, the patients frequently presented schizoid characteristics. Broadly speaking, we might distinguish Reich's instinctual character from his 'inhibited' neurotic character and from the neurotic symptom respectively by comparing an individual who physically injures himself or members of his family with, on the one hand, an individual who shows an exaggerated characteristic of scrupulousness and, on the other, with a patient suffering from obsessive ceremonials calculated to neutralize unconscious ideas of aggression.

The question immediately arises whether the types he describes are 1 Reich, "Der triebhafte Charakter," Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1925.

pure enough to be included under the neurotic character, or whether they are not mixed types capable of further subdivision in accordance with their resemblance to severe neuroses, perversions, psychoses, etc. On the other hand, in Alexander's description of the neurotic character the irrational and apparently senseless behaviour of patients is emphasized, which would to some extent separate them from the types presented in this paper, with whom a feature of the situation is the existence of almost cast-iron rationalizations. Difficulties of this sort may be met to some extent in one or all of three ways. They may be regarded as the result of variation in intensity of character discharges, lighting up, so to speak, increasingly archaic levels of adaptation. Or broad differences in types of neurotic character may be correlated with the nature of the Super-ego formation, e.g. the more positive and unmodified the instinct drive the more compulsive and less rationalized the character reaction and vice versa. Or again, the difficulty might be lessened by isolation of a special group of 'psychotic characters.' For example, one of my cases went through a constantly recurring series of situations which ended in the abandonment of one occupation or hobby in favour of a new but symbolically related activity. Analysis showed that underlying each situation there was a network of ideas which were not distinguishable from delusions of reference. The patient had in early life experienced much positive gratification of component impulses, especially of an exhibitionistic sort and had evidently solved the problem of Oedipus deprivation and guilt by a concealed system of spying ideas. It seems probable that with a more adequate reality sense, this case would have developed either a severe neurosis or a manifest perversion.

But whatever justification there may be for a psychotic character grouping, it is evident that we have not advanced far enough to deal effectively with the classification of types whose reactions border closely on psychotic mechanisms, to say nothing of the social groups vaguely called defective and criminal. Nevertheless we cannot escape from the necessities of a neurotic character grouping in which the whole personality is permeated with reactions which, if localized and concentrated, would irresistibly remind us of a neurotic symptom. The fact that these permeations can in some cases be distinguished only with great difficulty from normal character formations is far from being a drawback to the classification. It is only another illustration of the commonplace that we can learn much of normal function from a study of exaggerated or positively abnormal function.

It has already been noted regarding normal character traits that they

represent the imprint of various stages in Ego and libido development, and that character reactions constitute an active exercise directly and indirectly of Id-gratifications and Ego reaction formations. A typical example would be that of the reaction formations of social pity and humanitarianism, which express the barrier against cruelty and yet by insisting on penalties for cruelty, give a certain scope for retention of the original impulse. We can recall here the fact that the Ego does not circumscribe the Id but is rather a localized, so to speak, external construction which guards the approaches to motility but is to some extenta much greater extent than we like to imagine-infiltrated by the Id. From the point of view of rationalization, we might say that it forms a kind of veneer which draws attention to the finished surface, irrespective of the quality, grain or warp of the substructure. The simile is however too rigid to suggest the function of normal character. This might, very inadequately, be compared with a coarse surface filter made of some elastic sponge-like substance, which holds back the major incompatibilities of the Id-reservoir, but retains in its own interstices varying amounts of the same material which can then evaporate imperceptibly into reality. With too large a mesh or too much pressure from below we are faced with the neurotic character. To pursue the comparison further; if we regard normal character processes as having a kind of respiratory function in the psyche, acting, so to speak, as a pulmonary system, neurotic character could be compared to the laboured respirations of active and passive hyperaemia.

At any rate we have here the idea of a protective system with sufficient elasticity and 'give' to meet stresses both from within and without, operating normally as a sort of capillary anastomosis between the Id and reality. When for any reason there is an obstruction to the libido stream of the individual, this system can function as a collateral circulation, but at the possible cost of hypertrophy, i.e. of neurotic character. Should this collateral circulation fail, the psyche gets into a state of libido congestion calling for further repression, and in the absence of effective repression the road to symptom formation is open. As Freud1 has pointed out, what distinguishes character formations from neurosis is the absence of miscarriage of repression. It is conceivable then that in normal character processes we have a boundary formation which prevents the establishment of a vicious circle in libido economy. This is in keeping with Freud's view that failure to sublimate is one of the contributing factors in falling ill.

1 Freud, "The Predisposition to Obsessional Neurosis," Collected Papers, vol. 11, 1924.

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