Neurotic behavior has a wide spectrum of characteristics. This actually makes it difficult at times to pinpoint the signs.

Neurosis is an old term, deriving from the psychology of Sigmund Feud. Anyone can admit neurotic behavior from time to time.

However, severe neurotic behavior which crosses the threshold of normalcy possesses common actions and thoughts. While society may be misinformed, and liken it to psychotic tendencies, neurotic behavior doesn’t stray from reality. In fact, it can be hypersensitive to the truths of reality.

How to recognize neurotic behavior

As I said before, neurotic behavior has many characteristics, all with similarities to numerous disorders and issues like borderline personality and bipolar disorder. But, neurotic behavior never completes other diagnoses’ and remains a condition all its own, despite the attempts to do away with the term.

Here are a few signs that you or someone you know suffers from neurotic behavior.

1. Unstable emotions

One common sign of neuroticism is unstable emotions. This means you’re having extreme mood swings. You may go from angry to sad and then back to angry again.

You can even express extreme changes in your mood by going from angry to happy in rapid succession. These emotions, then cause you to react in a ridiculous way.

2. Addictions

Substance abuse derives from many mental disorders, including neurosis. Being neurotic is a major reason why individuals turn to drugs and alcohol. This is because of the need for self-medication to fix the anxious neurotic behavior.

You may have heard people talk about their desire to calm down or “chill out” and a night out drinking is the solution. Often this social drinking does turn to addiction, just as occasional drug use.

3. Perfectionism

The desire to be perfect often derives from neurotic behavior. Individuals with this problem will need all things to be in order or completed a certain way. If this doesn’t happen, it causes them to become anxious and angry. Perfectionism can also be seen in the obsession to look a certain way and fake high self-esteem.

4. Stressed out

Plain old, run-of-the-mill stress is also a sign of neuroticism. Although a little stress is common and okay. If you’re always upset by things not going your way, or you’re worried about something happening, you’re stressed out too, and it’s not healthy.

This is a sign of deep-rooted neuroticism. I hesitate to say what’s normal because that’s debatable, but unhealthy stress is quite obvious.

5. Envious

Yes, it’s one of the 7 deadly sins. It’s also a sign of neuroticism. Being envious comes in the form of wanting to be like someone else, stealing things they have, or begging them to give you certain possessions.

Neurotic people often feel inferior to those they envy. It shows in their consistent negative behavior.

6. Over-dramatic

Being over-dramatic means having excessive anger or sadness due to a small problem. Much like stress, over-dramatizing situations can lead to more problems which can be real.

You can see over-dramatizing when one person makes a small mistake and the neurotic person refused to let go of anger, sometimes for days at a time or even weeks. Being too dramatic is one reason why people dissolve relationships.

7. Hopelessness

This trait of neurotic behavior derives more from depression than from anxiety. It’s strange how it develops, however.

Hopelessness comes from long periods of being depressed, most often created in the mind of the neurotic person. After enduring unhealthy stress for so long, hopelessness sets in as a form of giving up on life.

The roots of neurotic behavior

Neurotic behavior isn’t always a genetic trait. You see, many people believe that mental illnesses are mostly passed down from a parent or grandparent, especially in past studies.

While some neurotic behavior is inherited, it’s a smaller percentage than you may think. Also, most of these traits lie dormant until a trigger or stimulus is introduced.

On the other hand, more modern theories show that past traumas cause much of the behavior we see as abnormal. In fact, numbers are rising, with a huge population of the world suffering from some form of mental deficiency or the other.

Most of these mental issues derive from child abuse or neglect. You can see the effects of neglect in perfectionism with the subject always wanting to please themselves or others by doing everything right.

Some roots of neurotic behavior grow a little each year as a child reaches adulthood. For some people, negative experiences don’t fade and only build, like a rolling snowball, until they reach a point of extreme mental anguish. As a result, neurotic behavior is born.

What can we do now?

Honestly, neurotic behavior is one of the hardest conditions to regulate and understand, mostly due to its numerous signs, traits and character flaws. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help. One of the first and most important things for those who suffer from neuroticism is honesty.

You will not accept help if you are unwilling to accept the truth about your behavior. For those who cannot see their behavior as a problem, support is often needed, even professional help.

Anyway, there is help and hope if you reach out. I know, because many of these traits, again, speak volumes when it comes to my actions. Again, I say, you are not alone because you’re not. Let’s start a new day being honest with ourselves and starting our journey toward being better people.

References:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  2. https://www.betterhelp.com
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com
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