Neuroticism has a bad press.
Without people being neurotic and doubting and questioning, we would never have allowed science to take us to the moon, nor offer our own destruction in a single war it has to be said. Being concerned that things are not going to go well and need further work and investigation holds back the exceesses of flagrant abandon and 'it will sort itself out'.
If you read Fredrants then you will know I am a good old neurotic yet extravert. But the name has a negative connotation which is most unfair. It is there with the picky, insecure old maid, or the over protective mother, or the ball breakingly pedantic boss no one likes, or just losers in general. But the reverse is true. Many people who suceed in their chosen fields, esepcially science and technology, or in furthering other professions like law are what you would describe as neurotic, but dont have the failings of not being able to act upon their doubts, concerns and questioning.
It is in fact linked to creativity and great achievements. Self doubt is in the picture of course, because we neuros dont soak up praise very often, in fact we are invariably suspicious of praise, However we may well seek approval and recognition, we rarely are satisfied by it. There are some crowning moments when we bathe in accolades, because in fact neurotic people are often the most successful. Why? Because they dont accept things the way they are!
In this Am'Science Article the author gives an amazing, candid and easy to read summary of the extravert-introvert, stable-neurotic type axis and shows they are not really truly mutually exclusive nor are they always polar.,
But back up on they write. Neurotic people, or a branch of them, do indulge in risk tak,ing behaviour. They have an internal angst, a dissatisfaction which they have to exorcise in the real world of people.
So when I was wee, I was bashful. I would run in and grab girls breasts as a three year old when my brother had visits, much to embarresment and amusement. This type of crass behaviour continued, even including meeting my spouse! I had to kind of strike out at the world to see if it moved, to feel I was engaging with it, to overcome my own massive inhibitions with some seemingly uninhibited outbursts.
This now explains me as I reach old age at a rapid pace it seems, just over the hill of life really, Yet it also confirms I am damn right about my career choice and hobbies and so on.
I have learned my way out of the crassness and attention seeking because of so much negative feedback from being like that, I have meta inhibited the angst driven routes to overcome my deep inhibitions.
So I go well tooled into the last third of my career life and the second half of my fatherhood and the last half of my entire life quite well equipped with self knowledge and some tools.
For example, I never did get shy people and thought they were just boring. Nor did I understand that life is full of bullies, idiots with no doubts and that they are looking for weakness in others all the time to make up for their emptyness. Now I get shy people and am prepared to stick my chin out and laugh at or with bullies.,
So Neuro is a bad old label, We could be called Pedantos, or Questionos, We are seekers who never find quite what we set out to look for. Some of us are more social and extravert, some are more seclusive and shun company. But it has to be asked are we first neurotic worriers whcih brings us foreceably out of our shells in trying to resolve the angst of being locked up alone?
Certainly I lack some of the socialk antennae skills which many people have, and I worry about things, and even avoid eating the peach.
Recently for example I decided to stop being crew on boats and go back to more helming. It is a tough decision in one way - I have to turn my back on an interesting bunch of folk. But there is no point in hanging on to it if I want to practice helming and being in command of a vessel! You have to just eat the peach if it is there for you, and I got loaned a boat.
Also at the weekend I decided to stop worrying about a lot of job related things and just said fuck it, I will get something better and I will just tell them that I am highly competant in my profession. I know I am, I have been battling demons in only my own mind. I just dont get on with everyone or fit into very admin heavy specific jobs.. So yeah, I have been fired and I have resigned but I just have to grab the bull by the horns inow and say, fuck it , I am really good at this but hey guys, here are my shortcomings and I will have it in writing that they are accepted and taken and not to be used against me in a review.
Life goes on then to get better because I have a stonger self assertion, and can work on or around weaknesses of being the way I am and reacting to the world the way I do. So I cans stop crassness, develope shy friends, and realise that me being a Questionos as I would prefer, makes me a little superior to those who take things at face value or rush in.
In many ways I feel now wise, almost 50, and suddenly wise.