Neurotic Needs

The satisfaction of conative, aesthetic, and cognitive needs is basic to ones physical and psychological health, and their frustration leads to some level of illness. However, neurotic needs lead only to stagnation and pathology (Maslow, 1970).

By definition, neurotic needs are nonproductive. They perpetuate an unhealthy style of life and have no value in the striving for self-actualization. Neurotic needs are usually reactive; that is, they serve as compensation for unsatisfied basic needs. For example, a person who does not satisfy safety needs may develop a strong desire to hoard money or property. The hoarding drive is a neurotic need that leads to pathology whether or not it is satisfied. Similarly, a neurotic person may be able to establish a close relationship with another person, but that relationship may be a neurotic, symbiotic one that leads to a pathological relationship rather than genuine love. Maslow (1970) presented yet another example of a neurotic need. A person strongly motivated by power can acquire nearly unlimited power, but that does not make the person less neurotic or less demanding of additional power. "It makes little difference for ultimate health whether a neurotic need be gratified or frustrated" (Maslow, 1970, p. 274).

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