A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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follow a neurotic pattern if the patient, unable to carry his superiority drive to the ultimate goal which he seeks, retreats into his fantasy. His neurotic illness is a substitute for his original superiority goal. Busy with his neurotic symptoms, the patient does not make a proper social adjustment and is driven back to his neurosis as the only satisfactory way of escaping the difficulties that loom on all sides.
Inferiorities in certain organs greatly enhance the general feeling of inferiority which exists in all children. Such things as strabismus (eye-squint), defects in the limbs, anomalies of the physical system, birthmarks, hair colour, excessive tallness, shortness, symmetries of structure, defects or exaggerations, are noted by the individual himself and commented on by his friends, to a point where they become the main issue in his mind, and serve to emphasize the terrific burden of inferiority which, Adler thought, he carries through life.
Society has, in a very definite way, aided this feeling by its division of traits into feminine and masculine. Masculinity is the ideal to aspire to in this life if one wishes to succeed. On the other hand, society has set its mark of approval on timidity, passivity, gentleness, as psychic traits peculiar to womanhood. The accepted notion says that man is intellectual and woman is emotional. Man is strong-minded but woman is suggestible and easily swayed by emotional influences. In the sexual life as in the world of industry and commerce, the role of suggestor belongs to the man. A woman who seeks to try her strength is regarded as being unduly aggressive : she is known despairingly by her sisters as a ' masculine ' type. Such a social ideology, Adler rightly believed, is accepted unconsciously by everyone. Ultimately this striving for supremacy may take a social or an anti-social direction (the delinquent and the