PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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322         PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
in which inferiority might be felt. Many people escape from social obligations, or what they believe to be social obligations, into arrogant solitude, which is nothing more than an effort to succeed outside competition. Man's best endeavours are exercised in the keen competition of mind against mind which only society can afford. Neurosis is essentially an anti-social reaction.
The first social interplay of personalities is in the family. An Adlerian places great strain, and rightly so, upon the interplay of personalities within a family. Where a Freudian would say that the interplay of personalities in a family is merely the desire for love, the Adlerian would say that the individual members crave power over each other. The order then in which a person is born into a family plays an unduly large part in his psychology. The eldest member of a family is likely to be over-valued. He is the delightful gift of heaven to the newly married pair. Everything he does is extraordinary, and his will to power is not only given free play, but is exaggerated. The second child will perhaps develop a sense of inferiority relative to the elder brother if it be a male ; and if it be a girl, she may, in her effort to shine in the eyes of her parents, develop aggressive characteristics or a certain showiness as a means of compensation. The youngest child, the Benjamin, may develop characteristics not unlike those of the oldest member, particularly if he comes after a lengthy interval and appears to the older children as something of a jolly little curiosity. On the other hand, in a large and closely spaced family, the youngest child may feel himself despised, rejected and infinitely small. The only child of a family is destined to become priggish, the monarch of all he surveys, without competition, and therefore thoroughly unprepared for the social battle. It is the ideal mother, said Adler, who, recognizing these