Anxiety and Guilt

Normal and Neurotic Anxiety: anxiety and freedom always go together.  Anxiety is defined as the resulting response to anything that threatens our freedom.  May’s definition of normal anxiety: “the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his existence as a self.” Anxiety is necessary for growth and expansion of self; moving forward into the unknown is anxiety producing, an unfortunate companion of freedom of choice.  Healthy anxiety should be recognized and accepted as inevitable.  Neurotic anxiety is the feeling that comes when one decides to conform, accept conditions of worth of others, and give up possible personal growth, all in the name of safety and security.  Neurotic anxiety, leading to psychological stagnation and intense feelings of guilt, is the subject of therapy.

Normal and Neurotic Guilt: normal guilt comes when one doesn’t live up to his/her potential as a human being; it is part of the human condition, like anxiety; normal guilt can be used constructively when it is recognized and consciously reduced by appropriate action; neurotic guilt is the result of giving up and taking no risks for growth and expansion of self.