Case Study on Miss K, Personality Analysis
The presented in the article called Character and Neurosis Revisited – the Case of Miss K reveals a story of a girl who experiences neurotic disorders disguised by character problems (Beal, 1968). The point is that it was hard to differentiate between them and diagnose the exact problem. A closer consideration of the girl’s actions and behavior, moral principles and relations with other people shows that Miss K has a dependent personality disorder since her behavior is characterized by firm psychological dependence on other people’s decisions and opinions.
This can be explicitly viewed in her relations with her parents when she is afraid to tell them about her relations with married men and schooling failures. According to DSM-IV criteria, a person with dependent disorders consists in “excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning early in adulthood and present a variety of contexts” (Sperry, 2006, p. 130).
Viewing this case from different psychological retrospectives, it is possible to admit, that her psychological disorder is closely connected with deviated personality development within a certain period of life. At this point, there is the necessity to address Erikson’s psychological theory on the development process covering the entire life span of a person (Salkind, 2004, p. 140). According to Erickson, the psychological process results from the interaction between biological process and social requirements and challenges faced by a person in everyday life (Sperry, 2004, p. 140).
The psychologist puts an emphasis on social aspects as the main determinant of personality disorder. More importantly, Erikson states that earlier experiences endured by people can affect their further behavior and actions within society. The idea of division of personality development on certain stages can help to analyze the problem highlighted in the case. This psychological stage refers to the period from 12 to 21 years, the most difficult period of personality development.
The core point of this stage consists of infidelity and the development of the self. According to Erikson, it is necessary to keep the balance between repudiation and fanaticism (Ramirez, 2004, p. 154). In our case, Miss K experienced the crisis of fanaticism since she strived to be on the top and to correspond to the values established by her parents. Besides, her reluctance to marry a man gives her an advantage since she “prided herself on being a “technical virgin” (Beall, 1968, p. 349).
The case is also possible to consider from Maslow’s theory of motivation presenting human needs in the form of a hierarchy of importance from the lowing to the highest. The main idea of the hierarchy lies in giving priority to satisfaction of psychological needs as the motivator for the fulfillment of other ones (Koontz and Weinrich, 2006, p. 290). At this point, the psychological needs include preserving human life by consuming water and food, satisfying sexual desires and the excretion process. However, in our case, the girl’s hierarchy of needs is frustrating since she cannot satisfy her love and belonging needs that hampers her to study at school and work properly.
Such misbalance is possible to overcome if parents provide her with more safety since she lacks that psychological need as well. This explains why other aspects of hierarchy cannot be achieved. The girl’s relations with married men also constitute a lack of safety, as this type of relations can guard her virginity.
Human behavior and nature should be regarded from different dimensions. To cognate the reasons and preconditions of human actions, it is insufficient to view them separately from society. In this regard, the sixth episode of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond: the Angry Family identifies the personality feature through the interaction that occurred in the family (Rosenthal,1996). In this episode, the members of the family visit an open day at the school to encourage their twin sons.
However, they are shocked by the announcement they heard from their first-grade son Michael that reads the story based on the family’s constant quarrels and misunderstandings. They feel shame and embarrassment concerning this situation since they do not expect that their son sense the family problems so deeply. In addition, the episode proves that a child’s character is not only biologically predetermined but socially as well. His personality and values are shaped in a different environments that also contribute to the results of development.
The episode reveals the problems of psychological characters which especially concern a deviated outlook of the child on family relations. Envisioning the problematic situations at home, he is at a loss since he receives different attitudinal patterns at school. Such a stressed atmosphere at home can negatively affect the child’s development. According to Erikson’s theory of psychological stages, Michael is at the stage of shaping a sense of pride in their achievements and skills.
In case parents pay little attention to his development, they can develop a feeling of incompetence and mistrust in his mental and psychical abilities. Maslow’s theory of motivation also suits here in terms of needs a child lacks like safety and belonging. The absence of diligent care and encouragement can lead to character disorders that, in their turn, foster the child’s detachment.
Personal Definition of Personality and Their Comparison with Other Theories
After the analysis of personality revealed in the case and the movie, I have realized that personality is an intrinsic complex of mental characteristics and peculiarities making an individual unique. Initially, I believed that personality could be expressed through character and emotional states and personal believes formed values and preferences and expectations. On whole, however, theoretical ground studied in the previous sections has detected that personality development also involves social factors, including human relations, social, cultural, and religious environment, which are the main contributors to our personality shaping. These factors influence personality development at different stages.
In addition to all the above mentioned, I have also found that there is an inherent connection between biological processes and the social environment surrounding a person. Of course, one cannot also ignore some hereditary factors that partially contribute to psychological development. Still, as a human is both a biological and social being, external aspects are not of minor importance for development.
Considering the results of the Myer-Briggs test, I am an introvert since I feel comfortable when communicating with other people from different social and cultural environments. With regard to the dominant psychological functions, I have the prevailing intuition functions which are supported by thinking as a secondary psychological function. These functions also prevail while interacting in the outside world. The identification of strict typological characteristics is impossible since a psychological nature cannot purely involve only one feature.
Beall, L. (1968). Character and Neurosis Revisited – the Case of Miss K. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 32(3), pp. 348-354.
Koontz, H. and Weinrich, H. (2006). Essentials of Management. US: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Ramirez, l. M. (2004). Keepers of the children: Native American wisdom and parenting. US: Walk in Peace.
Rosenthal P. (1996). Everybody Loves Raymond. US: Columbia Broadcasting System.
Salkind, N. J. (2004). An introduction to theories of human development. US: SAGE.
Sperry, L. (2006). Cognitive behavior therapy of DSM-IV-TR personality disorders: highly effective interventions for the most common personality disorders. US: CRC Press.