Neurosis is a moral problem, not a sickness. It amounts to permission for demons to harass you because you’ve rejected some element(s) of God’s moral justice in this fallen world. In most cases we could characterize it as attempting to dodge legitimate suffering, refusing to put up with the sorrows or reality. So when you dodge that reality, you build a layer of self-deception. That self-deception blinds you to God’s moral requirements and drives you farther from His justice. In the fantasy world you’ve built, it causes more “unjust” suffering so that you build more layers of self-deception until you simply have no clue where to start.
Here are some of the most common failures.
1. There is no such thing as objective reality. Even if there was, you could never know about it because no human can be objective. We are supposed to realize the world does not share our thoughts and feelings, but most of our fellow humans have enough common experience to communicate. So we can back out of ourselves just enough to realize in what ways we are alone and how we are all too common. To the degree you have trouble with what fits into those categories, to that degree you will manifest neurosis.
2. Life is not sacred; morality is sacred. What is precious is our opportunity to embrace reality and live accordingly, but our time on this earth is borrowed from the start, as it were. The goal of justice is not improving and enhancing human life. Rather, that enhancement is a by-product of embracing and demonstrating moral truth. The only truth that matters in this world is moral truth.
3. The reason life basically sucks is that people do. There can be many kinds of beauty manifested in people you encounter, but people are not inherently good, nor can they ever be so. Some can struggle a little closer to the light of moral truth, but most will not bother. They will wallow in their chosen fantasies. Never be shocked by any human failure, not matter how catastrophic or unexpected. Cynicism is godly.
4. Youth is not sacred. It’s a unique opportunity for adults to help someone discover moral reality, but there is nothing sacred about the fantasy world of childhood. It’s not particularly evil, but it can be if prolonged. We are supposed to use the imaginative time of childhood to inculcate God’s moral truth through various forms of mythology. That’s what myths are for — they transmit moral values. The common childhood myths of the West tend to be more crippling than helpful, so a radical departure is in order, and the worst myth is the “specialness” of childhood. Stop the panicking over childhood misfortune; childhood is not a sacred right.
5. Humans pass through stages of moral development. When it comes to dealing with other humans, little else matters than to understand where they are in moral development. There’s the infancy stage where they need to learn individuation, the childhood stage where they need to learn rules and social expectations for behavior, then the adolescent stage where they develop their own formal logic and question everything, and finally they arrive at the point where they pursue moral behavior for it’s own sake by understanding why it matters. Most people never get past the childhood stage, which is characterized by legalism. A sizable minority are stuck in the nihilism of adolescence. Recognize where they are and learn to meet them there.
6. You are mostly powerless. All you can really fix is yourself. By the same token, no one else can do it for you. Most of the things that bother you can’t be changed, so you have to work on how you face it. Stop wasting time trying to remake reality; you aren’t God. Accept what He placed inside you and ask for help recognizing what you can and should fight.
That should take us a long way toward inner peace and stability.