Ups and downs: The positives and negatives of neurotic personalities

Do you have trouble controlling your emotions? Are you prone to emotional outbursts? Are your intense feelings, like anxiety or anger, getting in the way of your connections and relationships with those close to you?

Those with a neurotic personality commonly experience emotional instability, mood swings, insecurity and low-self esteem. You may feel anxious, pessimistic or insecure, but neuroticism can have both positives and negatives, and there are ways you can manage your emotions.

What is a neurotic personality?

Neuroticism is a personality trait relating to our emotional stability. It’s one of the Big Five personalities, alongside extroversion, agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness. Like all the personality traits, it exists on a spectrum, which means that each of us experiences varying degrees of neurotic tendencies. At its core, neuroticism is all about the balance between being calm and confident on one hand, and anxious, stressed or negative on the other.

Someone with a neurotic personality may have difficulty calming their worries, be plagued with self-doubt or have a tendency towards negative emotions in reaction to stressful situations. Their perception of threat and danger is often higher, leading to emotional outbursts that don’t usually match with what’s actually happening. 

What are the positives of neuroticism?

Neuroticism isn’t all bad  – there are some upsides to this personality trait if well-managed. If you have higher levels of neuroticism, you’re more likely to be realistic and conscious of risks due to your perception of threat. This means that you’re less likely to take risks that might not pay off, and so potentially get into less danger. This self-awareness means you also think critically about the decisions you make.

What are the negatives of neuroticism?

However, there are many downsides of having a neurotic personality and depending on the severity, it could have a significant impact on your daily life, work and relationships with others. 

It’s common to ‘respond poorly to environmental stress and interpret ordinary situations as threatening’, and some studies have shown it has been linked to a lower quality of life and even issues in marriage.

Typical negative impacts include:

  • Mental health issues like depression and anxiety
  • Spiralling, catastrophising or fixating on a small, even insignificant issue
  • A tendency to being self-critical or complaining a lot
  • Dependency on others

What can you do to manage your neuroticism?

Recognising your neurotic personality is the first step in managing its negative effects. For example, being mindful of what you’re feeling and why allows you to make connections between your emotions and any triggers, like a certain situation. Taking steps to become more aware of how your neurotic personality impacts you can help you to work towards building meaningful relationships

The Zen Buddy app is a self-help tool that you can use to keep track of your moods, thoughts and feelings, which can make it easy to spot patterns. It’s designed to help you adopt mindfulness and meditation techniques to improve your daily life.

Your neurotic personality and couple relationship

Being successful in your romantic relationship relies on several factors. Aside from circumstances, history, and chance, much of it depends on your personality type.

In this course, you’ll learn about the positives and negatives of the neurotic personality and how it can affect your couple relationship.