What is neuroticism?
Neuroticism is a personality trait, specifically, it is one of the Big Five personality factors of the Big Five model. Neuroticism is the polar opposite of the emotional stability dimension, so the main defining characteristic of neuroticism is emotional instability. However, this is not the only characteristic of neuroticism. Here are the five most important characteristics of people with high levels of neuroticism.
5 characteristics of people with high neuroticism
- Very direct communication. They are often people who are very direct in expressing their opinions. In general, this is not a problem for most people, but when it comes to people with high neuroticism we find that moments of emotional tension are not well managed, tending to overexcitement and not reflecting on the words and actions to be taken. This often leads to arguments or uncomfortable situations.
- They foresee the future in a dichotomous way. High levels of neuroticism are related to attentional problems, in particular, to difficulties in focusing attention on details and nuances. When planning and making decisions, this causes attention to focus on very negative aspects (most often) or very positive aspects (rarely), leading the person to make very polarised decisions. In general, the forecasts of people with high levels of neuroticism are fatalistic and are placed in scenarios that are very negative for them.
- High levels of frustration. This aspect is closely related to the previous one. As mentioned above, people with high scores in neuroticism are not able to plan their future in a thoughtful way. This fact leads them to habitually make mistakes or fail to achieve their goals, so they develop a sense of frustration as they perceive themselves as incapable of achieving their own goals. Gradually a vicious circle is generated in which they fail to meet their goals while perceiving themselves as less able to achieve them, thus generating high levels of frustration.
- Anticipatory anxiety. As mentioned above, the main characteristic of neuroticism is emotional instability. This means that, in general, the person’s anxiety levels are higher and more variable. Anticipatory anxiety refers to the set of negative thoughts that precede an action or decision making. In this way, anticipatory anxiety causes the person to always place themselves in worst-case scenarios. This can range from mild thoughts and physiological reactions to panic attacks in the most severe cases.
- Constant contradictions. Finally, we find that people with high levels of neuroticism have errors in the coherence and consistency of their actions and speech. This occurs as a consequence of errors in planning and structuring discourse, as it is too dependent on emotional changes and not on the objective demands of the context. This often leads to a need to change the discourse, often falling into contradictions with what has been said or done before.