Thursday, 21 September 2017 00:56

Why idealists are critical and why they must stop being critical

Written by 


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

The idealist, in childhood, rejected his problematic body and ego and used his thinking and imagination to come up with an ideal alternative self. By age six he has already posited an ideal self.

The self is conceptual; each of us uses his inherited biological constitution and social experience to construct his self-concept, aka personality. (See George Kelly, 1955, Personality as a personal construct. New York: Norton.)

The ideal self has ideal standards of behaviors. (See Karen Horney, 1950, Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: Norton; also see Alfred Adler, 1987, The Neurotic Constitution. New York: Norton.)

Thereafter, he struggles to become his imaginary ideal self. Because the real cannot be ideal there is a difference in his real self and his ideal self; as it were, he has a split self: real versus ideal self.

Anticipating not becoming his ideal self, especially in social settings he feels fear; fear of failure and anxiety is always part of his psychological and biological make up.

Whenever a person rejects his real self and tries to become an alternative ideal self he must experience anxiety. The idealist has free floating anxiety.

Alfred Adler and Karen Horney called the idealist a neurotic; I will stay clear of psychoanalytic terms and simply describe the idealistic personality as it is.

The idealist uses the standards of his ideal self to compare his real self and other people's real selves and, of course, finds the real self not good enough. He is, therefore, always criticizing his self and other people's real selves relative to the imaginary ideal standards of the ideal self.

The idealist is a critical person; he is always an unhappy person; he makes other people unhappy by comparing them to imaginary ideal states that do not exist in the world of matter, space and time.

Idealistic fathers compare themselves, their wives and children to ideal selves and ideal standards of behaviors and find them not good enough and criticize them ad infinitum.

The children of idealists grow tired of not been accepted as they are; many of them rebel and leave home wanting nothing to do with their critical fathers.

During my teenage years I got tired of always hearing my father criticize me. I asked: what exactly does he want? At school I was an A student and almost always at the top of my classes so what else does he want? I was never good enough relative to his imaginary ideal standard. Therefore, I sought to reduce the anxiety he generated in me by leaving home and never to come back to his presence.

As soon as I was done with secondary school I left for the USA and said goodbye to the man and did not miss his presence; I did not really ever go back to see him (his presence made me anxious and I did not want to be anxious).

My father was brilliant; his IQ was, at least, 140; his personality was obsessive-compulsive. The Obsessive-compulsive personality rejects his real self and wants to become an imaginary ideal self; he is full of anxiety; he is perfectionistic and is always law abiding; he admires those in political power and does not respect those he considers as weak and poor. (See The American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth Edition. Washington: American Psychiatric Press.) Many of our brilliant university professors are Obsessive-compulsive in their personality structure. Genius has its cost!

Brilliant men often produce rebellious children. They make life difficult for their children and those leave them for good.  Nobody wants to be continually exposed to anxiety making situation by being constantly criticized. Children want to be accepted in an unconditionally positive manner. (See Carl Rogers 1947. Client Centered Therapy. London, Conan.)

For our present purposes, some people, due to inherited biological issues (such as weak body, or pained and stressed body, as was the case in my father) reject their bodies and real selves and want to become idealized selves and use the standards of the ideal self to judge the real self and make life difficult for themselves and those around them.

The solution to this problem is for idealists to stop doing what they are doing and simply accept themselves as they are and all people as they are and stop criticizing themselves and other people with false ideal standards of self and behavior.

Here is the deal: don't ever criticize you and people. Bite your tongue and lips instead of criticizing people; people hate you if you criticize them and want to kill you for doing so.

You did not create people so it is not up to you to tell them how to be, good or bad; it is not for you to judge people as bad; if they want to be bad they have the freedom to be so, provided that they do not hurt other people; if they hurt other people it becomes a social issue and at that point we have to stop them.

There is a bunch of wild Africans called Igbos; they are mostly neurotic; they reject their African selves, posit idealized selves that they associate with superiority (they see Jews as a superior people and want to be Jews so as to be superior, instead of been the Africans whom they see as inferior).

Neurotic Igbos use the standards of their wished for ideal selves to compare other Nigerians and find them not good enough and disrespect them.

Igbos identify with their idealized self; thinking that it is who they are, and from its standpoint, they criticize other Nigerians, put them down.

Of course Igbos are not their imaginary ideal selves; the ideal self is a wished for self, a magical self, a fantasy (if believed one becomes deluded, psychotic).

Igbos are terribly unsophisticated people; they verbally abuse Nigerians; as it were, they have death wish and are asking Nigerians to smack them down, even kill them.

People do kill those who insult them but Igbos refuse to learn this fundamental lesson of our lives. They keep behaving like wild savages by always putting folks down.

The Nigerians they put down want to kill them and intermittently kill them. Neurotic Igbos need to stop identifying with imaginary superior selves and accept their real selves and accept other people's real selves.

The real self is always imperfect; people have to have the courage to accept and respect their imperfect real selves and stop wishing for chimeric perfect, ideal selves.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

September 20, 2017


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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176