The concept of abnormal and normal personalities is debated consistently, however this essay will examine the sense in which it is justifiable to adopt this concept. Through psychodynamic, behavioural and humanistic approaches to personality foundations it will become evident that the moulding of one’s personality begins at the very early stages of childhood. In particular, fixations during phases of psychosexual stages and their developing repercussions on the id, ego and superego are evidence within psychodynamic studies to support this claim.
What constitutes an “abnormal” or a “normal” personality and to what extent each exists is an endless debate which encompasses many paradigms. However, by looking at the psychodynamic approach to personality, it is evident that not only are abnormal and normal personalities apparent, but a correlation can be seen between Freud’s psychosexual stages and an adult’s behaviour and personality as an outcome. Through this theory Freud demonstrates evidence supporting the abnormal personality, as early traumatic childhood experiences buried in the psyche, eventually serve as foundations for “abnormal” behaviour.
Martin (1952) believes we can define the notion of normality, in terms of behaviour, as what has been socially approved. Thus, Weiten’s (2007) argument that “abnormal behaviour usually involves a deviation from social norms rather than an illness” supports this definition. However, realistically, it can more than often be difficult to distinguish between the fine line that separates normality from abnormality (Weiten). A defining characteristic highlighted by Rutan (2007) is the aim for inner equilibrium demonstrated by those considered to have a “normal” personality. This contrasts those with an “abnormal” personality who tend to be unable to strike a balance and instead cannot respond and adapt to seemingly regular situations.
Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is an attempt to...