There are more than a dozen of personality theories in psychology currently. However, among psychologists there is no general agreement in understanding personality as a psychological reality, i.e. the agreement of phenomena opened to introspection and the facts established by observing the activity of the subject and his/her products, all together designated by the term «personality». The authors of these theories are dealing with very different phenomena and facts, sometimes not quite compatible ones, making impossible comparative analysis based on the criterion of adequacy, designed to assess the extent to which the scientific theory corresponds to the psychological reality explained by it.
Thus, it is useful to turn to the analysis of William James’s works in order to clarify the issue of the psychological reality of the person who according to the author did the most thorough job of identifying the basic phenomena and facts that need be referred to using the term «personality». The results of this study allowed to draw the following conclusions.
From James’s point of view, the psychological reality of personality must include the phenomenon of personal ego and the fact of hierarchically organized motivational sphere that has been developed as a result of individual’s self-determination. James’s representations have withstood the test of time, they were in demand by a number of renowned theorists of personality especially those that considered consciousness as a subject matter of scientific psychology. Perpetual interest in James’s concept of personality among theorists turns to be quite durable in time and is a subject matter of psychological reality.
As it was mentioned in one of the previous papers, basic styles of parenting in families with parent-child problems were hyperprotection and overexactness. Another paper described a new so-called existential criterion of normal and abnormal personality based on the works of Erich Fromm. Applying this criterion to personality evaluation of overprotecting and overexacting parents in families with parent-child problems showed that their personality could be identified as abnormal. Research on the influence of hyperprotection and overexactness at children personality development in these families, where existential criterion was also applied, showed that these parenting styles contribute to promoting child specific abnormal personality types: oriented on external assistance, oriented on compliance with other people’s requirements and oriented on protest against such compliance.
In the present study, the direct or indirect hyperprotection or overexactness in 80 per cent of cases was observed. Direct hyperprotection or overexactness means that they are clearly determined in relationship of the married couple. Indirect hyperprotection or overexactness indicates that the couple has abnormal personality types that date have roots in the childhood under the influence of the hyperprotection and overexactness. Classification of these cases was developed, based on various types of direct or indirect input of hyperprotection and overexactness in emerging marital problems. A variety of problems in couples are shown to be closely connected with abnormality of their own personality or the personality of their immediate environment, primarily wives, husbands and parents.
The paper includes research results of families, who have never applied to psychological counselling. To assess the normality and abnormality of parent and child personality existential criterion was used. In these families a so-called balanced style of parenting was revealed. This style indicates the compromising parental position in the education of their children concerning the existential dichotomies help and autonomy, nature and culture, self-actualization and conditional values, determinism and self-determination. The study results suggest that this position is developed by parents independently and on a rational basis. In accordance with the existential criterion mentioned above, characteristics of the educational position of parents indicate normality of their personality. It is shown that a balanced style of parenting contributes to developing child personality type with a dual, contradictory orientation for both children and their parents when solving life problems. Children with this type of personality, as well as their parents, manifest inherent willingness to compromise position towards the same existential dichotomies help and autonomy, nature and culture, self-actualization and conditional values, determinism and self-determination. Thanks to a balanced style of parenting favourable personal prerequisites for the development of normal personality are shown. As balanced style of parenting contributes to the normal development of child personality, these children have lack personal prerequisites for emerging difficulties in social adaptation, and therefore in families with such style of solving parent-child problems, due to these difficulties are completely absent.
The paper includes results of the research, where influence of main parenting styles on developing children’s personality and appearing child-parent problems were considered. It covers client families of psychological advice (with overprotection and over exactingness). It is indicated that the key factor emerging child-parent problems in this families is the abnormality of the parent personality identified through so-called existential criterion, which is displayed in their parenting styles. The parenting styles contribute to shaping child abnormal personality types, also identified through existential criteria are designated as “directed at external assistance”, “directed at complying with the requirements of other people” and “directed at protesting against compliance with the requirements of other people”. Children of such personality types have problems communicating with others as communication is addressed to children with normal personal development and is not relevant for abnormal personal abilities. As the problems mentioned above are connected with maladjustment to social environment requirements they can be classified as problems of social adaptation.
There is a connection of a personality type “directed at complying with the requirements of other people” with abnormal personality predisposed to various life problems and mental disorders mentioned in the works of E. Fromm, S. Freud, A. Adler, Ñ. Jung, C. Rogers, and V. Frankl. It suggests the understanding of the personality of this type to be regarded as a classical type of personality which the authors mentioned above were dealing with in their psychotherapeutic practice at different times.