Background. Developing criteria for distinguishing between normal and abnormal personality is one of the most important fundamental scientific problems of psychology. However, today it does not have a satisfactory explanation.
The main Objective of this paper is to propose a new criterion to identify normal and abnormal personality that refers to the works of Erich Fromm.
The methodological and theoretical analysis of E. Fromm's ideas of productive and non-productive personality was carried out.
Based on the analysis of Fromm’s accounts an existential criterion for identifying normal and abnormal personality is proposed.
Conclusion. According to this criterion, firstly normal and abnormal personalities can be identified by special features of their position regarding existential dichotomies, secondly they include particular aspects of acquiring this position. Such dichotomies are inherent, bilateral discrepancies. The position of a normal personality pre-determinates certain existential dichotomies and the necessity of searching for compromise in resolving these dichotomies. This position is actively developed by a person taking into account the rational approach. The position of an abnormal personality is to deny a contradicting predetermination of inherent in existential dichotomies and leads a person toward a consistent, noncompetitive, and eventually single way where self-determination is not taken into account. This position is imposed by other people on an irrational basis. Abnormal personality is deemed as one of the most important factors that influence the development of various kinds of psychological problems and mental disorders (e.g. neurosis).
The references are made to empirical studies, which show that the existential criterion can be successfully used to diagnose normal and abnormal personality and to identify the causes of many psychological problems in humans.
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, С. 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.