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  • After he has had his tantrum, the neurotic expects those around him to feel friendly and relaxed; after all, he does.

  • When the pressures really mount, the neurotic must choose: Shall he have a good cry, or set fire to his neighbor's house?

  • No good neurotic finds it difficult to be both opinionated and indecisive.

  • The neurotic would like to trust his analyst — if only because he's paying him so much money. But he can't — because if the analyst really cared, he'd be doing it for nothing.

  • Humiliation is a vast country of imprecise boundaries. If you think you're there, you are. The neurotic rule: when in doubt, go ahead and feel humiliated.

  • At night, neurotics may toil not, but oh how they spin!

  • Not for nothing does the neurotic suffer — but not for anything very much, either.

  • Neurotic quarrels always have the same theme-song: Hate me and get it over with.

  • Neurotics would like to sleep all the time, and to be awakened only when there is good news.

  • The neurotic longs to touch bottom, so at least he won't have that to worry about any more.

  • Neurotics are sure that no one understands them, and they wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Neurotics expect you to remember all the things that they tell you, and many that they don't.

  • Neurotics have plenty of non-neurotic friends, but not for long.

  • There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness or death.

  • Being nuts is its own reward.

  • 'Are you seeing a psychiatrist?' as a conversation opener would nowadays earn you a punch in the nose, but for fifty years it was a compliment. It meant, 'One can plainly see you are sensitive, intense, and interesting, and therefore neurotic.' Only the dullest of clods trudged around without a neurosis.

  • There's an old saying, 'Neurotics build castles in the air, and psychotics live in them.' My mother cleans them.

  • You can always trust the information given you by people who are crazy; they have an access to truth not available through regular channels.

  • The trouble with going crazy is that you have to go around making it up to everyone afterwards. It seems they should be making something up to you.

  • Nothing is more trying than nerves to people who have none.

  • I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • in Leslie Garis, "Susan Sontag Finds Romance," The New York Times ()
  • She was one of those small tight-lipped neurotics who sometimes turn to religion and now and then to crime.

  • Nervous alarms should always be communicated, that they may be dissipated.

  • Neurotics, who cause less distress to themselves and their neighbours than those in the other category, are at war with their own natures. Their right hands are in conflict with their left. Psychotics, and it is those who commit purposeless crimes and prefer death to life, are at war with their environment. Right and left hands strike against the womb that carries them.

  • Social activity right on top of a crisis had the same effect on Cecilia nervously as, on her inside, exercise taken too soon after a meal: undigested experience hung heavily on her spirit.

  • I feel so agitated all the time, like a hamster in search of a wheel.

  • I'm nervous — the extroverted version of not relaxed. You're tense — the introverted version.

  • She was a little woman, perpetually bent forward, possibly because she was always on the run, having to be somewhere before she could get there.

  • I observed long ago that no class of human creatures get so little sympathy as those who carry in their life-luggage a bundle of nerves.

  • Only two groups of people intimidate me absolutely: salespeople and the French.

  • Romer's mother, looking intensely cross — it was her form of deep thought — was re-embroidering ... She had that decadent love of minute finish in the unessential so often seen in persons of a nervous yet persistent temperament.

  • But nerves! Be glad you have a nice little cirrhosis, Mrs. Munniman. Not like me with a husband silent as a stuffed sausage. I could drop dead asking him how many lumps in his tea.

    • Helen Hudson,
    • "The Strange Testament of Michael Cassidy," The Listener ()
  • For me it's always midnight with the phone out of order and a murderer on the fire escape. What I suffer from nerves could be a technicolor spectacle.

    • Helen Hudson,
    • "The Strange Testament of Michael Cassidy," The Listener ()
  • ... a healthy touch of paranoia makes it that much more difficult for your enemies to get to you.

  • Oh, the trifles, the people, that get on your nerves when you have a neurosis!

    • Muriel Spark,
    • "Come Along, Marjorie," The Go-Away Bird ()
  • Neurotics are awfully quick to notice other people's mentalities ...

    • Muriel Spark,
    • "Come Along, Marjorie," The Go-Away Bird ()
  • Hedda was queasily phobic of children and, by extension, of short people in general. They were too condensed, like undiluted cans of soup — too intensely human and, therefore, too intensely not to be trusted. The mistakes in the basic ingredients — the stupidity, the cruelty — were overpoweringly present.

  • She was a great one for not sitting down all day, not touching a morsel of food, never sleeping a wink all night and hearing every quarter of a hour strike from midnight until dawn.

    • Elizabeth C. Taylor,
    • "I Live in a World of Make-Believe," Hester Lilly and Twelve Short Stories ()
  • Mrs. Carey looked as if she were mentally holding on to hanging straps that weren't there.

  • Life here in America is so fervid, so fast ... that the tendencies to nervous disease are constantly aggravated.

  • ... most of the worthwhile, the beautiful, the progressive and the useful achievements of homo sapiens had been produced by introverted neurotics ...

  • Well, delusions are a wonderful thing, and they keep you company, too.

  • ... perhaps she was just having a case of 'nerves,' that excuse that women of fifty employed to cover their accumulated inner anger.

  • Broadly speaking, nervous women may be divided into two classes — those who are really nervous, and those who imagine themselves to be so.

  • [On a woman who said in her job she was paid to be nervous:] Nobody has to pay me to be nervous. / I've always done it as a volunteer. / I do it as a kind of public service / That draws upon my expertise in fear.

  • Panic is efficient. Panic is effective. Panic is the way I get things done! Panic attacks are my booster rockets!

  • The one thing the matter with him is just 'nerves': and that is never understood properly, never prescribed for properly, never even sympathised with properly, in England. And yet it is more terrible, if not checked, than almost any form of disease, and completely cancels one's energy and usefulness. Only it can always be checked, thank the Lord. It always makes for the best people, the crystals of the human race.

  • Few situations — no matter how greatly they appear to demand it — can be bettered by us going beserk.

  • She felt ... ready to leave behind her doubts, insecurities, and guilt. Okay, maybe not her guilt. Guilt was like her handbag, occasionally heavy, but something she just felt better carrying around. Same with her insecurities, with which she had grown secure. As for her doubts, she remained doubtful.

  • If civilization ever achieves a higher standard of what constitutes normality, it will have been the neurotic who led the way.

  • We might likewise say that humans are the neurotics of the animal world, in that they are the only animals who must choose to be instead of just instinctively being.

  • If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at once and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.

  • I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.

  • Paranoids are the only ones to make sense of anything, / connecting everything ...

    • Astrid Alben,
    • "The Saddest Tree at Kew," Ai! Ai! Pianissimo ()
  • The neurotic . . . feels caught in a cellar with many doors, and whichever door he opens leads only into new darkness. And all the time he knows that others are walking outside in sunshine.

  • Every person, to the extent that he is neurotic, is like an airplane directed by remote control.