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Karen Horney (1885-1952


Is Karen Horney a Freudian?

Like Freud, she believed in the importance of unconscious motivation, of sexual matters, but she believed that Freud overstressed biology Her view of human beings is more optimistic

The Oedipal Conflict

was seen more in terms of the social interaction within the family, the conflicts, patterns of dominance etc… It involves clinging, jealousy etc… like Freud, but for different reasons: the child is negotiating his/her place in the family

Sees the fact that one gender might envy some feature of the other. it is more a matter of social comparison. as cultural rather than biological. Horney introduces (perhaps somewhat tongue in cheek). the concept of womb envy -males wishing they could give birth to a child.Gender Envy    Karen Horney denied the importance of penis envy (girls wishing they had a penis as Freud proposed) --when it occurs. .

and not in the dynamics of the Oedipal conflict.The Cause of Neurosis  Karen Horney thought the main source of neurosis lied in the experience of betrayal. of not being loved. . and being helpless to bring about that love.

spoiling the child's interest in his/her own pursuits. ridiculing independent thinking. and unaware of the effect of his/her behavior on the child. This translates into behaviors like unjust reproaches. . disturbing friendships. The parent is not so much abusive as indifferent. unfulfilled promises.What is Basic Evil?   Basic evil is a lack of genuine warmth and affection for the child. unpredictable changes between overindulgence and scornful rejection.

. as the child needs the parent. hostility is repressed.When the Child Encounters Basic Evil    The first reaction is hostility But. and hostility threatens that bond. The repression of basic hostility results in basic anxiety: feeling lonely and helpless in a hostile world.

I Am not Worthy to Be Loved  The "despised real self" says: I am truly a disgraceful creature. someone no one can truly love… . a bad person.

achieved more… This is a neurotic solution to the conflict --as no one can be such a person. mate. more athletic. a better friend. They would love you if you were more courageous.But I Should…   The ideal self says: people would love you if you were kinder. more outgoing. . more disciplined. parent. more unselfish.

As these demands are impossible. Thus self hate and feelings of false guilt increase. . as well as despair and helplessness.The Tyranny of the Shoulds    A person can be driven by these demands of the ideal self. the attempts to satisfy the "shoulds" is bound to fail.

not want to really know themselves.Alienation from the Self  When succumbing to the tyranny of the "shoulds" individuals will:    Hate themselves. want to run from themselves Loose their own creativity as they strive to please Despair. and feel helpless in the face of their own behavior. .

Horney's Concept of the Self     The actual self: the person you actually are -regardless of anyone's perceptions The real self: the core of your being. . the need to be who you are truly (the subjective view of the actual self). The despised real self: negative view of the self. so you can be loved. based on the lack of love and acceptance by others The ideal self: the perfect self you think you should be. your potential.

exploit. rebellious. or not look at painful things: the resignation solution: moving away from people .How can I keep you from hurting me?    I'll be so nice… helpful. selfeffacing solution. conforming. moving toward people I'll control things. be independent. manipulate. attack if needed: the expansive solution of moving against people I'll grow my own protective shell.

If those Defensive Strategies Become a Life Style  Moving toward people leads to a COMPLIANT personality with these traits:   Need for affection and approval Need for a dominant partner  Moving against people leads to an AGGRESSIVE personality with these traits:   Need for power. prestige. exploitation. admiration Need for achievement  Moving away from people lead to a DETACHED personality with these traits:   Need for perfection Setting narrow limits to life .

Some Auxiliary Defenses(1)    Externalization: other people become the center of the neurotic's life. family. Creation of blind spots: inability to see how different one is from one's ideal image Compartmentalization between various areas of life ex: business. feeling of inner emptiness. church . Hence.

. and therefore behaving that way oneself. vulnerability Arbitrary rightness: seemingly impulsive decisions (to avoid the pain of real decision making) that are then rationalized.Auxiliary Defenses (2)      Rationalization:ex: I did this to make them happy (no--to make them like you) Excessive self-control: don't want to be caught in any emotion. Elusiveness: constant clouding of issues Cynicism: assuming that self-interest is the only motivation in operation.

. Karen's mother was more flexible.had a rigid form of religion and was very strict. Karen's father --though being a seacaptain-.Karen Horney's Religious Background   Karen and her brother Brendt called their father the "Bible-thrower" because he would literally throw the Bible at his wife on occasion.

About her Confirmation  Karen Horney wrote in her diary: "Confirmation was no blessing for me. for I professed belief in the teachings of Christ. it was a great piece of hypocrisy." . while carrying hatred in my heart (and for my nearest at that [her father]). Yet I long for the faith. that makes oneself and others happy. firm as a rock. the doctrine of love. I felt too weak to follow Christ. On the contrary.

Brendt.Family Dynamics   Karen had on-going conflicts with their father -. . Karen felt that she had been unwanted.though she ended up marrying someone that shared some of these same authoritarian qualities. Karen was very attached to Brendt. her older brother was the preferred one.

Her analysis of neurosis has been recognized as most insightful. and her theories are enjoying a renewal of interest. .Depression    Karen Horney struggled much with depression. Her own struggles and difficulties helped her understand the dynamics of neurosis.

Neurotic Needs   Definition: Irrational defenses against anxiety that become a permanent part of personality and that affect behavior Encompass the 4 ways of protecting ourselves against anxiety .

10 Neurotic Needs           Affection and approval (gaining affection) A dominant partner (submissive) Power (attaining power) Exploitation (attaining power) Prestige (attaining power) Admiration (attaining power) Achievement or ambition (attaining power) Self-sufficiency (withdrawing) Perfection (withdrawing) Narrow limits to life (withdrawing) .

Neurotic Trends   3 categories of behaviors and attitudes toward oneself and others that express a person’s needs Neurotic persons are compelled to act based on one of the neurotic trends    Movement toward others (compliant personality) Movement against others (aggressive personality) Movement away from others (detached personality) .

toward) A dominant partner (mvmt. toward) Power (mvmt against) Exploitation (mvmt.Neurotic Trends           Affection and approval (mvmt. against) Prestige (mvmt against) Admiration (mvmt. against) Achievement or ambition (mvmt against) Self-sufficiency (mvmt away) Perfection (mvmt away) Narrow limits to life (mvmt away) .

exploit others .The Compliant Personality       Move toward others Intense need for affection and approval Urge to be loved. wanted Manipulate others to achieve goals Think of self as helpless Suppress desires to control.

anxiety .The Aggressive Personality     Move against people Survival of the fittest See self as superior Driven to succeed to compensate for feelings of insecurity.

The Detached Personality     Move away from others Strive to become self-sufficient Desire for privacy Maintain emotional distance .

Criticisms of Horney    Theory of personality not as well constructed as Freudian theory Ignores roles of sociology and anthropology in influencing personality Observations too influenced by middle class America .

Contributions of Horney     Contribution to feminist psychology Influence on Erikson and Maslow More optimistic view of personality than Freud Accounts for social factors in shaping personality .

The End .