Lecture 4 -Psychology of Personality
Karen Horney, another in the line of Psychodynamic theorists and practioners,
was considerably ahead of her time as the fiirst Feminist Psychologist and you
will also see creeping into her work a recognition (pretty much for the first time)
that the 'social' environment influences the person as well.
It's not just about the
upbringing but where we are today as well (our environment which includes
Karen Horney believed that much of personality results from
interactions with society. She stated that the impacts of culture result in
. Cultural influences include competition among individuals resulting in
feelings of hostility and isolation, the subsequent intensified need for affection,
and the overvaluation of love.
Karen Horney was born September 16, 1885, to Clotilde and Berndt Wackels
Danielson. Her father was a ship's captain, a religious man, and an authoritarian.
His children called him "the Bible thrower," because, according to Horney, he did! Her mother, who was
known as Sonni, was a very different person -- Berndt's second wife, 19 years his junior, and considerably
more urbane. Karen also had an older brother, also named Berndt, for whom she cared deeply, as well as
four older siblings from her father's previous marriage.
Fortunately [psychoanalysis] is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts.
Life itself still remains a very effective therapist
Karen Horney's childhood seems to have been one of misperceptions: For example, while she paints a
picture of her father as a harsh disciplinarian who preferred her brother Berndt over her, he apparently
brought her gifts from all over the world and even took her on three long sea voyages with him -- a very
unusual thing for sea captains to do in those days! Nevertheless, she felt deprived of her father's
affections, and so became especially attached to her mother, becoming, as she put it, "her little lamb."
At the age of nine, she changed her approach to life, and became ambitious and even rebellious. She said
"If I couldn't be pretty, I decided I would be smart," which is only unusual in that she actually was pretty!
Also during this time, she developed something of a crush on her own brother. Embarrassed by her
attentions, as you might expect of a young teenage boy, he pushed her away. This led to her first bout
with depression -- a problem that would plague her the rest of her life.
In early adulthood came several years of stress. In 1904, her mother divorced her father and left him with
Karen and young Berndt. In 1906, she entered medical school, against her parents' wishes and, in fact,
against the opinions of polite society of the time. While there, she met a law student named Oscar Horney,
whom she married in 1909. In 1910, Karen gave birth to Brigitte, the first of her three daughters. In 1911,
her mother Sonni died. The strain of these events were hard on Karen, and she entered psychoanalysis.
As Freud might have predicted, she had married a man not unlike her father: Oscar was an authoritarian