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Unformatted text preview: Karen Horney 1885 – 1952
“Horney’s insights were derived from her efforts to relieve her own pain, as well as that of her patients. If her suffering had been less intense, her insights would have been less profound” (Paris, 1994, p. xxv). Overview of Theory Wrote about neuroses primarily Early childhood and social forces important
Tenets of her Psychoanalytic Social Theory:
– Childhood very important and the warmth/affection from parents. “the sum total of childhood experiences brings about a certain character structure, or rather, starts its development” (Horney, 1939) – – – – – Modern (and western) culture is based on competition Competition spawns basic hostility and then isolation Isolation in a hostile world leads people to need affection This need for affection results in overvaluation of love This desperate need for love can lead to neuroses and pathological ways of finding love (competition, anxiety, hostility, low selfesteem) Development of Neurotic Social Styles Safety & Satisfaction: come from appropriate love/discipline Basic Hostility: anger towards parents for perceived lack of love
– Seldom demonstrate it (usually repressed) Basic Anxiety: feelings of isolation & deep insecurity in a world conceived as potential hostile (develops from basic hostility)
– Basic anxiety is the “nutritive soil out of which a definite neurosis may develop at any time” – One of three styles develops (and dominates) to combat Basic Anxiety: Moving Towards people (becoming dependent) Moving Against people (becoming hostile/competitive) Moving Away from people (becoming isolative) Three Styles: Normal & Neurotic
Normal Defenses Toward People Neurotic Defenses Toward People (friendly, loving personality) (compliant personality) Against People (survivor in a competitive society) Against People (aggressive personality) Away from People (autonomous, serene personality) Away from People
(detached personality) Category 1: Moving Towards People (Compliant)
– Need for affection and approval – Need for a powerful partner (take over life) – Need to restrict life/be satisfied with little/undemanding 10 Neurotic Needs Category 2: Moving Against People (Aggressive)
– – – – – Need for power (desperate need for dominance) Need to exploit others/get the better of them Need for social recognition or prestige (overwhelmed with popularity) Need for personal admiration (be valued; feel important) Need for ambition/personal achievement Category 3: Moving Away from People (detached) – Need for selfsufficiency (refuse help; don’t commit to relationships) – Need for perfection and unassailability (be in control/scared of flaws) Another Way Horney discussed Neuroses: Intrapsychic Conflicts The neurotic’s self is split into Ideal & Despised Self: – Ideal Self (idealized self image) The creation of an exaggerated and unrealistic view of oneself – Despised Self (self – hatred) A loathing for the self when one compares the real self to idealized self image Idealized Self Image
– – – Intrapsychic Conflicts Neurotic Search for Glory – the process of trying to achieve the ideal self Neurotic Claims – fantasy world (inaccurate views of world and themselves) Neurotic Pride – glorified view of oneself “The glorified self becomes not only a phantom to be pursued; it also becomes a measuring rod with which to measure his actual being. And this actual being is such an embarrassing sight when viewed from the perspective of a godlike perfection that he cannot but despise it” (Horney, 1950) Despised Self – Relentless demands on self – tyranny of the shoulds Compliant person: “I should be sweet, selfsacrificing, saintly” Aggressive person: “I should be powerful, recognized, a winner” Withdrawing person: “I should be independent, aloof, perfect” – – – – – Merciless self accusation Self contempt – belittling self, doubting, discrediting Self frustration Self torment/torture – cutting, starting fights they will lose Self destructive impulses – overeating, abusing alcohol, working too hard
A) the contempt for the real self produces B) a greater need for an idealized self image, which produces C) higher unattainable and unrealistic standards (“shoulds”) that can never be achieved. This produces D) failure, which is anything less than perfection. Failure produces increases anxiety and increased A) contempt for the real self. There is a vicious cycle of Pathological Neurosis where: Application of Horney’s Theory: Hypercompetitiveness Hypercompetitive Attitude Scale (Ryckman, et al., 1990) – A need to compete and win at any cost as a means of maintaining or enhancing feelings of self worth, with manipulation, aggressiveness, and denigration of others across a myriad of situations. Personal Development Competitive Attitude Scale (Ryckman, et al., 1996)
– An attitude in which the primary focus is not on the outcome (i.e. winning over others), but rather more on enjoyment and mastery of the task (including self discovery, self improvement, and personal growth). – Others help us to become better through competition What would Karen Horney say? A young man went on a hiking trip in the mountains with a young woman with whom he was deeply in love. While walking on a dangerous mountain pass, the young man suffered a severe anxiety attack in the form of rapid heart rate and heavy breathing. The anxiety resulted from a seemingly inappropriate but conscious impulse to push the young woman over the edge of the mountain pass. – Horney’s patient (1937) ...
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- Spring '11