Although a Neo-freudian, Karen Horney’s views questioned some of Freud’s most popular views such as that of Penis envy and more. She built the foundations for feminist psychology.
Karen was actually the first woman trained as a psychoanalyst.
One of Horney’s most significant contributions to the field of psychology include that of “unconscious anxiety”. She believed that its roots could be traced back to the childhood of the individual where they may have experienced abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or any other traumatic event. Her theories stated that children normally adopted coping mechanisms relating to anxiety, namely, ‘moving towards people’, ‘moving away from people’& ‘moving against people’.
To further understand Horney’s theories about anxiety, we must consider her views on Neurosis. This Neo-Freudian believed that neurosis was an unhealthy way of coping up with relationships. The individual often projects their inadequacies on the other person in the relationship. Gradually, their behavior pushes people out of their lives.
Moving away from people-
In this, Horney suggests that the neurotic person isolates themselves from other individuals because they believe that if they aren’t surrounded by anyone, there will be no one to hurt them. It is true, it protects them from the pains that a relationship could bring but it also prevents them from experiencing the positive parts of a relationship. Their isolation causes a huge void in their personalities.
Moving towards people-
Over here, Horney claimed that some individuals seek acceptance and love. So, in order to obtain the two, they begin moving towards people. They feel the need to be the ideal and perfect individual. They tend to be involved and feel the need for constant approval. In most relationships, they seem like the ‘clingy’ person. They tend to get attached very quickly. Often, this leads their counterparts in the relationship to leave.
Moving against people –
Horney elucidated that this coping mechanism results in people forcing their power on to individuals surrounding them. These types of personalities tend to selfish or bossy, portraying them in a very aggressive image. These people tend to believe that other people make entrances into their lives, just to ruin it. So instead of suffering damage from someone else, they cause the damage themselves.
One of the reasons Freud stirred up great amounts of controversy were because of his views on women. Years and years later, to counter his ideas of ‘penis envy’ Karen Horney came up with feminist psychology where she expressed her idea of ‘womb envy’. She suggested that because men cannot bear children, they become envious of women. Owing to this, they tend to strive for success in other fields.
To this day, Karen Horney has been believed to be much ahead of her times.
~ Mullai Manian Sampath (1733255)