Horney’s Theory of Personality

Horney’s Theory of Personality

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Horney, who opposed Freud’s claims about the differentiation of male and female personality structures from birth as well as putting sexuality in the foreground, emphasized that the reason why women show different personality traits due to their gender is not biological but social factors.

While Freud mentioned that effective anxiety in human behavior occurs with sexual conflicts, Horney suggests that anxiety can also be seen in non-sexual environments. For example, the fact that children do not receive adequate care and support from their parents at an early age is a cause for anxiety, and in this situation, they develop defense situations related to satisfaction and safety (Morris, 2002). Horney suggests that adults adopt one of the neurotic tendencies, briefly defined as the lability of emotions, in solving their problems. Horney argues that neurotic tendencies are effective in dealing with emotional problems and ensuring one’s own safety. Neurotic tendencies revealed by Horney are listed as turning towards people, acting against people and staying away from people. In this situation, which is called “managing people” and is dependent on others, children want constant attention and acceptance from their parents. Children reflect this expectation in their other relationships. These children also want constant attention when they become adults.

It is difficult for people with this style to form a long and lasting relationship, who can become attached to everyone so as not to be unwanted or lonely. These people constantly demand love and become attached to the other person in an almost tiring way. Individuals who act against people see fighting with other individuals as a way to get rid of anxiety. The meaning of struggling with the bad family environment can be aggression and hostility for the child. Out of fear of other children, they respect such children, but are not willing to make friends. In their later life, such children show a structure that exploits and breaks others. Such adults act against other people by adopting a “the best defense is attack” way before harm comes to them. In order to get rid of the anxiety of being away from people, some children may choose not to have a relationship with anyone instead of being dependent or hostile with someone. They believe they are self-sufficient. Jobs with less relationships with other individuals take precedence in their preferences. They are closed off against emotional experiences, as emotional experiences can be harmful to them.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook