KAREN HORNEY LECTURE NOTES
PRONUNCIATION OF HER NAME: THE "EY" IN "HORNEY RHYMES WITH "HIGH"
a. BIRTH & PARENTS. Born just outside Hamburg in
1885 as Karen Clementina Theodora Danielsen. Father, Bernd Henrik Wackels Danielsson,
was a sea captain, commanding early steamships on the South America route to
Uruguay, Chile, and Peru. Each trip took about six months. One of the first
to said to the South American West Coast under the German Flag. Gone a lot and
very critical when home. A zealous, uptight Lutheran. (44 when married) Her
mother, Clothilde Marie Danielson, was from an aristocratic family, interested
in fortun-telling and secular heroes.(28 when married) Parents had a distant
and unhappy marriage but stayed together for 20 years. Karen liked it better
when father was gone. Lots of conflict when father's four children from previous
wife, who had died, were around.
b. BROTHER & DIARY. Father preferred her older brother. He had looks and charm, she was recognized as the more intelligent and was a "character," with many amusing childhood stories told about her. Kept a diary from a very young age. In it she said she was her own woman and not very capable of compromise.
c. MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN. Her marriage to Oscar Horney was thought of later as a marriage of security. In 1909, not many men were interested in marrying a woman with such ambition. He had a Ph.D. in political science, apartments, villas, etc.
Oscar spent more time with the children than she did. She was a "modern mother" --wanted her own potential to surface. Worried that her daughters would rob her of "her golden freedom." But all grew up to be spirited, independent women.
She put all her daughters in psychoanalytic treatment to advance their growth, and later viewed this as a mistake. Their analyst was always talking about penis envy. The girls didn't comprehend why. It was way above their head.
Karen and Oscar separated when she was 41. She then had affairs with Hans Liberman, Erich Fromm (1931-early 40s), also many affairs with student and clients much younger than she was.
d. While she was in medical school, kept the fact that she was studying psychoanalysis from her medical school teachers. Studied psychoanalysis not directly with Freud but with another prominent psychoanalyst of her time.
At the end of analysis, she still had chronic fatigue and depression. Then had sessions with Dr. Abraham that
changed forever her ways of viewing herself and others. Came out as a Freudian in 1917.
Later commented that the biggest failure of her analysis with Abraham was failure to deal with her compulsion to move in and out of relationships with men.
e. BERLIN INSTITUTE. Was a founder of the Berlin psychoanalytic institute. Unusual --she had a sliding scale for fees. Some treatment regardless of income and payment.
Later in her career, established a LOW-COST CLINIC to make psychoanalysis available to more people.
f. CAME TO U.S. IN 1932. Retook and passed medical exams. Taught at New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Felt that as a woman she saw a whole different side to Fruedian theory. Said she agreed with Freud, but the orthodox analysts said a paper she wrote contradicted his whole theory. The New York institute told her to go off and do her own thing, so she did, starting her own institute.
e. Had a close relationship with her daughters when they were grown.
f. Toward the end of life, interested in Zen, trying to see connection between analysis and meditation.
2. AGREED WITH FREUD regarding
a. The unconscious
b. The importance of dreams
c. Attention to childhood
She had great respect for the master but also disagreed with him. Didn't feel a need to slam him. But thought he got a couple of things really screwed up.
3. DISAGREED WITH FREUD regarding
a. Said Freud overemphasized instincts and drives, did not pay enough attention to social factors. Saw his physiological emphasis as off track.
b. Although agreed with Freud that childhood is important to understand, thought Freud spent an inordinate amount of time on it. Thought it crucial to see what the past is causing in the person's present life.
c. The way he viewed women. Differed with Freud early on by denying penis envy. Said it was more likely that men had womb envy. Hidden jealousy because of women's ability to bear children, their breasts, etc.. Pointed to fear of the vagina in some men (Anthro. correlate: vagina dentata, etc.)
4. FEMININE PSYCHOLOGY. Paid attention to various women's issues. Declared that "Until recently only the minds of men and boys were taken as the subject for psychoanalysis.
(1) Women envy men's freedom to pursue their interests because of their own overemphasis on relationships.)
(2) First to pay attention to PMS. (a) The feeling that everything is too much; (b) Listlessness; (c) Self-depreciation; (d) Irritability or anxiety.
5. EMPHASIS ON SOCIAL FACTORS. What's really important is the social context -- family unit and other associations later. We get strange as a result of nonfunctional relationships in the family.
a. Our original conflicts are sith significant others. We First we get interpersonally out of whack, and later get out of whack within ourselves.
b. We are NATURALLY HEALTHY AND GROWTH SEEKING, and then get messed up. In this view Horney was more like the humanists than like Freud's view.
c. "WHOLE-HEARTEDNESS." She thought this was a key to growth, in contrast to Freud who thought the best we could hope for was a strong ego to mediate the conflict.
6. HERE & NOW. She emhasized the patient's present life & experience rather than the past.
a. AWARENESS made the difference between living and existing. "It's a primary moral responsibility to live with awareness, and in particular to examine our childhood woundedness." This translated into being able to love other people as they are.
b. Told a lot of stories about her own imperfections. Example: when she was bumped off a plane during the war for a serviceman, and her fit of indignation.
7. VIEW OF LIFE AND EXPERIENCE. Referred to her experience as "the delicate vibrations of her soul." Said that "the accomplishments of life are important, but the striving itself is of intrinsic value."
8. IDEAL DEVELOPMENT
a. Kids grow up by being who they are. Parents set firm but kind limits.
b. In an ideal world, parents have come to terms with their own scarring. (Similar to Alice Miller --when we haven't healed our own stuff, we are not able to love kids as they are. If parents have done that, it creates a world where the child is safe, recognizes and trusts feelings, can make mistakes and learn for them, and be loved even when they blow it.
c. CHILD'S OWN SENSE OF VALUES. In such an environment, kids develop their own sense of values and learn what they really care about.
d. RESPONSIBILITY. In healthy development, we each develop a strong sense of responsibility. For her the concept was similar to Rotter's ILC.
e. End result of healthy development: Being wholehearted, healthy, "Being captain dof one's own ship."
a. Children need to learn to deal with conflict. Horney thought parents need a degree of healthy friction. Didn't see conflict as bad. The child can learn to deal with it by watching parents.
b. Also, conflicts between parents and children. Mom and brother want you to do things, there is a TV show when there's homework to do, etc. So parents have to be kind but firm.
captain shades of neurosis psychotic
a. The neurotic is lives in a "GRAY WORLD" and is "asleep at the wheel." Most of us are just kind of numb.
b. We've done a lot of wholesale SWALLOWING FROM OUTSIDE, we'd rather BLAME someone else than take responsibility for our actions, thoughts, and feelings.
c. RENUNCIATION. We have a hard time renouncing things we want. Thought this is a big problem of the West --we lack the ability of renunciation-- to say "no" to something we wanted. Thought renunciation required a stronger than normal sense of self, which is a rare quality.
a. There is a DRIVEN AND COMPULSIVE QUALITY about people's behavior. They have less control over themselves.
b. Neurotics have a very DIFFICULT TIME MAKING DECISIONS. May "decide by not deciding" and let their life evolve by default.
11. ROOTS OF NEUROSIS IN CHILDHOOD
a. People who become neurotic basically grow up in environments that are not safe. The dependence we have as infants creates a basic anxiety in all of us. If we are growing up in a family that does not provide a safe place for us, we turn away from ourselves, develop a strategy for safety that makes us more vulnerable than ever.
b. Some things that cause neurosis:
(1) Manipulative parents
(2) Indifferent parents
(3) Parents who offer no guidance
(4) Parents who are harshly critical
(5) Parents who force kids to take sides between them
(6) Unkept promises --dontribute to feeling that you can't count on people
(7) 2 poles --either putting the kid on a pedestal or not paying attention and giving recognition when the kid does something good.
An environment which contains these elements translates to kids, "This isn't safe." They start to look for ways to be safe and this is the beginning of neurosis.
12. THREE STRATEGIES
A child who does not feel safe starts to develop a strategy. (In healthy development, people use parts of all these. In unhealthy experience, do just one and fixate on it.) We need to be able to:
a. MOVE TOWARD. Reach out, join with, come together, cooperate, meet, be affectionate, etc. We all need this, but if it's excessive, it becomes a COMPLIANT STYLE so we can't not move toward. Nowdays it's called "codependence." This is neurotic because if someone is being nasty toward you, moving toward them is not the order of the day. It's self-defeating, and probably reinforces their behavior. Moving toward has a bit of a bad rap now because of all the codependency stuff in the air, but basically its healthy.
b. MOVING AGAINST. This is an AGGRESSIVE STYLE. In a nonneurotic form, it's assertiveness. An ability to differ, argue, state your case, dare to be different. In its neurotic extreme, the person characterized by this style has boxing gloves on all the time. They're good blamers. Motto: Strike before being struck. If this is all you do, you're a pain to be around. Aggressiveness is also inappropriate when you're scared of intimacy and attack in order to fend it off, to get away from it.
c. DETACHED STYLE. Ability to move away, be contained in yourself, befriend yourself, enjoy solitude, to not be in relationship. An important ability. But when extreme, detached people are gone, period. They don't feel their bodies. Sex is very separated from relationship. May be super-intellectuals living in their heads, or "on a spiritual path" but not dealing with their anger. Detached people don't choose on their own behalf, "the universe votes for them.:
A wholehearted person has access to all three of these modes.
Many neurotics have a dominant style (one of those above) and in a pinch they move into a seondary style. Like compliance serving the purposes of detachment.
ENACTMENT. Take one of these types and imagine how you can really get into it no matter who comes up to you in the room. Then act it out in interaction with others.
13. ENVIRONMENTS AND THEIR EFFECTS
a. Compliant child's early years often are spent "under the shadow of someone." Example-- in the family you can only get attention by being submissive, agreeing, subordinating yourself.
b. Aggressive child -- environment is often characterized by gross neglect, brutality, or hypercritical behavior.
c. Detached child -- early environment characterized by cramping influences that were so subtleeor powerful that rebellion doesn't work. The detached child finally just withdraws.
14. HORNEY'S SCHEMATIC MODEL
The normal person has access to all these modes when appropriate. A person can take in from outside and also move back into their true self.
The neurotic has an "IDEALIZED SELF" at the center. In our unsafety as kids we pick out one of the styles, and then idealize it. The person takes his or her neurotic style and idealizes and glorifies it. People around me may hate this style most of the time, but I put it on a pedestal. The person has relatively little access to the complementary sides.
One man (compliant) would make a gesture that referred to killing people everytime they say something in a starr meeting that he didn't like.
What happens is that instead of having real goals and values that we idealize, we try to prove to the world that we're as good as we think we are. A combination of self-hate and self-aggrandizement. So instead of being captain of our ship, we become driven.
15. NEUROSIS AND GROWTH
a. The good news from Horney is that we NEVER LOSE TOUCH WITH THE TRUE SELF, no matter how weird as kids. Another way to view neurosis is as an attempt at growth in very difficult circumstances.
b. But unfortunately, WHEN OUR ENERGY IS WRAPPED UP IN PROTECTION AND IMAGE, IT'S NOT AVAILABLE FOR GROWTH.
c. The protection is never enough. So we develop other protections.
(1) We develop blind spots. Don't see what we're doing
(2) Tendency to see conflicts as "out there" rather than "in here". Detached type will bemoan all the aggressive, feeling-driven people out there.
16. LATER STAGES OF NEUROSIS, characterized by
a. EXCESSIVE SELF-CONTROL (because I can't afford to feel my real feelings)
b. A lot of CYNICISM, especially in detached-aggressive types.
c. FEAR-- of going crazy, of being seen for the louse I really am, of being found out, etc. Because part of the person knows their image isn't really who they are.
d. FEAR OF CHANGE. (If I move one more brick out of place, the whole edifice could crumble).
e. SADISTIC TRENDS. Living at the expense of other people. A distorted kind of trying to be OK. So hopeless about their own lives that they turn this outward against others.
- Straightforward with aggressive types
- Compliant types sort of insinuate their way into your lifeand kill you with kindness. Convince you that they can't live without you. A kind of sadism.
Neurosis is a central lie, and then I have to do a whole lot of stuff to protect the illusion.
Horney believed that everyone is redeemable. That you can do a lot for yourself, if you're not too far out.
She preferred the word obstacles instead of resistance, because resistance had implications of being bad. (I like resistance, because it's an ownership of what we do. "obstacle" sounds like disowning)
1. Create an alliance in which I as the therapist value you as you are and as you're struggling.
2. Tries to examine in detail with the client the unconscious attempts at solution and safety, as a searchlight on what form their search for safety has taken. Also what it costs them. Neurosis costs a lot.
3. Obviously part of the person will labelled in doing this. She labels this "protection" rather than "resistance". (This I can buy)
4. Brain work. Through feelings and dreams the person attempts to recover the true self. The person's energy or attention shifts from protection, to the dismantling of protection, reconnection with the true self which is intrinsically satisfying.
Horney noticed thnat as this happens, part of the self still wants to go back. "Repercussions." This is labelled as attempts at saftey.
5. The person uncovers allies.
6. Dreams show that despite neurotic structure, the person attempts to live what's true. Dreams and feelings can lead you from your idealized self back to your true self and then you can get on with your life.
20. CULTURAL PROBLEMS. Horney believed that we had paid far too little attention to cultural problems.
Biography: Quinn, Susan. A Mind of Her Own.
Good popular interpersonal books: Harville Hendricks, Getting the Love you Want. Pargaret Paul & _____ Paul: "Do I have to give up me to be loved by you?"
Movie: "Joe and the Volcano"