Neurotic Trends

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As her theory evolved Horney began to see that the list of 10 neurotic needs could be grouped into three general categories, each relating to a person s basic attitude toward self and others. In 1945, she identified the three basic attitudes, or neurotic trends as (1) moving toward people, (2) moving against people, and (3) moving away from people.

Chapter 6 Horney: Psychoanalytic Social Theory 169

Chapter 6 Horney: Psychoanalytic Social Theory 169

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FIGURE 6.1 The Interaction of Basic Hostility and Basic Anxiety with the Defenses against A nxiety.

Although these neurotic trends constitute Horney s theory of neurosis, they also apply to normal individuals. There are, of course, important differences between normal and neurotic attitudes. Whereas normal people are mostly or completely conscious of their strategies toward other people, neurotics are unaware of their basic attitude; although normals are free to choose their actions, neurotics are forced to act; whereas normals experience mild conflict, neurotics experience severe and insoluble conflict; and whereas normals can choose from a variety of strategies, neurotics are lhnited to a single trend. Figure 6.1 shows Horney s conception of the mutual influence of basic hostility and basic anxiety as well as both normal and neurotic defenses against anxiety.

People can use each of the neurotic trends to solve basic conflict, but unfortunately, these solutions are essentially nonproductive or neurotic. Horney (1950) used the term basic conflict because very young children are driven in all tlnee directions—toward, against, and away from people.

In healthy children, these tlnee drives are not necessarily incompatible. But the feelings of isolation and helplessness that Horney described as basic anxiety drive some children to act compulsively, thereby limiting their repertoire to a single neurotic trend. Experiencing basically contradictory attitudes toward others, these children attempt to solve this basic conflict by making one of the three neurotic trends consistently dominant. Some children move toward people by behaving hi a compliant maimer as a protection against feelings of helplessness; other children move against people with acts of aggression hi order to circumvent the hostility of others; and still other children move away from people by adopting a detached maimer, thus alleviating feelings of isolation (Homey, 1945).

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  • jens
    What is neurotic trends?
    1 year ago
  • maximilian friedman
    What is neurotic trend?
    8 months ago

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