Karen Horney Personality Theory

1034 Words5 Pages
Karen Horney, maiden name Karen Danielsen, was born on September 16, 1885. Her father, Berndt Wackels Danielsen (1836-1910), was Norwegian but attained German citizenship. Berndt was a ship’s captain in the merchant marine, as well as a Protestant traditionalist. He was known as “the Bible-thrower” for as he did indeed throw Bibles. Karen’s mother, Clotilde (1853-1911), known as “Sonni”, was also a Protestant, but of Dutch origin. Karen had an elder brother named after her father, Berndt. She also had four elder half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage. There was no contact between the children of her father’s two previous marriages. Karen’s diaries describe her father as a “cruel and disciplinary figure” who held his son Berndt with…show more content…
Horney’s belief was that if one has an accurate conception of oneself, then one is free to realize one’s potential and achieve what one wishes (New World Encyclopedia, 2017). Thus, believing that self-actualization is the healthy person’s aim through life as opposed to the neurotic’s clinging to a set of key needs, as listed above. There are two views of ourselves, the “real self” and the “ideal self.” The real self is defined as who we are (parent, child, sister, etc.) and what we want (growth, happiness, will power, gifts, etc.). The ideal self is the person we feel we should be and this model is used to assist us in developing potential and achieving self-actualization. There is significant importance in the difference between one’s ideal self and real self. The neurotic person’s self is split between an idealized self and a corresponding despised self, these individuals feel as if they are not living up to the ideal. The goals of a neurotic are not realistic. The despised self feels as if everyone around them despises that individual. The neurotic is described as a clock’s pendulum, “oscillating between fallacious ‘perfection’ and a manifestation of self-hate” (New World Encyclopedia, 2017). Horney referred to this as the “tyranny of the should” and the neurotic’s hopeless “search for glory”. Unless the cycle of neurosis is somehow broken, the ingrained traits of the psyche forever prevent an individual’s potential from being
Open Document