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Social Sci LibreTexts

6.S: Chapter Summary

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  • Review of Key Points

    • Horney was the first psychodynamic theorist to challenge Freud’s perspective on the psychology of women.
    • Horney did not deny that girls envy boys for certain anatomical advantages that boys have, but she suggested that another dynamic force comes into play: female genital anxiety.
    • In addition to female genital anxiety, an important consequence of the castration complex in women is the experience of wounded womanhood.
    • Because girls are repeatedly made to feel inferior to boys, and few outlets are available for their creative drives, many women develop a masculinity complex. This complex is manifested by a desire for revenge against men and the rejection of feminine traits.
    • Horney suggested that boys are actually more envious of girls, since boys place such a minimal role in pregnancy, childbirth, and nurturing an infant. Indeed, they may feel so inadequate that they seek to conquer many women in relationships, but avoid any long-term or meaningful relationships.
    • As the result of cultural pressure, Horney felt that many women overvalue love, and experience a desperate need to be with a man.
    • Horney eventually moved away from studying feminine psychology, considering it more of a cultural issue than a gender issue. She believed that demeaning women also hurt children and men, and she did not want to further the conflict between men and women.
    • Horney believed that all children are born with an anxiety related to survival. When they are not nurtured and cared for fully, they then develop a basic anxiety toward the seemingly unsafe world.
    • Basic anxiety leads to basic hostility, and the child must then choose some strategy for dealing with other people. The three basic strategies are moving toward people, moving against people, and moving away from people.
    • As the neurotic personality progresses, due to the continued failure to resolve one’s conflicts, an idealized image is formed. In addition, the neurotic individual externalizes their anxiety.
    • Horney suggested that the real self contains an innate trend toward self-realization. However, in the neurotic individual, this energy is turned toward realizing the idealized image.
    • The neurotic individual then embarks on a search for glory, which includes neurotic claims. The neurotic claims then lead to a powerful compulsion known as the tyranny of the should.
    • As this dysfunctional state continues, neurotic pride leads to self-hate, the two phenomena being opposite sides of the pride system. This conflict between the real self and the pride system is the central inner conflict.
    • Horney felt that psychoanalysis needed to be re-evaluated because in many cases it was ineffective. Her most radical suggestion involved the possibility of teaching people about self-analysis.
    • Fromm believed that the freedom associated with modern societies had alienated us from the natural order. Consequently, freedom had become a psychological problem, resulting in alienation and anxiety.
    • Individuals who feel anxious and alienated seek connection by any means, according Fromm, including submitting themselves to authoritarian regimes.
    • Fromm encouraged practicing the art of love, or a deep concern for others, as a way to feel connected without surrendering one’s personal freedom.
    • In his extensive study of a Mexican village, Fromm believed that psychodynamic principles could be used to study the social character of groups. He also felt that the evolution of groups, or societies, over time reflects a type of social selection.
    • Both Horney and Fromm believed that Zen Buddhism and psychoanalysis shared common elements, and that each discipline could benefit from studying the other. They attempted to incorporate these ideas in ways that might enhance interpersonal relationships in our everyday lives.