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Chapter 5
Theories of Personality

CHAPTER 5

PSYCHOANALYTIC SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

KAREN HORNEY

ERICH FROMM

Karen Horney was one of the first women to oppose Freud and to speak directly to the issue of feminine psychology.

Horney viewed Basic Anxiety as a prevailing feeling of being lonely and helpless in a hostile world.

Horneys views differs from Freud because she did not see anxiety as inevitable, but rather, as a result of social forces.

Individuals develop certain defense mechanisms to permit them to cope with their anxieties.

When these defense mechanisms become exaggerated or inappropriate, they may be referred to as neurotic needs or trends.Horney identified Ten neurotic Trends:

Exaggerated need for affection and approval

Need for a dominant partner

Exaggerated need for power

Need to exploit others

Exaggerated need for social recognition or prestige

Exaggerated need for personal admiration

Exaggerated need for personal achievement

Need to restrict ones life within narrow boundaries

Exaggerated need for self sufficiency and independence

Need for perfection and un-assailabilityHorney makes a clear distinction between the real self and ideal self. Real self is what we are, those things that are true about us. The ideal self is what we think we should be.

In the normal individual, the real self and the ideal self agree (that is, we know what we are, yet we have a realistic concept of what our potentials are)

In a neurotic individual, the real self and the ideal self are disconnected or separate. Example

A doctor who believes that an ideal doctor never loses a patient to death is being unrealistic

 

FEMININE PSYCHOLOGY

Horneys view of women is almost directly opposite of Freuds. Whereas Freud suggests the phenomenon of penis envy in women, Horney points out the phenomenon of womb envy in men. She suggests that womens sense of inferiority is not constitutional but culturally acquired.

 

ERIC FROMM

(1900 1980)Erich Fromm was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1900, the only child of a deeply orthodox Jewish family. He did not formally practice religion, but he referred to himself as an "atheistic mystic". He describes his parents as neurotics. His mother was depression prone and his father was moody and overanxious. Fromm came to the United States and worked with Karen Horney until an apparent disagreement caused them to go in separate directions.

Fromm felt that the basic human condition that presented a psychological problem for man was "freedom".As the human race has gained more freedom by transcending nature and other animals, people have become increasingly characterized by feelings of separation and isolation.Consequently, a major theme of Fromms work deals with the concept of loneliness.

 

 

 

ESCAPE MECHANISMS

To deal with the problem of freedom, Fromm suggests that humans have learned to utilize escape mechanisms. Three common forms of escape described by Fromm are:Authoritarianism (one seeks to escape the problem of freedom by adhering to a form of submission, or some seek to domination others)

A common feature of authoritarianism is the belief that ones life is determined by forces outside ones self, ones interest, or ones wishes, and that the only way to be happy is to submit to those forces.

 

Destructiveness (seeks to resolve the problem of freedom by the elimination of others and or the outside world)

"The destruction of the world is the last, almost desperate attempt to save my self from being crushed by it"

 

Automaton Conformity (one ceases to be themselves and adopts the type of personality preferred by their culture. This is akin to a chameleon that changes his color to match its surroundings)

Such individuals may no longer feel alone and anxious, but they have paid a high price, "the loss of self".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BASIC NEEDS

Fromm suggests our human condition of freedom gives rise to five basic needs (1955)Relatedness (need to relate to others)Transcendence (need to rise above the level of creature-ness and become active creators) Rooted-ness (need to feel we belong)Sense of identity (need to become aware of self and that we are unique)Frame of orientation and object devotion (need for stable and consistent frame of reference by which we can organize our perceptions and make sense of our environment).These needs are part of our existence, and must be met in order for a person to develop fully according to Fromm.

 

CHARACTER ORIENTATIONS

A persons character is determined in large measure by the culture in which they reside and its objectives. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

 

Sweden = wine at every meal

Turkey = men dance with other men is common

India = cows are sacred/though starvation exist

Gangs = tough persona

 

Consequently, it is possible to view social character types that are frequently shared by the individuals of a particular group or society.Fromm identified five character orientations that are common in Western Society (1947) Receptive ( believed the only way to obtain something is from outside sources).Exploitative (take things they want by force or cunning, in other words, by using others).Hoarding (save what they already have; misers toward others, the scrooge persona).Marketing (see themselves as a commodity, changes their values as they perceive the market to change, be what others want you to be).Productive (value themselves and others for who they are, takes pride in what they have created).

People may not necessarily be simply one of these characters, but in fact might exhibit a combination of types at various times.

Fromms character orientations have both positive and negative qualities, but on the whole, Fromm saw the first four as largely unproductive.

HOW DOES FROMMS PERSPECTIVES DIFFER FROM THAT OF FRUED

 

The primary difference between Fromms theory of character types and orientations, and that of Freud is that Freud envisioned the fixation of libido in certain body zones as the basis of future character types. Fromm set the fundamental basis of character in the different ways in which a person deals with basic human conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

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