Horney, Karen (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: Norton.
KAREN HORNEY’S IDEA OF NEUROSIS AND MENTAL HEALTH
In Neurosis and Human Growth (1950), Karen Horney said that the neurotic child rejected his real self and uses his imagination to construct an idealized self and wants to become it.
The ideal self is not who he is but who he wants to become. He believes that if he is the ideal self that his significant others (parents, siblings, peers) and other people would accept him. He must become the ideal self.
Anything that makes him seem to not be the ideal self makes him feel fear, in this case anxiety.
The neurotic child is full of free-floating anxiety from fear of not becoming the ideal self he used his mind to create. He is tense, anxious, angry and suffers from depression, from feeling like he does not live up to his ideal self-image and is prone to paranoia from trying to pretend that he is the ideal self, which is denial of his real self and acting as if he is the idealized self.
He must always put on the mask of the ideal self; if you want to be a mask you must be anxious. Feeling intense anxiety and somatic tension he seeks ways to reduce his tension and could use alcohol, drugs, and addiction to sex and pornography and other means that relax his body.
The adult neurotic so identifies with the idealized self that he pretends to be it and feels angry when other people do not treat him as if he is an ideal, superior self, a god. The adult neurotic is prone to temper tantrums.
Horney’s neurotic is doing what Alfred Adler’s neurotic is doing, trying to live as a false, ideal self; in Adler’s case, a superior, powerful self the neurotic made, which is not his real self; in Horney’s case a false, ideal self the neurotic made up which is not his real self.
Horney and Adler did not tell us what the real self is; Adler said a social interest serving self is the normal self. This is not true for it is the desire to be approved by society that is the source of neurosis.
Mental health lies in simply having no individual or society defined self and let the unknown inner self (Christ self, Buddha self, son of God, part of the whole self) live through one.
Normal children and adults are not anxious because they live from their presumed real self; when you live from who you are, you are relaxed, not intense and stressed out.
In today’s mental health categories, what psychoanalysis used to call neuroses are called personality disorders. Adler’s neurotic could be narcissistic and or paranoid personality disorder and Horney’s neurotic could today be called avoidant, or obsessive compulsive or dependent personality disorders. What is today called delusion disorder, grandiose type (sense of superiority to other people) in the heydays of psychoanalysis was called a neurosis.
THIS IS THE EGO’S WORLD; THE EGO ESTABLISHES SOCIETY TO HAVE PROTECTION FROM OTHER EGOS; THE EGO ESTABLISHES MORES, NORMS, RULES AND LAWS AND GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT IT.
Organized society and government and laws are of the ego. Organized society and its government must now be appeased to protect one or else one feels like they would punish one and one feels anxiety from the god of society that one made to protect one and worship.
Having established an anxiety giving society and government, including having military, police, judges, and prisons to protect it, the ego lives in tension.
Teachers of God come in and use what the ego made to help him live better; they do not abolish society, government and law enforcement but help people to live less anxiously within the parameters of ego society; they teach love and forgiveness, guided by the Holy Spirit hence teach people how to obtain relative peace and happiness.
WHEN PEOPLE COMPLETELY LET GO OF THEIR WISH TO LIVE AS EGO SEPARATED SELVES THEY LIVE FROM THEIR REAL SELF, WHICH IS NOT THE SELF THAT SOCIETY APPROVES BUT THE CHRIST SELF, AND LIVE IN TOTAL PEACE AND JOY.
DEATH OF THE EGO IS THE BEGINNING OF LIVING FULLY
October 19, 2021