Karen Horney

Karen Horney radically departed from Freud in emphasizing the power of environmental forces to shape our enduring personality. Horney includes a long list of adverse environmental factors that influence the development of our neurotic trends, from well-meaning parents who exert too much pressure on the child to succeed; to parents who are unpredictable and constantly shift back and forth between smothering love and intimidation, tyranny and glorification, comradeship and authoritarianism; to parents who force the child to take one parent’s side over another; to parents who make a child feel that his or her entire purpose on the planet is to live up to their expectations, enhance their prestige, or blindly serve their needs—keeping the child from recognizing his/her existence as an individual with distinct rights and responsibilities.