Critical Evaluation of Karen Horney's Theory

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 406
  • Published : March 25, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview

* The concept of narcissism
* The emphasis on childhood
* The ‘id’ and the ‘ego’
* Feminine psychology
* The death instinct
* Anxiety
* Neurotic guilt feelings

- By Group 3
The Concept of Narcissism

According to psychoanalytical theories Narcissism includes vanity, conceit, craving for prestige and admiration, a desire to be loved in connection with an incapacity to love others, withdrawal from others, ideals, anxious concern about health, appearance, intellectual faculties. They believe that individual with narcissism concern only about the self or attitudes towards the self. In contrast author of this book believes that the person loves and admires himself for values for which there is no adequate foundation. Also narcissist expects love and admiration from others for qualities that one does not possess, or does not possess to as large an extent as he supposes. Furthermore there are two tendencies which according to author which cannot be separated i.e. appearing unduly significant to oneself and craving undue admiration from others.

Secondly according to psychoanalytic view the origin of these manifestations is assumed to be the narcissistic libido i.e. purely in genetics of individual as Freud has faith in the concept of instincts. Other theorist also gave importance to the disturbances in the relationships to others and disturbances in childhood by the environmental influences. According to author fundamental factors which appears to contribute to the development of narcissism are child’s alienation from others, provoked by ground of complaints and fear one has.

Other environmental facts like parent’s feelings and behavior toward child. For instance if parents regularly yell on child that they are good for nothing regardless of the fact or parents who transfer their ambitions to the child and regard the boy as genius and girl as a princess. So the child develops the feeling of imaginary qualities rather than his/ her true self. These results in gradual lose of real self where ideal self is dominating leading to loses the capacity to measure one’s own values, depends upon the opinion of others, and counts the estimate of others.

Freud assumes that both normal self esteem and self aggrandizement are narcissistic phenomena. According to him the difference between two is merely quantitative. Again over here author argue that the difference between two is not quantitative but it is qualitative. According to him self esteem refers to the actual qualities one possesses and self aggrandizement means presenting the qualities that does not belongs to oneself.

Narcissism is an expression of alienation from one’s own self and others or one may lost the ability to love oneself or others.

This theory is the basis for the clinical concepts of fixation. If a person in the early environment gains paramount emotional importance for a child, and essential parts of the feelings directed towards this person have been repressed, then the child may remain tied to him. A fixation not only pertain to a certain person of the early environment, but also may concern a whole stage of libido development. The clinical observations underlying the concept of fixation are of a pioneering character, a fact which is often insufficiently appreciated by critics of psychoanalysis. The idea of timelessness of the unconscious not only led to the concept of fixation, but also in contained in the hypothesis of repetition compulsion. It represents, as it were, the implicit precondition for the later. The concept of repetition compulsion means that psychic life is regulated not only by the pleasure principle but by...
tracking img