Adopted Child Hostility & Anxiety
Basic hostility is a psychological concept first described by psychoanalyst Karen Horney. Horney described it as a bad attitude which child develops as a result of "basic evil". Horney generally defines basic evil as "invariably the lack of genuine warmth and affection". Basic evil includes all range of inappropriate parental behavior – from lack of affection to child abuse.
The pattern of basic hostility
- The child wants to leave, but cannot. Although the child wants to avoid the abuse, his parents are perpetrating it.
- The child cannot move away or fight back against his parents because he is dependent on them.
- The child therefore redirects his feelings and expressions of hostility toward people he does not depend on for support.
Karen Horney and basic anxiety
How people deal with basic anxiety
Moving away from people
- The detached personality--one who needs to move away from people, expressing needs for independence, perfection and withdrawal. Moving away from people is characterized by people who behave in a detached manner. These are people who adopt a neurotic trend of purposely wanting to be left out as in adopted child and adult adoptees.
Moving toward people
- The compliant personality--one who needs to move toward other people, expressing needs for approval, affection and a dominant partner
Moving against people
- The aggressive personality--one who needs to move against people, expressing needs for power, exploitation, prestige, admiration, and achievement. This person trusts no one. They think all people are out to get them and hostile. They believe that people are not good. These people are generally bullies. They are characterized by being very tough, and are motivated by a strong need to exploit others.
- Accepting one’s own feelings of vulnerability and dependence demonstrates the act of movement toward people. Moving toward people is the only way a person can feel secure. Movement away from people involves withdrawing, behaving so as to appear self-sufficient and avoid dependency. Movement against people involves hostility, rebellion, and aggression. Behaving in a way that exemplifies these traits is not a healthy way to deal with anxiety. Once we establish a behavioral strategy for coping with basic anxiety, this pattern ceases to be flexible enough to permit alternative behaviors.
- Moving toward people in a friendly, loving way. Seeking attachment.
- Examples—finding spouse, supporting family, being a part of a team
- Moving Against People in a competitive non-harmful way. (Darwinism)
- Example—trying to be the best at work
- Moving Away from People by being independent and self-sufficient. (autonomy)
10 neurotic needs
- The Neurotic Need for Affection and Approval
- This need includes the longings to be liked. People demonstrating this need try to appease others and work hard to meet the expectations of others. This type of need is exceedingly sensitive to rejection. This need does not deal with anger of others or criticism very well.
- The Neurotic Need for a Partner Who Will Take Over One’s Life
- This need is fairly self-explanatory. This need can overtake one’s relationships because they have a fear of being abandoned. It can be detrimental to a relationship because individuals place an extravagant significance on love and believe that having a partner will resolve all of life’s troubles.
- The Neurotic Need to Restrict One’s Life Within Narrow Borders
- Individuals demonstrating this need are very introverted. They want to go through life unnoticed. They need little and demand little. A person exemplifying this need thinks little of their own talents and does not wish for greater things.
- The Neurotic Need for Power
- Individuals with this need are power hungry. They usually seek to gain strength and have no problem getting it at the cost of others. These individuals are not sympathetic towards weakness and they do not understand personal limitations or helplessness. This person likes to be in control.
- The Neurotic Need to Exploit Others
- These individuals use others for their own benefit and gain. They pride themselves in their ability to manipulate others in order to obtain desired objectives. Desired objectives of this neurotic need include such things as power, money, or sex.
- The Neurotic Need for Prestige
- Individuals with a need for prestige are constantly seeking of public recognition and acclaim. These individuals often fear public embarrassment and loss of social status. They evaluate their prestige by material possessions and professional accomplishments.
- The Neurotic Need for Personal Admiration
- Individuals with a neurotic need for personal admiration are have an exaggerated self-perception and are narcissistic. They are constantly seeking admiration based on the image of self-view.
- The Neurotic Need for Personal Achievement
- According to Horney, people push themselves to achieve greater and greater things as a result of basic insecurity. Individuals with a neurotic need for personal achievement feel a constant need to accomplish more than other people. They are also in competition with themselves.
- The Neurotic Need for Self-Sufficiency and Independence
- Individuals with this neurotic need distance themselves from others. They have a fear of being tied down or dependent upon another person. People with this exhibit a "loner" mentality.
- The Neurotic Need for Perfection and Unassailability
- Individuals with this neurotic need are obsessed with perfection. They find flaws within themselves and quickly try to fix them as to appear perfect to others.