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Rendon, M. (1996). The Neurotic Personality of our Time. Am. J. Psychoanal., 56(2):213-217.

(1996). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 56(2):213-217

The Neurotic Personality of our Time

Mario Rendon, M.D.

Karen Horney wrote The Neurotic Personality of Our Time as a result of her conclusion that psychoanalysis was at an impasse, a blind alley, manifesting itself in a rank growth of abstruse theories and the use of a shadowy terminology. One of her revolutionary steps was to abolish the mystifying gap between therapist and patient by using nontechnical language.

Horney established a psychoanalytic dialogue with the culturalists in anthropology. We could say that in such a way she continued this aspect of Freud's late work. However, she did not try to impose a priori psychoanalytic universals on diverse cultures and in this fashion she changed the previous direction radically. It is important to note that Horney continues in the model of “conflict” that was the mark of Freud's early work. This sets her apart from the ego psychologists who adopted a model of “deficit.” It is also noteworthy that Freud himself had come close to considering a Horney-like characterology on at least two occasions in his late writings.

In this book the basic structure of Horney's emerging theory is similar to Freud's in that she stresses conflict and compromise. However, she introduces drastic changes in that the conflict here is not one between nature and nurture, but rather between self and other. The other, emerging in the family, ultimately extends to the culture at large. From this configuration arises her new blueprint of a characterology, offered here for the first time.

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