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Explain Karen Horney's own conception of the basic types, then their application to Enneagram. Turn diagrams into <usemaps>


My conclusions finally found their expression in The Neurotic Personality of Our Time. The main contention here was that neuroses are brought about by cultural factors—which more specifically meant that neuroses are generated by disturbances in human relationships.

Our Inner Conflicts, Karen Horney

Hornevian triads are a complicated and confusing case and they very often vary among different authors, having different assignments and dimensions to how they are assigned to the enneatypes. The two main distributions are as follows:

  • Riso and Hudson - Assertive (E3, E7, E8), Compliant (E2, E1, E6), and Withdrawn (E4, E5, E9).
  • Naranjo - Against (E1, E3, E8), Towards (E7, E9, E2), and Away (E5, E6, E4).

Between these two, the one that is most accurate to Horney's original conception of her neurotic types is Naranjo's, who partly based his iteration of the Enneagram on her fundamental theories of neurosis (Character and Neurosis).

Karen Horney

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In her studies of neurosis, culture, character, and Psychoanalysis, Horney has come to develop a basic typology that categorizes three different kinds of neurosis. They are moving-away, moving-toward, and moving-against, also known as withdrawn, compliant, and aggressive respectively. 

Translators note: Naranjo referred to the three types by their Spanish terms. Moving away is "lejos" (L), moving toward is "hacia" (H), and moving against is "contra" (C).

Moving Away

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Fundamental characteristics include: self-sufficiency, independence, privacy, superiority, and a sense of uniqueness.

Many misconceptions around the withdrawn types confuse and muddy the true definition of what makes this triad unique. Horney explains that, despite its name, the withdrawn types are not distinguished by a need for solitude (and argues that the opposite of solitude is a much more common and likely symptom of neurosis) nor are they characterized by an estrangement from others or from themselves. These things, she argues, are common to all neurotic types, including the compliants and assertives. 

What is crucial is their inner need to put emotional distance between themselves and others. More accurately, it is their conscious and unconscious determination not to get emotionally involved with others in any way, whether in love, fight, co-operation, or competition. They draw around themselves a kind of magic circle which no one may penetrate. And this is why, superficially, they may "get along" with people. The compulsive character of the need shows up in their reaction of anxiety when the world intrudes on them.[1]

The desire to have this distance from others, like a bubble which shields the withdrawn from imposition, gives rise to an idealization of self-sufficiency[1], which motivates the withdrawn to believe that they don't necessarily need others to solve their basic conflicts. 

Its most positive expression is resourcefulness. The aggressive type also tends to be resourceful—but the spirit is different; for him it is a prerequisite for fighting one's way in a hostile world and for wanting to defeat others in the fray. In the detached type the spirit is like Robinson Crusoe's: he has to be resourceful in order to live. It is the only way he can compensate for his isolation.[1]

This need for self-sufficiency creates an automatic process of devaluing the things around them. For a withdrawn to truly be self-sufficient, their enjoyment of something cannot be attached to something; they want to have no indispensable objects or attachments in their lives, causing them to neurotically overreach in this regard and become excessively limiting on what they partake. If one has an indispensable attachment, they cannot be truly self-sufficient, this attachment would be appraised as a form of influence and encroachment, a threat the withdrawn type is defending against.

The fallacy here is that he looks upon independence as an end in itself and ignores the fact that its value depends ultimately upon what he does with it. His independence, like the whole phenomenon of detachment of which it is a part, has a negative orientation; it is aimed at not being influenced, coerced, tied, obligated.[1]

As a result, the withdrawn type has a sort of detached superiority over other people, associated with terms like "ivory tower," as being obsessed with one's own independence begets a feeling of uniqueness and strength. They are especially sensitive to any effort made by others to coerce them or influence them into doing something, as this infringes upon their innate obsession with independence. This, again, relates to the devaluation of attachments.

All of this exists in order to ensure the safety of the withdrawn type. If their bubble is encroached, they become anxious. Fundamentally, the withdrawn type is withdrawn because of the fear of being consumed, of being swallowed up or split right open[1], it is a fear of losing their uniqueness and sense of being, of losing their will and submitting to coercion, and finally, a fear of going insane. When the detachment from others and from reality is stripped away, the withdrawn type fears that the intimate and visceral interaction with reality would be enough to drive them mad, as it would run through their psyche and "swallow" them up.

Moving Towards

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Three fundamental characteristics: a pervasive feeling of weakness and helplessness, subordination of themselves, and dependency on others.[1]

The moving-toward triad, also referred to as the "compliant" type, is the triad whose principal conflict revolves around a need for affection, approval, and a significant partner, essentially a need for human intimacy and belonging. This can lead the compliant type to overrating their congeniality, generosity, and may want to appear as a truly generous and altruistic person in order to win over the affection of desired people. In reality, though, the compliant type might actually be forsaking their real attitude towards other people and hiding their true intentions. They distort how they see others, projecting a sense of idealistic and indiscriminate "goodness" on to them when in reality often feeling either indifferent, or critical of their hypocrisies and faults.

Being people who appear kind and altruistic themselves, they have a sense that aggression is taboo for its potential to paint themselves as threatening, and further, alienate themselves from others. These aggressive tendencies are repressed, and because of this they consequently have a marked effect on the compliant's character. Manipulation masked as altruism is common in compliant types, as is corruptivity and exploitation. Rather than being outwardly and abrasively aggressive, they become demanding out of a sense of self-deficiency, a kind of "I deserve this for what I suffer" attitude. Their demands become selfish and egocentric, but of course, maintaining the need for others' affection, they mask these aggressions.

It permits him to live out all his aggressive drives on a justified, innocent, or even praiseworthy basis, while allowing him at the same time to express all the endearing qualities he has acquired. Furthermore, since he is unaware that his handicaps and his suffering issue from the conflicts within himself, love beckons as the sure cure for them all: if only he can find a person who loves him, everything will be all right. It is easy enough to say that this hope is fallacious, but we must also understand the logic of his more or less unconscious reasoning. He thinks: "I am weak and helpless; as long [[60]] as I am alone in this hostile world, my helplessness is a danger and a threat. But if I find someone who loves me above all others, I shall no longer be in danger, for he (she) will protect me. With him I shouldn't need to assert myself, for he would understand and give me what I want without my having to ask or explain. In fact, my weakness would be an asset, because he would love my helplessness and I could lean on his strength. The initiative which I simply can't muster for myself would flourish if it meant doing things for him, or even doing things for myself because he wanted it."

This pattern of behavior and mode of thinking is very common to the types belonging to this triad. In the case of E7 and E2, it is observed that these types try to "seduce" others into giving them what they want, giving rise to the belief that they "shouldn't need to assert themselves," what they deserve is self-evident to themselves. In the case of E7 there is also a relation to helplessness, as Naranjo explains “It is curious that self-indulgence is described by some sources as a feeling of pity towards oneself in the face of situations that are perceived as adverse.” A clearer example of what this means is given in a biographical anecdote, “I wanted to be, deep down, a victim of the situation and overcompensated by seeing myself as deserving of condolences.” (Golosos).

Moving Against

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The assertive type is of the basic belief that they must compete for survival, for obtaining the things that they want.


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