Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Neurosis and Neurotic Conflict

  • Jack DanielianEmail author
  • Patricia Gianotti
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1400-1



Karen Horney (1937) defined neurosis as a “psychic disturbance brought about by fears and defenses against these fears, and by attempts to find compromise solutions for conflicting tendencies” (p. 26).Neurotic conflicts stem from childhood experiences where parental figures did not provide a loving, safe, and consistent environment. As a result, the child internalizes core feelings and beliefs of unworthiness, shame, and defectiveness. In an attempt to distance from these feelings, the individual develops compromise solutions to create a homeostatic self-regulating system to keep painful feelings at bay.


Karen Horney (1885–1952) was one of the most original psychoanalytic thinkers to emerge from the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute, a renowned...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American Institute for Psychoanalysis, Karen Horney CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Woodland Professional AssociatesNorth HamptonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Simon Boag
    • 1
  1. 1.MacQuarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia