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The Germanmarker Freudian psychoanalyst Karen Horney defined four so-called coping strategies to define interpersonal relations, one describing psychologically healthy individuals, the others describing neurotic states.

Coping strategies

Moving With

These are the strategies in which psychologically healthy people develop relationships. It involves compromise. In order to move with, there must be communication, agreement, disagreement, compromise, and decisions.

Karen Horney describes the other strategies as a neurotic. This means that they are unhealthy strategies people utilize in order to protect themselves.

Moving Toward

The individual moves towards those perceived as a threat to avoid retribution and getting hurt. The argument is, “If I give in, I won’t get hurt.” This means that: if I give everyone I see as a potential threat whatever they want, I won’t be injured (physically or emotionally).

Moving Against

The individual threatens those perceived as a threat to avoid getting hurt.

Moving Away

The individual distances themselves from anyone perceived as a threat to avoid getting hurt. The argument is, “If I do not let anyone close to me, I won’t get hurt.” A neurotic, according to Horney desires to be distant because of being abused. If they can be the extreme introvert, no one will ever develop a relationship with them. If there is no one around, nobody can hurt them. These Moving Away people fight personality, so they often come across as cold or shallow. This is their strategy. They emotionally remove themselves from society.


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