Prepositional personality types - which are you?

I’m re-reading my old Karen Horney and have come across the notion that there are only four things you can do in life. 1) Move “towards” people. 2) Move “away from” people. 3) Move “against” people. 4) Move forward “with” people. The fourth possibility results from an individual feeling safe and valued enough in his surroundings to move towards people when they are behaving in ways that contribute to his well being, moving away from them when no possibility for constructive engagement exists, and moving against them when threatened. If any of these impulses is consistently punished then he is cut off from areas of himself and becomes compulsively appeasing, withdrawn or aggresive. There is a lot more too it of course and not all of it is entirely pleasant to contemplate, but perhaps this can be the start of something a little more interesting than the enjoyable enough but decidedly light banter of the past few weeks. Thanks.

I move ‘behind’ people. Checkin’ out the booty is where it’s at. :wink:

:notworthy: :notworthy: I advise a similar method of locomotion, with the addition of dark sunglasses for protection of ones personal wholeness and well-being.

If Karen is horny as Bob said, moving a bit is certainly a good option.

I don’t really see how one can be anything other than (4) without being at least a bit disturbed – at least according to the way you’ve described it here.

To me, it seems (1) would be an insufferable twit that can’t read the signals from other people, (2) is a recluse, (3) is a bully, or at least overbearing and aggressive.

I suppose I’d be (4) but I don’t think I’m compulsively appeasing, withdrawn or aggressive. I’m afraid I’m just a regular whackjob.

People sometimes get stuck in one or other of the modes of relating. If the only way to feel safe in your early environment was to demonstrate your superior toughness for example then you get cut off from the aspects of yourself that want to reach out to others for warmth. This not only creates an aggresive personality type but inner conflict as well between the real self which moves easily between the modes of relating and the “idealized self” that values, in the case of the aggressive type, independance, toughness, an excessively “rational” world view perhaps. Very few people are entirely one type or another but many of us are neurotic to the extent that certains aspects of our personalities are unavailable to us. In my own case I think I have tended to be mainly the withdrawn type and when forced to relate to others I swing between the appeasing and the aggresive in ways that are frequently inappropriate. Not always of course but if I wanted to be more effective in my relations with others I would look for ways to bring my responses more in line with reality.

That’s it? Only four? I hate to be so limited!!!

Seriously, though, I thought Horney proposed the first three as ways of coping with neurosis (excess levels of anxiety), not as cardinal personality types.

Surely everybody fits into all four areas depending on who they meet and what they are doing and what their environment is - and as Dragonbones states, four is a little limited.

They are ways of dealing with life, if you are reasonably healthy, in which case you are able to move from one to the other as the situation requires; but they become ways to deal with anxiety when only one is tolerated in your early life experience. Small children look to their family for their very survival and if they only way to avoid hostility there is to behave in a meek and appeasing way then that is what they will do. They will eventually build up a value system based on these characteristics also. They may come to believe that it is “good” always to be gregarious and accomodating for example. Of course nothing about this feels genuine or spontaneous and the person feels cut off from himself and his own creative, productive, integrative energies and feels basically that he doesn’t know who he is or what he wants. This describes a lot of people I think.

Fearsome Oranges “behind” people was a worthy addition, I’ll admit. :wink:

Quite so. For me it certainly depends on the people involved.

And with really fine persons, any sort of movement at all is a bonus… :yay: