Basic Hostility

Basic Hostility is a psychological concept first described by psychoanalyst Karen Horney. It is an effect of Basic Evil which is also known as parental abuse. Horney described it as a bad attitude which develops in the child as a result of Basic Evil, such as parental abuse. The child is mistreated and becomes angry, but can do nothing as he is dependent upon the very persons who mistreat him.


The pattern of Basic Hostility

  • The child wants to leave, but cannot. Although the child wants to avoid the abuse, his parents are perpetrating it.
  • The child cannot move away or fight back against his parents because he is dependent on them.
  • The child therefore redirects his feelings and expressions of hostility toward people he does not depend on for support.

According to Horney, some children find Basic Hostility to be an aggressive coping strategy and continue using it to deal with life’s problems.

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Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Basic Hostility. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163