Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views. This was particularly true of her theories of sexuality and of the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis. She is credited with founding feminist psychology in response to Freud's theory of penis envy. She disagreed with Freud about inherent differences in the psychology of men and women, and she traced such differences to society and culture rather than biology. He was a ship's captain in the merchant marine, and a Protestant traditionalist his children nicknamed him "the Bible-thrower", as he did indeed throw Bibles. She was said to be more open-minded than Berndt, and yet she was "depressed, irritable, and domineering toward Karen". Karen's elder brother was also named Berndt, and Karen cared for him deeply.
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Her father was a ship's captain, a religious man, and an authoritarian. His children called him "the Bible thrower," because, according to Horney, he did! Her mother, who was known as Sonni, was a very different person -- Berndt's second wife, 19 years his junior, and considerably more urbane. Karen also had an older brother, also named Berndt, for whom she cared deeply, as well as four older siblings from her father's previous marriage. Nevertheless, she felt deprived of her father's affections, and so became especially attached to her mother, becoming, as she put it, "her little lamb.
The role of the body and its functions in the psychic life of the individual has occupied a central place in psychoanalytic thinking and writing. Developmentally, the body and the ego as a psychic organization have an integral, mutual relationship which becomes particularly important during adolescence, when the body matures physically while at the same time cognition, self-reflection, and social relations develop. This contribution presents results of the content analyses, focusing on the body, of 40 diaries written by twenty women during their adolescent years, compared with Karen Horney's adolescent diaries. In contrary to these diaries of the other young women, Karen Horney's adolescent diaries lack a focus on the body. Instead, idealized relationships with teachers are frequently mentioned. Only in the last diary, written at the transition to young adulthood, is the body, with a focus on sexual relations, more prominent. This discrepancy between Horney and female age-mates in normative samples is noteworthy. It is discussed here with emphasis on theoretical approaches about the body in adolescence in psychoanalysis, the importance of body and sexuality in Karen Horney's later life, Horney's contributions to female psychoanalysis, and her relationship with her father.