Horney called parental indifference, a lack of warmth and affection in childhood, as a “basic evil”. The key to understanding parental indifference is through a child’s perspective and not through parent’s intentions.
Parents can easily communicate indifference to their children in these ways
- Showing preference for one child over the other
- Blaming a child for what they might not have done
- Making fun of one child’s thinking
- Disturbing a child’s friendship
- Neglecting to fulfill promises
A child’s first reaction to their parents is anger and frustration, which she calls basic hostility. Sometimes this hostility becomes effective and develops in to a habit. This can lead the child to develop an aggressive coping strategy. Sometimes children use basic anxiety which is a matter of fear of helplessness and desertion.
In some cases children solve the problem by withdrawing into themselves, and become introverts by being to themselves all the time in every situation.
In my case I faced two things out of the five basic evils i.e. 1) Showing preference for one child over the other.
I had a play in my fourth grade and the teachers were choosing different children for the play. Everyone got one or the other role in the play but me; because my voice was very soft I would not read lines properly. At that point, I felt that the teachers were showing preference to everyone but me. I felt really horrible and neglected. Moreover I was among those children who would resort to solve the problem by keeping to themselves.
2) Blaming a child for what they might have not done
My first school had teachers who would spank their children for the silliest reasons. As I was a person who would keep to themselves, my other classmates would try and put me down. Many times I was blamed for things that I hadn’t done like make fun of my classmates or for hitting my “apparent” friends. My teachers would never listen to my side of the story and would spank me on the hand with a long stick.
In the end, I had almost no respect left for my teachers.
In my case, I faced indifference from my teachers and not my parents.
Taking both my cases into consideration, we can clearly see that Horney’s basic evils can affect a child with great intensity if these evils are practiced by the parents or teachers with utter ruthlessness.
I had my parents to support me and get me out of such situations, but those who don’t have any kind of support can be victimized by such evils for a lifetime.