1. Which personality type does Myra display, according to Freudian theory? Provide evidence for your answer. What caused it?
Myra must have experienced neurotic anxiety in the presence of her husband’s “authority” as she previously must have experienced unconscious feelings of destruction against her parents because of fear of punishment, so she exaggerates her cleanings and frequently portrays herself as a martyr who does so much for others and asks so little for herself, when in reality she usually over sees the cleaning and tells others what to do, and her husband or children help her.
This same neurotic anxiety makes her aggressive towards her neighbor as once grass went flying into her garden from her neighbor’s while mowing; and as a result Myra threw a fit and did not talk to the neighbor for two years. Myra displays a disturbing pattern of establishing relationships and then ending them by being rude. She sometimes criticizes people to their faces, or she just stops calling them. Moreover, this neurotic anxiety makes her concerned about spending money and she refrains from expending it despite being middle class and really not poor. As a defense mechanism, Myra has developed an anal fixation, which manifests in her obsession with neatness and orderliness.
2. Why does Myra feel that cleaning the house is her responsibility? How would Jungian theory explain Myra adopting this traditional role? According to Jung the mind or psyche has two levels; conscious and unconscious. Unlike Freud, Jung believes that collective unconscious refers to humans’ “innate tendency to react in a particular way whenever their experiences stimulate a biological inherited response tendency.”
This explains why Myra unexpectedly reacts with love and persistence to the house cleanliness, tidiness and orderliness although she had negative or at least neutral feelings toward the job, especially when we know that her mother always took care of their house and thought that it was the woman’s responsibility to do so; and Myra has learnt how to clean “correctly” from her mother who punished her when she did not clean something thoroughly enough.
Of course, her mothers belief of house cleanliness was passed to her from her mother and so on through generations until it became a collective unconscious which Jung sees as autonomous forces called archetypes which, when evolved, “can be conceptualized” into persona, shadow, anima, animus, great mother, wise old man, hero, and self.
3. How could radical behaviorism explain Myra’s cleaning behavior? Find examples of reinforcement of punishment that might have influenced Myra’s cleaning behavior.
According to Freud, Myra’s ego which is “the only region of the mind in contact with reality” and it is governed by the “reality principle” has made the decision on cleanness and neatness of her house and yard, besides arranging things in order. And because the ego is partially conscious, partly preconscious and partly unconscious, her ego can make decisions on each of these three levels. Myra exaggerates in cleaning her house, tidying her yard and garden and arranging her things in order as her ego consciously motivates her to choose excessive neatness, tidiness and arrangements because she feels comfortable and proud of her estate and things being like this and people compliment her for this.
Meanwhile she may be, on her preconscious level, only dimly aware of her previous experience when her friends or neighbors first praised her for the way she cleans the house, tidies the yard and the garden and arranges her things. Besides, she may be unconsciously motivated to be excessively clean, neat and orderly “due to her childhood experiences of the toilet training” and cleaning the house with her mother so as to avoid pain resulting from her parents punishment and gain pleasure of their love and security. Also it has been settled in her superego what she should and should not do because of her experiences with reward and punishment she must have received from her parents during her childhood. Thus she can be dominated by the superego, which results in her “guilt-ridden or inferior-feeling person;”
4. How could Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory explain Myra’s traditionally feminine cleaning behavior? According to Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, the way we react to expected events is usually more powerful than the event itself. Myra’s traditionally feminine cleaning behavior can be explained on the basis of her observing her mother cleaning and perhaps financially managing the house as well as having the same belief that her mother had as housework is the main responsibility of a woman.
Myra’s behavior is also reinforced by the compliments she receives from her neighbors and friends who overtly express their admirations of her clean house, tidy yard and beautiful garden. This accords with Bandura’s idea that reinforcement can be vicarious whether it is direct or indirect. According to Bandura’s triadic reciprocal model that includes behavioral, environmental, and personal factors, Myra has the capacity to regulate her life; and her behavioral cleanliness has turned into a consistent way of evaluating and regulating her social and cultural environment, seeing that her house is cleaner, tidier and more beautiful than any house in the neighborhood or any of her friends or relatives’ houses.
5. Which of Horney’s needs motivate Myra? Which of Horney’s neurotic trends does Myra demonstrate? Provide evidence for you answer. In accordance with Horney’s Psychoanalytic Social Theory, Myra has been influenced by cultural impacts of her society. Modern culture is based on completion (her exaggeration in cleanliness, tidiness and orderliness compared to others) which triggers off basic hostility (in dealing with her friends and neighbors), which, in return, results in isolation, (her break up with friends and not participating in productive volunteer work), that brings about “intensified needs for affection” (her feeling of doing everything alone without being helped by anyone and illustrating herself as martyr or victim).
Childhood at any stage is considered the source of most problems as a result of traumatic events. During her childhood Myra was physically punished by her parents; the thing which generated a feeling of lack of genuine warmth and affection and developed into anxiety and hostility towards others. From her behaviors of exaggerated cleanliness, hostility, saving money, and refraining from participating in productive volunteer work, Myra demonstrates some basic neurotic needs:
(1) Need to restrict her life within narrow borders: she does not participate in any productive activities such as volunteer work, and she prefers to spend all her time and energy working on her house and yard. (2) Need for security and power: she economizes on everything and does not spend money, which represents a source of power to her. (3) Need to exploit others: she breaks up with friends and relatives who do not return her invitations to meals. (4) Need for social recognition or prestige: she tries to be the best at cleaning and orderliness and criticizes others as not equal to her.
(5) Need for personal admiration: she likes people admiring her house cleanliness, her yard and garden tidiness and beauty, and her orderliness. (6) Need for perfection and unassailability: she always cleans, tidy and rearrange her house, garden, yard and things so as not to be criticized; on the contrary she always criticizes and blames others.
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