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Psychology of Personality Bart Simpson is the oldest son of Homer and Marge Simpson on the Fox TV show The Simpsons. At only 10 years of age, Bart has already established himself in the community and in his family as a trouble-maker. He is the oldest child in his family with two younger sister, Maggie and Lisa. To Karen Horney, Bart’s experiences with his parents would greatly influence his future personality. Bart’s interactions with his father, Homer, provide a perfect situation for the analysis of a parents influence on personality development.
Homer’s relationship with Bart and the other children is very dysfunctional to say the least. His interactions with his son most often consist of a highly angered reaction to something that Bart has done at which point Homer lashes out, strangling Bart. According to Horney, when children experience a lack of affection from their parents this can lead to future feelings of isolation. The anxiety that stems from these feelings effect one’s interactions with other people; whether the are withdrawn, move toward, or move against others.
We can see from Bart’s interactions with others on the show that he is actively moving against others. His behavior is often defiant and he strives to master every situation he finds himself in. As he exploits the weaknesses of others to gain respect and attention, he is working to relieve the feelings of basic anxiety that stem from his realtionship with his father.
Bart has two true friends, Milhouse and Ralph Wiggum, both of whom are outcasts socially and look to Bart as a leader.
These types of relationships, according to Horneyian theory, satisfy Bart’s neurotic need for power and exploit as well as his neurotic need for personal admiration. As Bart’s interpersonal relationships have been effected by his relationship with his father, so too has his perception of himself.
Horney believed that basic anxiety can also have intrapsychic consequences as well. Bart’s earlier conflicts with his father could effect his journey towards self-realization and result in an idealized self-image and a neurotic search for glory. That Bart has an idealized self-image is apparent from his behavior an can be observed as he acts out against authority as if there are no consequences for his actions. His belief that he is in control of every situation is an example of the neurotic perception of his own “exalted faculties.” Bart’s relationship with his father, following Horneyian Psychoanalytic Social Theory, would greatly impact his personality development. To anyone who has seen The Simpsons, it is obvious that Bart’s anti-social behavior is a product of his dysfunctional family life and specifically, his realtionship with his father.
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