Essay about Charles Manson

Words: 1321
Pages: 6

An Assessment of
Charles Manson: Two Points of View on a Killer’s Personality
Crystal L. Boyanski
Columbia College

There are many theories about what shapes an individual’s personality and when following these approaches, sense can be made of a certain person’s behavior. Charles Manson is a well-known serial killer whose personality is reflective of two specific personality theorists’ views. Sigmund Freud, whose psychosexual stages of development could explain some of the traits held by Manson. Karen Horney was another theorist whose views on childhood love and nurturing, or lack of it, could explain Charles Manson’s personality. Gathered information on
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(Rosenberg, 2009).
Karen Horney thought anxiety was part of the basic human condition but she also thought that it was a result of social forces and since anxiety causes a feeling of being in a hostile world, the environment as a whole is dreaded. (Engler, 2009) The text also states that when a parent cannot provide a child’s basic needs, this can cause an insecurity in a child that lead to “domination, isolation, hostility, indifference, lack of respect and guidance and neurotic needs and trends” (Engler, 2009, p 124) Of the ten neurotic trends mentioned by Horney, Manson had a few including exaggerated need for power, need to exploit others, exaggerated need for social recognition and the need for personal admiration (by the family). Based on Karen Horney’s ten neurotic trends and the fact that Manson lacked love and nurturing as a child, these factors may have contributed to his personality. Some of the anxieties felt by Charles Manson from childhood experiences could have been that he had a 16 year old mother that was an alcoholic and prostitute and was abusive. He never knew his father. His mother once traded him for a pitcher of beer. His mother and uncle were convicted of sexual assault and armed robbery. He was in and out of reform schools and he had an IQ of 109. (Rosenberg, 2009)
Sigmund Freud believed that most behavior is determined by past behavior,