I too am not a professional in psychology but just someone with medical education who is fascinated by the puzzle or human behavior. We found that NPA personality theory is a model that is amenable to research, to factual assessment.
In terms of whether it is science, NPA theory is not a standard approach used by psychologists or psychiatrists but it is based on science and was formulated by a scientist. But, many individuals find it helpful to take personality tests and see if the test accurately reflect how they view themselves.
The NPA theory is internally consistent and based on physiology. It was formulated by ABenis some thirty years ago based on Karen Horney's writings and his own observations. At the time it was written, there was very little research done on brain chemistry, catecholamines etc., and there was essentially no support for human behavior being highly genetically programmed. Since that time, there is virtually universal scientific agreement that behavior is heritable on the order of 50%. So, it appears to us that the NPA theory is gradually being suppported by research. Much of the research is on the separate traits, most of it actually on the Aggression trait. So, here on the board we are discussing this research.
In terms of submissive compliant, though you point out the factors in your upbringing that have made you feel as you do today, the main import of NPA theory is that you genetically appeared to have propencity to submissiveness, compliance anyway. That is, perhaps even without the stepfather's influence, you would perhaps have felt the way you feel? I find that NPA theory helps in that we find that there are many many others who feel just as we do- we don't have to feel alone or feel that our existence is a fluke or an accident of nature. We are who we are because that's what we were meant to be. Once we see that, we can exercise true free choice in terms of fine tuning our lives given who we are genetically.
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