n. in the study of ego, a feeling of being deeply insecure, helpless, and isolated. There is fear of being abandoned to the dangers of a hostile world. German-born, U.S.-based psychoanalyst Karen Horney (1885-1952) describes this infantile dependence and helplessness as a product of poor parenting and parental indifference. Thus, defense mechanisms may arise such as neurotic needs and tendencies. See basic hostility.