Through a Jungian Lens

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You Can’t Fix Anything if You Only do Half of a Job.

with 6 comments

At the northern end of Playa Jacó, my wife sits on the rocks with the Pacific Ocean in the background.  Sunset is on its way.  We began our story together in a world-wind of emotion, a true-life tale in which I proposed to her within hours of meeting her.  She accepted the proposal immediately.  That was thirty-nine years ago.  Though we were complete strangers, something moved within each of us as projections were put out on both sides landing on ready hooks.  Today, she isn’t the woman I married.  Today, I’m not the man she married.  Hard work, tears, shared joys and a willingness to look at ourselves when things don’t go right in order to find out what “we” did, not what the “other” did – this is how we have made it so far.  And the journey isn’t over yet so the ending is unknown, as it should be.

If a man cannot get along with his wife, he naturally thinks the conflict would be solved if he married someone else.  When such marriages are examined they are seen to be no solution whatever.  The old Adam enters upon the new marriage and bungles it just as badly as he did the earlier one.  A real solution comes only from within and then only because the patient has been brought to a different attitude. (Jung, CW 4, par. 606)

Carl Gustav Jung has it nailed on the head.  You can’t fix anything if you only do half of a job.  It’s easy to blame the “other” person in a relationship, blame them for not living up to our fantasy, our projections.  It’s hard to do the work on one’s self to see if the relationship will improve with self-knowledge increased.  There is a risk of course.  The risk might be that when projections are withdrawn, this might not be the person needed for a full and healthy relationship.  But the risk of not doing this work is worse.  For then, no matter how many relationships we manage to engage in, we will still have a blindness to our own contributions for relationship dysfunction.


6 Responses

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  1. The risk might be that when projections are withdrawn, this might not be the person needed for a full and healthy relationship.

    This is the truly hard part, at least for me. When you strip away the projections, which marriage has a way of doing, you may see something that you don’t want to see about yourself and the other. I can look and see so many things that I wished that I could “take back”, though I know that I did only what I could with the tools that I had at the time.

    Also, I think that the self work needs to be done because it needs to be done, not because it will help the relationship. I’ve learned so much about myself lately. I have learned that I really didn’t know myself. It is an interesting meeting.


    January 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    • The work on the “self” is the most important work, for only then can one be more aware in working on relationships with “other.”

      Robert G. Longpré

      January 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

  2. How extraordinary! What on earth did your families all say about it? We got enough stick for getting engaged after being a couple for a month(well, we’d known each other a year, and we got engaged before anyone knew we were a couple, just kept it quiet for a month!)
    By the way, the photo of the stone with the yin-yang on it is now up on my blog.


    January 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

    • The families didn’t say anything that we heard. That is another story and a half.

      Robert G. Longpré

      January 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

  3. Oh that looks so inviting.


    January 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    • It is inviting and the water is warm, so much fun for playing with the surf.

      Robert G. Longpré

      January 13, 2010 at 8:42 am

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