Masculine Transformation – A Journey of Individuation: Part Four
This is a scene that met my eye two days ago, when I looked out of the apartment window. There is beauty in some of the most unlikely spaces and places. One just has to be open to seeing/feeling/meeting beauty in its various disguises and faces. On the right side is a new building going up that dwarfs all the other buildings in the area including the impressive twin towers of city hall in this Chinese city of four and a half million people. On the lower levels of this new building, the outer walls are of glass. From a distance there is little doubt that this masculine symbol is a testament to our need to create works that seem to magnify the spirit of humankind. It takes a lot of planning to pull off this kind of monument to our collective ego. One needs to begin below the surface, preparing the soil before the first piling is poured. One just can’t start somewhere halfway up the building and expect anything to hold together. If the building is to be sound and safe, all aspects must be given due attention.
The human psyche requires as much care as does the erection of a building. One needs to ensure that all aspects are given the needed attention or else the psyche will suffer all manner of dysfunction. Dysfunction is about getting stuck.
“A man is psychologically an adolescent until his libido moves beyond the simple concreteness of its pubertal focus into accomplishment and individuation.” (Monick, Castration and Male Rage, p. 29)
Getting stuck in a stage is problematic as it interferes with developing healthy relationships with others. The relationships that occur while stuck in a stage such as the adolescent stage, have the dysfunction getting in the way of relationship with psychological balance and depth. The partner in such relationships is hidden behind unconscious projections which beg the owner of the projections to deal with unfinished business. Of course, since this is buried in the unconscious, the owner of the projections becomes a victim of his unconscious projections as much as the person with whom he has partnered in a relationship.
“An adolescent young man moves out and away from his family, but he may also move dangerously more closely in.”
The mama’s boy is an example, the man who somehow doesn’t make the break, doesn’t find other women who initially are mother surrogates with whom he can deal with his oedipal energy in safe ways, to deal with his sexual curiosity. There is a wide range of responses and attachments to mother as boy moves towards man. Dysfunction only sets into place when the boy gets stuck and spins his wheels, stuck in a mother complex or a father complex in which he repeats the same patterns over and over again in spite of not getting satisfaction or a sense of accomplishment.
“The onset of puberty sets a male on course for thirty years. He seeks sexual partners who provide him with self-knowledge and self-expression.” (p. 30)