Through a Jungian Lens

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Coming Out Of The Closet – Transparency

with 4 comments

Each of us hold fears that send us hiding.

Each of us hold fears that send us hiding.

Today’s post grew out of a conversation yesterday evening while we sat with neighbours on our deck enjoying a glass of wine. The talk turned to local items that for the most part have little if any interest for me. Usually I just smile and add in a word or two to say I am listening. However when the talk turned to how hard it was for a woman and her children when her husband left the marriage. He had come out of the closet after more than twenty years of marriage and declared he was gay. I felt sad not only for the wife, but also for the husband who made the declaration. What is it that has us keep secrets from ourselves as well as those who love us?

I am familiar with hiding in closets. My first memories of hiding in a closet were from when I was either four or five. I hid from the fearsome rages of my father who had returned from the Korean War. I also hid from my mother who seemed to take great pleasure in slapping and pinching. I was a puny little kid. Later, around the age of seven, I hid because I was ashamed. I was involved in sexual exploration with the priest who was responsible for my Catechism lessons. I definitely wanted that secret kept in a closet.

But, there are problems with keeping things hidden in closets and hiding in closets. When you least expect it, things start slipping, things you might even have long forgotten about.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”  C.G. Jung

It begins with fear and with shame and leaves us victims of our own shadow.

It begins with fear and with shame and leaves us victims of our own shadow.

Keeping things hidden in the closet usually results in one becoming unconscious of those repressed contents. And when they begin to peek out from the closet with behaviour which often surprises us leaving us wondering what has just happened, a feeling that leaves us feeling as victims of fate rather than of our stuff in hiding.

But there are other things we hide in our closets, things for which we don’t want others to know about us, our deep dark secrets that would hurt us, or so we imagine, if others were to find out. We are very conscious of these hidden aspects of ourselves. I am no different from you and everyone else in this respect. I have secrets and I try to control how the world will perceive me.

I tell myself, I will be honest with my spouse, my neighbours and friends, with my family, and most importantly, with myself – only not just now. I think there will be a “right time” to make disclosures that I know will let some of the pressure off. But that right time never seems to come. As I wait, the burdens of my secrets grow. I find as I age that I am less patient with myself, angry at myself for needlessly carrying these secrets. And then, just as with unconscious contents, these secrets start to leak out into my life leaving me scrambling to do some cover up hoping that no one noticed. But of course, the mess is noticed. And now I find that the only way out is to let the secrets emerge out of the closet and hope for the best.

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

August 19, 2013 at 6:07 am

4 Responses

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  1. the path from unconscious to consciousness is a painful one, but nothing of worth happens without a difficult journey.
    Keeping something repressed viz. staying in the closet is tragic – more so as it will eventually bite you in the butt and force you out in a way far worse than if you consciously do so.

    Urspo

    August 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    • I agree with a caveat – one can’t disclose (become transparent) about those things only murkily lurking on the fringes of awareness. Thanks, good doctor.

      rgl

      September 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

  2. Dear Friend,

    Thank you for this honest and open Post.

    I think that with this Post,you touched one of the basics of human life.

    And I also think that as long as we are unconscious of (parts of ) our Shadow, we will experience predestination – of which, as is commonly known we act as victims and with our Denials.

    You wrote : “And then, just as with unconscious contents, these secrets start to leak out into my life leaving me scrambling to do some cover up hoping that no one noticed.”
    In my opinion, when I would become conscious of such, I have learned, that this is an indication that I am not fully conscious of the issue yet (although I might think so) – because somehow it seems that I still consider myself as a victim,….somewhere.

    When I am really “done”, I will experience no more unpleasant surprises (as, secrets start to leak out into my life) – or as Dr. Urspo wrote, it doesn’t bite me in the butt anymore as often and as severe as it did before I was “done”.
    Of course it is not completely gone, but I don’t consider it as a burden anymore, because the issue has become light as a feather.

    A story of ancient China :
    Two Chinese Monks walked on the sidewalks were the street was one pool of mud.
    A Geisha hesitated on the side walk and seemed confused whether she could and would dare to cross the street in ankle deep mud.
    Tjang, one of the Monks noticed this – he picked up the Geisha and carried her over the street to the other side walk and Tjang continued walking.
    When Tjang and Pen walked for a while, Pen addressed Tjang with the remark : “You committed a sin by carrying the Geisha, it is forbidden for us to touch women” – on which remark Tjang replied “ I put the Geisha down two hours ago, are you still carrying her ?”

    Opa Bear

    August 22, 2013 at 5:27 am

    • You are wise to note that trying to cover up contents that leak out is about not being fully conscious of those contents. Thank you for the story of the two Chinese monks.

      rgl

      September 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm


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