Sylvia Plath, American poetess of the mid-twentieth century who committed suicide at age 30 had many archetypal and personal themes in her dreams. Here we look at those pertaining to the father and his effect on a daughter’s masculine images and complexes.
This presentation is a partial exploration about why it is hard to love a narcissist. And, it poses the question if it really is possible. There are many reasons the narcissist has challenges in love and difficulty in any relationship including with themselves.
Paradox and Necessity Ancient Chinese Taoism and traditional Chinese culture view longevity as an accomplishment, a symbol of pride including qualities of endurance, perseverance, flexibility and harmony. Taoism recognizes a relationship to the living spirit in nature, the divine within all creation.
The identity and internal narrative of those living in a place different from their childhood is contiguous with the sense of estrangement we all have felt at once time or another. We each carry forms of wounding and exclusion, the lack of belonging to family, partner, group or self.
Through the auto-immune illness the psyche/soma exposes fragility, the cracked and dissociated parts and unmet narcissistic needs. The body reflects the personality. Integration occurs through encountering the dissociations, despair and depression, self and other, ‘as if’ and real, the shadow and the stranger.
“The psychological mode works with materials drawn from (the) conscious life—with crucial experiences, powerful emotions, suffering, passion, the stuff of human fate in general” (Jung, 1966/1975, para. 139). Mirroring numerous scenarios, poetry and psychology describe the pathways of development, connecting us and reflecting our shared dramas and feeling responses.
“Our passionate selves are our best selves: and a passionate life is only possible, by definition, if we can make our passions known: to ourselves...There can be no passion—without representation. ...Passion entails circulation and exchange.” [Andre Green: The Dead Mother 166]
We are “confronted, at every new stage in the differentiation of consciousness to which civilization attains, with the task of finding a new interpretation appropriate to this stage, in order to connect the life of the past that still exists in us with the life of the present, which threatens to slip away from it,” wrote Carl Jung (1964, par. 267).
“We discover, indeed that we do not know our part, we look for a mirror, we want to rub off the make-up and remove the counterfeit and be real. But somewhere a bit of mummery still sticks to us that we forget...” [ Rilke, Notebooks of Malte Lauride Briggs, p.212]
Puella is the eternal girl, an aspect of the psyche that has been virtually ignored in the Jungian literature. She appears in the Western attitudes to be ever younger and thinner, devalued and stuck in the shadow of the patriarchy. Living 'as if', she is bolstered by persona adaptation, masking the emptiness within, experiencing but not facing the narcissistic wounds.
How old is the habit of denial? We keep secrets from ourselves that all along we know.... For perhaps we are like stones; our own history and the history of the world embedded in us, we hold a sorrow deep within and cannot weep until that history is sung.
Dream of a man-- There is a red stockinged lady outside the bookshop in Zurich, where earlier in the day I had bought Jung’s ‘Modern Man in Search of a Soul.’
As Jung wrote, “the image is a condensed expression of the psychic condition of the whole”(1971, p. 442). This quote addresses the problem in the dream of a man who faces the challenge of going from oneness to twoness, from singularity to relationship.
We all contain possibilities and diversities unknown to others. Yet, how do we listen to the voices with receptivity to their collective pain? According to Jungian analytical psychology we need an open attitude to those in the shadows.
This approach examines the innate longing to belong, working against personal and collective polarization by bridging differences. And, it requires thoughtful reflection and response. By having such an attitude to culture, time and history, both personal and collective, we can tap into the past and institute changes in the present for a more fulfilling future.