The works of Carl Gustav Jung always astonished me. After reading his “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” I had a great list of books that I just had to read. Sadly the list is moving really slowly. A month ago I read his “Psychology of the Unconscious” and it opened my eyes to so many things. I really was intrigued by his explanation of neurosis – that it has a purpose to get some sort of a result, for example, a woman afraid her husband might leave her for another has these neurotic phases, pleading her husband to be by her side, to save her, to take care of her and not to leave her. The husband will feel guilty if he had even the slightest thought to leave his wife. He sees how ill she is and how much she needs him. Unfortunately to all the “neurotic people”, at the end this works in the opposite way – after many times when the husband is put into a role of savior and nourishment (a neurotic person becomes like a small child), he will be fed up with it. How long can you act as a mother to a grown up infant? The husband needed a wife, maybe he had a mistress but that happened for a reason as well – maybe just midlife crisis, or maybe the relationship was just getting cold and the husband needed someone to look at him and see a man, not a care-giver. I’m not saying that it is the woman’s fault her husband needed a mistress but I’m saying that the fault might fall on both of them.
So, what did I learned from this? I’m not neurotic, but as a girlfriend, I used to mistreat my boyfriend by blaming him for no actual reason, getting mad at him for no reason and even having some small heart beat issues after that (of course, only when my boyfriend was with me). Saying that “for no reason” I mean, that there was no reason for the reaction of this kind and strength. I mean, that a normal person would react in a less dramatic way, maybe he even wouldn’t react. But I did. And I would always understand a few hours later what happened wrong, so I would apologize and apologize to him for my mistakes. I always thought that my “little neurosis” came as a result from my complexes, childhood problems and that it was a normal reaction for me that I couldn’t change or alter. And it felt like that, I just get so angry that to think straight would become an impossible thing to do. Somewhere deep I would understand that my boyfriend is not the reason, but the thought was just too weak. I would still feel that he is guilty for not understanding my childhood issues and saying or doing something that would make me react like this. After reading the book I understood that I shouldn’t be looking to my behaviour like this:
Some bad stuff in my past —> my “neurotic” reactions to regular things
but I should be looking at it like this:
My “neurotic” reaction —> result: my boyfriend feels really guilty
And I started to be very conscious of my behaviour, I wanted to prove myself that I was not wrong, that it is not about my boyfriend. But it was. One evening we got into a fight, and again I started it for something really insignificant, trying to convince him that behind his actions lies deep hatred for me (my choices made our relationship really complicated, half of the year it is a long distance relationship) and when he didn’t admit his anger, my heart started skipping beats resulting in lose of breath, chest pain and blurred vision. My boyfriend thought that it was his fault for causing me this pain and he was agonizing inside not being able to help me. And when I came back home, everything ended. No more pain or shortness of breath. Then I realized everything – I am causing myself all of this pain, I am making myself ill to make him feel guilty about it, to make him take care of me. And actually, somewhere deep I felt that it is his “fault” that we are together and it is his “fault” if everything falls apart. This struck me hard. I felt really bad, ashamed. I explained everything to him and apologized even more than ever. And since then I am controlling myself. Even if I start to have this “neurotic phase” again, I just stop it with the thought that I can get better results by talking to my boyfriend about what I need and what I feel than making him feel guilty for not understanding that telepathically.
Mine is only a small example what might be causing people to act out like this. I believe that everyone might have a quite different structure and can seek a different result. Or maybe the causes are not so different. Freud explained neurosis through sexuality, Adler through the need of power, but Jung put everything really well into one idea – both Adler and Freud were wright, it is just a point of view, a way to find the system of the behaviour (and different ways are more easily accepted by different people) and then it is easier to search for a solution, for the way to change.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.” — Lao Tzu
For the enlightment,