Daimon Publishers

Jung, My Mother and I
Jane Reid

Excerpt 1

"I never saw anything so beautiful," I said to Onkel, as I stretched myself lazily in the comfortable chair. "Do you know that it was only after I had worked with you for four years, that I saw color." "When people get in touch with their feeling, they see color," answered Onkel.

Katy and C.G. Jung

I went on to tell Onkel that I had had two dreams in which I had been with him, and later wept over him because he was so nice. They had been very vivid. He said that he thought those dreams were repeating my first feeling realization, which had taken place in 1934, and now, for some reason, I was reminded of those days. In those dreams, I am spending a week-end with the Jungs. Onkel said, It was in a way as if I didn't realize the way in which I belong to the big family of human beings! He added, "In analysis there is that 'transference' business to the analyst (the positive or negative feeling the patient has to his analyst) and people think the transference is awkward - that it shouldn't be, and that one should make people independent, for some people cling to the analyst instead of trying to establish relations to people. Some patients are just too auto-erotic and egotistical and they just cling! They should be admonished not to cling and to try their best to establish relations to other people. Some people seemed forced to cling, against their reason." He went on: "To be related to someone is usual but to be related to your analyst, that is a particular thing which belongs to the question of becoming oneself and that becoming oneself can't be accomplished if one is related to people who aren't themselves! Therefore it is a good idea to see with what people one goes about with, for if one is related to stupid people, gossips, uncouth people, one has no earthly chance of acquiring those qualities, which bring one to the Self. For instance, what does one learn - if one wants to learn - in being related to people with no education? I am constantly dealing with people who are not themselves," he added, "and I need friends who have a certain degree of ripeness. You are able to establish relations to people rather easily. In fact, I should think that if you wanted to you could establish a relation to anyone easily, so why do you, as your dreams show, establish a relation with me? It's because you have set yourself that task of becoming individuated and you are therefore in need of someone more individuated than yourself! You call me Onkel and its not a joke, for you really are a relative of mine. But just to belong to an ordinary family, doesn't do the trick, you have to belong to an unconscious family, and your unconscious family is me!"

Onkel then went on to say: "The first human society was formed by little groups of natives clinging together for vital reasons such as protection from common enemies. You see, two are more than one, so these natives established a communistic life and equally divided the catch. In such a group the children belonged to every woman, and often were breast fed by women who were not their mother. That was usual in all such tribes, and also with the Eskimos, the women even took the dogs (who were most vital to their way of life) to their breast. And it didn't matter to them which child they took to their breast - they were all one group. Slowly other groups would form, from the relatives of the original group, so there would be more groups! Eventually there would be rivalry between groups. In prehistoric time the groups established exogamous laws (outside as opposed to endogamous, inside). For instance, a group consists of two families. Your mother's brother lives in Rapperswil, and you have a daughter for whom you seek a husband. There is no one in your group to whom she can be married, so she marries her maternal uncle's son - a cross cousin marriage. The maternal uncle is the most important person, so your daughter and son marry their maternal uncle's children, they marry cousins! The paternal uncle's children don't enter the picture for you. If your grandmother has a son or daughter and they have children, you marry the cousins of the second degree. The main person is the maternal grand uncle. If you have a daughter to marry, you apply to the grand uncle's family - they are farther away still than the maternal uncle. As the grandmother is much bigger than the mother (the great grandmother is doubly grand) her group is even more important. The great grandmother's dignity is raised to high degree. There is enormous dignity in a primitive society and under the surface, there's a hell of a lot to the fact that you are a grandmother. You ask about the father?" Onkel inquired. "In the next stage of social development, the father enters the game. In our civilization, the more it developed, the mother's importance lessened and she assumed an equal position with the father. In the beginning of society there were brother and sister marriages. Then their groups would be increased by marrying cousins, and soon Bollingen and Rapperswil became allies! Finally, a group where people were not related, became a country. Primitive desire is to maintain the family relation. The endogamous libido is not satisfied and is seeking application, that secret dissatisfaction is always trying to establish the original family relationship."

Onkel went on to speak of the middle-ages. How the convents attempted to establish the original family relation on a spiritual level. (Frater - brotherhood. Nun - sisterhood.) "It proved to be a great satisfaction for a time," he said, "as long as people really loved each other. As long as they did that it LIVED." He said that in the middle-ages people really did love each other, things weren't as they are now! This original family which they established was a great satisfaction for a time, and these 'families' were the carriers of civilization. But, he said, it petered out just as the idea of Christian love did. "The whole of the mediaeval love is incredible to us," Onkel continued, "and we can't make it work, so we have a neurosis because the endogamous libido is not satisfied."

"So, in treating a neurosis," Onkel said, "the analyst becomes the maternal Uncle, and instinctively the primitive clan is established on a spiritual level. The patient and analyst are also the carriers of civilization because they establish the big family of primitives in which all are relatives. The psychological transference shows itself in my being called, 'Mon très cher père' by a French woman, 'Mon père' by a Russian woman. You see they belong to the family. For a woman over seventy, I am the brother. It is a most mysterious thing and the most primitive, original emotion. That is the external form it takes." He continued, "However, there is a mystery in it which people don't understand. You see, you reach the Self not just through your ego (the person you know) but the Self includes the unconscious. You are the unconscious and how far does that unconscious go? (That 'Self' in the unconscious?) Perhaps you are in my unconscious?"

The Self is a collective idea, which the Hindus call 'conglomerate soul,' consisting of many souls - built out of many souls as it were, both masculine and feminine ones."

Onkel emphasized that relationship between individuals is due to the Self, not only to the ego. There is a 'something,' an indefinable sympathy, a 'peculiar' kind of relationship between this 'primitive family' which is unique because of its illimitableness. He said, "I represent all men and you represent all women - one man and one woman! Each one of us is a potential criminal or assassin, for the same forces and emotions are alive in each individual. It is only due to favorable circumstances that we don't become murderers. Of course we condemn such things, and lying and cheating also. We have all those things in ourselves, and we must condemn them in ourselves, and not be charitable with ourselves. We must say to ourselves, 'You reckless devil or egotistical criminal!' Onkel went on, 'In such matters, there must be no charity to ourselves or others. Inasmuch as you represent womanhood and I represent manhood 'We are related to each other through the Self, and the relationship is unique - all such relationships are. Your animus perhaps says, 'To how many people is Onkel related like that?'" "Yes," I interposed, "I don't like other people being related to you like that, you are my Onkel!" Onkel laughed. "It reminds me of a story," he said. "In an insane asylum, of which I was the head, a clergyman once came to give a talk to the inmates. He spoke a lot about 'our Jesus.' After a while a woman got up, and said, 'I will not have you speak of him as "our" Jesus, he's my Jesus!' We both laughed. Onkel's sense of humor is unique - just like the relationship!

Onkel repeated that each relationship of that kind was unique - no two were alike - for individual relationships cannot be conventional. If it is conventional, then it is not an individual relationship!

I went on to tell Onkel how fed up I was with never getting anywhere; just plodding away working on myself and studying, and looking after my mother for years now, and never seeming to 'get anywhere.' He said that was just the way things were. "Now for years," he added, "for thirty years, my patients were only British and American spinsters! I never seemed to have an interesting patient, some scientific mind, some man of quality who had achieved something at least. Just the eternal line of spinsters, they arrived in droves; it never seemed to end. I used to ask myself, 'Why am I cursed'? But I plodded along looking after them, the best I could, and doing my research work on the side. An analyst must have extra work, for if he doesn't, he puts all his energies into the patients and gives the patients too much food for the Animus. (It can produce an inflation in the patients.) But I kept saying to myself, 'You are an intelligent man, but you seem to be getting nowhere.' Everybody and everything was against me for thirty years. It was a dog's life but it was lived sincerely! I decided that I must stand it and make the best of it. In those early days I analysed a schizophrenic patient who was a spinster and not at all good looking, in fact horribly ugly. I worked with her long and hard and learned a lot from that case. Finally, I submitted my work to Freud; he was delighted with it. He asked to meet the patient. I introduced her to him. Afterwards he said to me, 'I admire the work you have done very much indeed, but what I admire more than your deductions is the fact that you could have done this work with such an ugly woman!' I was overwhelmed by these ugly spinsters; it got to be almost too much and I'd say to myself, 'Am I going to spend my whole life laboring for these impossible creatures?'" Onkel went on, "It is a great thing to stand a situation in life that comes to you. Then and only then do you get to where you belong. I finally got to where I belonged. If you have to scrub your floor then do it well."

I told Onkel about a very flattering letter I received from Dr. [C.A.] Meier. I told him that I felt so elated about it that I went around for a few days feeling intensely superior, then I got nervous over this feeling and realized that it was all wrong. I said to myself, "Such a letter is dangerous, if it's producing this effect on me." Onkel said, "You suffered a success!" He added, "Nichts ist schwerer zu ertragen als eine Reihe von guten Tagen." (Nothing is more difficult to bear than a series of good days.) You get sloppy. That is the way people are, if one says things that are too nice to them. You must remember that man is a swine - man is a helluva swine." Onkel dwelt fairly at length on man's swinishness, and I felt he wanted to impress me with it. He went on, "The letter 'got' you. You have to gain merit through simple things done in a careful way. If you do anything you have to do it in a humble spirit. If you get an inflation from such a letter, you won't go on in a humble spirit. I admit the letter is most agreeable, and you 'lapped it up'! A dog laps a bowl of milk. And he feels agreeable and all is O.K. It would be wrong if he behaved otherwise, and he would be a sophisticated dog if he said, 'What a fine moral dog I am to get this bowl of milk!' Fortunately, he does not conclude that he is a specially fine dog or a moral dog. 'I can "lap it up" but it is better if I don't draw conclusions as to my values," Onkel said. "For if you draw conclusions," Onkel went on, "They will be sophisticated conclusions, which mean, 'I'm a helluva feller.'" It is the fellow who gave me the bowl of milk who is the top dog! Then Onkel went on very forcibly to tell me never to forget that we human beings are animals and that we should pattern ourselves on them for they lead a far more natural life than we do. We should be humble, take things naturally - animals are like that they don't draw conclusions. "In your case," he said, "the Animus got hold of that letter and began to chew it up!" Onkel went on emphasizing two things: the first, that man was a swine capable of anything, and the second thing, was that one should pattern oneself on animals.

Onkel then resumed: "If you carry through something with self sacrifice, and care, then your deeds are proven! To receive flattery proves nothing! Flattery proves something for the flatterer only! I must be able honestly to give recognition to myself. FACTS are the only valid reason, for giving myself compliments. One must give oneself the necessary recognition and if you can't honestly do that, then you must do something first which gives you that possibility, and which proves to yourself what you are capable of."

We only spoke of my mother for a minute. Onkel did not seem very interested, but said: "I understand that she was always a difficult person." I answered that it was so, but somehow, I could not bring myself to waste those precious moments on that problem, as I felt that getting into 'bigger' questions, I would automatically get 'something' with which to deal with my mother-problem. I asked him if he thought I should leave her and go to Turkey. He didn't say much, only, "If she is all right (?) then I don't see why not." I spoke of the fact that she never liked Europe and had been forced by my father's desire for 'retirement' to live in such a quiet place as San Remo. Onkel said the following: 'These British and Americans are uprooted, when they settle down here, as grown people. The British less, they seem more able to adapt. But their own society is too severe, too oppressive, so they feel that they have to get away. There is much likeness between the British and American society and Basel. One must do such and such a thing or one mustn't do such and such a thing. It's done, or it's not done and so it goes on interminably with taboos. That is why I quit Basel, it was too narrow.

Again, I spoke of my mother and how I had a real 'resistance' to her and had had for years as she was so difficult, overpowering and crushing. Onkel said that my feeling towards my mother was a 'moral defeat' and one must not heap up defeats, for then one gets morally discouraged.

He went on: "The devil comes and tries to break me asunder in this thing with my mother. When one gets resistances to someone, one shouldn't go further - one must be careful. People like my mother should learn to stand themselves." (I confess to being a little nebulous on that mother-problem, or how he meant best to work it out.)

Onkel went on to say the following: "It is important to do everything one can before one dies. If, before one dies, one can tell oneself 'I have scrubbed that floor well and with the utmost sincerity,' then one can die! But if you say, 'I haven't scrubbed that floor in a decent way,' then you are in for it. Everything drops off of you when you die, but those things which you have really accomplished don't drop off. When you die, you are on a par with a scrubwoman, then it's of no importance, whether you have done one book or ten books, but have you done that which you had to do, as well as you could? The judge in you gives it to you. If you have, then it's in you! If you can tell yourself: 'It's been a wonderful performance,' but the judge in you says NO, then it was all no good, but if the inner judgement is in favor, it's O.K. If it's a 'fact' it is O.K. But it must be a fact that you have scrubbed in a decent way."

"In the case of your mother, you may 'think' you have done your duty, and if it is so, no one can take it from you. When it is really there no one can shake it!! Don't ask yourself if you have done your duty, you ought to know! If you have, nothing, nor anything anyone says, ought to put you in doubt, you've done your duty, it's a fact and that is that. But why are you in doubt? Is it a fact? Have you done your duty? The judge in you knows!"

Onkel added, just before we stopped our conversation: "During my illness, when I was almost dead, I saw what stands and what doesn't stand!" "YOUR REAL PERFORMANCE IS AN UNSHAKABLE FACT and if it was GOOD and a thousand people assure you to the contrary, it nevertheless remains what it WAS!" "THAT is what you carry away with you, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! And that no one can ever take from you!"



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