Denise Grobbelaar:

Relationships: A Jungian Lens

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

‘Conscious relating’ emphasizes self-awareness, authenticity, genuine understanding, mutual respect, and growth within relationships. Viewed through a Jungian framework, this requires a willingness and commitment to engage in introspection and self-exploration. This doesn't mean relinquishing personal boundaries or merging identities, but rather recognizing that by understanding our own motivations, fears, and desires, we can communicate more honestly and openly with our partners. This level of vulnerability fosters a safe environment where authentic connecting can flourish. Relationships then become a container for the journey of individuation while meeting our need for emotional attachment.

Jung emphasized the concept of the ‘shadow’, which refers to unlived potential, as well as the hidden and undesirable aspects of our personalities that we tend to suppress. In the context of relationships, these unconscious elements can influence how we perceive, interact with, and react to our partners. By delving into our own depths and inner complexities, we increase our self-awareness which can lead to a more conscious and harmonious partnership with others. But when left unexamined, the shadow can seep into our relationships and cause misunderstandings, as we often project our own unresolved issues onto our partners. By acknowledging and embracing these shadow elements, we not only foster personal growth but also create space for our partners to do the same, cultivating a relationship grounded in empathy. ‘Conscious relating’ begins within ourselves.

In Jung's theory of anima and animus, he proposed that every individual possesses both masculine and feminine aspects, which profoundly influence our interactions with romantic partners. Becoming aware of these inner dynamics can help us comprehend the source of our attractions, projections, and conflicts, leading to healthier and more balanced relationships. In the fast-paced and sometimes superficial landscape of modern relationships, the Jungian perspective encourages us to move beyond the ephemeral allure of initial attraction and instead engage in the challenging yet rewarding process of authentic connection.

Written for @jungsouthernafrica

Image credit: Jake Baddeley

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Posted in Anima & Animus, Individuation (Hero & Heroine's Journey), Relationships, Shadow on Sep 05, 2023.