Monthly Archives: June 2013

30 Days of Jung — Day 14: #Sanity #Facades #Pressure #Repression


Oh, Carl! You Jungster! You Jung-a-lung-a-ding-dong! You jokester!

Welcome to Day 14 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.”
― C.G. Jung

Oh … the art of repression. The gift of denial. I seriously wonder what would happen to all those John Wayne types if given a moment with a world-renowned, trained clinician like Jung.

They’d emerge like crying babies.

Rocky Balboa. We all remember him: 5 raw eggs a day, up at 4am, Philadelphia 1970s tough. He went 15 rounds and started crying the moment he saw Adrienne.

I get it. Our “edge” is the fantastic pressure cooker of life.

This quote actually took me some time to get around. I mean, it’s clever and has an element of “gotcha!” but I had to invert it to begin making sense with it. But it wasn’t a straight inversion.

A straight inversion: “Show me a crazy man and I will wreck him for you” didn’t quite work.

A modified inversion: “Show me a crazy man and I will cure him for you.” Meh…

Another tack: “Show me a sane man and I will wreck him for you.”

That was closer and then I started just thinking about it all and I came to my conclusion with this quote which is that Jung is saying, “Show me someone who thinks they’ve got it all figured out and I will educate him for you.” So then I naturally started thinking about repression and denial and tough-guy, chip-on-the-shoulder types both male and female that I know and that I used to be.

I sigh.

I recall my first time ever with a therapist. I thought I had it all together and that the reason I was there was not becuase of my reaction to something else going on. I thought for sure, it had to be because of what my toddler was doing.

Nope. It was me.

Eyeroll. Of course it was me!

Pleading: But I wasn’t anything like where I’d come from! I was cogent and linear in my thoughts! I was assertive and confident! I was functional, reality-based and focused! I was happy! DON’T YOU SEE HOW HAPPY I WAS?!


But the veneer was cracked and I began my journey. I’m glad it started although sometimes I will admit, I’m ready to get off the bus.

I see it everywhere (even still in the mirror): people humming with intensity, ready to show you how together they are. LOOK HOW TOGETHER I AM! I’VE GOT ALL THIS GREAT STUFF! I’VE DONE THIS AND THIS AND WON THAT AND GOT THAT AWARD AND DID THAT AND SAVED THAT DROWNING PUPPY, HERE’S A PICTURE! HERE’S ME AND A SENATOR!

And I think of Jack Donaghy, a fantastic character on the now-ended NBC sitcom “30 Rock.” Donaghy is what I refer to as “Boston Irish Catholic Repressed” and he likely comes in as a very close alter-ego to Alec Baldwin who plays him. I would say that Jack is the complete opposite of Baldwin: he’s Ivy-league educated, he’s a white-collar executive at GE, he’s repressed emotionally and a high-functioning alcoholic of the “Mad Men” variety and very refined. Donaghy’s relationship with his mother, Colleen, an ascerbic, reality-based, call-it-as-she-sees-it woman brilliantly played by Elaine Stritch, is rife with conflict and it is her mere presence that becomes Donaghy’s undoing in his personal cum business world. He becomes positively unhinged and it’s awesome.

For the purposes of this illustration: Donaghy is the sane man and Colleen is Jung.

Everyone has their buttons. I know a woman who works so hard to show me how together she is that she tells me the same stories about her kids almost every time I see her and then invariably, like a tape, she compares her kids’ stories with her own childhood, “which was fabulous, healthy, very happy, really, very happy childhood, my mother was a saint, I mean she worked so hard for us all all the time and she was really very hard working so she was tired but she was great, I mean she was so tired but she loved us, boy! How she loved us! And so she was you know, cranky a lot, but my childhood was wonderful, I never wanted for anything and I just loved her and my home so much and so when I joined the armed forces at 18 and went to Texas for training, it was time; I mean, I was ready, but I loved my home, but no, I haven’t gone back. I met my husband and we got married and then had kids and deployments and moving and I miss my home….” And she’s filled up her life with more gear, and more stuff, and more plants and more toys and more dogs than … but she’s so happy, really. No, really. It’s almost like she’s dying for someone to ask her, “How are you? Really? What’s with all this gear: pianos, TVs, and stuff around you?” From my cheap seats, she’s so busy herself that she never has time to enjoy it.

I guess that’s the point of this quote. We’re all a little nuts inside. That while we are shaped by where we came from and the pressures and conditions to which we were exposed, that we don’t have to pretend it was all sunshine and roses. And neither should we allow ourselves to wallow in the what-could-have-beens because guess what: they aren’t. It’s what we got now, this moment, is what we have to work with.

My hope is that we recognize it and allow ourselves to not have all the answers all the time and not have a plan or some form of compulsion to show the world we’re all that sane all the time after all.

So yeah, let’s let some of it go, the façade, and relax a little and let some sanity go. 😉

Thank you.

30 Days of Jung — Day 13: #Denial #Shame #Avoidance #Vulnerability #Projection #Transference #Blame #Psychology


Today’s quote is … brutal. Its stark, unvarnished truth has helped me appreciate my role in my own growth as well as my relationships more than ever. I’ve never seen it written, but God knows I’ve expressed it.

It’s the Jungian version of “I know you are but what am I?” That oft-cried reply of the schoolyard macadams and hillsides of my youth.

Welcome to Day 13 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.”
― C.G. Jung

I’ve written thirteen of these things so far. That’s about 13,000+ original words devoted to a man I’ve never met and an -ology I find tremendously fascinating but one of which I hold no accumulated formal education of study, other than the study of my own well-being. I really saw this one about a week ago and when I first reviewed the list of the quotes, about two weeks ago, there were a few that gave me pause. This one is in the top three.

When I saw it last time (as I was preparing this list for offline access while on vacation) I remember thinking, “hooooboy, it’s gonna suck when I have to do that one.”

I looked at it earlier today, when I was writing yesterday’s — that super-optimistic one about having our entire lifetimes to become who we truly are. I didn’t want to touch this one. I thought I’d just pretend I dropped something and when it rolled by, I’d just keep my head down, tie my loafers, clean up some Cap’n Crunch… something like that.

You know, avoid it completely.

I know that’s impractical and it’s not the deal I made with myself. The deal I made with myself was that I’d take these quotes as they came and I’d deal with them, no matter how banal or out-of-context they seemed.

But the guys are out fishing, something I will never fake enjoying, and the weather is crappy (cool, cloudy and humid) and so I thought I’d get this over with.

I know this quote well.

I lived for a long time in the dark, intentionally. No one would’ve suspected it because I am an affable, sociable and involved person. But my heart was heavy with guilt and shame for how I’d behaved in my youth. What that guilt and shame did of course, was simply create more guilt and shame. When I couldn’t handle that anymore, I blamed other people. When that didn’t work, I kept it up. You know that saying, “If it doesn’t work, try harder”? Yeah, that was me.

While the fact of the matter is that we can’t change where we came from, we can only change where we are and where we’re going, I wanted to think more and harbor more about the past. I wanted to bury myself so deeply in it because doing that enabled me to keep blaming others, keep singing my ballad, keep from doing anything remotely close to taking stock of my emotional and spiritual health, let go of shit I had no business hanging on to in the first place, and moving on — truly moving on. I took a lot of my anger or whatever it was out on people who were blindsided. I was a studious intern of transference.

It’s like the student and the report card thing: “I got an ‘A’; she gave me an ‘F’ ” crap.

All I wanted though, was some normalcy. Ironic, huh? It was right there, with those other people (for the most part). Some people, an old boss of mine, were really nuts. I had one who’d give cute nicknames to her staffers who performed per her expectations or orders and they got a tootsie roll drop. The ones who didn’t perform up to par? She would ignore us. Sometimes I was “Mahvelus Molly” and sometimes I was an office chair. That behavior was familiar to me, so I didn’t really think it was too toxic until another supervisor started catching on and then we were interviewed. I mean, I thought it was weird, but … worthy of termination…? Really? (I was young.)

But what was odd is that the normal people, the ones with safe boundaries and rational behaviors, they pissed me off. I didn’t understand: “Where’s the passion?” “Where’s the fire in the belly?” “Where’s the silent treatment??” “Where’s the hypocrisy?!” and so I started to distrust those people. They were the weird ones. I talked about them. I tried to smear them, as best I could, with anyone. I didn’t want to accept that my tendencies, my anger, my defensiveness and my fears were the problem.

Therapy has helped. But I didn’t start therapy because of what I thought was my problem. I started therapy because I thought the problem was someone else’s. That was a long time ago. I owe my sanity to that person whom I thought had the problem. The in-your-face introspection, vulnerability allowance, and reflection we must do in order to achieve real therapeutic progress is soul-crushingly hard sometimes.

Soul. ‘Facing their own souls,’ Jung said. Yeah. There’s a lot of “I know you are but what am I?” going on before the couch time gets serious. Those are the “good” days of therapy: when you get to blame your adult rage on something that happened decades earlier. It’s a part of the process, for sure, but as I type all this I remember those days (and every time I have do to an intake: I get to spill my emotional guts all over the office carpeting) and I wince a little at my feeling whatever I was feeling vulnerable. No one likes that. And then there’s the rage from the way things went when I was young.

I don’t think parents realize how much damage their denial does to their kids.

So in those early days with the therapist you get to spill your guts and blame others. The thing is though: you have to clean them up too: that’s the soul-facing part. Doing that makes me reluctant at times to tell so much, because we don’t want to face our own souls, but it’s the only way to make sure we get everything out.

As I got healthier, I started to realize I was the problem. Living in the past and holding your wrist to that flame does nothing but injure you. The test of wills we engage in when trying to prove a point prove nothing to me anymore, save that bull-headedness perpetuates its own stagnation. It creates its own state of homeostasis. It’s those “catches” of my will that cause most of my problems today: feeling unseen and unheard. That’s it. That’s the simple “it” of my story.

Holding anger over my past kept me there. Facing the fact that I was the one who was still holding on, that I was the reason the story still breathed was very difficult. It still is at times. Sometimes I want to scream into the night for the sadness I felt those days — but who will hear me? Certainly not Jung.

Thank you.

yeah. that was deep.

30 Days of Jung — Day 12: #Authenticity #Self-Actualization #Enlightenment #Contentment #Id


Wow. This quote is so relieving and yet so daunting at the same time. For me, it’s like finally having the baby I’d been carrying around for so long in my uterus; it’s so great to know that once I had the baby, there would be room in my stomach for more Cap’n Crunch.

Welcome to Day 12 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s quote:

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
― C.G. Jung

I will be working on Evernote for the duration of my vacation, so I will have no clue as to my word count, but I’ve been at this long enough now where I get a sense of when to stop.

Here we go:

It’s an affirming quote for me because it means that we can be ok with taking a long time to figure out life; figure out who we are versus who we should be (per external influences) and then take all that data and cull, massage and use it to become who we feel we most comfortably are.

It also means that if you are a total jerk now, that you still have time to screw up more peoples’ lives before you’re done.

As a human, this gives me hope. I can continue to do my best, stay as aware as possible and keep at it.

As a “writer” I am getting better with that. I’ve been at the blogging thing for almost two years. I’ve now posted daily for twelve days. I’ve written something every day, I just don’t share it.

As far as today is concerned: I am almost done, almost, shedding my concerns for the outside world’s appreciation and attention. I don’t mean that to suggest that I don’t need anyone or their counsel or their praise: I absolutely do and I work hard to be mindful of that. What I mean is that it’s not my life’s goal anymore to have success the way other people would define it. The definition and utility of “success” have to feel right to me.

The privilege…. to be come who you truly are.

It is a privilege, isn’t it? It’s not an entitlement. We don’t get to run around like circus toddlers for our entire lives and expect to get away with it: no accountability, no consideration for others, no dignity and call that self-actualization. Sure, it could be authentic: we are doing what we want.

Uh-oh. I sense a Vulcan mind meld coming on.

Wait. Goodreads used the tag, “Authenticity” — that’s not mine. I just borrowed it.

“Honest officer, I just saw that sack of crisp unmarked 20s lying there… that Porsche? It had the keys in it at the 7-Eleven…”

If we strive (aha) for authenticity, aren’t we doing something … calculated? Aren’t we being inauthentic? Aren’t we becoming a False Self?

What if being authentic means I take the Porsche because I want the Porsche? What if being authentic and becoming “who [I] truly [am]” means I just honor my id (my inner infant / toddler) and just do whatever the hell I want?

That’s not taking a lifetime. That’s taking … oh, four two years.

We learn at three to say “please” and “thank you.” These are conventions we employ to get by in a civilized world. What if The Almighty Creator, God, didn’t intend for us to be polite? What if I wanted to get in my VW Mini Bus, man, and fight the power? What if to me, being polite is simply another form of repression?

What if Jung had it all wrong — or rather that the conventional expectation that we ‘go back to being our higher selves’ (energy and light) means that we do what we feel like doing simply because we are… staying who we truly are?!

My brain hurts. Yours? Advil.


Energy and light. If you watch any documentary on how the universe was created, you come quite easily to the very swift conclusion that that creation is some seriously violent shit. But what comes of it, that universe, is beauty, eh? (Sorry, I’ve been talking like the amazing locals here in Canada, eh, and it’s bound to seep into my writing…)

Toddlers are mean. They steal crayons; they complain; they push and punch and bite and pinch; they take what they want; and they say what they want. But then I wonder: how much of that is mimicked behavior? How much of what we don’t like in others do we model in ourselves simply because we figure they get away with it so why shouldn’t we try it? How much of our own behavior that we observe which repels us do we try to change? It’s like Peter Pan to me… sometimes I just don’t want to grow up; being an adult is hard.

Man, it’s every day I see something in myself that I wish I could take back. But as the saying goes, “you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube.” So I pause; I replay the incident, I own what I screwed up and I apologize. Every day I apologize for some form of harmful, unconscious behavior. I would imagine that if I could talk to Jung about this particular quote that I would also add, “and grow from our apologies” somewhere in the phrase. I’ll just go find his grave and leave him some post-its. And a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.

But I don’t want to argue with Jung. I get the sense of whaat he’s talkin’ aboot: our elevated selves. The selves of us who prefer peace, who prefer love and kindness and the elevated selves of us who embody and consciously enact those virtues and graces and don’t hoard the Cap’n Crunch from our children.

Indeed. It is a privilege of a lifetime to become who we truly are: our elevated, kinder and loving selves. It can be one of our finest endeavors. Every day we give ourselves a pat on the back, and every day we extend that pat on the back to another person and every day we thank whomever or whatever we owe our gratitude is one day closer to that fantastic potential.

Thank you.

ps – the water came back on around 2pm. Canadian engineering is as awesome as Canadians.

30 Days of Jung — Day 11: #Childhood #Psychology #Accountability #Adulthood #Coping #Adaptability


Welcome to day 11 of 30 Days of Jung.

I’m working offline right now, typing on a wireless keyboard onto my iPad en route to our vacation spot. As I was packing up my iPad stuff, my husband said to me referencing my blog, “Don’t do anything that feels like an obligation while we’re away.” I know he meant it with love, but honestly, if I could stop doing everything that felt like an obligation while on this vacation I’d: stay home where I wouldn’t have to cook in an inferior kitchen, sleep in a house without my creature comforts and eat nothing but Cap’n Crunch all day.


But reality beckons. Where we are going is absolutely gorgeous and the kids have a wonderful time every year.

As for “blobligation,” I’m enjoying this series and I’m learning so much about myself. I hope I’m not boring you to tears. I’ve lost a couple “fans” on my Facebook fan page since I started the Jung stuff I’m really OK with that. I am through with being anything but who I am: spontaneous, introspective and occasionally funny. I’m done trying to appeal to everyone.

Here is today’s quote:

As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.” –C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Jung. Get out of my head.

It’s several hours later now (it’s 10:30pm and I have no clue of my word count because I’m using Evernote, so if the format is wonky, please know I tried) and we’ve arrived at our destination, a lovely remodeled (loosely used) rustic barn several hundred feet off the shoreline of Lake Erie in a town called Point Abino, Ontario, Canada.

This is our view today from the beach:


If this didn’t load it’s because the network here is slower than molasses flowing uphill in a Cap’n Crunch storm without boots on. Even the Canadians are upset about the network … thaaat’s seyin’ a lut. Caause Canaadiens doon’t get too roffled aboot mauch. (I love these people. Fact: they’re some of the nicest humans you will Ever Find Anywhere.)

When we unpacked, I opened one of the alternate front doors to further ventilate the house. Laying upon the mossy, century-old cement doorstep was a white sheet of office paper, gently folded (actually flopped is more like it as it had succumbed to the humidity today and likely the tidings it bore) with a notice dated today from the town water utility announcing an emergency water main repair scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday, so today when you’re reading this post) to begin at 8:30am with an undefinable end of the repair due to the severity of the damage.

I sort of panicked and deflated; I flopped like that notice. I mean, we just got here. I wanted to repack the car and head back home. I know; that’s childish of me, but it’s how I felt and clearly was unlikely to communicate. I have to be a leader to my boys and a hearty partner to my husband.

I just wanted to go find a Starbucks. Or a Saks.

We’re in a tiny town in Canada where 80 percent of the lake front real estate is owned by Americans whose ancestors founded General Mills and Westinghouse and Fisher-Price toys and Kodak film. Those peoples’ descendants? Well, things have changed, but the property is legacy owned, so what I’m getting at is that I don’t think the town gives a poop about getting this done fast. I say this and sense it because I know the Canadians, as lovely and as polite as they are, really want their beaches back. I don’t blame them one bit.

It was at that moment that I realized how very lonely I felt and how completely incapable I would be of conveying my dismay. There is still very much a part of me, no matter how old I am, which feels responsible for us being here because it’s where I used to spend my summers. But the kids don’t care. “We’ll wash in the lake,” they say. But as their mother, I feel an urge to provide for them, to keep them safe; I feel I’ve let them down. I think in this instance, I felt an urge, a sick one now that I see it almost 18 hours later, to make life perfect for them. That’s even more “alone” feeling because even though I know perfection is wholly unattainable, it’s still a goal. It’s hard to deprogram yourself from that.

I know, I KNOW! this is irrational.

What’s worse, when the property owner called to talk about the notice and apologized for the inconvenience, I said to her, “Hey, it’s no big deal; if this were an earthquake it wouldn’t be your fault.” Yet something that I know I created remained and I knew deep inside, in the places I don’t like to talk about at cocktail parties (props to Jack Nicholson’s Col. Jessup), that my guilt and my inability to separate myself from the water main repair was overwhelming. My reactions were not commensurate with the reactivity I was experiencing. I was not making sense, I was not rational. I felt that because Canada is a socialist state, and they sort of hate Americans up here for owning all the beach front property for the past 120 years that that the repair would take forever. Trust me, I know this is Out There.

Come ON!

That assessment had nothing to do with reality; it just had everything to do with a bias and likely a chaos addiction trigger getting ready for me to pull it.


Here’s where I was I was in a room full of my family, and I felt utterly alone. I wallowed. I went “preverbal” as my therapist once termed it. Going preverbal is basically a moan or a sound: “gah,” “agh!” “blech,” or “ecch”: a form of communicating displeasure and repulsion.

What I really wanted to say, “NO! NONONO NOOOO!” would have been uncool. It would have meant “I’m freaking out a little and I don’t know how to stop it.” I was young again, just as Jung suggests in this quote. I went to fear and dismay.

So I am looking back up at this quote, ‘I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of’ and I stop and I think, “Yes, I know things about this water main repair (which is causing me tremendous angst because we just traveled eight hours to arrive at a house where the water will be cut off for an ‘undetermined amount of time.'”

Normally, if we were home, I’d say, “Let’s go to IKEA, or to a movie or do something else,” but there’s this part of me that is feeling nervous; I couldn’t articulate it so I just did what I do best: acted. When the kids came back from the beach, everyone showered and I filled every possible pitcher, bucket, clean trash can, wine carafe (empty of course) with water because I want the kids to be able to brush their teeth and wash their hands and to not have to use the porta-potties the yacht club down the road is bringing in for members.

I know this is how Canada works. I grew up here. They take their time. They are not motivated by money because they’re getting paid mo matter what. Keep in mind that I love Canada and that I spent all my summers here until about 17 when I really got more interested in boys than Loganberry juice.

So I’m hinting: Crisis. Armageddon. Dysentery. Yes, I went to a Eugene O’Neill play — that’s how deep I went, but I’m unable to speak it. Why? Because I know that once I talk about it, I’ll be forced to articulate it and I’m not so sure I can do it. Why? Because I know I’m creating a likely unnecessary crisis and then I’ll have to stop.

So my sons, in typical loving but hilarious form pretended they were broadcast announcers and they said this,

“One family. One week. One dog. No water. Survivor Canada 2013”

And we laughed about it. They’re not freaking out; they don’t see me freaking out; they just see me preparing. That’s what I do best: if chaos is coming, I am ready, I am in my element.

I just washed my hands with the tap and I thought, “What if this happened and we’d have no head’s up at all? We’d deal. We’d go do stuff that doesn’t need us here.” We’ve got a big lake waiting for us, I have an aunt a couple beaches over who will take us in if we need and a ton of water to drink in the meantime.

We’ve got this. And a lot of water for flushing when we need it. That’s the “and for the most part do not want to know” — while there is no hinting, there is no overt pandemonium. I’m being a mom, a leader, but still yes: feeling very much alone about it all, because I think this will take longer than a day, but my family doesn’t know it, and likely doesn’t want to know it.

I hope I came close to articulating how I’m connecting viscerally to Jung’s quote. This post has been composed over three separate and very distinct moments, so my apologies if I’m all over the map.

Thank you. (I’ll keep you updated!)