S & I : Healthy Individuation (Part 1)


healthy S & I 

THE REAL ME –
is unique but not alone!

PREVIOUS: S & I  – Separation

SITE: “Extroverts & Introverts…”

 

INDIVIDUATION
• Individuation is the ‘normal’ search for our True Self – our essence & goal of life.  In the past, mystics called it : the ascent of the soul, the alchemy of the soul, or enlightenment. Carl Jung believed that the nature of humans is to constantly develop, grow & move toward a level of completeness, which can only be done from the inside (opposite of co-dependence).

It’s the progressive development of our own voice, throughout life by trial & error, involving many successes as well as failures & frustrations.
Just like Separation – Healthy Individuation includes keeping our attachment & connection to others (children & parents, mentors & protégés, friendships, mates….) without enmeshment or fusion, in a delicate balance

• Putting Self-Actualizing needs in the foreground, Individuation is to ‘own’ at least 51% of ourselves, by having combined Ego & Shadow, & therefore freed ourselves of the Superego’s tyranny (Negative Introject).
The rest is made up of heredity + all our family & social experiences, traditions & religion.  And, because Individuation is ongoing, there’s a periodic need to return to earlier developmental stages – to heal deeper & deeper layers of unfinished business. At the same time, the truer we are to our Real Self, the more INternally motivated we become

• Successful Separation & Individuation requires an intact Ego – the center of our conscious awareness. While giving a sense of uniqueness, the Ego lets us know that we’re just like all other humans – a part of a larger whole.

In Jungian terms, the Self is the main archetype in the Collective Unconscious, for order & organization, unifying different aspects of personality. Therefore it’s of a higher order than Ego – made up of both conscious (ego = public face) & unconscious (shadow= primitive impulses such as selfishness, greed, envy…..)

✶ Shadow :  For Jung, both constructive & destructive forces exist in the human psyche, requiring psychological integration. To become fully actualized – at the top of Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”- we have to be aware of & accept all our parts.
NOTE:
Ironically, for ACoAs, much of what also gets shunted off into our Shadow are the good parts of ourselves which were not accepted or allowed in our family & society! Having normal human needs such as wanting attention, intense emotions, our own way of thinking & doing things, being heard & respected…. were punished or so controlled that we end up forgetting them OR hating ourselves when they surface

• Jung believed that we don’t suddenly make a conscious decision to free ourselves from the herd, with its well-worn paths, in order to go our own way – ie. to Individuate.
Instead, the deciding influence is an irrational factor he called “vocation – like a law of God from which there is no escape”. It’s the Ego’s response to a call from the unconscious, whether we like it or not

• Based on personal & professional experience, he concluded that Individuation happens in the second half of life, when people reach the pinnacle & suddenly find themselves facing an unknown possibility or unexpected upheaval.
This turning point usually is crisis in mid-life (not necessarily something bad), that upsets the status quo, causing a shift in perspective :
new way– a financial failure    – a health problem
– a broken relationship or a death
– a change of residence or profession
OR
– a message from powerful dreams & fantasies, creating
a deep yearning or call to change direction
– profound self-doubt, loss of meaning or religious conviction
– questioning of everything previously held as important, valuable or precious

• Then the essence of the personality moves from Ego toward Self, trying to form a new center. Parts that were ignored or under-developed (interests, talents, characteristics, experiences, issues…) may ‘suddenly’ want to be acknowledged
What was:
– fragmented now strives for unity  – broken now yearns for wholeness
– neglected now seeks expression   – formless now starts to take shape

While these changes can be very surprising & uncomfortable, shifting the ground under us, we intuitively feel they fit our deeply ingrained uniqueness

PS: Many psychologists now argue that while Individuation may be a natural outcome of age & experience, it can also be brought on sooner by deep therapy, but it’s mainly considered a life-long journey, which starts soon after birth.

MASLOW's needs

NEXT: Healthy Individuation (Part 2)

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