[Carl Jung’s experience(s) with Loneliness]
Knowledge of processes in the background early shaped my relationship to the world. Basically, that relationship was the same in my childhood as it is to this day.
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.
Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
The loneliness began with the experiences of my early dreams, and reached its climax at the time I was working on the unconscious.
If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely.
But loneliness is not necessarily inimical to companionship, for no one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 356.
This un-childlike behavior was connected on the one hand with an intense sensitivity and vulnerability, on the other hand–and this especially–with the loneliness of my early youth. (My sister was born nine years after me.) I played alone, and in my own way.
Unfortunately I cannot remember what I played; I recall only that I did not want to be disturbed. I was deeply absorbed in my games and could not endure being watched or judged while I played them.
My first concrete memory of games dates from my seventh or eighth year. I was passionately fond of playing with bricks, and built towers which I then rapturously destroyed by an “earthquake.” Between my eighth and eleventh years I drew endlessly–battle pictures, sieges, bombardments, naval engagements.
Then I filled a whole exercise book with ink blots and amused myself giving them fantastic interpretations. One of my reasons for liking school was that there I found at last the playmates I had lacked for so long. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 18.
It would never have occurred to me to speak of my experience openly, nor of my dream of the phallus in the underground temple, nor of my carved manikin. As a matter of fact, I did not say anything about the phallus dream until I was sixty-five.
I may have spoken about the other experiences to my wife, but only in later years. A strict taboo hung over all these matters, inherited from my childhood. I could never have talked about them with friends.
My entire youth can be understood in terms of this secret. It induced in me an almost unendurable loneliness. My one great achievement during those years was that I resisted the temptation to talk about it with anyone.
Thus the pattern of my relationship to the world was already prefigured: today as then I am a solitary, because I know things and must hint at things which other people do not know, and usually do not; even want to know. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections. Page 42.
The consequence of my resolve, and my involvement with things which neither I nor anyone else could understand, was an extreme loneliness.
I was going about laden with thoughts of which I could speak to no one: they would only have been misunderstood.
I felt the gulf between the external world and the interior world of images in its most painful form.
I could not yet see that interaction of both worlds which I now understand. I saw only an irreconcilable contradiction between “inner” and “outer.” ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 194.