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Emma Jung: “You were really annoyed by my letter, weren’t you?”


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From Emma Jung

Dear Professor Freud, Kiisnacht, 14 November [1911]

You were really annoyed by my letter, weren’t you? I was too, and now I am cured of my megalomania and am wondering why the devil the unconscious had to make you, of all people, the victim of this madness.

And here I must confess, very reluctantly, that you are right: my last letter, specially the tone of it, was really directed to the father-imago, which should of course be faced without fear.

This thought never entered my head; I thought that, knowing the transference side of my father-attitude towards you, it would all be quite clear and do me no harm.

After I had thought so long before writing to you and had, so I believed, fully understood my own motives, the unconscious has now played another trick on me, with particular finesse: for you can imagine how delighted I am to have made a fool of myself in front of you.

I can only pray and hope that your judgment will not prove too severe.

There is one thing, however, I must vigorously defend myself against, and that is the way you take my “amiable carpings,” as you call them.

Firstly I do not mean at all that Carl should set no store by your opinion; it goes without saying that one recognizes an authority, and if one cannot it is only a sign of over-compensated insecurity.

So that is not what I mean, it was only the rest of it that made him anxious and uncertain which seemed superfluous to Inc.

Truth to tell, I must confess that I have missed” the mark here too, without suspecting it.

Lately Carl has been analysing his attitude to his work and has discovered some resistances to it.

I had connected these misgivings about Part II with his constant worry over what you would say about it, etc.

It seemed out of the question that he could have resistances to his own work; but now it appears that this fear of your opinion was only a pretext for not going on with the self-analysis which this work in fact means, I realize that I have thus projected something from my immediate neighbourhood into distant Vienna and am vexed that it is always the nearest thing that one sees worst.

You have also completely misunderstood my admittedly uncalled-for meddling in your family affairs.

Truthfully I didn’t mean to cast a shadow on your children.

I know they have turned out well and have never doubted it in the least.

I hope you don’t seriously believe that I wanted to say they were “doomed to be degenerate.”

I have written nothing that could even remotely mean anything of the sort.

I know that with your children it is a matter of physical illnesses, but just wanted to raise the question whether these physical symptoms might not be somehow psychically conditioned, so that there might for instance be a reduced power of resistance.

Since I have made some very astonishing discoveries in myself in this respect and do not consider myself excessively degenerate or markedly hysterical, I thought similar phenomena possible with other people too.

I shall be grateful for enlightenment.

That you should think it worthwhile to discuss your most personal affairs with me is something for which I thank you with all my heart.

What you tell me sounds so convincing that I simply have to believe it, although much in me struggles against it.

But I must admit that you have the experience and I do not, consequently I am unable to make any convincing rejoinders.

You are quite right about one thing, though: despite everything and everybody, the whole affair is only a blessing in clumsy disguise which I beg you to forgive.

Please write nothing of this to Carl; things are going badly enough with him as it is.

Emma Jung