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Carl Jung on his Childhood Neurosis


I was thunderstruck.

This was the collision with reality.

“Why, then, I must get to work!” I thought suddenly. From that moment on I became a serious child. I crept away, went to my father’s study, took out my Latin grammar, and began to cram with intense concentration.

After ten minutes of this I had the finest of fainting fits.

I almost fell off the chair, but after a few minutes I felt better and went on working.

“Devil take it, I’m not going to faint,” I told myself, and persisted in my purpose.

This time it took about fifteen minutes before the second attack came.

That, too, passed like the first.

“And now you must really get to work!”

I stuck it out, and after an hour came the third attack.

Still I did not give up, and worked for another hour, until I had the feeling that I had overcome the attacks.

Suddenly I felt better than I had in all the months before.

And in fact the attacks did not recur. From that day on I worked over my grammar and other schoolbooks every day.

A few weeks later I returned to school, and never suffered another attack, even there.

The whole bag of tricks was over and done with! That was when I learned

what a neurosis is. Carl Jung, Jung: A Biography, Page 40

Of his childhood neurosis Jung reported: … it induced in me a studied punctiliousness and an unusual diligence. Those days saw the beginnings of my conscientiousness, practiced not for the sake of appearances, so that I would amount to something, but for my own sake.  Carl Jung, Jung: A Biography, Pages 40-41