To Warner S. McCullen
Dear Mr. McCullen, 4 June 1956
The loss of the mother in the early years of childhood often leaves traces in the form of a mother-complex.
If the influence of a living mother is too strong, it has the same effect as when she is absent.
In either case it will be the cause of such a complex.
One of the main features of a mother-complex is the fact that one is too much under the influence of the unconscious.
As the unconscious in a man’s case has a female character/ it then looks, allegorically speaking, as if one had “swallowed” the mother.
In fact, there is only an arrested development of the female side of a man’s character.
This shows either as too much femininity or too little.
Not knowing your personal biography I would not be able to tell you which your case is.
Fear and feelings of guilt, however, are characteristic of such a condition as a symptom of insufficient adaptation, as there is always something too much or too little, and moreover there is the feeling of a task to be fulfilled and not fulfilled yet.
It is unimportant to know what the possible original cause of such a symptom is.
The search for the cause is rather misleading, since the existence of the fear continues, not because it has been originally started in the remote past, but because a task is incumbent upon you in the present moment, and, inasmuch as it remains unfulfilled, every day produces fear and guilt anew.
The question is, of course, what do you feel to be your task?
Where the fear, there is your task!
You must study your fantasies and dreams in order to find out what you ought to do or where you can begin to do something.
Our fantasies are always hovering on the point of our insufficiency where a defect ought to be compensated.
I thank you very much for your kind present of the Korean medal.
The representation of the Chinese Saturn period is particularly beautiful.
Faithfully yours, C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 205-206