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The Way of the Dream by Marie-Louise von Franz

Liberation of Relationship

If one loves the other really, one wants him to be free, not to put him on a leash like a dog. -Marie-Louise van Franz

Dr. VON FRANZ, over the years I’ve heard love defined by poets and philosophers in a thousand different ways, and even though in our earlier discussions you flatly refused to define love, I think your

expression “liberation of the heart” is just that-a definition of love.

Well, feeling is my inferior function, so I have a certain difficulty articulating that. The feeling function is something which is completely neglected nowadays. Generally we identify feeling with affect and emotion, but that is only inferior feeling. For instance, young people in their happenings, their rock concerts, liberate their feelings, but it mostly comes out in strong emotion, in a feeling of loving everybody or destroying everything. Their feelings spill all over the place. They are not individually pointed.

Differentiated feeling, on the contrary, is to love that unique person for his or her uniqueness. It is difficult, for it presupposes that you are capable of seeing the uniqueness of the other person, of getting rid of all schematic psychological judgments. It is ultimately something irrational that has to do with one’s own development. The more one becomes a unique individual oneself, the more one individuates in the Jungian sense of the word, the more one becomes able to see the other person as a unique person and not have some cliche judgment about him or her. If you listen to how people gossip about each other, you notice that much of what they say is a cliche that misses the uniqueness of the other person. It doesn’t define their uniqueness.

So liberation of the heart would mean to become slowly capable of feeling and sensing the uniqueness of the other’s personality and to love that uniqueness. That doesn’t mean this Christian all-pardoning, sweetie pie, strawberry sauce love which loves and pardons everything. It means, on the contrary, a very great precision of feeling. People with differentiated feeling are even shocked if you talk to them in a not-quite-genuine tone or make a not-quite-genuine gesture with the hand. They feel your uniqueness, and they want you to be yourself. That is the most important thing for a psychologist, to love the genuine person of the patient and to openly dislike what is not genuine. This brings out what he or she really is or is meant to be by nature. That is real love-the love which heals and makes the other person whole. It has nothing to do with sentimentality, or being just sweet or polite.

Exactly the opposite!

Exactly the opposite. It’s very tiring. It’s constantly having a quick, precise reaction to the way the other really is,_ or is not, or should be. You find it sometimes in the anecdotes of the Zen masters. A novice comes with an ungenuine answer, or with a tricky intellectual question, and the Zen master just hits him in the core of his real being.

Can you think of one of those anecdotes?

A novice came in and the master said, “Look in the stove and see if there is still some fire under the embers. ” The novice looked and said, “There is no fire under the embers. ” The master gave him a hit over the head and said, “There is fire under the embers. ” At that moment the novice woke up.

That absence of “genuineness” is what a man experiences when he is attacked by a woman’s animus. He feels she is not being herself, is not being genuine. It creates a delicate problem, and a man usually doesn’t know how to handle it. A wise woman once said, “When animus meets anima, you’re guaranteed one thing-animosity!” What can a man do when he is attacked by a woman’s animus?

A man could try to talk with her reasonably, but usually he just gets irritated, goes into an anima mood, and then can’t talk to her at all. She blames him for all her misery in a childish, plaintive, reproachful voice, and he, with his weak feeling, feels awkward and gets irritated, and doesn’t answer, or slams the door, or picks up the newspaper, or turns on the television and sulks. Then she gets wilder and wilder. The animus and anima constellate each other into the typical marriage battle.

Now, generally, if a woman attacks a man with the animus, he usually feels helpless. He has the vague feeling that if only he could restore her to the role of a woman, she would be all right. That’s what sometimes gives him the impulse to grab her, put her on the bed, and say, “You are a woman. Don’t be a man. ” He expresses by that, “Be a woman. You are my wife. You are not a man. ” It helps ·sometimes. The German word for convincing somebody is uberzeugen, to over generate the other, and a man can sometimes convince the animus that way. I have quite often known the husband to grab his wife and say, “Now, come on, stop babbling all that nonsense,” and put her right in the feminine position.

Are you saying there is a place for male dominance in a relationship?

Naturally, there’s a place for a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman, otherwise Nature wouldn’t have made them that way. It doesn’t need to be an attitude of dominance. You can just as well say, “Make love to her. ” It’s just as much an expression of love; a man can sometimes break the animus possession of his wife simply by making love to her. It all depends how he does it. If he has real feelings, they will reach her. If he acts without feeling, nothing will happen. It will only go wrong. That is why I never advise a man in analysis with me

to do such a thing, because he would just be acting. He would do it because I told him to, and then it would certainly go wrong. It only goes right if he really has a positive feeling, a wave of positive, warm feeling toward her.

But when a woman is sobbing, “How could you do this to me? I’m leaving if you’re going to treat me this way!,” then surely, he must sympathize and understand her.

He doesn’t have to take all that bullshit, because it will only get worse and worse. He has to refuse that nonsense and say, “When you talk all sorts of nonsense in that whiny, baby way, I’m not even going to listen. ” But he must at the same time make a gesture that tells the woman that if only she were herself, he would love her.

For a man to deal with an animus-possessed woman, it is necessary to love her and slap the animus at the same time. Then the woman feels, “When I am myself, he still loves me; when I’m not myself, he gets angry. ” In that way, the man can help the woman out. Then she begins to notice what is herself and what is not herself. It is very difficult for a woman with a strong negative animus to distinguish the difference.

Think, for instance, of a wife who learns that her husband is having an affair. Her feminine feelings and her personal feelings are deeply hurt. If she could react in a feminine way, she would dramatically express to her husband that she is hurt. Instead of that her masculine side, her animus, says, “Such a thing cannot go on. Either we must divorce or you must stop this affair. I’ll set you a time. You must give up this relationship by the end of next month or we’re finished. ”

Now this is the animus talking like a lawyer. It is not talking like a woman. And, even if she doesn’t feel that way, her friends will tell her that she must tell her husband all that. And then she sails on and tells her husband, “Look here, this has to stop. This can’t go on forever. I can’t stand it. You have to make up your mind.” And so on, and so on, and so on-always talking like a lawyer. Now the husband only vaguely feels, “This is not my wife. This is a lawyer speaking to me. ”

So he explodes and gets sulky, or, as men often do when the woman comes on as a man, he gets possessed by his anima and sneaks out and begins to lie. This infuriates her even more. Then you have the classic marriage battle, the animus versus the anima, which is the same all over the world from China to Canada. You can make a cliche of it; it’s always the same exchange of words. But the woman doesn’t realize that she’s not expressing her feelings. She thinks what she expresses is her true feeling and her true opinion, but if you look at it, the sentence generally begins with, “One cannot do that, one cannot. ” It is generally just an impersonal cliche. “Such a situation cannot carry on. Such situations always end like that. ” There is no individual feeling re­ action.

Well, if her husband is having an affair, what can she do?

There is no general rule. She has to follow her own feeling. It depends on what kind of an affair her husband is having, if she feels he needs it, or if she feels he is running into a disaster and she ought to prevent him if possible. It depends on a thousand details. That’s why there is no general recipe. The husband might not have wanted to fall in love at all. He might have fallen into it against his own will, so why should the woman then be furious with him? She should rather look at him as being sick. If he has the flu, she nurses him, but if he has love flu, she won’t put up with it.

You see, if a woman stays with her feeling, then she can see the personal implications. She can see the whole situation in a very personal and differentiated way and generally can find the wisdom in herself to handle it. If she falls into the animus, however, the collective rules cut her off from her true feeling.

Relationships often begin by two people falling in love. They meet their other half, their “soulmate.” What happens when that projection is withdrawn? Is the relationship over?

One cannot say that in advance. Generally when people fall in love in one second like that, it is mostly based on projection, and many marriages begin on the basis of a strong projection. Then inevitably a period of disillusionment follows when both partners discover that the other is very different from what he or she had thought. They are two strangers staring at each other’s face and saying to themselves, “How could I?” And then comes the great test. Can they build up a real relationship after the projection is gone, or is there nothing left?

How can they know if a real relationship is possible?

From looking at the dreams. I have analyzed married couples who, after having worked through the blind infatuation of animus-anima projection, have dreamt that at last they could get married. This time for good. One or both dreamt of going to church and having a marriage ceremony, as if removing the projection made it possible for them to be really related, loving with open eyes. Knowingly saying yes to each other for the first time.

In our Western society, many of us make the most important decision of our lives based on that projection. What do you think of choosing a mate in this manner?

I think it’s the best possible way. Otherwise, historically, the families arrange marriages for money reasons, power reasons, family political reasons. That tradition is still carried on in good families in India and China today. And that isn’t very satisfactory either.

I would say let fate play its part. Then the choice is made by projection in many cases, but if the people are instinctively healthy, they do not only project. If there is not a father image or a mother image disturbing the situation, they have a healthy instinct for choosing the right partner, and then, even if it goes wrong, they have learned something. If you had prevented them, they wouldn’t have learned anything; they would have remained blind puppies.

So I think projections, and error, and possible divorce are sometimes a detour which cannot be avoided. It’s tragic and very sad, but we are now for the first time in the history of mankind experimenting with free love. Originally, as an institution, marriage had nothing to do with love. But we can’t do that anymore; it’s too impersonal; it’s too collective. So, if we want to find personal relationship, we have to experiment ourselves. I think there will be a lot of painful suffering, men torturing women and women torturing men, till we wake up to a possibility of relating better to each other.

It’s a unique experiment in history; it began with the courts d’amour in France when the knights could choose a woman they loved, where they had free love relationships. But the Catholic Church promptly repressed it. There were too many illegitimate children, family complications, and inheritance problems. Man’s legalizing tendency suppressed it.

I say to analysands when they are in love difficulties, “This is pioneering country you are in now.” For the first time in history, we are really trying to relate man and woman on a human basis, and there is bound to be a lot of error and trouble at first.

The modern developments in psychology don’t want to abolish marriage, but they want to make it a bit less rigid, less tyrannically tight, especially when the children get older. Young children need a tightly knit family life and, therefore, biological drives usually knit couples together in the early part of their marriage, but after a certain period this close family unit assumes less importance. It probably has

A social motivation. If the community consists only of little, happy, knit families, there is no general communal life. There are only little packages not relating to each other, saying, “My children are better than your children,” so to speak. As the children get older, therefore, there is generally a tendency of the unconscious not to dissolve marriage but to loosen it, to demand more freedom for both partners.

So I’m for a certain freedom for the men, but just as much for the women. I feel there should be mutual freedom in marriage. Married couples should give each other more mutual freedom and more mutual understanding.

And what about fidelity?

Well, the question is, “What is fidelity?” Is fidelity what the law decides—-namely, that you may not go to bed with another partner, which might mean nothing? Jung said you can sometimes commit adultery by just looking lovingly into somebody’s eyes. That might mean more than having a bed affair which means nothing. So what is adultery? What is fidelity? I do not think fidelity should be defined in such a purely outer way. To me, fidelity is a basic loyalty to the essence of the other person, loyalty without compromise to the innermost heart of the partner. But that doesn’t exclude taking a certain freedom, or leaving the other to have a certain freedom. On the contrary, if one loves the other really, one wants him to be free, not to put him on a leash like a dog. ~The Way of the Dream, Page 198-205