|The best possible result of working your way
through the last chapter is that you have discovered your own type, or at least the
direction in which to look for it. This discovery, though it is the end of one process, is
just the beginning of another. The knowledge of our own type is simply the key that opens
the door to the adventure of typological development. Types are dynamic. We have to
develop within ourselves and grow in relationship to the people around us, and the inside
and outside work go hand in hand. The more we know our own type the more clearly we can
see others, and the more clearly we can see them the better chance we have of being
objective about ourselves.
But working with types is not a parlor game. When people say something like that I can only shake my head in wonder. I was going through mental struggles trying to figure out my own type, and my discoveries, rather than boxing me in, were showing me possibilities for my own personal growth that I had never been aware of. They were a tool with which I could look at myself, not only now, but what I had been like as a child and what sort of possibilities were open to me in the future. Types were not caging me in like an exotic bird with a fancy name, but opening the door of the cage that I had literally been in all my life because I had had little idea of what I was really like.
Types are an important tool for inner growth. But their dynamic nature demands respect. Who would have much sympathy for us if we ran off to the Woods with a brand new chain saw and no experience, and tried to fall towering trees? Types begin to open the door to the unconscious and release some of the powerful energies that dwell there. It is these energies that deepen and reshape our personalities. It would be ideal if we always had some knowledgeable guide to turn to, a Jung or a typological Tom Brown. But unfortunately life does not always provide us with these opportunities. So work with someone you trust if you can, but if you have to go forward on your own, open this door bit by bit and gradually test the waters of the unconscious.
Let me tell you what happened to me. My dream had shown me the work I had to do, and Jung's types had provided me with a tool to do it. But what I didn't realize was how painful and difficult it was going to be to get in touch with my other half that the dream had portrayed.
My dream should have given me pause. Why was the girl who was doing the painting in another building? Just where was the other half of the personality? My other side wasn't just waiting there for me to finally wake up and recognize it so that by that simple fact alone we could live happily ever after. Once I had a clue to what my own type was, it had been natural for me to try to see my type in the concrete by examining how I had developed typologically. I reached back to my earliest memories and tried to see in them my particular type in embryonic form and how it had been molded and shaped over the years. What began to emerge was a very different picture of my own type. I was seeing what Jung had said, but now in the concrete through my memories and dreams. I was on an actual journey, or safari, to the other side.
Slowly I began to see that my two sides were split. It was as if they were polarized in different directions, and sometimes were even antagonistic. I began to realize that the types of my parents had deeply imprinted themselves on me. Whatever splits and tensions had existed in their personalities and whatever difficulties that existed in their marriage had twisted and pulled at the wax of my own type.
It wasn't enough to know some type theory, and now I saw it wasn't even going to be enough to see in concrete detail what type I was. These splits and polarizations inside myself were loaded with energy. In fact, the very energy I needed to grow and fulfill the promise of my initial dream was fixated there, and I had to somehow go down into myself and release it. The way I did it was something I ended up calling feeling sessions. I would recall a memory that evoked strong feelings in me, relive it in my imagination, and allow all those feelings to become fully alive again as if the event were happening today.
A memory: A girlfriend invited me to a party, and I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting new boys. When I got there, though, I quickly saw that the boys already knew most of the girls, and they quickly paired off, leaving me to fret in a corner. What I had envisioned as being romantic and exciting became pure torture. I was filled with frustration, anger, and self-loathing. Why couldn't I be popular, too? What was wrong with me? Why didn't anyone pay any attention to me? The hours dragged by as I methodically tore a ping-pong ball to shreds.
When I recalled that memory I let all those feelings wash over me. Once more I was the insecure teenager who craved attention. Once more I felt trapped. Once more I felt myself wither up and die inside myself. Once more I pictured the couples dancing, or in dark corners kissing. Once more I felt inadequate and ugly. I made an effort to forget nothing. The palms of my hands once more broke out in sweat, and the misery overcame me. I cried over that night, even though it had happened ten years before.
But to remember it in all its agony wasn't enough. I would replay it over and over again, and each time the force of those emotions would diminish. If I had simply analyzed the memory without letting the hurt and anguish come out into the clear light of day, it would have done me no psychological good. It was only once those feelings were alive again that I could work with them. It was only in the reality of the emotional experience that I could then analyze it in terms of type. But first I had to lance the wound and release the unresolved suffering that I had conveniently forgotten and put deep down where I thought it could no longer hurt me. But as long as I refused to reflect on that memory it would still have power over me today. Once the full force of those feelings was again alive and allowed to diminish naturally through the continual replay of it, only then could I see just why I suffered so. Only then could I explain to myself that my introversion had frozen me in an extraverted situation surrounded by strangers. Only then could I realize the conflicts I felt about meeting new boys in the first place because of my shaky relationship with my own third function of thinking. Only then could I begin to come to terms with my own conflicts with the outer world because of my introversion. The end result was that memory no longer was an unrecognized cause of pain. I had taken the feelings, released them and coupled them to my typological understanding, and this vibrant combination was the alchemy necessary for a small step toward growth.
What I did with my memories I did with my dreams, as well, by reliving the feelings that the dream images evoked. And so it went, day after day, week after week. I had never realized there was so much pain inside myself. But all this work was opening up new parts of me, building bridges, and letting the waters of life in my psyche flow. And the resentments and fears that were now being transformed into creative energies allowed love to bubble up as well, not only for myself as a unique individual, but for my parents and all those that had been bound up in my past. And I told all these things to Jim in detail. Neither one of us had realized what was in store when I had had that first dream. We were discovering what typology had really meant to Jung. It was a powerful way in which to enter into the process of individuation. Looking back I see that we ran all sorts of risks by going on that journey into the unconscious. We knew so little, and the energies were so powerful. It was as if we were in a little boat on the ocean and waves were threatening to swamp us. But there was no going back. We had to try to reach the other shore.
I am honestly not sure what to say when I see someone who could benefit from this kind of psychological work. I could say that everyone ought to go to a Jungian analyst who will help them on this night sea journey. But analysts are few and far between, and of ten we need the help types could give us in our marriage or family life or in becoming who we were meant to be. But types have an inner tendency to lead us into the journey of individuation. And that journey is a difficult and serious business. You will have to decide for yourself how deeply to get involved in it.
Let's start this journey of type development by looking briefly at how dreams, daydreams and moments of high feeling can be understood typologically.
1. Dreams. Dreams are graphic pictures of what the other side of our personality is like. They tend to compensate for our conscious one-sidedness and so if we pay attention to them they can give us a living picture of the struggle between conscious and unconscious, and the dominant and the least developed function. In them a drama is being played out which has to do with our instinctive urge to be whole and complete, and if we can understand the characters we can take a more decisive role in helping this process along. The more dreams in a series we possess, the more chance we have of finding clues in one dream that will help unravel another. One way which we can interpret dreams is from the perspective of our own type and how it is growing, and the problems it is facing.
Tom, an introverted intuition type.
Dream: Tom was in the back seat of a car and there was a strange man who was driving fast and somewhat recklessly. Tom's girlfriend was in the front passenger seat, and sometimes she would turn around and hold Tom's hand, but at other times she flirted with the driver. Tom woke up with a feeling of anxiety about the possibility of losing his girlfriend. The strange man reminded him of the foreman on his last summer job whom Torn felt was coarse and loud.
Interpretation: The strange man symbolizes Tom's extraverted sensation function which is a stranger to consciousness and not particularly reliable. In contrast to Tom's conscious life which is directed by intuition, the dream shows the other side where the sensation function is in the driver's seat. The girlfriend can be understood as a symbol of Tom's third function, feeling, which is pulled in two directions: on the one side towards the consciousness represented by Tom, and on the other towards the stranger. The feeling function is partially conscious and partially unconscious.
2. Daydreams. If we have recurrent daydreams and fantasies we can try to interpret them in the same fashion, for they are filled with material from the other side of our personality.
Daydream: Tom had a recurrent fantasy about being in a plane crash in a remote place. The crash had left the passengers with hardly any supplies and no ready means of help. It was Tom, drawing on his interior resources, who organized shelter using branches and leaves, found edible plants and took charge of the survival of the group. In the process of doing this, the most beautiful woman among the passengers was drawn to him because of his command of the situation.
Interpretation: The weakest part of Tom's personality is in the area of extraverted sensation. The daydream indicates that the function of intuition symbolized by the plane is no longer adequate. The unconscious, by means of the daydream, presents to him another Tom who is strong in this area and reaps the rewards of his strength. These images, coming from the unconscious, attempt to compensate for the one-sidedness of the conscious, and can be seen as an attempt to attract Tom to further self-development.
3. The Analysis of Moments of High Feeling Intensity. There are events in our lives that seem to strike us much more intensely than warranted by the actual facts of what happened. They are loaded with an extra charge of energy which comes not from the event itself but from the unconscious. The event has hit something there and released some of the energy the unconscious has, and the result is some kind of upset, depression or elation. If we can discover what it is in the other side that is so energy-filled, we will get a new insight into what our other side is like.
A Moment of High Feeling Intensity: One day Tom was paging through a magazine and he read a short anecdote about a man who had spent 30 years in a mental hospital. The man had stated that the most fulfilling thing that had happened to him during all that time was that once, while working on the hospital newsletter, he had won an argument with the staff person in charge of the paper about how a particular word should be hyphenated. For some reason that Tom couldn't fathom at the time, he couldn't forget that story.
Interpretation: The story symbolized in Tom's mind the possibility of being trapped in the world, just like the mental patient had been locked up in the hospital. As an introverted intuition type, Tom loved freedom and feared that the details of sensation would tie him down and not let him fly. Tom was concerned about living a meaningful life, and was afraid that he would be caught in situations where fulfillment and meaning were hard to come by. The patient who had only one apparently trivial moment of fulfillment in 30 years symbolized Tom's fears.
Tom's understanding of these messages from the unconscious has to be followed by his active work in contacting the psychic energy connected with them, as I did in my feeling sessions.
Now let's turn to how we can learn to see our relationships with our parents, friends, spouse and children from a typological point of view.
The best preparation for dealing with people of other types is to have dealt with types within ourselves. If we can see in a personal and practical manner how we are a community of types with strengths and weaknesses, we can see other people more clearly, for they, too, are not simply types but totalities. I am not only an introverted intuition type, for instance, but also an introverted feeling type, an extraverted thinking type, an extraverted sensation type, in fact all eight types, and so are You. It is all too easy to succumb to putting a superficial label on our fellow man instead of going through the hard work of trying to understand him. Even if this label reads an extraverted intuition type, or an introverted sensation type, it will not solve our conflicts with others unless we are striving to heal these conflicts within ourselves. This superficial form of characterization always upset Jung, for he felt that it missed the reality of types as an inner dynamic process of individuation. Types can be used to explore relationships, and Jung himself used them in this way in trying to help explain husbands to wives, parents to children, etc., but we have to be continually on our guard against losing sight of the complex realities they represent, and settling simply for the naming of the most conscious function.
Types and Tolerance
If we understand the nature of typology, this fact alone is a big step towards making us more tolerant, even though we are not certain what the other person's type is. The beginning of tolerance comes from the recognition of the existence of legitimate diversities among people. We realize there is the possibility of understanding someone's conduct and we can view it as a task to be accomplished rather than seeing their behavior as an intolerable annoyance. We can realize that we have something in common with the other person, even if it means reaching into the less developed parts of our personality in order to find it, and we can be alert to appreciate his talents because they can help us become stronger.
Types and Stereotypes
We often see the people around us through the colored glasses of our conscious function. Yet we believe that we are being totally objective. Objectivity is a goal we strive towards, but not only is our conscious way of looking at things tinted by our own dominant attitude and function, but the other less developed parts of ourselves are having their say and effecting how we see people without us realizing it.
Though parts of ourselves are unconscious, that does not prevent them from getting us into trouble, and part of their mischief is to make the people around us appear different from the way they actually are. Why does the unconscious do that? Simply because it is trying to find a way to bring itself to our attention, and if we won't look within, it will go outside and approach us from there. This process is called projection. It hovers around the edge of consciousness and forms a subtle atmosphere of prejudgment.
For example, the extravert sees the introvert as painfully shy and socially backward, stuck in himself and unwilling or unable to come out into the healthy sunshine of life. He is melancholic and brooding, preoccupied with self to such a degree that it can lead only to morbidness and dark deeds.
For the introvert the extravert is all bluster and show, a whirlwind of action and talk who tries to hide the fact that there is no substance to him. He is a hollow man, who has given up his soul to run after trifles. He is frivolous or flighty, or worse, overbearing and tyrannical.
The sensation type can feel that the intuition type doesn't have his feet on the ground. He is flying off into a fantasy world at the least provocation while he ignores the most basic facts of life like proper meals, cleanliness, earning a living, and the other realities of living in this world.
The intuition type often sees the sensation type in the guise of a carnal man stuck in his immediate environment and preoccupied with eating, sleeping, dressing and working, all to excess, and whose idea of fun is some dreary repetitive game.
The feeling type looks on the thinking type as a cold inhuman computer who would rather be with numbers, machines or involved ideas than with people. The thinking type appears rigid, uncaring and without heart, and a living time bomb when you do manage to drag him into a social gathering.
For the thinking type the feeling type is above all else unreasonable. She is constantly off on emotional tangents or pestering you to death with her entreaties or complaints, or just plain gushing in a way which is impervious to good sense and a clear statement of position.
The simple recognition of our particular inclinations to prejudice is an important first step in eradicating them. The real process of becoming unprejudiced is in our healing of the splits that exist in our own personality so that they will not be projected outward.
Projection and Prejudice
Projection is all around us and is at the source of many misunderstandings and hatreds. White America has harsh words and contempt for Blacks, Indians, and Mexican Americans. Yet the dreams of the white men are filled with these people, making it quite clear how much of a projection this racial prejudice is. No doubt the projection works both ways. In a similar manner the West loathes the East, the Arabs hate the Jews, the Irish, the English, and on and on without end. The real fire for such hatred is not only in historical events, but in a lack of integration. To the degree we fail to come to grips with the full extent of our own personality, we project the unconscious contents outward on those around us. Those contents, since they have been neglected and starved for attention for so long, can be crude and antagonistic, frightening and bestial, which are precisely the characteristics of the classic enemy -whether it be a Communist, white man, red man or whatever.
There are, of course, good and bad actions of individuals and nations, as well as varying levels of culture and different value systems. But we cannot come to grips with these objective issues until we are aware of our own subjective projections which distort all we see like mirrors in a fun house - or house of horrors.
Types and Environment
From the moment we are conceived we are being molded and shaped by the environment around us. We can imagine the type we are born with to be a particular kind of seed. If we are a lettuce we should not expect to be transformed into a tomato or a cabbage or even another variety of lettuce. But this does not make our environment unimportant. The environment is like the soil we grow in and the water we are given. Environment is vitally important. It determines how the seedling will grow and if it will reach maturity and bear fruit. Good environment can be a question of life and death. Let's look at how our parental environment can shape our type.
The effect of our parents is so profound that it is only with great difficulty that we can distinguish their influence from our inborn type. It is important to see this influence in order to decide what we really are in ourselves and how we can develop our own true potential. Our parents imprint their types on us with their good traits and positive energies, as well as their weaknesses and fears. This they do simply by being our parents and also by having expectations both voiced and unvoiced about what we should be like. In order to map out their influence we have to know what their types are and then see how they have interacted with our own.
Peter, an extraverted sensation type father, and Sammy, an introverted intuition type son
It always upset Peter when he would come home from work or be home for the weekend, and there Sammy was in his room, reading a book or playing endlessly with his toy soldiers. "What's the matter with that kid? He is so quiet and has just a few friends, and is always dreaming and tripping over his own feet. How will he ever amount to anything if he doesn't get -some get-up-and-go? Why, when I was a kid I played on the Little League ball team, I had dozens of friends, and I had a part-time job after school as well. But I can't really say anything without the wife butting in and defending him. He's just a mama's boy."
Martha, an extraverted feeling type mother, and Annie, an introverted intuition type daughter
Annie, age 10, was coming home from school, and as she approached the house she realized with a sinking feeling that the Bridge Club was having a meeting there. "Oh, no. She'll want me to face all those ladies and say hello." Sure enough, even though Annie tried to escape by running up the stairs without anyone seeing her, her mother's voice, with a slight threat in it, said, "Annie, come and say hello to everyone, and then in a whisper, "And be sure to be nice." "Hello", Annie mumbled to the ladies, and then fled again, this time with success.
George, an introverted thinking type father, and Bob, an extraverted sensation type son
Bob couldn't get his father to understand how important it was to him to join the school's football team. He saw it as the way he could be really popular with his classmates. George, on his part, had never been too interested in group sports, and didn't want to see his son waste a lot of time and energy that could go towards more important things, or have him get hurt.
On the surface, these stories are ordinary, and each of us has dozens of them about our own childhood. What possible value could they have in helping us to have a deep insight into ourselves and our relationship with our parents? Let's take our first example of Peter and Sammy, and explore it further. Little Sammy's type and his father's can be represented as follows:
Sammy has a natural weakness in the area of extraverted sensation. This is what is irritating his father to begin with, and his father unwittingly, by making an issue of Sammy's deficiencies, is widening the split between the conscious and the unconscious, or the extraverted sensation part of Sammy's personality and the rest of it. This just aggravates the problem and will make it more difficult for Sammy to cope with his inferior function, both now and in the future. His father can't really appreciate Sammy's gifts either, because they strike him at his weakest point, and he unthinkingly perceives them with an aura of suspicion and even potential danger. We tend to sympathize with little Sammy, but his father is not deliberately trying to make trouble for him, and is himself disappointed because he doesn't have the kind of son he wished for. If both of them understood the typological differences involved, they would have a much better chance for a deeper and more fruitful relationship.
if the basic outline of our type interaction with our parents is clear, we can begin to explore our personal history in regards to them, especially concerning moments that have high feeling energy. Take an event and see if You can explain it in terms of your type and that of your parents. This kind of procedure can actually release all sorts of energy. Use this energy in a positive, constructive fashion to develop your type. There is little use in blaming your parents for what they did or did not do. What were their parents like? The important point is to break the chain of events in yourself so you do not blindly pass on your own problems to those you influence. If your feelings build up too strongly, back off until you can get them under control or release them in private. Go where you can be alone and do some shouting and crying and beating of pillows about what should have been done and how you should have been treated. Then get on with the job of constructive personal change. We can change ourselves but not change others directly, so most face-to-face recriminations about the past are worse than useless. Resist the sometimes almost irresistible tendency to confront your parents with their apparent shortcomings. We can follow the same sort of procedure with our brothers and sisters, childhood friends and teachers, etc., and see how they shaped us in this early formative period.
Types and Children
Children, even from infancy, can show distinctive kinds of behavior which can be understood in terms Of types. Many parents have noticed how different their children are even though they grow up in the same home and get the same kind of love and affection. We take far too much upon ourselves if we think that the real and deep-seated differences which we see in our children are only a consequence of our own behavior. Instead we have to realize that we are often dealing with a person of another type, and even if our child is our own type, they are at a different stage of development.
If we adopt a typological perspective we have a good framework in which to understand both the child's strengths and weaknesses. But too often we work on his strengths and ignore or complain about his weaknesses. And in doing so we are imitating what society as a whole does. It has a natural inclination to foster the development of the most differentiated function of the child. This is because a community rates the individual not on their wholeness, but on the distinctive contribution each can make to it. Too often we as parents blindly follow the same pattern. We see that our child has a particular gift, and we go out of our way to cultivate it, whether it is some kind of artistic, intellectual or athletic ability. The unfortunate result can be a child who develops one-sidedly. A child's strengths will tend to come out naturally and we can often devote our time more fruitfully to helping them with the problem represented by their least developed function.
For example, an introverted thinking type boy with a high verbal ability can find enough stimulation for his talents without a special program of development. Where he really needs help is in the area of extraverted feeling so that his conscious growth in introverted thinking does not overshadow and suppress this aspect of his personality. It's wonderful for a mother to be proud of how articulate her son is, but there is no one who is in a better position to draw out his hidden and delicate feelings. The development of the least developed side of the personality of their child is a special and privileged task of parents.
Parents also have a responsibility to monitor the environments in which their child lives outside the home in order to see if there is enough freedom in them for their child's particular kind of developmental needs. There has to be room in the school room, the church activity group, the clubs, and the sports teams for all different types of children. If one model is held up to the exclusion of all others, then many children will be harmed.
The field of adoption is another place where it is important to recognize differences in type. If the couple who wants to adopt a child is aware of their own types and the varying degrees of difficulty with which they deal with other types, they can either look for the type of child that will be compatible with them or be aware that the child, no matter how young they have received it, could have a psychological type very distinct from their own. For example, an extraverted couple has to be aware of the possibility of adopting an introverted child in order that their own expectations will not be disappointed and that the child will not be put at an immediate disadvantage.
Children, even at 8 or 10 years old, and perhaps even before that, can develop a surprisingly good knowledge of type differences. It gives them a framework within which their parents can explain countless situations, and the children themselves can begin to make their own tentative explanations.
In the give-and-take of active family life, if all the members of the family are aware of their inferior function, it makes them more tolerant of each other. The children can distinguish bit by bit the occasions when they are being yelled at due to their own misconduct from those in which they have simply rubbed their parents' inferior function the wrong way, and the parents can learn to admit when they are upset because of their own weaknesses.
Our own children grew up hearing Jim and I talk about types, and they didn't have any trouble catching on to the idea of projection. If I got angry at them, more often than not they would interrupt a fine rage I had generated and say, "You're projecting, Mom." That has the irritating result of making me stop in my tracks and consider whether, in fact, I was projecting on them. Sometimes they were right, and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to apologize. At other times I could say that no, I was not projecting. They really were being impossible. In our family not only does a child recognize a projection, (actually, it's rather easy: my voice reaches a certain pitch, my face turns red and I threaten physical violence), he can usually elaborate on the theme: "You're oversensated," meaning my weak extraverted sensation is at its limit. But it can (happily) work the other way, too. I can say to the child, "Look, I am getting overloaded. Please go away for a little while before I blow up." And the child looks at my tense face and wisely decides that it just might be a good idea to disappear.
Now that the children have entered the teenage years, we talk more and more about type development. Our son has to work on his third function feeling rather than try to pretend he is all-macho and doesn't have any, and our daughter struggles with a weak thinking function, especially when she is faced with doing math. But now we have the vocabulary to work out our problems, and a satisfying degree of typological understanding so that the child can look inside himself, or relate a particularly disturbing dream, and know he has work to do on himself. The frustrations and nameless rebellious feelings no longer make a victim of the budding teenager. Those very feelings can be the impetus for important typological work.
Back to Psychology