In the 1992 US presidential election, what was the issue? It’s the economy stupid! Well, what’s the issue to you—to Standers? The infidelity, yes, but that leads to the marriage. To Norman’s analyst, the issue is about Norman. He’s a puer, he’s unevolved, he has mother issues and his relationship with Nancy is codependent, dysfunctional, an anima projection, no longer needed for his individuation…BLAH BLAH BLAH.

One day Norman bounces into the analyst’s office and announces that he is leaving Nancy. Playing the devil’s advocate, the analyst asks what about his kids.

broken_child“Oh they’ll manage,” he said. Tears sprung to his eyes, maybe he would never be invulnerable. “Nancy’s a good mother, she’ll take care of them. I still see them, of course.” (Book I p. 137)

Sound familiar? The analyst goes on to explain that this scene brought forward the memory and pain of leaving his own children. Norman shows the analyst a drawing. His interpretation is that “Norman will survive. …He, or something in him, will bite the bullet.” He reviews the drawing again… “It was just what was needed if Norman were to ever get quit of the mother.” (Book I p. 138)

Did I just commit a huge sin by not giving you the details of that passage—by not including the specifics of Norman’s drawing? Jungian analysis looks at dreams and creations of an analysand to understand what’s going on and I’ve just skipped the specifics. But do you care about the specifics? Seriously, this guy is leaving his wife and young children, do you care about the why more than the what? Or does justifying his actions just flip you off? I certainly care about why as a motive for understanding, which can then help me to counter it, but as a justification—um NO! 😡 In fact, as I reviewed the passage above after a few days away, it seemed as though the analyst was ignoring Norman’s announcement and switching topics. Oh, you’re leaving your wife, well that’s nice; let’s move on to something important.

family_without_dadThis is why Standers hate these books. The MLCer’s wife and children are irrelevant. They’re just archetypes and thus they don’t really matter. They have their own complexes and will have some more based on this situation and it is their fate to be looked at in isolation from Norman’s world with their own analyst. Apparently each man is an island.

The books do not talk about how the children are coping (or not coping) or what they go through and the consequences of being children of divorce—and abandonment since there was no co-parenting in this situation. All that stuff is not Norman’s problem because it’s not his world—his world being internally isolated. Apparently individuation is an entitlement and the primary purpose of life; if something is not serving individuation, fugetaboutit.

Up to this point this book is the Pre-Bomb Drop period for Standers. Now Nancy has a Bomb Drop and something to work with—some realization and communication of problems in her marriage. This is where we Standers become aware and get started. So how would you feel? Your MLCer has been seeing a therapist—any sort—and that therapist has led your spouse into leaving you—either directly or indirectly. The therapist saw their only responsibility as helping your spouse, even if that meant harming you and your children and they twisted their actions to say that if it helped your spouse (their client) it would benefit you and the children as well—maybe not right away, but in the long run. They have encouraged or discouraged your MLCer’s actions or inactions without knowing you, discussing it with you, hearing your side and without caring to know or hear your side. Why? Because that would only confuse them.

“I don’t know Norman’s wife. I know only what he tells me about her. I know that much of this is in his mind and has nothing to do with his wife. Norman does not yet know there is a difference. I certainly don’t want to see her because I am only interested in how Norman experiences his wife, not who she really is. To meet her would just confuse me.
That is the difference between individual analysis and working with couples.” (Book I p. ]51)[The emphasis is mine.]

The sad thing is, the story leaves off at our beginning, where we stop being archetypes and become aware, when we finally see the problems and begin our Jungian journey toward understanding Self as we learn to Stand for our marriages. But to the analyst-author, this is the end because he places no living value on marriage—on Us or We, marriage as something that lives and breathes. Nations are living things with their own cultural identity and people die to preserve them. Even companies are also living things. A marriage and family are each a living entity and those in them necessary organs for the life of the entity.

But the analyst only promotes continuation of the individual as a necessity for individuation. One of the challenges of life today is to grow and develop (individuate) within the parameters we establish—such as marital bonds. The analyst failed his marriage and family and has now guided Norman to mirror that failure.

These books are an example of why Standers may be concerned when their MLCer is in individual therapy. One side is presented, while the marriage and other sides are assumed and given no degree of importance.

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It’s the Marriage, Stupid!No Comments

  1. My xH admitted in the early hours after BD that he had been to see a therapist who encouraged him to follow his desire to leave me. "You can leave your wife without leaving your children," she told him. Finally, the professional advice he'd been seeking–leave your wife, follow your heart's desire–stamped with approval.

    She may have thought she was doing right by him, and he is her only concern as her client. If she'd interviewed me, anyway, without notifying me of the betrayal he'd already committed himself to, she may have seen my hostility and contempt, borne from years of his lack of commitment to me, and especially from his more recent inattentiveness, forgetfulness, shirking all responsibility (except "work"–always having to run off to "work" for "special projects," and I was proud of his commitment to work….) His uncharming boyishness (thanks for the new vocabulary word, "puer" describes my xH), his defiance, his bizarre mannerisms did not sit well with me, but I didn't have any idea of why. When he told me he was seriously thinking of taking a job out of state (well, an ocean away!) I found that my patience with his appalling lack of judgment was non-existent. "You go right ahead," I dared him. And, so, the therapist may have correctly determined that I was worthy of abandonment–for the sake of her client's wishes. And, what therapist doesn't want her client to "be happy"?

    Ah, well, as it turns out, my xH is most certainly NOT happy, and that is where the therapist has failed her client. Her flippant, expedient, and inconsiderate opinion has failed her client miserably.

    Wouldn't you know that my xH found out, not long after he'd decided to walk away from his life, that the good therapist has no children of her own, and is her husband's second wife–a step-mother to her husband's son.

    What does she know about the love a parent should have for his children? What does she care about breaking a child's heart? How could she have predicted that advising a man to operate against good values would indeed prove to be such a disaster?

    Well, it's her job to know, of course. And she is herself a failure. She has no business telling broken people how to fix themselves. She has no clue. She is clueless.

    And not considering a client's family, FOR THE SAKE OF THE CLIENT, is another typical failure of many in the therapy field.

    You're doing good work here, RCR. It's about darned time someone brought proper attention to this epidemic.

  2. I think IC, and more specifically, perhaps, analysis, are likely to lead an MLCer in this direction. It did mine (IC, not analysis.) Garbage in, garbage out. There was a lot of muck in his head. You stir it around, it's still muck. I'm not sure how I feel about these books. I reacted the same way as RCR… like what a pot of horseshit… we are not in the equation when they are talking about how unhappy they are in their narcissistic abyss.

    But the reality is, this is the reality. At least mine. He left. So here I am wondering if this is just the way it is. They are not thinking in terms of morals and marital vows. That's clear. Those boundaries are meaningless, so what is meaningful to them? I have no answers. I found these books very difficult to read, and I'm thankful to RCR for talking about them.

    RCR, always interested in your take on things. I would love you to review the Robert A. Johnson books He, We, and She… which I found profound.

    Best wishes to everyone. This is hard stuff. The hardest.

  3. I read these books in the first year after BD. My opinion of them wasn't very high. I'm sure I would like them even less if I was reading them today.

    Carl Jung had numerous affairs and, for over a 30 year period was essentially a polygamist. He was married to the same woman, Emma, for over 50 years but had a "second wife" relationship with a fellow analyst, Toni Wolff, for 3 decades. He traveled with Wolff and spent every Wednesday night with her. Wolff even had Sunday dinner with the Jungs and their children(!) Emma Jung was unhappy about the situation but came to an "understanding" about it and, supposedly, became friends with Wolff at some point. Yuck.

    The more I've learned about Jung, both his ideas and his personal life, the less I like him. No wonder he was so hell bent of "individuation." Of course he would have to put the individual's happiness before all other relationships! How else could he rationalize his own behaviour and the pain he put his family through. I have also read that Jung's children were very unhappy about the their father's relationship with Wolff. Duh.

    I don't care if he was a brilliant man. He was also a narcissist and a selfish womanizer. His theory of individuation is highly suspect to me.

  4. 'No Regrets' my story parallels yours. Facts may be different but the thread and plot are the same.
    RCR – My H had all the support and encouragement for free from colleagues at work who he called his 'close' friends after I found out about OW. "They were so supportive". I could never understand why these people would support a man to leave his wife and 4 very young children until I found out that he had been telling them we were separated a year before he actually left and while still in counselling. They believed his lies and gave him the approval stamp and affirmation he so desired.

  5. My experience with my wife's therapy was that while therapy tackled the first obstacle – "own your past" as in understanding the childhood roots of the MLC – it never went on to step two, "reconnect your past to your present" as in seeing how one's childhood keeps on defining one's present day actions and emotions or even strep three, "reparent yourself" as in removing the hold of the past on present day actions and emotions. At times it seemed as if the only goal of therapy was to look for excuses for the MLC, the infideltiy…Obviously I only had limited information on what was going on during therapy as I was never allowed to join and obviously I am biased but I would definitely agree with all of you regarding Indiviudation being the no. 1 priority, at all cost

  6. I believe my wife is in the early stages of MLC. Our BD was several weeks ago and that is when I discovered her affair. We had agreed to see a marriage councelor, but she wants to see IC first. Shetells me she is 50/50 with the marriage and thats why she want so see the IC. Any advice on this as to wether or not this is a good idea, or should I push the marriage counceling?

    • I don;t really have advice regarding whether her seeing a counselor on her own is a good idea. But it does concern me because as you may jave learned from this series, I am not always trusting of counselors because so many claiming to be marriage counselors (and the author of the books I review in this series was not doing that, he is a Jungian Analyst), but so many who do claim to be marriage counselors are really divorce counselors in disguise–and they don;t even know it. They think they are marriage counselors, but the also think that their client is the people rather than the marriage. If she goes as an individual will it make it easier for the client to be the marriage? Will this counselor buy into and encourage the happiness facade and tell her she has to do what will make her happy? Or will the counselor support the marriage or at least refuse to pass judgment and remain somewhat neutral until meeting with both of you?
      Individual counseling can be a wonderful thing and yet it can also be dangerous–it depends on the counselor and on what the counselor is being told.
      Hmmm, what to do? Pushing is a synonym for pressure in this situation and I advise against pressuring. But how about stating your case without adding overt pressure–she may feel pressured anyway and that is her choice. Validate her feelings about being 50/50 and tell her that you think a better way to resolve those not to help her decide whether to stay or go or become more certain of leaving, but to go to counseling together so that you can immediately begin working toward bettering your marriage together by learning what you need to do to repair and change. That is not something that will happen if you do not go together. By going to individual counseling she is not letting you in on how she feels and what she feels are the problems and that means if you don't know you won't do anything about those things–unless you guess right in your lone search for solutions to unknown problems.

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