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.
“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.
This 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.