Monday, December 19, 2011

Befriending the lioness

A lot has been happening lately... A LOT! Most of this has circled around work on my inferior function, which I really got just recently while reading Marie-Louise von Franz's book Psychotherapy. I explored Jung's four functions of the personality in the following posts on Queen of the Night, mostly from an intellectual standpoint but with some personal observations. But I did a lot more work than just what was written in the QotN posts. It's been another amazing series of breakthroughs (my energy levels are up again). At any rate, these are the posts - go here for actual information on the four functions:
For some reason, figuring out what my main function(s) are released this flood of emotion, pain in particular, from all the difficulties I've had with my inferior feeling function. Spending a day with relatives for the holidays had something to do with it, I'm sure, because most of my feelings came from a lifetime of not being "good enough". But a lot also came up in relation to G, too - I felt like the reason he didn't like me was because I'm so gauche emotionally, that he found that part of me repulsive.

It really kicked in as I was coming home on the train from visiting my family. When I really got what my inferior feeling function was, and how it operated, how it makes me overly enthusiastic when I get emotional, I kept getting flooded with waves of shame, sadness, feeling like maybe that was why G keeps pulling away. Von Franz describes the inferior extroverted feeling function of an introverted thinking person - it was like looking in a mirror!
The inferior feeling of both types is sticky, and the extraverted thinking type has this kind of invisible faithfulness which can last endlessly. The same is true for the extraverted feeling of the introverted thinking type, except that it will not be invisible but visible faithfulness. If you evaluate it positively, it will be faithful, but to negative evaluation it is sticky. It resembles the gluelike flow of feeling in an epileptoid person; it has that kind of sticky, doglike attachment which, especially to the beloved object, is not always amusing. You could compare the inferior feeling of an introveted thinking type to the flow of hot lava from a volcano - it only moves about five meters an hour, but it devastates everything on it's way. That is why, naturally, an introverted thinking type will very soon experience that with his extraverted feeling he is always putting his foot in it, for the feeling is so primitive, sticky, and childish; but it also has all the advantages of a primitive function, for it is very genuine and warm. When an introverted thinking type loves, there is no calculation in it. It will be for the sake of the other but it will be primitive. That is true for both types, for the thinking types have primitive feeling, but on the other hand it is never calculating. The inferior feeling of a thinking type is like a lioness that would like to play with you. She has no other intention than to play, but she rubs herself, purring, against your leg, or eats you up, or gives you a great blow so that you fall over when she licks your face. But there is no calculation or intention about it; it is just an expression of feeling, just as a dog wags his tail! What touches people in the feeling of domestic animals is just this lack of calculation.
(von Franz, Psychotherapy, p. 87)

So when I got home, I did a lot of active imagination work. At first my inferior feeling was a retarded person. Then she became a lioness. I cried a lot - A LOT - almost endlessly, over those feelings of shame and pain. I also accepted the lioness and apologized to her for keeping her locked up. When I finished, I felt completely drained and wrung out emotionally.

Those feelings came back periodically and are still coming back. But afterwards, I felt powerfully energized - by keeping the lioness suppressed I had cut myself off from my energy. I don't know how much of this is my animus being straightened out and released and how much was my inferior feeling function inner lioness, but releasing her has released something. It feels like there is a difference; I feel the energy from freeing my animus more in my head, whereas the energy from freeing my lioness is more in my heart. After freeing my animus, I felt more mentally clear and potent, whereas the lioness feels warm, conencted with others in a pure, loving way.


Had another incident with G - yesterday, my lioness was out in full force and I was full of warmth and exuberance. Today, she was a little less there - last night she was drained. I realized she needed to stay down in the subconscious to recharge her energy, down in the dark jungle. She'd stayed with me all day because I needed her, but she was tired, so she left for a bit, but now that we've established contact she can come and go as needed. Yesterday, G seemed non-plussed at first but when I met him again, I could tell he was drawn to the lioness's fire. Today, she scared him away I think.

We were talking, and getting into deep, uncomfortable waters for him. He was telling me - AGAIN! - about how he feels like he's not accomplishing anything, he's too old, yadda yadda yadda, and I tried to point him to the fire he had inside him, his Aries passion, and that he doesn't have to worry about going too far or getting into trouble because his (over!)developed Sensation carefulness will keep him out of trouble. Then he tried to do the running away thing. And then I said "Let's do lunch! I want to talk about this more" and he was like "I don't want to talk" (running away). And I was like "We don't have to talk." At this point, he made a warding gesture and ran off.

Of course I was devastated. I sat there for a while with the Lioness on my lap as she purred on me. Eventually she went back to the Jungle, but before she did I put a golden necklace on her - a sign of how precious she is to me. She even came back for a moment when I was yet again run over by an attack of the blues.

About G... at first I wanted to pull away from him because of the pain (my normal emotional reaction). But then, I felt, this is part of being the lioness - she gets over-enthusiastic. And G is attracted to that warmth on the one hand, but then it gets too much for him and he runs away. I'm going to keep getting hurt, and then getting annoyed and losing patience. But now that I have a better understanding of what's going on, I can maintain my balance and sense of humor throughout these emotional upheavals.

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