Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Eros Template: Some Common Themes of (Male) Narcissism

The following is an excerpt from
Eros and The Shattering Gaze; 
Transcending Narcissism
by Kenneth Kimmel

The Eros Template

Eros is an unrepentant, narcissistic lover who retreats from all emotional attachments. He takes the first steps toward maturity and love only after suffering and enduring a life-changing wound that opens him. We find him brought to life by countless writers and artists in many guises and circumstances throughout the long, meandering history of the Western world. Eros, son of Venus, husband of Psyche, is the prototype of the many versions of the puer aeternus we will meet in Eros and The Shattering Gaze; Transcending NarcissismWe recognize him through the actions of men who leave behind the scattered wreckage of lost relationships. This type of man harms many women in their search to find the diamond in the dung heap of love and relationship. He’s the one who leaves a goodbye note, is caught with the best friend, or turns cold and distant when the “L” word is spoken. It is ironic that these men who give so little are loved so much. This is due, perhaps, to their aura of specialness, or to their accomplishments, attractiveness, sensitivity, charisma, charm, and creativity, or even to that pitiful little-boy-lost quality that can evoke a mothering response in the most independent of partners.

Apuleius’ “Tale of Amor and Psyche” is the classical story that best charts the course of these men’s romantic, narcissistic, and even predatory love. It is embodied in the character of Eros as well as in that of Lucius, the hero of The Golden Ass. These stories follow Eros and Lucius through their wounding and suffering, and toward the possibility of mature love, humility, and devotion. Regarding this from the standpoint of the male (as opposed to that of women), one can extract from Eros a template that outlines the key qualities of one pattern in narcissism—that of “mother’s perfect little god,” who habitually seeks instant pleasure in paradise but never in mutual relationships.
Here are some of the common themes of narcissism in the Eros Template extracted from “The Tale of Amor and Psyche.” They are generally found embedded in our notions of romance and love, and are met throughout Western history.

Mother’s special boy. He is the divine son of his mother. He is so special, and he knows no bounds. He can’t take no for an answer. His desires and impulses must be gratified instantly. He is incestuously bonded to his mother, but as long as he does her bidding she protects him from the slings and arrows of the cruel world that may try to knock him down a few pegs for being so full of himself.

His beauty is only skin deep. He is a physically beautiful man but he lacks the capacity for internal reflection. His life centers around surface things: fulfillment of physical desires, attainment of beautiful possessions, and expectations of perfection. The great control and power that he must exert over his outer environment and relationships is a form of compensation for an emotionally unstable and chaotic internal identity that he cannot hold in check.

Predator. His desires are fueled by an internal lack, and when he becomes satiated he searches ceaselessly for a new object of desire and pleasure. He is a predatory hunter. He seeks the adrenaline rush of sexual conquest and power over the helpless victim. Like Psyche awaiting her sacrifice atop the mountain, she is merely his thing to be used to meet his needs.

He seeks fusion in relationships. He maintains his control over the love object by keeping her in the dark about who he really is. She has no identity separate from his, and as long as she is fused with him she is not an object to be related to but is compelled instead to be an object of his desire alone. He unconsciously seeks to relive the fantasy of incest with his own mother in his own little Garden of Eden, by finding her substitute, the newer version of Venus—young Psyche.

He is split between his mother and his lover. His loyalty is split between the need for mothering and the desire for the mature love of a woman, a division that interferes with his maturation and prolongs his stay in eternal youth. Alternatively, he is tossed between his longing for the untouched virgin and his desire for pleasures that only the goddess of love may bestow.

Idealization and devaluation of the object of love. He is always in search of the ideal, perfect woman. Because she is only human, the woman merely plays a role in his perfect fantasies and he has no idea who she really is. The moment she begins deviating from his expectations his feelings turn cold or destructive. Her imperfections arouse all sorts of uncertainties and insecurities within him, and to avoid those unstable feelings he must devalue her. Using her to maintain his stability and his illusions of perfection, he can also blame her when she lets him down. He sets things up so that he never has to look within to his own weaknesses. He rids himself of his own bad feelings by dumping them into the devalued woman.

The narcissistic wound leads to negation of the other. Owing to an unstable identity, he is full of exaggerated sensitivity and therefore is easily slighted and wounded, which leads to negation and devaluation of his ideal love object. Because the internal feelings prove too unbearable to look at, he instead chooses to retaliate against any perceived betrayal that causes him pain. He will easily abandon and evacuate the woman from his mind if it will allow him to avoid suffering.

Continual return to mother to avoid the difficulties of life. He will seek the old familiar retreat to his mother’s rooms to heal the narcissistic wounds inflicted by what he sees as a cold, cruel world, a world that demands to meet him as a real person. He is split between the need for security, sympathy, and maternal comfort, and the instinctive hunger for sexual gratification.

Feigned innocence serves to mask his own destructive, hateful impulses. By splitting off his awareness he turns a blind eye to the terrible mother and her group of vengeful handmaidens who fall mercilessly upon Psyche when she surrenders herself to Venus. By involving himself so exclusively in bemoaning his own mistreatment, Eros feigns innocence. His guilt lies in his complicity. A man such as this can bat his eyelashes innocently while he compartmentalizes his hatred and aggression, though it will often seep out indirectly, passively.

The mother-bound man destroys all links to human relationships. Mother-Venus and her handmaidens threaten Psyche with death if she fails to fulfill any of the impossible tasks set before her. They hope to destroy any links to love, dependency, and vulnerability. As in the previous paragraph, Eros feigns innocence as the dirty work is done for him, thus insulating himself from real life and real relationships and the pain that might ensue. These destructive handmaidens exist within the mother-bound man as protecting and persecuting objects, encapsulating him in a shell and protecting him from the risk of an intimacy that might cause him pain. He stays safe within mother’s orbit, unwilling to break free of her power. On a conscious level he is only cognizant of his role as the “offended party” and will not own responsibility for the violence he inflicts on others when defending himself against perceived threats to his self preservation.

The wounding that pierces the narcissistic shell. In the end, Eros has suffered through his wounding and his separation from his wife Psyche. The bearing of shame plays a vital role in deflating one’s omnipotence (although this step is not as clearly elucidated with Eros as it is with Apuleius’ main character, Lucius). Eros develops within himself the courage and resilience to defy his mother’s wrath and to return to Psyche. The wound that Eros ultimately bears exposes the false self that he has perpetuated in order to maintain his illusion of control over life. He chooses the life-giver, as Neville Symington calls it, with all its uncertainties (Narcissism: A New Theory (London: Karnac Books, 1993), 80.

Repairing the capacity to love. A psyche must develop a resilience and cohesiveness in order to bear the vicissitudes of life, and from this, love in its transcendence may emerge. In the story, Eros comes to see this in Psyche, as he realizes the depth of her sacrifice and devotion, all for the sake of love. Her courage has touched something within him that inspires him to break out of his prison and seek connection and love in a human way. He discovers the capacity for care and the meaning of sacrifice. He repairs his marriage, but only after the couple suffer through separation, pain, and loss. Through a process of great suffering in which the capacities for transcendence emerge, Psyche, recognized as a man’s inner psyche-soul-anima, transcends the maternal complex in which she has been mired. Love frees the soul.
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives and a growing list of Cutting-Edge alternative titles. www.fisherkingpress.com

Friday, July 13, 2018

Remembering Erel Shalit, 1950 – 2018

Remembering Erel Shalit, 1950 – 2018

Erel Shalit was a Jungian psychoanalyst in Tel Aviv and worked as a training and supervising analyst. He was a past president of the Israel Society of Analytical Psychology and founder and past director of the Jungian Analytical Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University. Earlier in his career he was the director of the Shamai Davidson Community Mental Health Clinic.

Erel Shalit was instrumental in firmly establishing Fisher King Press as a publisher of Jungian Psychology Books: Publishing Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path in July of 2007 was the stamp of approval that brought Fisher King Press credibility in the Jungian circles and in turn so many other fine Jungian authors.

Dr. Shalit authored several Fisher King Press publications, including: The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey, Requiem: A Tale of Exile and Return, Enemy, Cripple, Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path, The Hero and His Shadow: Psychopolitical Aspects of Myth and Reality in Israel. With Nancy Swift Furlotti, Erel co-edited, The Dream and its Amplification.

I am grateful to have been a friend of Erel Shalit, grateful to be the publisher of so many of Erel’s books, grateful for all of the love, compassion, and consciousness he has brought to the world.

Mel Mathews
Publisher, Fisher King Press
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives and a growing list of Cutting-Edge alternative titles. www.fisherkingpress.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Remembering Thomas B. Kirsch

Remembering Thomas B. Kirsch
June 10, 1936 – October 22, 2017

From conception on, C.G. Jung, his ideas, and analytical psychology itself was a central thread of Thomas B. Kirsch’s life. His parents, James and Hilde Kirsch, were in analysis with C.G. Jung when Tom was born, and he was imaged to be the product of a successful analysis. At an early age, Dr. Kirsch was introduced to many of the first-generation analysts who surrounded C.G. Jung, and over time became acquainted with them. Later, in his roles with the IAAP, Dr. Kirsch gained a broad knowledge of the developments in analytical psychology, and through both his early family history and in his later professional life, he worked closely with many analysts who were integral in forming the foundations of analytical psychology.

Dr. Kirsch graduated from Yale Medical School in 1961, did his residency in psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and then spent two years with the National Institute of Mental Health in San Francisco. He completed his Jungian training at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco in 1968. In 1976 Dr. Kirsch became president of the Jung institute in San Francisco, and in 1977 he was elected second vice president of the International Association for Analytical Psychology, or IAAP, the professional organization of Jungian analysts around the world. As vice president and then president of the IAAP for eighteen years, he traveled the world and was able to meet Jungian analysts from many different countries. This position allowed him to serve a missionary function of sorts in new areas like China, South Africa, Mexico, Russia, and other former Soviet Eastern Bloc countries. In A Jungian Life, Thomas B. Kirsch reflects upon his entire existence which has been intimately involved with C.G. Jung and analytical psychology.

We are grateful for the generous contributions Thomas B. Kirsch has made to humanity, and we are proud to be the publisher of his memoir: A Jungian Life.

Mel Mathews
Publisher, Fisher King Press
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives and a growing list of Cutting-Edge alternative titles. www.fisherkingpress.com

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Jungian Child Analysis - News Release


Just Published by Fisher King Press

Jungian Child Analysis

Jungian Child Analysis brings together ten certified Child and Adolescent Analysts (IAAP) to discuss how healing with children occurs within the analytical framework. While the majority of Jung’s corpus centered on the collective aspects of the adult psyche, one can find in Jung’s earliest work clinical observations and ideas that reflect an uncanny prescience of the psychological research that would later emerge regarding the self and the mother-infant relationship. This book discusses and illustrates in very practical ways how one uses an analytical attitude and works with the symbolic: this includes illustrations of analytical play therapy, dream analysis, sandplay, work with special populations and work with the parents and families of the child. Not only will the book capture your interest and further your development in working with children and adolescents, but also will enhance your work with adults.

Jungian Child Analysis, edited by Audrey Punnett; foreword by Wanda Grosso; contributors include Margo M. Leahy, Liza J. Ravitz, Brian Feldman, Lauren Cunningham, Patricia L. Speier, Maria Ellen Chiaia, Audrey Punnett, Susan Williams, Robert Tyminski, and Steve Zemmelman.

Contents:
Preface – Wanda Grosso
Introduction – Audrey Punnett

Chapter 1 – Margo M. Leahy
Jung and the Post-Jungians on the Theory of Jungian Child Analysis

Chapter 2 – Liza J. Ravitz
Child Analysis and the Multilayered Psyche

Chapter 3 – Brian Feldman
The Aesthetic and Spiritual Life of the Infant: Towards a Jungian View of Infant Development

Chapter 4 – Lauren Cunningham
Play, Creation and the Numinous

Chapter 5 – Patricia L. Speier
The Portal of Play Through a Jungian Frame

Chapter 6 – Maria Ellen Chiaia
The Importance of Being: Silence in Child Analysis

Chapter 7 – Audrey Punnett
Children’s Dreams

Chapter 8 – Susan Williams
Awakening to Inter-subjectivity: Working with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Chapter 9 – Robert Tyminski
Males Coming to Terms with Sexuality in Later Adolescence

Chapter 10 – Steve Zemmelman
Working with Parents in Child Analysis and Psychotherapy: An Integrated Approach




Editor: Audrey Punnett
Paperback: 250 pages
Condition: New
Edition: First
Index, Bibliography
Publisher: Fisher King Press (May 21, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1771690380
ISBN-13: 978-1771690386
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives and a growing list of Cutting-Edge alternative titles. www.fisherkingpress.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Emily Dickinson: A Medicine Woman for Our Times

Just Published by Fisher King Press

Emily Dickinson: A Medicine Woman for Our Times
by Charles Zeiders

Among the 19th century poets, Emily Dickinson is by far the most scientifically minded. Science is the voice that summoned Dickinson at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and gave her unique distinction as a poetess of botanical and entomological and astronomical classifications. Like no other 19th century poet she forms an integration between science and spirituality. She studied at Holyoke at the exact historical moment of the first Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. This, therefore, is a feminist book. It speaks up for the Divine Feminine. On the front cover purple-white rosemary blossoms are exploding with color. Emily Dickinson’s garden was a place where butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds drank up the radiance of flowers. Rosemary in particular was one of her favorite healing herbs. C.G. Jung mentions the antitoxin of rosemary flowers as a synonym for the Self, the total personality. When Steven Herrmann refers to Emily Dickinson as a Medicine Woman, he is speaking of an archetype of healing within all humans. Her poems are enduring imprints of the Medicine Woman archetype. It is by access to the Medicine Woman archetype that she’s able to espouse a democracy of equality that the world needs right now. She advises women to cherish “Power” and take heed from the Serpent. We need a Medicine Woman to balance things out. In a democratic sense, she’s a fierce and uncompromising spokeswoman for Liberty. Emily Dickinson is a dispenser of a new American myth for our times.

About the author
Recognized internationally, Steven Herrmann is the author of William Everson: The Shaman’s Call, Walt Whitman: Shamanism, Spiritual Democracy, and the World Soul, and Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward. In 2015 his chapter “C.G. Jung and Teilhard de Chardin: Peacemakers in an Age of Spiritual Democracy” was published in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Carl Gustav Jung Side by Side. He has taught on the subjects of Jung, Whitman, and Melville at the C.G. Jung Institutes of San Francisco, Chicago, and Zürich, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, and on Jung and James at Yale University. Herrmann’s expertise in Jungian Literary Criticism makes him one of the seminal thinkers in the international field, and a foremost authority on Whitman, Melville, and now Dickinson in post-Jungian studies.

Emily Dickinson: A Medicine Woman for Our Times
Paperback: 298 pages, Index, Bibliography
Publisher: Fisher King Press
1st edition
Official Publication date: March 21, 2018
Language: English
ISBN 10: 1771690410
ISBN-13: 9781771690416
Fisher King Press publishes an eclectic mix of worthy books including Jungian Psychological Perspectives and a growing list of Cutting-Edge alternative titles. www.fisherkingpress.com