Question: “How does a person integrate a personal complex into their life instead of projecting it onto others?”



(On the Jung-Hearted Facebook site, these were the response to the question of July 14: “How does a person integrate a personal complex into their life instead of projecting it onto others?):

DO: Art. Create art.

RP: Choose to see it as a ‘lesson’ in ‘self-discovery’…

RN: Any exaggerated feelings I have for another, I wonder where that is in myself and how I have not noticed it yet. It generally tends to show me where I am in denial within myself.

PB: I agree. Stay sensitive to the emotional energy. Wherever it spikes, dig there.

JR: I can’t direct you to a reference at the top of my head, but personally, I find that my work with music, songwriting and art afford this opportunity. I often go to this work when my ego has been inflated by such complexes, because the suffering demands it.

OP: This might be a painful thing to do as one must face up to ones own shadow.
Then again it might be helpful to project but discuss with the person if such has not taken anything personal.
Maybe it might be helpful to ask “what am i afraid of” and mind map out to whatever comes forward. Creative intelligence techniques such as mind maps can be very helpful in discovering and working through things. Still it takes a lot of courage to do so.

PC:You can use envy of another’s accomplishments to activate your own gifts and potential. It is often one’s own blocked energy that turns to envy of others. Envy is a great one to work with and so worth it. Once you realize the projection is a gift to help you find yourself, it changes everything. (envy has such a vast array of symptoms).

VB:Any form of creative expression – art, music, dance… or beating a bongo like a banshee… or drawing a mandala if one wants to get ‘jungian’.

JG: Active dialogues help me the most and staying in tough with my dream-life

RN: The $1,000,000 question. I am an amateur Jungian and art therapist, definition would be that it is a process of first of all becoming aware of the projections – they are useful, you can’t eliminate them completely since everything is a projection (with a hook to hang on)..and once you are aware of them then it becomes a process of taking responsibility for them and then eventually integrating them into your personality somewhere. Dreamwork, art, music all are powerful aids.

JW:Generally speaking I was think that those things that one projects on the others are not necessarily qualities that one would want to integrate into themselves

RN: I think some of them, once you accept them as parts of you –can dissipate..but integrating meaning you are acknowledging that THAT is a part of you that you are disgusted at

GY: I go and delve into the unconscious processes or mind and release, acknowledge, and surrender to whatever my higher powers or self is…the fear that holds it in our hearts and mind is released and forgiven…

JL: Dreamwork, intimate/honest relational sharing, journaling, a personal crisis, therapy…

JS: It is an amazing first step in evolution of self awareness to EVEN realize that one is projecting, The process of self reveal has already begun.

JL: I agree, Jude, becoming ‘aware’ is the first step…it’s a natural progression after that.

JH: had a woman client who constantly fell in love with photographers and artists, and the relationships never worked out . Through slowly having the courage to do sandplay and create symbolic scenarios in the sand, this woman then found the courage/motivation to start doing her own photography and making her own art — she had some real talent; once she became her own artist, she no longer projected this quality onto men…

DS: I agree with Rachel that some will/may dissipate once you acknowledge them. I will go a step further and say rather than be disgusted with those parts of ourself, if we are able to not only accept them, but to ‘love’ them. It changed the dynamics for me, when I began to do that.

JL: @JH: I had a relationship with a man who was a talented writer/poet when I was younger that didn’t work out. It was one of the hardest relationship scenarios that I ever had to work through. By paying attention to my dreams, journaling and inner work, I realized I had been projecting some of my own ‘gold’ onto this person, and what I thought to be only an ‘ill-fated’ relationship helped me to honor my own talents and gifts…somewhat like the story of your woman client.

MC: I find dreams very useful for that; specially the smallest details we tend to ignore… we can learn a lot from them, and they give us the direction we should go in.

JW: ‘it makes a lot of difference if you call something a ‘complex’ or a god – jung – which i understand to mean that behind symptoms there is often a deep archetypal imagination. I would say to be creative to look for that imagination.

JS: I’m not so interested in helping people become socially acceptable. But I AM interested in helping people accept and appreciate their (our) shadowy projections and turn these very human attributes into Creative Expressions. Art works. It is beyond WORDs and deep in the psyche where true healing occurs Sometimes it is ugly, difficult to look at. Sometimes it’s gorgeous–all gifts.

RC: @ND: To expand on that – that’s when the development and acceptance of the “other” or spiritual part of us comes into play to the process. To love- even the ugliest parts of ourselves is (I believe) a spiritual endeavor. I was one of those artists – my projections would be (and still are) onto well known actors, artists, and musicians..

SW: As others have mentioned, becoming aware is the first step, then being willing to identify it in our own behavior and withholding judgment of others in its regard helps to diminish its influence on others and in our own attitudes and applications.

SS: So appreciate this illuminating thread thank you. We project all the time. Paying attention to dreams and their compensatory function is extremely useful as inter alia a tool for recognising projection.

DS: @R: Yes it is a spiritual endeavour. Further to my previous comment, it would have been better said that my life changed, when I began to practice that.

DS: I believe that our deepest emotional experiences shape what can subsequently become expressed as a complex. Freud’s “concretisation” describes how a repressed traumatic experience can be expressed via a physical ailment or impairment of function. I can certainly say from my own experiences of resolution within Person Centred Therapy, that the valence of repressed emotion can, and does cause physical changes within the body. In the most well understood ways hormonal levels such as Cortisol, and adrenaline which I myself can certainly say were elevated in me as indicated by blood work etc. This, due to a continual and protracted experience of emotional abuse caused a decline in health such as nervous asthma and an immunological response, and allergy to Gliadin the protein, in gluten. I know current wisdom has been that Celiac disease involves a genetic predisposition, and I can understand how this may be so. Be I think also the most recent research around epigenetics, has described the environmental processes and stresses which can change the way genes are selected, also strongly indicates the interplay between nature and nurture. From my own experience I can say that talking therapy which involved a deep enough emotional contact, and in that a chance to re experience the disconnected emotional contents of my past, also drastically reduced the stress responses and with it the cortisol and adrenaline which played a big part in the activation of the internalised hyper vigilant stress response. Trauma, neglect and abuse cause deep emotional stress adaptations don’t they? and I think/feel that if we are going to integrate the repressed emotional memories and the disconnected power of such emotions, the value of safeguarding a person’s own intimate memories and sensations is, perhaps the most effective way of retrieving such separated aspects of our own consciousness. In this the Person Centred Approach was completely the right fit for me. As it didn’t interpret my own experiences and memories/feelings, but merely reflected those elements of my own experiences, in such a way that they weren’t likely to create a defensive reaction, and so trigger the fear of reconnecting with such trauma and pain was diminished greatly. This in turn allowed for a much more whole experience of my past and of myself, which also enabled integration and the contact with previously unconscious material. Often because it was suffused with extreme emotions which my mind had repressed, but in a safe space was now willing/able to experience and integrate. Symbolism played a part in this, but integration ultimately came down to a trusting relationship which involved feeling received, and the safety to disclose emotionally separated and frightening experiences which had been lost to conscious recall, but were traceable via sensation, which became feeling as they were recalled and integrated.

JL: Being with whatever comes up – such as anger, for instance – without judgement…sitting with it, watching how the mind retracts and wants to hide and blame, staying curious, watching… Eventually, something new happens, a door opens to a new way of seeing and honoring what is going on within self…

Physiology and Neurobiology of Stress and Adaptation: Central Role of the Brain

The brain is the key organ of the response to stress because it determines what … See More

SC: Own it and love it.

WD: Identify the complex in a “dream”,then find the positive side of it, and model that side with the expressive,arts like clay,art, drawing,Sandplay.or (Active Imagination,if you can do it). Understanding Type,will also help focus, you on the anxiety etz. associated, with the inferior function.For example my preference are INTJ,so I have a lot of anxiety dreams associated with Sensing (Detail) my inferior function.

DS: at definetely worked for me JL. The sense that any emotional material was welcome, was a big part of the reintegration.

WJ: To catch the rabbit, you need to emptied hands from all this fallic stuff you bear such as knives, hatchets or even your…teeths? First, becouse rabbits don’t like violence and second becouse you need some space. If you do well, you’ll see the animal is changing, it will pop out from it’s hole like a moon.Then if you focus a bit, you’ll see the resemblance of a new born child. All that just in the cradle of your arms, covered in grains of your path, arms you spread out then like trees on the wind, with starlings that fly from beyond, those liquid complexes set free – your projected beauty.

DS: I certainly found that over a period of time that this kind of open acceptance gave rise to trust and with that an ever greater access to my own emotional sense of self. I think as Wendell also said, that play can be a huge part of the process. I can certainly say that in some respects it was as though I was re experiencing key ages and stages within my emotions. And without this freedom to do whatever felt right, I don’t think I would have felt able to express the feelings as they actually felt they needed to be expressed. My partner is a Person Centred Therapist, and she too had a difficult time as a child. So between us we have gone quite a way towards many ways which allow the emotions as they actually emerge to be expressed. Something, I think which is easy to say, but which requires real sensitivity to someone’s process, given that in many ways having experienced such negative relational experiences leaves a fragile process in wake, at least in my own initial experiences of disclosure.

MP: Self blame projected is blaming others. Appropriately expressed its introspection leading to a plan for action.

RM: Start with Be Lucky, Have a Good Mentor, Parent, Teacher that gives one simple, but honest values in life, honesty, don’t lie, do the best you can in whatever you do, have humility regarding the tough experiences in life…….

MZ: he easy answer for me is to really pay attention to what I am saying. To notice whether I am repeating things I have heard or forming my own opinions. Noticing patterns in dreams, words, and behaviors, show me what I am creating, and what I need an upgrade on.

VV: First one must become aware that it IS a projection; it has to “rattle.” At that point, half of the work is done. Then it takes courage and a willingness to see it through and to do the work of integration. AA does a good job with this through the twelve steps. For instance, sometimes it takes apologizing to the person you projected on. That helps ensure no back-sliding into the old consciousness. Arbinger Institute does a good job of working this kind of topic, and I highly recommend their books and materials (non-Jungian, but excellent nevertheless).
It requires a willingness to live in integrity with one’s conscience (a rare thing indeed). For more on that notion, I recommend Jungian psychiatrist John Beebe’s book, “Integrity in Depth.”

AM: I suggest the person ask his own unconscious for the answer, and then write down all the dreams they have..

RA: I was just thinking of jealousy and envy.

AN: Stay in the now

AG: Integrating complexes seems to be quite a difficult thing to do…..You have to know the underlying issues that are mostly unconscious .

DO: I fished for a minnow and caught a monster. Should I cut the line?

SC: Jump in and let the monster eat you.

CN: Go for a trip in the belly of a whale!

VH: First by recognizing, then by fully understanding it’s origins and finally embracing it as we only project our shadow material. Once embraced, it transforms into light then settles down to self awareness, then integration. One needs to have successfully reached their developmental milestones to succeed as our defense structure is powerful and tied to development.

CN: “The Matrix” 200 times in one sitting? xo

JH: @DO: I think the monster will break the line whether one decided to cut it or not; it is probably out of one’s hands, at least on a small fish scale….

DO: “He’s fallen in de water” as the shrill tones of goon Spike Milligan trail away on BBC radio.
He’s Fallen in the Water!     A Spike Milligan/The Goons reference I came upon by chance in a Thomas the Tank episode. Excuse my son’s laughing in the background

FG: We do not control projecting since everything unconscious is projected and, that’s how we learn about our complexes. If there’s an emotional reaction, we know a complex has been constellated, (triggered.) Then it’s up to us to look within to find what part we need to own.

WJ: he complexes can be understood, yet the understanding always goes with supression .It doesn’t do the job rather than like the black half of a process. To completely wipe them out is to put the supressed energy, the ghost processor into the light of ones creation. The haunting is the phenomena that reaches far beyond the walls of ones family, tops into the darkened hall where the webby chandelier sleeps, where the sofas are like leafes coated with spiders, where no one sits, in such a place the marriage of hangings love decay in the windows of night, wind is singing emptiness in a coctail cabinet sight, it was always hard to put fire into their skulls socket, even so they were shimering like violence in a distant caves pocket…
There’s a need to catch the rays in a dancing powder, smoke that stretch from eyes that down below burn in reflexes of sunrise, a tower or maybe some mountains hidden in the vision mist one must climb, to put a lake into the peaks, fertilize the womb of sun ,to knock the doors of old temple with his fire called lifespan… And when they open, chandelier lights up

JJ: I’ve worked on this by owning my least favorite dream characters as parts of myself, and then, by being authentically interested in knowing how they have been wounded and how I might help to heal them. One has to be sincerely interested in doing this – truly interested in finding inner balance, or it’s not going to happen. The projection will continue.

JM: I would say…… If you are of an age to have had some experience and history, then look for patterns. IMO, that’s analytic thinking as opposed to symbolic or anything Jungian. After you recognize a dysfunctional pattern, a Jungian approach might be helpful, but not necessarily. Where Jung applies is when something “pops up” that doesn’t fit the pattern. Anomalies tend to be symbolic and therefor “Jung territory.”

LW: Sit with it. accept it. own it without judgment or analysis. befriend it. surrender to it.

JF: Usually one can’t see until they project it and eventually reel that projection back in and make it conscious

LS @J- Can you explain/give an example of that? I’m having trouble getting exactly what you mean?

LA @J I’ve done the same thing from time to time. And it isn’t always easy if the dream character seems evil and destructive. But like you said, when you open a dialogue you find out the reasons they have become that way & possibly finally heal that.

JW: Your imagery speaks to my deepest self. Thank you for your poetic voice in this.

LS @JW: Your imagery sounds nice, like Jude says, but it is too cryptic and abstract for my ordinary mind & spirit to get… Sorry, maybe I’m just dense.

VG: Dreams and writing in a “flux of consciousness”. And, at the very beginning of your awareness, someone you trust deeply, who keeps a mirror in which you look at you…

JL: Patterns. Looking for that which repeats, or that which doesn’t fit…. If you keep having the same problem, look for the pattern. As in, having repeated relationship problems and finding that all were with electricians. That might be worth exploring. – – Then there’s the “wild card” that pops up out of no where. An emotional outburst that is untypical for you. It might have hit a sensitivity that you weren’t aware of before. Or a dream that seems totally weird that you can’t get out of your mind. That could be a symbolic message from your unconscious pertaining to an issue that the conscious mind has buried so deep that analytic thinking (tool of the conscious mind….) can no longer reach it. (conscious and unconscious minds often speak different languages….. so to speak….. )

LS: @JL: Patterns I’m good with. Have worked out a lot of those over my lifetime. But the “wild card” that comes out of nowhere- I seem to be getting that lately as I’ve gotten older & thought I had dealt with most everything! But NO…lol And the weird dream you can’t get out of your mind- I still have those from time to time, but not like I used to. It’s the “wild card” ones that always throw me! I never give up though- it’s stuff like that that fascinates me and sends me into a self-analytical frenzy. Or sometimes much prayer & heartfelt meditation. I always get an answer or insight, sooner or later. I know a lot of people don’t ever experience this kind of insight & it’s hard for me to understand or relate to, but I can sometimes offer them mine & they seem dumbfounded and so grateful. Makes me feel humble and not sure how to handle this ability…especially when there’s so much in myself that I still don’t get…

JL: @LS: I believe that not all things need to be understood, but rather just accepted in some cases. Like learning to recognize and heed an inner voice. That can be enough. Where the voice originates and it’s exact nature may not be so important in the overall scheme of things. In a practical sense, finding the “right” path for you is more important than knowing how or why you do it. But I suppose that’s only true if you think life is essentially for living…..

CN: Nestled within the complex is the archetype, which is transpersonal–beyond space and time. Thus, to heal a complex, one must enter the transpersonal realm.
This healing may be accomplished over time thru the intimacy of the therapeutic relationship, thru love.
A transpersonal catalyst may also be used to assist therapeutic intimacy–the symbols of the dream further activated by imagination–drawing, painting, clay work, sandplay, music and dance. Also, past life regression in the form of Roger Woolger’s Deep Memory techniques, as well as Jessica Dibb’s and Stanislav Graf’s Breathwork practice, which evokes the wisdom of the Body led by breath to heal itself.

RS: Not to sound gimmicky, but one technique that can facilitate movement in the direction of integration is exploring the emotional dynamics of the complex through journaling with one’s non-dominant hand.

BP: Going through these is like reading several books on the subject. However; I found that by accepting that all of life performs in a pattern of building blossoming decaying and destroying in order to be built again new…. acceptance took away any doubt or shame of this process….. and there are many around us who will shame the process of well we shaming ourselves….understand the natural process. and then check into where one might be in this very natural process and integration becomes much easier….we are all in the flow, we are the flow…

BR: @FG: You rock. I wrote it down as it helped me with something that happened just yesterday. Unrelated, sort of, wanted to share this as I live in cowboy complexity, lol. It helps when I go along for the ride.

FG: I have finally reached a stage when I can usually tell if I’m projecting so I can deal with it right away. Sometimes it’s not an easy thing to look at!

LC:  All the world’s a stage and we can see where the manna is and know that is part of us whether we like it or not…the charge reveals a connection. That may be all the integration we need until we become the witness to all.
UU:  I’m struggling with this too…JH  I reckon the first step is being aware of your own archetype or shadow being projected, the second step might be to allow yourself experiencing these feelings within you, instead of dealing with them on the outside world…dreams may help too…any other thoughts?
PN:  What a wonderful thread! Thank you all! I am a massage therapist and clinical psych doc candidate. I have a very well developed healer complex/archetype which allows me to perform sometimes magical work. When I began the journey I wanted to find people outside me who could heal, I projected my talents on others. Then I was having trouble sleeping and went to a friend who told me with everything I knew I should be able to heal myself. I realized he was right so I did. That was 40 years ago and now I hardly have to think about it to feel my hands light up and th intuitive healer flows through me
JS: I so agree Bill Pratt we are the cycles and in the flow of Life. Our culture is soo very shamed and afraid of our shadow, whether the it’s personal, cultural or global. I’ve held clay workshops confronting the shadow with PhD  students of psychology. Watching intelligent (in their head) people allow transpersonal uprisings occur, observing them stay with that gift from the shadow and later celebrate those dark transmissions is like watching a seed grow from the dark soil and reach into the sun.


2 Responses to Question: “How does a person integrate a personal complex into their life instead of projecting it onto others?”

  1. First one must be able to recognize that what he is projecting belongs to him. Then he must find the best path for
    him to clear it. Beginning any process: art, therapy, meditation, Silva Mind Control, or any of dozens of paths can move one out of the darkness.

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