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Or, you can now listen to me read Chapters 1-14 on my podcast, Dose of Depth.
Complexes simply are patterns of behavior and thinking that are rooted in our earliest childhood years. Simply is not how they manifest however, and many patterns that were once neutral and helpful can suddenly become problematic.
Because complexes get triggered or are unleashed during times of stress, disproportionate emotional reactions make it difficult to catch them before we say or do something we’ll later regret. If we haven’t identified our parental complexes, it means we’re not looking out for them, and when we get swept up a false sense of righteousness takes over. During these episodes, all one can hope for is a quick end to what later will be remembered as an embarrassing display of what seems like a shadow personality.
I remember when I found my mother complex. It was a startling realization. My marriage had already begun to fall apart, and as much as I attempted to manage my stress, the doorway was open for unknown parts of me to demand attention.
I became aware of the twinge of fear I felt when my phone rang, and I didn’t recognize the number or when I knew it was a client calling. I felt fear that I had done something wrong. It was irrational but I couldn’t not feel that twinge every time. I didn’t like it at all, the feeling of being in trouble, as if I was a child.
So, I went to a therapist who did some EMDR on me, and it worked . . . but only for a while. That’s the thing about complexes. Until you explore what they want from you, they’ll find a way to torture you.
I had a client who was quite sexist, in fact, a few of the men in the organization were sexist. They had a way of feeding off your intelligence and undermining you at the same time. One day, I was sitting in my car when the client called. I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember hanging up, tilting my head, gazing upwards with eyebrows furrowed and saying aloud, “He’s my mother!” And then I laughed.
I didn’t know what to do with that insight except be annoyed. But now, my mother complex had escaped from my shadow. I now had a mystery to solve, but it wasn’t until I studied depth psychology that I knew how to explore this mysterious message from my unconscious.
Once I knew I was getting divorced, a doorway opened for a younger man to unleash some pent-up desire. When he moved on, I couldn’t get any relief for my unleashed desire, so I self-consciously hit the online dating scene.
Each of the ten men over six months challenged me in specific ways. It was as if I had signed up for a college course on how to relate to men post-divorce. It became clear that each encounter served a purpose that had nothing to do with whatever my ego thought it wanted.
Mysteriously, it all ended abruptly, and the following six weeks seemed to act as a respite for my next course, which involved surrendering to archetypal forces that were seeking to use the relationship between the next younger man and me for its own purposes.
Luckily, I was studying depth psychology, but even though I could see ironies and knew there was meaning, the ultimate purpose of the odd relationship would not make itself known until it had ended as dramatically as it had begun.
Now I have too much humility to impose any man-made expectations onto my encounters with anyone who crosses my path, even my last eight-month encounter with a man, the man who was a former rockstar. I must write a blog post about that. The relationship continued to challenge conventional notions of what a romantic relationship even is.
By letting go of the need for the relationship to last, we each brought different parts of the other to life and somehow prompted growth in each other. What more could you ask for than to contribute to the authentic unfolding of someone you care about. It’s selfish to ask for more.
Buy My Book
Maybe you've been enjoying listening to my voice read chapters from my book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening? One of my readers told me she has so many notes in the margins of her copy, she suggested I create a workbook to go along with the book.
Great idea! it's coming soon. In the meantime, I hope you're having lots of ah-ha moments as you explore the reflection questions. It really is a handbook to last your lifetime, because your unconscious is a bottomless pit of hidden desires and insights.
Get My Reflection Worksbooks
Need a little help getting starting with journaling in writing or drawing? I've gathered some of my best reflection questions, added a little narrative to help you get started, and included beautiful images and put them in a reflection workbook.
Volumes 1 and 2 of Do You Really Know Yourself? are available on my website store for $2.99 each.
NEW Lesson on Soul Talk 101: Exploring Your Dreams
In this lesson, I teach you how to explore the meaning of dreams, which are a direct route to your unconscious because your ego is not standing guard while you sleep. Working with dreams is one of my favorite ways to receive guidance from my unconscious.
FIRST, I’ll give you some guidelines to help you resist the temptation to be too literal when you explore your dreams.
SECOND, I will walk you through a framework that I adapted from Robert John’s book Inner Work.
THIRD, to help you get the hang of all this, I’m going to share how I found meaning in one dream that showed up before, during and after my midlife unraveling.
Enjoy and stay turned for more about different kinds of dreams and images.
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