Monday, November 15, 2010

Vulnerability, In Treatment, etc

So, as many of you know, I have an strong interest in psychology, particularly depth psychology and Jungian and post-Jungian approaches. One of my favorite shows right now is In Treatment on HBO. I've been following the blog of a Jungian analyst, who provides outstanding play by play from each episode, as well as her thoughts on it from a psychotherapy perspective. Her blog is here:

Her commentary on this week's Jesse session was interesting. She is talking about how Jesse is dealing with being adopted, and making himself "bad" to avoid the pain of the choices that were made that were out of his control (by his real parents for example), and she makes this statement: "Many of us unconsciously prefer to be bad rather than weak."

I would offer that the "bad" could be replaced with a lot of things. Many of us unconsciously prefer to be…fill in the blank…rather than weak. We prefer to be driven and active, we prefer to be the leader, we prefer to be apathetic, we prefer to be a follower, etc etc. Not that being weak means you can't be a leader or be active. I'm talking about when that gets in the way of our vulnerability. Why is being weak so disdained in our culture? I define weakness as vulnerability, as not having to live life according to an agenda…either yours or someone else's. Planning is good, being driven by agenda…not so good. It is making yourself so vulnerable in a relationship (marriage, friendship, whatever) that you give a voice to the "other". It's an egalitarian view of relationship, where there is mutuality to the voices that speak within a relationship. The voice of the other is vital as we seek what Jung called individuation: to make the unconscious conscious and integrated in to a holistic life.

Why is weakness so disdained??? Or do you disagree that it is disdained??