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J Anal Psychol. 2011 Nov;56(5):674-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5922.2011.01939.x.

Jung's shadow: negation and narcissism of the Self.

Abstract

The cave walls of prehistoric man record two contrasting hand impressions: the one positive - a direct imprint; the other negative - a blank defined by a halo of colour. Jung's disturbed, displaced contact with his mother led to a struggle in establishing an integrated sense of 'I'; instead to create a sense of Self he brilliantly contrived to illuminate the darkness around that blank impress. The resulting lifework, enhanced by Jung's multifarious capacities as artist and philosopher as well as physician, is deeply impressive; yet Winnicott (1964) in his review of Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963) nevertheless alludes to Jung's 'own need to search for a self with which to know' (p. 450). Passages from the autobiography are considered that appear to corroborate Winnicott's contention that Jung had a 'blank', potentially psychotic, core. Yet it is also argued that the psychoanalytic mainstream has undervalued the subtlety and creativity of Jung's own intuitive response to his shadow and that a sympathetic appreciation of this can still valuably inform our contemporary approaches to narcissistic disorders, especially dissociation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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