Understanding Anima | The Woman in Every Man

RadOwl

I'm the author of Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams, and The Dream Interpretation Dictionary. At reddit.com I'm known as RadOwl and I'm the lead moderator at Reddit Dreams. I began studying dreams in the early 1990s and delved into all major schools of thought, especially the writings of Carl Jung.

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2 Responses

  1. narkalieuths says:

    Great article!

    One thing I don’t get though, is why our anima has a “dark face that devours men”. I thought her characteristics depended on the nature of our relationship with her. Shouldn’t the dark face exist when we repress her? But then, what would be the big difference between our two tests of courage and, generally, how are we supposed to integrate both archetypes?

    I’m sorry if you have already mentioned this and I didn’t notice.

    Thanks!

    • RadOwl says:

      Yes, the face that anima shows depends on the man’s relationship with that part of himself. The dark face shows when he is immature or hostile toward the unconscious. You can think of the dark face as the “shadow side,” but instead of being the Shadow of the ego, it’s the shadow of the unconscious. And that’s truly scary to see.

      The first challenge is to see and integrate the Shadow of the ego. If it’s handled, the door opens to deeper access to the psyche. Work with anima really kicks into gear. Work with anima is an even greater challenge than Shadow because it involves integrating characteristics of the other gender while maintaining a strong sense of personal identity. When anima remains inaccessible in any sort of sustained and meaningful way, the man dries up. But if he’s hostile toward anima, or he has no ego boundaries with it, the psyche can get really out of balance. That’s what I mean by the dark face of anima. For example, men who grow up with highly critical mothers tend to have her voice in their head well into adulthood, and the voice integrates with the shadow of anima. A point can come when he’ll do anything to escape it, which can lead to suicide or violence, especially sadistic rape. Addiction is another dark face of anima.

      Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

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