A. Types Development pdf file, pages 2 and 3
B. Inner Marriage, Inner Transformation, by Jim and Tyra Arraj
C. Living Together, Loving Together - chapter 9
We have thus far been reviewing the intrapersonal implications of typology, and we will come back to that again in a few sessions. While we're on the topic of the fourth function, midlife and the contrasexual energies, however, I'd like to call attention to an important way typology plays itself out in relationships, and that is in the phenomenon of opposites attracting.
Let's go over the dynamics, here:
1. There is the dynamism in the psyche to integrate opposites; we spoke of this earlier and called it individuation.
2. There is the emergence of the third and fourth functions through young adulthood and midlife, respectively.
3. As the third and fourth functions emerge, there is a corresponding encounter with the contrasexual side of our nature -- discussed in Lesson 9.
4. Ideally, the individuation process enables the realization of what we called inner marriage -- of becoming integrated with one's "other half," which is the unconscious side of the personality.
Consider these four points together and you'll see how the stage is set for one more dynamic to come into play most powerfully, and that is projection. By this I mean that the unconscious recognizes something outside oneself that is similar to its general tendencies, and the conscious Ego self responds to this object-of-projection in some manner.
I know, it seems complicated, so mosey on over to page 3 of Resource A. On the top half of the page, we see how an ISTP male and INFP female might interact with one another in young adulthood. Note that these are complete opposites. What this means is that the unconscious side of each is somewhat like the conscious person they're encountering, including contrasexual energies. The woman is something like the man's unconscious side, and same goes for the woman. The unconscious side of each recognizes this, and projects itself onto that person; at the conscious level, the individual experiences a strong attraction, even falling in love. This was, for Jung, one of the ways to explain what people meant by "love at first sight."
The bottom part of the page shows two younger people who are partial opposites. They meet around the time their third function is starting to emerge and feel projections and attractions over that dynamic.
It's not uncommon for men and women who are partial or complete opposites to experience these kinds of strong attractions for one another. If we don't understand what's going on, then the temptation is to view the experience as something deeply significant, or even a sign that they belong together. They might even leave long-standing marriages to pursue such a relationship.
A problem that soon emerges, however, is that there are times when the energies of projection wane, or even die out altogether. Then the two will encounter how radically different they are from each other -- how they perceive differently, and, especially, how they make decisions differently. This can create tension in the relationship, especially if they lack good communications skills. A marriage between opposites is a real challenge.
On the plus side, learning to relate to an opposite type enhances relationship with one's own, inner, "other half." It's as though the inner and outer marriages/relationships interact, with one feeding the other. An opposite type can be a teacher; learning to see the world from the opposite's point of view helps you to learn how to use your own third and fourth functions. Just the ongoing process of loving such a one and respecting his or her perspective is an effective way to make room for the emergence of your own opposite side.
The issue of opposites is a little more complicated in same-gender relationships. Lacking the contrasexual dynamics, there is a tendency to be repelled from opposites of the same gender. It is rare, for example, to see a deep friendship between people of the same gender who are opposites. More common is to form friendships with people whose type is more like one's own.
Just a few thoughts on this topic. Read over resource C and the bottom half of B for a deeper dig.
Reflection / Discussion
1. Have you ever had the experience of "love at first sight"? How does this lesson shed light on that experience?
2. Did you marry someone who is your opposite, or partial opposite? How do those dynamics play out in your relationship?
3. Do you have same-gender friends who are opposites? What's that like?
4. What questions or comments do you have about this conference?
Knowing and understanding their own and their partner's personality type could be so helpful in a dating and marriage situation...even just the awareness that an extrovert and an introvert have different needs. If couples who are opposite in this way would know just that, so many misunderstandings might be avoided.
I have noticed that a couple of the priests in our diocese have begun doing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a part of their preparation for marriage. I think this is very wise.
And although I am not married, I have been in living situations with others. Again, just to be aware that each of us has different personality types and needs can be a first step to a greater understanding of one another and having a life-giving living situation.
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