#646 Chuck’s Place: Extraversion, Codependency or Projection?

Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences! Many of the shamanic and psychological terms used in Chuck’s essays are defined in Tools & Definitions on our Psychotherapy website.

Extraversion, codependency and projection all share a common quality: orientation of self to something outside the self. If I find myself dominated by something outside of me it’s important to find out why. Is it normal? Is it a problem? Or is it the basis of a new discovery about myself?

One of Carl Jung’s most enduring contributions to mainstream psychology was his differentiation of personality types illustrated in the well-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. Jung first identified that all individuals fall into one of two major attitudinal orientations: introversion or extraversion. Introverts consider first their internal viewpoint; extraverts consider first the external situation and how best to fit into it. Each of these attitudes is normal and apparently biologically assigned, each having their unique adaptive value, hence, each contributing to the evolution and survival of the species. For example, the extravert might act quickly and concisely, the introvert more deliberately or hesitantly. Depending on the circumstances one or the other attitude may be the better choice.

Jung pointed to the value of each of these attitudes in nature and stated that although all individuals were born with a dominance of one or the other, either introversion or extraversion, they carried the recessive trait of the non-dominant attitude, which is a necessary part of life. For instance, a dominant introvert must access their extraversion in order to navigate the outside world. Similarly, a dominant extravert must access their introversion to be in touch with their personal needs.

People who by nature are extraverts can be judged to be codependent. This mistaken classification might originate in a negative judgment toward extraversion, as an attitude that negates the needs of the self. But how could the world function if at least half of its population didn’t focus on the true conditions outside the self and act in a way to accommodate them? Extraversion is a normal, vital attitude; part of nature, evolution, survival and fulfillment.

Codependency can be seen as a forced extreme extraversion. The condition of codependency was first identified in the alcoholism field to describe the emotional, cognitive and behavioral impact of living with a dysfunctional person, such as an alcoholic, addict, or violent rageaholic. The codependent is forced, for survival reasons, to orient themselves to the needs, expectations, and demands of the dysfunctional person. Over time, this mode of functioning becomes so deeply entrenched that the codependent may disconnect from their true identity as they morph into a being focused on placating the controlling tyrant. Codependency becomes a dysfunction itself, as this entrenched pattern of behavior may be repeated in future relationships. Overcoming codependency requires detaching from extreme extraversion, i.e., taking into consideration the needs of the self as well as determining one’s true type. The codependent might in fact be an introvert who has lived a life alien to their true nature. If the codependent is truly an extravert the work becomes one of tempering the extraversion with a deeper appreciation of the self.

Another of Jung’s major contributions to psychology was his unique take on the dynamic of projection. Jung realized that the unconscious psyche literally projects parts of itself, unknown to the ego, onto others outside the self, to reflect back to the ego, like a mirror, the true inner self. If the ego can recognize the reflection as a part of itself, it can take conscious ownership of this unknown quality and take up the challenge of integrating it into the personality where it can find life in a way compatible with the rest of the personality. However, if the ego does not recognize its reflection, whether because it finds it too distasteful, disagreeable, frightening, or attractive, it becomes compulsively attached to the bearer of its reflection. The psyche requires this. The rule is: one way or the other we must stay connected to all of the parts of ourselves. Either we struggle with the painful task of recognizing, accepting, and integrating all our parts or we remain compulsively bound to others who reflect and bear our disavowed parts.

This dynamic might also be mistakenly identified as codependency, as the dominant attitude that emerges when one is compulsively bound to another is another form of forced extraversion. Whether we love or hate the person who bears our disowned or unknown part we cannot withdraw our attention and focus from them; we orient our life in relation to them. The true basis for this apparent extraversion, or codependency, is actually a projection that confounds the ability to separate or detach from a person clearly “not right for them.” The dysfunctional other, whom we cannot separate from, is housing a part of ourselves, which, for better or worse, we must reckon with or remain helplessly tied to, as we live out our wholeness in projected form.

Who are you? Remember, extraversion in and of itself is healthy, normal, vital, and dominant in half of the world population. Just as that half needs to nurture its inferior introversion, the other half needs to nurture its inferior extraversion. However, extraversion can be called upon and driven to extremes in circumstances that give rise to codependency, as well as when a part of the self is unknowingly lost in another. Only deep reflection upon inner truth and outer attachments can clarify who you are and what is in control: extraversion, codependency or projection, or perhaps a combination.

As always, should anyone wish to write, I can be reached at: chuck@riverwalkerpress.com or feel free to post a comment.

Until we meet again,

A Day in a Life: Dreaming with Jung

Speaking of dreams, as Jeanne does in her message today, I had a second dream encounter with C. G. Jung. Once again we were sitting opposite each other with the enormous gray boulder hovering between us, about five feet tall and oval in shape, that I wrote about in my blog the other day. I have been puzzling over the meaning of the boulder, in waking and dreaming life, since I first dreamed about it and I have a pretty good idea of what it might mean.

In this second dream, I am asking Jung if I got it right: “Have I figured out the meaning of the boulder?” He suggests that, yes, it might mean that, or it might mean something else, it could mean many things. He repeats what he said in the first dream: “It may not be what it appears to be!” He does not give me a straight answer and I am slightly frustrated, but curious at the same time.

“Look again,” he suggests, and as I peer closely at the boulder it turns into a gray balloon, equally as huge and imposing as the boulder. I instinctively know that it is filled with liquid emotion. “I get it!” I say, but then the balloon turns into a gigantic papier-mache pinata and I instinctively know that it is filled with trinkets of meaning, symbolizing many things in my life, past, present, and future.

“You see,” Jung says, “it can be anything that you need. Each day it may be something different, depending on what you need.” And again he suggests: “Look closely. What is it?”

At this point I wake up and I understand that the boulder is indeed no different than the mirrors, reflecting exactly what I need, and that, yes, as Jeanne suggests in today’s message, patience is a most necessary component of inner work, taking each dream, each day, as it comes, with whatever it offers.

Have a great weekend! Look for Chuck’s blog tomorrow. I am sure he will offer something interesting to add to our dreams.

#645 Patience: You are Dream & Dreamer

Jeanne Marie Ketchel
Channeled by Jan Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
What is the single most important consideration for us to keep in mind for today, and in the weekend ahead, as we do our inner work?

The single most important consideration while you engage in inner work is PATIENCE. Everything takes time to unfold, to show direction, to become clear in purpose, meaning, and pertinence. You, each one of you, are an unfolding dream. Each one of you, each day, lives out another part of the dream of your life. Each day, another segment of who you are, where you are going, and what you most need to do to evolve is dreamed.

You are an unfolding dream, moving forward in your lives, and that takes patience. Patience asks that you notice. It asks that you pause to consider the events in your life and the effects they have on your inner life. It asks that you fully understand that you are the dream and that, as such, you are an unfolding process in itself.

Accept the self as dream and dreamer and you may more fully understand the holistic nature of life upon that earth and your own life in particular. Dream patiently today and tomorrow and the next day, My Dreamers. Dream patiently.

#644 Mirrors to Boulders

Jeanne Marie Ketchel
Channeled by Jan Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
Yesterday, in my blog, I wrote about being bored with the mirrors theme. I think it’s a great visual to work projection from but, personally, I want to move onto another part of the inner work process. When you ask us to do our inner work it’s nice to have a variety of visual tools, at least that’s what I think. As I wrote about yesterday, in a dream, Jung presented me with a huge stone, a big gray boulder, and for some reason I don’t find that as boring as a mirror. Do you have some advice or guidance around enacting a shift in our inner work, which is really all that I was desiring?

My Dear One, you asked for a shift and you got a rock! Now that is quite funny! But seriously, in order to do inner work one must accept what comes to guide you and this is what you must remain open and alert to. It is not in the act of peering into the mirror or studying the boulder that you will grow but in taking what you find into your inner world and using it in a new manner that will aid you.

In spite of what is outside of you, all inner work requires an investigation of how you operate both inside and outside. In comparing these two selves you may arrive at what you need to do each day in order to shift in your progress.

I do not mean to bore you by suggesting that a mirror is appropriate to use at all times, but you cannot get away from the fact that mirrors exist whether you like them or not. Your own big boulder is also quite a mirror, for in some manner will you find your self in it, your diligent and curious self to begin with. I have no doubt that you will find your boulder as boring as mirrors after a while, and then what will you need in order to shift?

You see, the shift you desire is for deeper work and, yes, the challenge is to take the next step into a new part of the self, but how will you know where to go if that self is not yet revealed? In her dream, Jan has been shown the next part of herself. But in order to find it she had to be ready, and to ask for it. This is the process I suggest that you all attend to when you are ready to move beyond your current position. Just remember the following two things:

1. You must progress at your own rate.

2. You must learn to read the signs in your own life, for they will arrive to guide you in the most individually pertinent way, for you alone.

Look not for what someone else receives as guidance, but wait patiently for your personally meaningful gift. It will arrive in a most particular way to show you what to do next. And you may not understand it at first, but just wait, eventually you will, and it will hit you over the head with a big AHAAAA!

NOTE: When I had finished with this channeling Chuck decided, since today is his thirty-sixth wedding anniversary with Jeanne, to “pull a card for our anniversary,” as he put it, referring to the satin bag from their wedding day, in which Jeanne had stored many of the cards they had given to each other and received from others over their years together. Hoping to receive a “special” anniversary message from Jeanne, Chuck instead pulled a card with a picture of the Peanuts dog Snoopy on the front, wearing a sad expression, saying, “You’re leaving!” It was a good-bye card from the people Jeanne had worked with at Kenneth Clark’s research foundation as she prepared to go on to grad school. So, I guess, in keeping with Jeanne’s message of today she is giving Chuck just the message that is right for him to receive on this day. She is saying that, once again, she has left to go on to new learning and that you can’t go back to old familiar nostalgic places. It’s not where new life is. And you know what, it is exactly where he himself is; ready to move on to new learning! AHAAAA!