Just like the roots of our computer programs, that boil down to zeroes and ones, human beings are all, at their core, a combination of male and female, (+) and (-) energy. Psychologically, this means that our wholeness includes the existence of an inner contrasexual partner.
Jung called the inner feminine character in a male personality the anima and the inner male character in a woman the animus. These characters are living entities that interact with our ego, and various other characters within our psyche, where they impact our attitudes, beliefs and moods. Often these characters project themselves onto actual people in the world, which greatly impacts how we judge and feel toward the recipient of their projection.
We are, psychologically, hermaphroditic beings, conjoined together for life. Our individuation challenge, regardless of our sexual orientation, is to achieve union with our inner contrasexual partner. This requires getting to know our opposite side, respecting and accepting its existence, and achieving inner harmony with what is often experienced as a highly conflicted self.
Failure to achieve union with one’s inner other-half often results in suppression of one’s inner partner’s perspectives and feelings, a total denial of its existence, and countless conflicts with one’s outer intimate partner, who may be confused with one’s inner unknown partner.
How often do we feel judged and offended by what we assume another person thinks and feels? Little do we know that our ‘intimate knowledge’ of our outer partner is actually a reflection of our own unknown, or rejected, inner self.
Qualities of masculine energy include the mental function of thinking, most dominantly within the constraints of logic. Masculine energy tends to be active and solitary.
The dominant feature of feminine energy is relatedness, which seeks emotional connection. Feminine energy tends to be receptive, seeking to receive and compliment the energy of another. All of human experience involves some combination of masculine and feminine qualities and energies.
Writing this blog has required my feminine energy to become pregnant with masculine ideas needing containment and maturation to bear fruit. My patience with this congealing process is reflected in the words and thoughts pouring forth as I write.
Sometimes my anima insists upon a colorful word because she likes an idea dressed in her style. Sometimes my masculine ego is too abstract, refusing to give a down-to-Earth example that would facilitate ease of understanding.
In dialogue with my anima, I concede my abstract bias and agree to use this example of my personal process to help readers connect to my idea. My anima agrees to let go of her attachment to attractive but unnecessary words.
Often one’s contrasexual partner defends the ego by using its ability to reason to argue a point, regardless of the absurdity of its argument. Sometimes the defense comes in the form of powerful moods, where one’s inner other tells it how undeserving it is of the treatment it has received.
Through genuine interaction with our inner other, we achieve a collaborative relationship that facilitates progress in our individuation and also clears the way outwardly for positive relationships with others.
If we find ourselves in conflict outwardly, we do well to first check in with our inner contrasexual partner, who we might be avoiding and meeting instead in projected form in our current impasse. Most relational problems originate in one’s lack of relatedness within. As is often said: as within, so without.
Go within; work it out. Become that boy and a little girl, actually changing that whole wide world.
Working it out,
*Words from John Lennon’s Isolation.