Relationships Jung

Jung On Relationships: A Mini-Primer

Relationships Have It: It’s All There

Relationships are probably one of biggest sources of problems, challenges, and opportunities that we come face to face with in our everyday lives.

Who’s bothering you?

Carl Jung

This rather amazing quote is attributed to Carl Jung. In my opinion, one of the greatest and deepest thinkers of early psychology, if not all of psychological history to date.

What I find so amazing about this quote, is that usually one can expect to be asked: “What’s bothering you?”, but in the great majority of cases, things usually turn to “Who” is bothering somebody!

It may not be the person directly, but it may be our inability to get along with them, or our inability to express ourselves clearly in their company. There is just something about our interactions with this one person, or group of people that has us stymied.

One of the major points that emerges is:

Relationships and our ability to successfully navigate them are a key element of a successful life.

At this point, I’d like to take a closer look at some of Carl Jung’s famous quotes on relationship. This will by no means be an exhaustive study, but perhaps it will wet your appetite to take a closer look into some of Jung’s writings.

Making Contact

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

When we come together in close relationship over an extended period of time, it is nearly impossible not to feel the effects of the other person.

In a truly deep exchange of energies, our entire beings may become fundamentally and thoroughly transformed. So therefore, being careful whom we let close to us may have great consequences for not only our well-being, but for our inner transformation.


Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.

You may have heard it said, that anything that bothers us about someone else, is likely something that we ourselves have an issue with.

But, it is often a lot easier to point out the faults in others than to recognize them in ourselves.

Which brings up another couple of interesting Jung quotes on the same topic.

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

Projecting our darkness upon the other, or judging them may only serve to keep us caught in our own darkness.

Very likely if something has captured our attention in another, it is probably because it is hitting close to home.

This may be a great opportunity for self-exploration, and clarifying some of our inner darkness, by shedding light on those areas that set us off.

Or as Jung might say:

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

But here may be where we really get tripped up in our personal relationships, and interactions with those closest to us:

There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotions.

And THIS is where relationships strike us the deepest.

They mirror back to us ALL of those places within us where we have unfinished business or work to do on ourselves.

Unfortunately, we often end up “shooting the messenger”, or getting angry at our romantic partner, or the other person for showing us what still lies dormant or unresolved within ourselves.

For this reason, I like to think that “relationships” offer us the greatest possibility for growth and self-transformation.

One could go off to the Himalayas, or Tibet and meditate in a cave for the next 10 years, only to come back and fall in love, or worse, meet up with one’s family!

Then we’d see how truly enlightened we had become!

Save the money, Save the time, the opportunities for enlightenment are right here under our noses in our relationships!

If you would like to explore some of your relationship challenges or difficulties, I would be more than happy to accompany you on your journey.



Also, if you would like to dive deeper into the writings of Carl Jung. Here is a very good place to start.

The Portable Jung



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About Ron Lafleur

I am a counsellor in private practice specializing in couples therapy.

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