Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Embodied love: Healing the father wound through individuation
by Chatwin, Janet C., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2006, 127; 3281464
Abstract (Summary)

C. G. Jung knew the importance of examining one's life. He believed that human beings have an inborn drive towards self-knowledge and wholeness and he described this tendency as the process of individuation.

In this dissertation, I revisit Jung's concept of individuation and apply it specifically to women who have been wounded by the father archetype. The father archetype has two sides: it protects and guides, but it also rages and castrates. My research looks at the various effects, such as idealization, depression, helplessness, anger, passive-aggressiveness, victimization, and waiting for life to happen, that the negative or out-of-balance father archetype has on the daughter. It also examines how this negative archetype becomes part of the daughter's psyche as the negative father complex.

Further, I investigate the idea that the feeling function, which allows one to experience life with meaning, is the same function that opens one to an experience of the divine in outer reality and in the body. I look at how difficult it is to incorporate a feeling feminine perspective into the definition of humanity in our patriarchal society.

The father daughter relationship is examined through the fairy tale of The Handless Maiden and the myth of Electra. The handless maiden heals her father complex by leaving her father's house, withdrawing from worldly activity, and, after a good deal of suffering, becoming herself. Electra, on the other hand, cannot resolve her father complex and find her authentic self. She remains trapped in her anger, idealization, depression, and passive-aggressive behavior. We who have been wounded by a negative father archetype have a choice either to stay victims of patriarchy and our own internalized tyrant, or to mature and take responsibility for our lives. Authenticity, voice, and independence are gained as women find the courage to face their negative masculine archetype.

In contrast to Electra, the ancient Sumerian goddess, Inanna, takes responsibility for her journey towards wholeness. The myth of Inanna, when interpreted from a depth psychological perspective, is relevant for women today. For, like Inanna, one must make a descent into the depths to confront the hidden, repressed, and split-off aspects of one's personality. An ego death is necessary to discover one's authentic self and attain wholeness; without the death of the old, nothing new can be born.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Downing, Christine
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Personality, Families & family life, Personal relationships, Sociology
Keywords: Father-daughter relationship, Healing, Individuation, Love, Wound
Publication Number: 3281464
ISBN: 978-0-549-23258-2
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