Later, I reflected that my tone, out of awareness at time of utterance, was the element to which she was reacting as a feeling type, and that my insistence on staying on topic showed up in her experience as my controlling her. Such was my first conscious application of Beebe’s sobering formulation of the monster-in-play when our eighth function breathes fire at another’s dominant function.
Individuation calls us to fight the dragon head-on. The struggles of relationship—whether with another person or within a culture—are opportunities. We can flee and seek a quick-fix, taking what my husband calls “tequila shot” flights to numb the discomfort until the next situation arises. Or we can remain within the oyster shell and endure the uncomfortable rubbing.
Igniting the spark of opposites produced during conflict can provide an opportunity for holding the tensions between the one-sided attitudes. The process requires confronting and embracing the forces of unconscious qualities, along with holding the tension and uniting of opposing forces, in order for the full expression of an individual’s potential to be revealed.
A marriage is not only a dynamic story of two but also a mirror of the innermost soul workings of one, a journey of the disparate parts of one’s self seeking integration, finding their way home. If I have learned anything about marriage it is this: the greatest legacy I can offer my outer marriage is soulful, abiding attention to my inner union.