“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” – Carl Jung
“I remember so well the agony of being torn between my love and joy for my child, and my desperation to hang onto a sense of my self. There is something very seductive about being the mom of an infant. All those maternal hormones kick in, and often you literally ‘lose’ yourself in the wonderful, joyful bond with this tiny, perfect little human being. It has been equated with the same intensity of feeling as falling in love. I think it can be the greatest challenge of young motherhood to know when to take a step away from this primal bliss, and say, ‘Now, wait a minute, how do I structure time in my new life for my own personal growth?’ Knowing you are still a separate person, with her own likes, loves, and passions makes a huge difference to your development, and to the healthy development of the baby.” – Elizabeth Carl-Stern (Jungian Psychotherapist)
Jung’s maxim about the unlived life of parents has been understood by psychotherapists to refer to parents who directly or indirectly pressure their children to succeed in those fields where the parents would have liked to have succeeded in life but did not. The father, say, may pressure his child to excel in football, because the father had tried and failed to do so as a teenager, or simply because the father admires the glamorous lifestyle of famous football players and dreams that his son will join their illustrious clan. The “unlived life of a parent” generally refers to the negative effect a parent’s unfulfilled life has on a child’s psychological make up.