Introversion

According to Jung, introversion is the turning inward of psychic energy with an orientation toward the subjective. Introverts are tuned in to their inner world with all its biases, fantasies, dreams, and individualized perceptions. These people perceive the external world of course, but they do so selectively and with then own subjective view (Jung, 1921/1971).

The story of Jungs life shows two episodes when introversion was clearly the dominant attitude. The first was during early adolescence when he became cognizant of a No. 2 personality, one beyond awareness to his extraverted personality. The second episode was during his midlife confrontation with his unconscious when he carried on conversations with his anima, experienced bizarre dreams, and induced strange visions that were the "stuff of psychosis" (Jung, 1961, p. 188). During his nearly completely introverted midlife crisis, his fantasies were individualized and subjective. Other people, including even Jungs wife, could not accurately comprehend what he was experiencing. Only Toni Wolff seemed capable of helping him emerge from his confrontation with the unconscious. During that introverted confrontation, Jung suspended or discontinued much of his extraverted or objective attitude. He stopped actively treating his patients, resigned his position as lecturer at the University of Z├╝rich, ceased his theoretical writing, and for 3 years, found himself "utterly incapable of reading a scientific book" (p. 193). He was in the process of discovering the introverted pole of his existence.

Jungs voyage of discovery, however, was not totally introverted. He knew that unless he retained some hold on his extraverted world he would risk becoming absolutely possessed by his inner world. Afraid that he might become completely psychotic, he forced himself to continue as much of a normal life as possible with his family and his profession. By this technique, Jung eventually emerged from his inner journey and established a balance between introversion and extraversi├│n.

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