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Childhood Experiences/Influences as a Precursor to Adult Personality

One area where I tend to agree with Freud more so than Jung is the importance of early childhood as the precursor to personality and actions in later life. Here is a quick reference to something I read this morning about Lee Harvey Oswald's childhood and his reasons for killing President Kennedy {I still believe there was more to the story and assassination}. These early life experiences lay the foundations for all of us. Of course individuals react in different ways to the same or similar circumstances but the established patterns can often provide clues to behavior. That is why it is important to embrace psychology as a science.
From Lee Harvey Oswald’s Motives:


“Lee had no moral sense at all . . . only egotism, anger at others on account of his failures.”

“...The murderous potential can become activated, especially if some disequilibrium is already present, when the victim-to-be is unconsciously perceived as a key figure in some past traumatic configuration. The behaviour, or even the mere presence of this figure adds a stress to the unstable balance of forces that results in a sudden extreme discharge of violence...”

LEE OSWALD learned of a past boyfriend of Marina’s - he bore a startling resemblance to JFK.

Psychologically, Oswald had always been a loner and an outsider. He had always been attracted to things that would provide enhanced self-esteem, becoming a Marine, learning Russian, defecting to Russia, inventing a fictitious chapter of a radical political organization.

But it was the attacks on his psyche in childhood – his father dying, his experiencing only sporadic and detached associations with his mother’s boyfriends, his relationship with an angry, unstable and domineering mother – that helped turn Lee’s psyche in adulthood into an embittered, angry misfit. Psychologists believe that a child who lives an isolated life, as Oswald did, and who is brought up by a mother who refused to subordinate herself to her children’s welfare, often sees the world as an adversary.

A fatherless upbringing and lack of a meaningful male role-model had a crucial effect on the young Oswald molding and forming a personality which hid some of his darkest impulses. The young Oswald, whose real father died shortly before his birth, had only shallow relationships with his mother’s boyfriends whose personalities were often weaker than the domineering and unstable Marguerite’s. He was unable to connect with a “father,” to learn his emotionality and the unique way of how to compete and to channel aggression effectively. Oswald was denied a nurturing system which was male-driven, in which discipline, morality teaching and emotional sustenance were provided by males for males.

Without moral grounding and direct parental guidance the child is unable to recognise moral prerequisites for living in an adult world. Without the attention only a mother can give, the child is denied the necessary “socialization.” The angry and embittered Marguerite Oswald was unable to provide that background. This was recognized by Lee’s brother Robert when he said that mother and son’s world view were alike in many ways. They both saw themselves as victims, isolated and surrounded by people and government agencies who failed to understand their special place in the scheme of things. As Norman Mailer wrote, “. . . it seems certain at the least that every malformation, or just about, of Lee Harvey Oswald’s character had its roots in her.”
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I often see references to childhood experiences in dreams and have described patterns in dreams about childhood images. Taking my own experiences and comparing my childhood to my early to mid-life reasoning and actions I was able to see the associations. Once I understood the influences {through Jung's Individuation Process I was able to reconcile my childhood and overcome the controlling unconscious influences they had over me through the first 42 years of my life {the age I discover Jungian psyche}.
As children we tend to blame ourselves and that is only resolved when the inner child undergoes a healing process. We all have the inner child but too few ever experience a corrective healing. I was able to resolve my childhood issues and it has led to a life that is very different than it was for the first 42 years {from a couch potato/sports fanatic/unable to retain a relationship to Jungian dream psyche and designing websites, and a 20+ year relationship with each}.


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