Cover image for Lessons in love : the transformation of spirit through intimacy
Lessons in love : the transformation of spirit through intimacy
Corneau, Guy.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
N'y a-t-il pas d'amour heureux? English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxv, 305 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF175.5.L68 C67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This revolutionary book offers each of us the invaluable lessons necessary to achieve the greatest intimacy that we as human beings have ever known.

Author Notes

Guy Corneau is a Jungian analyst, a lecturer, and an internationally bestselling author. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Carl Jung meets Venus and Mars in this theoretically sophisticated, engagingly written book by a Quebec psychoanalyst. Men and women both have difficulties with intimacy, Corneau argues, because of childhood wounds, but the differences between wounded men and wounded women are as salient as their similarities, with women fearing abandonment, and men running from suffocation. In lesser hands than Corneau's, this might have been just another exercise in pop-psych oversimplification. But Corneau, in the best Jungian tradition, depicts those differences as challenges to the soul. Both men and women must learn to disentangle the figures of their inner drama from the real people around them, he says. Intimacy is not easily gained and requires continual, conscious effort; still, it is properly the goal and the great happiness of human life. An inspiring, spirited book. --Patricia Monaghan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Can we ever experience true intimacy in our adult personal lives? Canadian psychoanalyst Corneau (Absent Fathers, Lost Sons), a Jungian analyst, says we cannot. That is, not until we repair the ravages of society's patriarchy, which has affected our familial experiences‘those interactions between mother and son, father and daughter. Corneau's straightforward approach aims not to "make the journey easier" but rather to "unlock the meaning of the problems"; doing so offers opportunities for growth and "profound self-knowledge." Using fairy tales and myths to illustrate psychological conflicts and their possible resolutions, Corneau explicates the "paternal complexes" of women and "maternal complexes" of men that live as ghosts between them, resulting in "the woman who loves too much" and "the man who is afraid to love." According to Corneau, underlying the problems are basic human issues of balancing "fusion and separation"‘which, loosely translated, means that one has to love oneself before being able to love another. In order to achieve this state, one must face and resolve the problems that prevent intimacy, first in parent-child, then in adult, relationships. Corneau unties knotty psychological concepts; claiming not to have all the answers, he offers "musings" on intimacy. He draws not only from laboratory findings and clients in therapy but also from his personal experiences, providing an unusually thoughtful treatise on a popular yet elusive topic. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Corneau is a therapist and lecturer whose Jungian bias comes across loud and clear. He talks about how an absent father wounds a woman's animus (her subconcious male energy), affecting her relationships with men, and how a mother, absent or present, can shred a man's anima (his subconscious female energy) and thereby ruin his life forever. Corneau claims that the problems stemming from one's original father-daughter or mother-son relationship are what keep one from intimacy throughout life. Unfortunately, he doesn't provide any concrete ideas on how one can conquer what he considers to be an innate Oedipus or Elektra complex. Recommended for libraries where Jung and Freud are still in vogue; everyone else can skip this one.‘Pamela A. Matthews, Gettysburg Coll. Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. xix
Tea for Two . . .p. xix
Love at Warp. xxi
Happiness Is . . .p. xxii
Inventing Intimacyp. xxii
Psychological Musing Is Not Dogmap. xxiv
Love at Peacep. xxv
1. Love at Warp. 3
Sofa Tacticsp. 3
The Womanp. 3
The Manp. 4
The Burden of a Dreamp. 6
The Couple Has Become a Battlefieldp. 8
A Teetering Patriarchyp. 8
Patriarchy Exists in Each of Usp. 9
Toward a New Intimacyp. 11
2. On Being Born A Man or A Womanp. 13
The Concept of Identityp. 13
The Essence of Being Humanp. 13
The Formation of the Egop. 15
On Becoming Oneselfp. 16
The Development of Complexesp. 18
Parental Complexesp. 19
The Ego Is Also a Complexp. 21
We Project Parts of Ourselves onto Othersp. 22
Loving Oneselfp. 23
Love of Self Is a Condition for Psychological Balancep. 23
From Almightiness to Self-Esteemp. 25
One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyesp. 29
Identity and Sexual Differencep. 33
Sexual Identity Is a Psychological Constructionp. 33
What Is the Role of the Same-Sex Parent Regarding the Child?p. 34
What Is the Role of the Opposite-Sex Parent Regarding the Child?p. 35
The Ordeal of Sexual Differentiationp. 36
Animus and Animap. 38
The Better Halfp. 38
What Do the Animus and the Anima Look Like?p. 40
The Collective Aspect of the Archetypep. 41
Woman in Man, Man in Womanp. 43
Family Triangle or Infernal Triangle?p. 46
The Family Portraitp. 46
The Child Is Not a Blank Pagep. 49
3. Fathers and Daughters: Love in Silencep. 53
The Silent Fatherp. 53
Prisoners of Stereotypesp. 53
Love in Silencep. 55
A Vacuum to Fillp. 56
Idealizing the Fatherp. 56
A Dark Destinyp. 57
The Wounded Womanp. 59
The Handless Maidenp. 59
The Incestuous Fatherp. 64
The Incest Wishp. 67
Emotional Incestp. 68
The Prudish Fatherp. 69
Daughters of Silencep. 72
The Eternal Adolescentsp. 73
The Amazonsp. 76
The Feminine Wishes to Blossomp. 80
Mother-Daughterp. 82
A Love-Hate Relationshipp. 82
The Idealized Absenteep. 84
The Man and the Woman in the Living Roomp. 86
4. Healing The Father Woundp. 88
The Drama of the Good Girlp. 88
Sleeping Beautyp. 89
Legitimate Angerp. 93
Healing Self-Esteemp. 97
Renouncing Misogynyp. 98
Giving an Expression to the Animusp. 101
Imagining the Beauty of the Femininep. 103
5. Mother And Son: The Impossible Couplep. 105
The Mother-Son Couplep. 105
A Psychological Dramap. 105
On Becoming a Motherp. 108
On Not Knowing Where One Begins and Where the Other Endsp. 110
The Trouble Is . . . the Father Is Not Aroundp. 112
The Mother-Son Marriagep. 113
The Devoured Sonp. 114
The Devoured Mother!p. 115
All Marriages Have a Contractp. 117
Separation Is Prohibitedp. 118
Puberty, or the Open Warp. 121
Puberty Is a Second Birthp. 123
The Antihero or the Aborted Birthp. 124
The Right Boundariesp. 127
6. The Price Of Emotional Incestp. 130
The Dowry and the Debtp. 130
Basic Needsp. 130
I Did Everything to Please Her . . . I Was Desperate to Please Her!p. 132
What Sons Inflict on Mothersp. 135
I Love-Hate You!p. 136
Holy Mother, Virgin, and Martyrp. 138
Boy Meets Man: Sperm Secretionsp. 139
"Those Damned Men"p. 142
The Triumph of Austerityp. 144
Guiltp. 144
The Man with the Forkp. 144
The Maternal Shadowp. 146
The Narcissistic Woundp. 147
Suicidal at Eight Years Oldp. 149
Overprotective Mother, Dependent Sonp. 152
Maternal Violencep. 157
The Serpent's Powerp. 158
What We Fear Is a Feature of Our Own Selvesp. 161
The Weight of Sighsp. 162
7. The Drama Of The Good Boyp. 165
Santa Sangre, the Holy Bloodp. 165
The Dusty Heart of the Good Boyp. 168
The Gates of Hellp. 171
The Sin Against Selfp. 173
The Psychological Dynamics of the Good Boyp. 176
You Are Not Separated! You Are Not Free!p. 178
The Anger of the Good Boyp. 179
Choosing the Worse of Two Evilsp. 181
8. Reflections On The Role Of The Motherp. 185
The Mother-Son Divorcep. 185
Why Is the Separation Between Mother and Son Important?p. 185
The Mother-Son Divorce: A Sacrificep. 186
When Children Become Encrustedp. 190
When the Children Are Gonep. 192
The Single Mother: Squaring the Circlep. 193
Absent Father, Lost Son . . .?p. 193
Taking a Break Now and Thenp. 194
Allowing the Son to Resemble His Fatherp. 195
On Being Careful of How We Speak of the Fatherp. 196
Above All Else: The Child's Welfarep. 197
I Did It My Way . . .p. 198
Trusting One's Childrenp. 198
Reconciliationp. 200
9. Love In Distressp. 204
From Sofa Tactics to Bedroom Blockadesp. 204
The Reign of Repetitionsp. 204
Living in a Couple Is Not an Obligationp. 205
The Womanp. 206
The Manp. 206
Run Away from Me, I'll Follow You! Follow Me, I'll Run Away!p. 210
The Fear of Commitmentp. 212
Never Make Your . . . Partner . . . Cry!p. 212
Contempt for Womenp. 215
Forced Sexualityp. 216
"I'm Sorry, But It Excites Me When I Caress You!"p. 217
The Toothed Vaginap. 218
The Panic Signalp. 219
The Voyeur Who Closed His Eyesp. 221
The Triumph of the Spirit of Seriousness (bis)p. 223
How Men Try to Master Their Fear of Womenp. 224
The Need for Romancep. 226
Why the Couple Is So Important for Womenp. 226
Speak to Me of Lovep. 227
This Ink Is My Blood . . .p. 228
The Meaning of Romancep. 230
The Practice of Systematic Errorp. 230
The Guessing Gamep. 231
The Difficulty of Communicating Clearlyp. 232
The War of the Sexesp. 234
Creating Infantile Menp. 234
The Murder of the Patriarchp. 235
Women's Strength, Men's Fragilityp. 237
The Rise of the Amazonsp. 241
The Excessiveness of the Goddessesp. 243
Every Heart . . . to Love Will Comep. 244
Life Is Perfectp. 246
10. Love In Joyp. 247
Love's Laborp. 247
"Falling in Love" Is Not the Same as Entering a Relationshipp. 247
The Narcissistic Stage of Lovep. 248
Love Is Like a Battlep. 250
Love with a Capital "L"p. 251
The Vital Breath of the Couplep. 253
Are We Able to Tolerate Living Without Controlling Someone Else?p. 255
Infidelityp. 256
To Love As Friendsp. 258
Things Get Better when They Go Wrongp. 259
The Psychological Marriage Contractp. 261
A Liberating Relationship Is Based on a Conscious Choicep. 261
The Couple We Dream Aboutp. 263
The Importance of Sensual Gamesp. 263
We Needed the Crisisp. 265
11. Intimacy With Oneselfp. 267
Healthy Intimacy Begins at Homep. 267
The Meaning of Difficultiesp. 270
The Broken Mirrorp. 272
Communication Is Indispensable for Livingp. 274
Confronting the Shadowp. 276
Peace for the Soul and Joy for the Heartp. 280
The Path Is Joyp. 282
Conclusionp. 285
Love Is Not a Relationship; It Is a Statep. 285
We Are Free to Destroy Ourselvesp. 287
The Best Way to Be Happyp. 288
Epiloguep. 289
Endnotesp. 291
Sourcesp. 301