He further suggests that someone who is unable to maturely relate to themselves, cannot fully relate to another “real” person.
As the book progress, Johnson explores the myth of Tristan and Iseult to illuminate the persistence of our unconscious mind and how it continually pulls us away from healthy love, back into our own unrealistic world of hedonism.
Robert Johnson spends a significant portion of the book discussing our projections and failure to escape them. He articulates how our culture has mixed up ‘real’ love and called it romance or passion. In contrast, he talks about a commitment to a person.
This misplaced ideal is the cause of suffering, disconnection and divorce. Unless, couples realize that love is not “passion” and “romance,” but a commitment to relate to a real woman/man, then we continue to suffer. However, Johnson suggests that commitment can only occur if individuals learn to relate to themselves. Meaning, they must learn how to live, be happy, and not expect their partner to fulfill these parts of their lives.
Johnson’s thoughts play out in my office everyday. I also see it in my own relationships and in myself. Even with some awareness of my own projective habits, I have to keep an eye on them, lest I find myself “back in the woods.” The only option then, according to Johnson, is to do the work.
Let us do the work necessary to truly relate, nurture and be supportive of each other. For help in this regard, please visit Dr. Murdock at Theory and Therapy or www.murdockcounseling.com