A letter from Carl Gustav Jung to Sabina Spielrein

A letter from Carl Gustav Jung to Sabina Spielrein (1885-1942), 4th of December 1908.

My Dear,

I regret so much; I regret my weakness and curse the fate that is threatening me. I fear for my work, for my life's task, for all the lofty perspectives that are being revealed to me by this new Weltanschauung as It evolves. How shall I with my sensitive soul, free myself from all these questions? 

You will laugh when I tell you that recently earlier surfacing, from a time (3-4 year) when I often hurt myself badly, and when, for example, I was once only just rescued from certain death by a maid. « My mind is torn to its very depths. I, who had to be a tower of strength for many weak people, am the weakest of all. Will you forgive me for being as I am? For offending you by being like this, and forgetting my duties as a doctor towards you? Will you understand that I am one of the weakest and most unstable of human beings? 

And will you never take revenge on me for that, either in words, or in thoughts or feelings? I am looking for someone who understands how to love, without punishing the other person, imprisoning him or sucking him dry; I am seeking this as yet unrealized person who will manage to separate love from social advantage and disadvantage, so that love may always be an end in itself, and not just a means to an end. 

It is my misfortune that I can not live without the joy of love, of tempestuous, ever-changing love. This daemon stands as an unholy contradiction to my compassion and my sensitivity. When love for a woman awakens within me, the first thing I feel is regret, pity for the poor woman who dreams of eternal faithfulness and other impossibilities, and is destined for a painful awakening out of all these dreams. Therefore if one is already married it is better to engage in this lie and do penance for it immediately than to repeat the experiment again and again, lying repeatedly, and repeatedly disappointing." What on earth is to be done for the best?

I do not know and dare not say, because I do not know what you will make of my words and feelings. Since the last upset I have completely lost my sense of security with regard to you. That weighs heavily on me. You must clear up this uncertainty once and for all. I should like to talk to you again at greater length. For example, I could speak with you next Tuesday morning between 9.15 and 12.00. Since you are perhaps less inhibited in your apartment, I am willing to come to you. Should Tuesday morning not suit you, write and tell me, otherwise I will come in the hope of getting some clarity. 

I should like definite assurances so that my mind can be at rest over your intentions. Otherwise my work suffers, and that seems to me more important than the passing problems and sufferings of the present. Give me back now something of the love and patience and unselfishness which I was able to give you at the time of your illness. Now am ill...

A letter from Carl Gustav Jung to Sabina Spielrein
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