The Connection between the Dynamic of Freud and Jung’s Friendship and Contemporary Interpersonal Relationships.


The right connection between two individual people can spark something so great that can eventually encompass them and lead to their personal devastation. Many of the most intense emotions arise during the formation, the maintenance, the disruption and the renewal of attachment relationships. The formation of a bond is described as falling in love, maintaining a bond as loving someone, and losing a partner as grieving over someone. The dynamic of the bond between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung is directly related to the contemporary interpersonal relationship.


Freud and Jung’s relationship began in the early 1900’s in Europe, when correspondence between two professionals has many similarities and differences than that of how it is today. Years after the publication of Freud’s first work, Jung contacted him and praised him on his theories. The letters between the two started off as very formal and only included commentary on professional matters. Through the letters a lot can be learned about the development of the relationship between the two, as well as the nature of most humankind.


In many instances when a younger professional in the field makes contact with a person of a higher status, they tend to look up to the person for their years of knowledge and expertise. Clearly, Jung admired Freud’s work and his audacity. Jung saw Freud as a mentor figure that can help him advance in the discipline. Freud saw Jung as a valuable youth that could help him advocate his theories. They both strategically used each other to push their own agendas. However, this connection between the two of them soon became too overbearing as it generally tends to get when in a situation when one party feels subordinate to the other. Freud was a dominating figure in their relationship, yet ironically, he was more dependant on Jung then Jung could ever imagine. The insecurities within Freud that were never formally expressed were shown through his letters. Jung’s constant desire to prove himself to Freud and his desperate attempts at seeking approval show the direct control Freud had over him. “Otherwise my unconditional devotion to the defence and propagation of your ideas, as well as my equally unconditional veneration of your personality…”1 Freud was constantly annoyed with Jung by his slow responses to the letters and was very needy of Jung’s attention. Realizing this, many times Jung is put in the position to justify his actions with reasons that prove that his time was spent promoting Freud’s cause.


At the point of Jung’s “pledging of allegiance” to Freud, their relationship was still a professional one. In their particular case it took them almost a year and a half to build up the association between themselves to consider themselves as friends. “May I, after adequate preparation, cast off the ‘colleague’…”2 Moving forward and bringing the relationship to the next step involves many risks. Once Freud and Jung invoked trust amongst each other they were taking a great risk with their own personal emotions. Now any argument or level of difference can be perceived as an attack on the friendship and on the person. Regular talk about the “business” becomes personal. If the friendship was to end, as many friendships with this hierarchal nature tend to, the alliance and partnership with the work they have created and evolved together will be lost. The same risk applies to modern blooming relationships. It is hard to tell whether bringing a professional relationship into that next step of friendship will be a painful emotional process. As a paternal figure to Jung, Freud often felt that he had certain fatherly rights. However these rights were simply implied and not earned causing some confusion and complexes to arise on both sides. Freud’s fear of the Oedipus prophecy that if he was to claim Jung as a son then Jung would be destined to overthrow him was ridiculous to some, but to him very likely. “That last evening with you has, most happily, freed me inwardly from the oppressive sense of your paternal authority.”3 Jung also felt burdened by this extra commanding figure and ultimately frees himself from this. The constant desire to please Freud and not to disappoint him was daunting.