Psyche's Seduction and Deconstruction: The Experience of Longing and Betrayal in the Mentoring Relationship

Hulls, Rose (2009) Psyche's Seduction and Deconstruction: The Experience of Longing and Betrayal in the Mentoring Relationship. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.

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Abstract

The focus of this inquiry is the experience of longing and betrayal in the mentoring relationship. The study’s Research Problem was: In the mentoring relationship, what subjective states need to be integrated with respect to the mentee’s experience of longing and betrayal? The research hypothesis was: Transmuting the mentee’s experience of longing and betrayal includes the ability to tolerate and creatively express the opposing pull of love and hate towards the mentor, the extreme expressions of which are to merge with the mentor and to obliterate the mentor. The literature reviewed included literature on the mentoring relationship, the longing that this relationship evokes, the shadow dynamics that come into play, the experience of mentor betrayal, and the emotional landscape of the mentor longing/betrayal experience. The gap found in the literature pertains to modernity’s fear and shunning of mentoring relationships that evoke longing, thus leading to missed opportunities for these relationships to become potent vehicles of initiation into the deeper dimensions of human development. vii The study utilized the research methodology of Imaginal Inquiry, which engages four distinct phases in the research process: evoking, expressing, interpreting, and integrating experience. The primary experience evoked was the emotional state constellated by the mentor longing/betrayal experience. The study’s cumulative learning was: Longing/betrayal experiences in mentoring relationships can seduce mentees into potent initiatory fields of extreme subjective states that feel intolerable, but which must be tolerated and explored if there is desire to grow and deepen. The study’s individual learnings were: first, longing seduces mentees into distorted projections and regressed dependence upon mentors who then serve as self objects for mentees, thereby constellating the psychological conditions for devastating experiences of mentor betrayal, actual or perceived, should they occur. Second, the major subjective states that need to be integrated in longing/betrayal experiences with mentors are grief, powerlessness, and hateful states tinged by rage, shame, and/or disgust. Third, integrating betrayal’s intense reactive states includes the ability to tolerate and express a high level of tension between opposing feelings of love and hate towards the mentor, a re-constellation of early borderline dynamics around how a young child experiences love and hate towards its mother. Fourth, the telos of the mentor betrayal experience entails psychological movement from victimhood to sovereignty, and is facilitated by expression of intense feeling states, especially those associated with victimization. Finally, a key finding in my dissertation is that conscious intention is pivotal to transmuting the mentor longing/betrayal experience. The learnings’ significance is that consciously working through the painful and chaotic emotional states of the mentor longing/betrayal experience and recognizing one’s viii own role in this experience can propel mentees into significantly deeper dimensions of their personal development. The study’s implication is that the culture at large has a great deal to lose by way of potent initiatory opportunity through shunning mentoring relationships that evoke longing and thereby risk betrayal.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Programs: Psychology
Depositing User: Rose Hulls
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
URI: http://scholarship.meridianuniversity.edu/id/eprint/118

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