Jung - defines enantiodromia as "the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time. "
Enantiodromia. - Literally, "running counter to," referring to the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time. This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control. ("Definitions," ibid., par. 709)
Enantiodromia is typically experienced in conjunction with symptoms associated with acute neurosis, and often foreshadows a rebirth of the personality.
Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving chronic distress but neither delusions nor hallucinations. The term is no longer used by the professional psychiatric community in the United States, having been eliminated from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980 with the publication of DSM III. It is still used in the ICD-10 Chapter V F40–48.
Neurosis should not be mistaken for psychosis, which refers to a loss of touch with reality. Neither should it be mistaken for neuroticism, a fundamental personality trait proposed in the Big Five personality traits theory.
The word "enantiodromia" was apparently coined by Stobaeus but the concept is implied also in Heraclitus's writings. In fr. 126, for example, Heraclitus says "cold things warm, warm things cool, wet things dry and parched things get wet." It also seems implicit in other of his sayings, like "war is father of all, king of all" (fr. 53), "they do not know that the differing/opposed thing agrees with itself; harmony is reflexive (παλίντροπος palintropos, used of a compound bow, or "in reflexive tension"), like the bow and the lyre" (fr. 51). In these passages and others the idea of the coincidence of opposites is clearly articulated in Heraclitus' characteristic riddling style, as well as the dynamic motion back and forth between the two, generated especially by opposition and conflict.
"The breakdown of the persona constitutes the typically Jungian moment both in therapy and in development"—the "moment" when "that excessive commitment to collective ideals masking deeper individuality—the persona—breaks down... disintegrates." Given Jung's view that "the persona is a semblance... the dissolution of the persona is therefore absolutely necessary for individuation." Nevertheless, its disintegration may well lead initially to a state of chaos in the individual: "one result of the dissolution of the persona is the release of fantasy... disorientation." As the individuation process gets under way, "the situation has thrown off the conventional husk and developed into a stark encounter with reality, with no false veils or adornments of any kind."[10
One possible reaction to the resulting experience of archetypal chaos was what Jung called "the regressive restoration of the persona", whereby the protagonist "laboriously tries to patch up his social reputation within the confines of a much more limited personality... pretending that he is as he was before the crucial experience." Similarly in treatment there can be "the persona-restoring phase, which is an effort to maintain superficiality"; or even a longer phase designed not to promote individuation but to bring about what Jung caricatured as "the negative restoration of the persona"—that is to say, a reversion to the status quo.
The alternative is to endure living with the absence of the persona—and for Jung "the man with no persona... is blind to the reality of the world, which for him has merely the value of an amusing or fantastic playground." Inevitably, the result of "the streaming in of the unconscious into the conscious realm, simultaneously with the dissolution of the 'persona' and the reduction of the directive force of consciousness, is a state of disturbed psychic equilibrium." Those trapped at such a stage remain "blind to the world, hopeless dreamers... spectral Cassandras dreaded for their tactlessness, eternally misunderstood."
Recovery, the aim of individuation, "is not only achieved by work on the inside figures but also, as conditio sine qua non, by a readaptation in outer life"—including the recreation of a new and more viable persona. To "develop a stronger persona... might feel inauthentic, like learning to "play a role"... but if one cannot perform a social role then one will suffer". Thus one goal for individuation is for people to "develop a more realistic, flexible persona that helps them navigate in society but does not collide with nor hide their true self". Eventually, "in the best case, the persona is appropriate and tasteful, a true reflection of our inner individuality and our outward sense of self."
The persona has become one of the most widely adopted aspects of Jungian terminology, passing into almost common parlance: "a mask or shield which the person places between himself and the people around him, called by some psychiatrists the persona." For Eric Berne, "the persona is formed during the years from six to twelve, when most children first go out on their own... to avoid unwanted entanglements or promote wanted ones." He was interested in "the relationship between ego states and the Jungian persona", and considered that "as an ad hoc attitude, persona is differentiated also from the more autonomous identity of Erikson." Perhaps more contentiously, in terms of life scripts, he distinguished "the Archetypes (corresponding to the magic figures in a script) and the Persona (which is the style the script is played in)".
Post-Jungians would loosely call the persona "the social archetype of the conformity archetype", though Jung himself was always concerned to distinguish the persona as an external function from those images of the unconscious he called archetypes. Thus whereas Jung recommended conversing with archetypes as a therapeutic technique he himself had employed—"For decades I always turned to the anima when I felt my emotional behavior was disturbed, and I would speak with the anima about the images she communicated to me"—he stressed that "It would indeed be the height of absurdity if a man tried to have a conversation with his persona, which he recognized merely as a psychological means of relationship."