The Daimon-Lover according to Woodman

December 1, 2010

From The Inner World of Trauma: archetypal defenses of the personal spirit, by Donald Kalsched, p.109, found at Google Books

Marion Woodman’s designation for our ambivalent caretaker-self is the “daimon-lover”, which she describes as a derivative of a malignant father-daugther complex. The daimon-lover functions as an inner seducer and stands between [the woman] and any real man in the outer world.

Says Woodman:

..at the core of that father-lover complex is the father-god whom she worships and at the same time hates because on some level, she knows he is luring her away from her own life. Whether she worships him or hates him makes no difference, because in either case she is bound to him with no energy going into finding out who she herself is. So long as she can fantasize her love, she identifies with the positive side of the father-god; once the fantasy is crushed, however, she has no ego to sustain her and she swings to the opposite pole where she experiences annihilation in the arms of the god who has turned against her. (Woodman, 1982: 136)

The Daemon Lover

Image Credit: Ariel Mather, who has a dog called Bee.

Woodman makes the important contribution that the daimon-lover complex for a woman usually compensates and defends against inadequate internalization of the mother owing to a failed psychosomatic bonding between herself and her mother in early life. This leads to inadequate somatic “indwelling” of the feminine self and a compulsive “spiritualization” and sexualization of her deeper chthonic nature – a problem which is very refractory for creative women in particular and for women in general later trying to resolve this complex with male analysts or mentors. (See Woodman, 1985)

Commentary from the Muse


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