Participation Mystique

The collective unconscious is a natural and universal datum and its manifestation always causes an unconscious identity, a state of participation mystique. 

The participation mystique, or primitive identity, causes the child to feel the conflicts of the parents and to suffer from them as if they were its own.

In his early years the child lives in a state of participation mystique with his parents.With a stroke of genius, Lévy-Bruhl has established participation mystique as being the hallmark of primitive mentality.  As described by him it is simply the indefinitely large remnant of non-differentiation between subject and object, still so great among primitives that it cannot fail to strike European man, identified as he is with the conscious standpoint.  In so far as the difference between subject and object does not become conscious, unconscious identity prevails.  The unconscious is then projected into the object, and the object is introjected into the subject, that is, psychologized.  Plants and animals then behave like men; men are at the same time themselves and animals also, and everything is alive with ghosts and gods.  Naturally, civilized man regards himself as immeasurably above these things.  Instead, often he is identified with his parents throughout his life, or his is identified with his affects and prejudices, and shamelessly accuses others of the things he will not see in himself.  In a word, even he is afflicted with a remnant of primal unconsciousness, or non-differentiation between subject and object. 

In his early years the child lives in a state of participation mystique with his parents.  Time and again it can be seen how he reacts immediately to any important developments in the parental psyche.  Needless to say both the parents and the child are unconscious of what is going on.  The infectious nature of the parent’s complexes can be seen from the effect their mannerisms have on their children.  Even when they make completely successful efforts to control themselves, so that no adult could detect the least trace of a complex, the children will get wind of it somehow.  TDoP 55