Your shadow contains all the traits and impulses that you disconnect from in yourself, but which you can plainly see in other people, such as egotism, laziness, carelessness, cowardice, greed and aggression.
If you are unaware of your own shadow, or if you are aware but neglect responsibility for it, your shadow can send distressing thoughts, emotions, and impulses into your awareness, seemingly from out the blue, and can even cause accidents. You can say or do things that you would rather not say or do, and this erodes the quality of your life.
Your Shadow in Relationships
The more control your own shadow has over you, the more easily you fall prey to another person’s shadow. Relationships can be fraught, strained or stormy, and they often end suddenly and badly. This is because if your shadow is in control it causes projection and denial. You can’t see who the other person actually is because your projection is getting in the way. The greatest tragedy, however, is that you can’t see yourself.
No-one is immune to the power of the shadow and we all have one. The quest is not to get rid of it (since you never can), but to learn about its nature and impact on your life, and begin a process of reintegration of all the shadow aspects that you’ve disowned. Ultimately, you need to take responsibility for your shadow so that you stop projecting both your ‘negative’ and ‘golden’ shadow onto others. This creates psychological peace, which is essential for mature relationships.
Feelings and Behaviors from the Unconscious Shadow
An unconscious shadow can cause anything from niggling annoyances to severe psychological disorders. Here are some examples of the shadow being in control; when the suppressed shadow becomes energized and empowered.
- Feeling irritated and angry for no obvious reason
- Feeling nervous or anxious for no obvious reason
- Regurgitating a negative thought or emotion
- Thinking that life is meaningless
- Feeling apathetic or bored
- Compulsively hiding how you really feel
- Acting against your own values and ethics
- Feeling shame or guilt
- Blaming others for your problems
Types of Shadows: Negative, Golden, Family, Societal
Everyone carries several types of shadows, and they often overlap.
Here are some examples:
You repeatedly encounter people who share the same fault e.g. jealousy, aloofness, thoughtlessness. This is your active Negative Shadow.
You are surrounded by people who are talented in the way you wish you were e.g. they are outgoing, creative, successful. This is your active Golden Shadow.