Have you seen your shadow lately? Your dark side? Has the devilish presence of your hidden, unloved and scary side made an appearance lately?
How would you even know?
Notice your reactions to other people. Who really BUGS you? Tell me all about her!
OK, I’ll go first. Theres this woman. When I see her, I lose my center. I start defending myself TO myself. I get confused, I get self conscious. It really bums me out to run into her, or even just catch a glimpse of her! She’s a real woman in my community. And truthfully I don’t even really know her. So why such a strong reaction?
In Freudian and Jungian psychology, it is understood that this is possibly either transference or projection.
If it is transference, I am pretty much using my reaction to her in order to re-experience a painful relationship to someone who has deeply wounded me in the past. I then project all my anger, disgust, fear etc onto this woman based on my unresolved issues from the past.
In this case, I believe I am projecting. Projection is a very common and simple process in which we see negative characteristics in others that we actually possess ourselves. And the more that other person bothers us, then the more we have a mirror into our own rejected selves.
So I’ll tell you all about what I don’t like about this woman and voila, you have one aspect of my shadow side pretty much lined out.
She’s a snob. She projects this superiority complex. She talks down to people, she thinks too highly of herself.
OOH, thats good. I would never be like that. I am so egalitarian and I would never judge anyone. We are all equal. She is this and I am that. Yeah, right.
So instead of just writhing with irritation every time I encounter this woman, I decided to use this as shadow work – to really look at myself and give myself the opportunity to reclaim myself and welcome home a part of myself that I had previously denied. I am going to look at the part of me that is a snob, that needs to be better than other people, that feels superior. Whoa. Hard to do. I don’t want to admit that she is lurking in the shadows and is actually living in my skin! But she is. She is real. She is only a part of my vast and complex shadow. She reminds me of the culture I was raised in, and of the painful experiences of being in a hierarchical world that I couldn’t thrive in. She reminds me of possible defense mechanisms I developed in order to shield myself from the pain of being judged.
So instead of pushing her energy away and judging her, I started to look at deeper aspects of myself, my upbringing, my inner self. I realized how much I hated this part of myself and went to great lengths to disguise it. I really did this to get relief from the uncomfortable experience of having to interact with this person.
Some part of me that was feeling vulnerable and wounded in childhood decided that the way to feel safe was to create a world in which I could find a way to perceive myself as superior rather than inferior. Poor little girl. Time for her to come home.
Time for me to snuggle my shadow. Bring her home. Now I can be free of projection and set a woman free from my icy glares!