Healing the Shadow in Relationships
Towards greater Intimacy
The depth of intimacy with yourself is the starting point for profound love. Intimacy is courageously peering within, aiming the light of conscious awareness into the dark crevasses within yourself; acknowledging fears of abandonment, crippling jealousies, your sense of inadequacy, vices, triggers, shame, or predisposition to anger and outbursts of long buried rage.
It is about showing up and facing the demons in your abyss created in reaction to traumatic experiences. By working to make allies of these misunderstood enemies you can truly create an intimate relationship with yourself unearthing and transmuting, you begin a revolution. This is how family generational patterns are undone. It begins with YOU.
True intimacy attracts fellow travellers along the path, based on honesty and truth. Your ability to look non judgmentally at yourself, at them, at the world will be attractive and deeply appreciated along with your infectious dexterity in igniting change. People will find respite in your presence. Shared intimacy takes on a boldness and daring that is refreshing, passionate, and nurturing. As the love you feel for yourself deepens, your capacity to enjoy intimate love takes root and rockets.
The dark side of human nature is often described as the Ego, the id, or the lower self. Carl Jung called it the “shadow.”
The shadow represents the negative side of the personality, the sum total of all those unpleasant qualities that you would prefer to hide. Everything that is in your conscious awareness is in the light. Everything of substance which stands in the light whether it is a tree or an idea also casts a shadow. What remains in darkness is outside of your awareness.
When something is held back or something is left unsaid in, a shadow blocks intimacy and connection weakens.
Too many shadows the intimacy fades or becomes convoluted and confusing. The process of conscious relationship is one of staying fully open. Transparent. Loving. No matter what. Even when the difficult emotions are triggered and one feels dread, fear, abandoned, lost, alone, rejected, anxious, insecure or misunderstood.
These are the moments in a relationship when you shut down and withdraw, hiding yourself away for fear of being seen in your weakness.
These are moments in relationship when you shut the other person out or down. When you do not want them to see you in a particular way, be that way, feel that way, or act that way because when they are like that, they do not give you what you want or need.
When two people do the work of staying open to difficult emotion it creates an opportunity for intimacy to surface beyond projections and fantasies.
You are seen and loved for who you are, not who you need to be to make a person feel a certain way.
Relationships are opportunity to practice intimacy, opening up and revealing all of yourself to another who holds you in unconditional love in that light the shadows are dissolved by love as you hold each other in the process of waking up and release old trauma.
This is the path of Conscious Relationships.
Where Relationships are mirrors.
‘We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.’
Unaware of your shadows you may only encounter them through other people, in the form of projections.
You may tend to see in other people the qualities and characteristics that comprise your shadow; that is, everything that you think is “not you.”
Just think for a moment of your like and dislikes.
Relationships do not mirror your ego back to you; rather, they mirror back your shadow, the other, unacknowledged half of your Inner Self.
Defined by your willingness to stay open and share and hold each other as your shadows arises. Defined by your ability to recognise when you are triggered, and to own your emotional states rather than project them onto others. Defined by your ability to hold each other in love when you are in a difficult emotional state.
- Have you found yourself attracting the wrong people or situations in your life?
A way to change this involves you taking the time to get to know yourself to avoid repeating unwanted patterns in relationships and circumstances.
As a result, synchronicities and miracles start to occur. You begin to live in a flow where the possibilities are endless.
The secret to living in flow is to become conscious of your shadow self – the part you do not know and learn to integrate it to become whole.
- Have you found yourself thinking that you have no idea what is causing you to act in certain ways?
You may think your personality is who you are.
Blind spots prevent you from having conscious relationships with yourself and others.
Learning to release them is important to be able to create happy loving relationships with yourself and everyone around you and wake up your inner power and attract the relationships you want.
Common manifestations of the Shadow
The shadow is that part of you that erupts spontaneously and unexpectedly when you behave in a destructive way to yourself or another person. The aftermath may leave you feeling humiliated, ashamed, and guilty. The shadow is that part of you that feels like it cannot be tamed or controlled.
There are cultural shadows held by groups of people – topics that are not commonly spoken about are held in the collective shadow, as taboo, forbidden topics or areas.
The shadow is anything that is unacceptable to you, anything that is hidden or denied including what what you want to hide from, what you do not want to know about yourself.
Blame and projection
Are you familiar with blame? The one thing you may never ask for yet give freely. Essentially, blame is projection; it is your personality recognising your shadow.
- Blame is usually accompanied by uncomfortable feelings, as you attempt to distance yourself from the source of your discomfort, which the personality perceives as external to you.
- Blame serves to maintain and reinforce the separation between your personality (ego) and the shadow, maintaining this separation is the egos only real purpose.
The Shadow Side of relationships.
An emotionally mature or genuine love develops with a mutually empathic connection between two people, which nourishes both of your mental, physical and emotional growth and capacity for compassion and self-actualization.
The neurochemistry of love relationships can merge into a dangerous mix of drugs more difficult to part with than alcohol, cocaine or heroine.
When you can’t let go of resentment and keep feeding your anger by continually pointing out everything the other person is doing and has done wrong, blaming him/her for your pain, then this issue is deeper and relates to your childhood wounding which is coming to surface. It relates to your needs not being met or old wounds from past relationships you haven’t fully processed and let go of are being reactivated. The same goes if you keep diminishing yourself with guilt and shame, making yourself feel worthless. It relates to your inner child that is carrying wounds you have not made conscious yet.
The wiring of your sensory brain and body when not modulated by your consciousness (awareness to influence decision making) can leave you susceptible to falling in love with the state of “falling in love” This can create powerful Sensory cravings that can switch off the frontal cortex (ability to consciously think and make optimal choices). Addictions can be a controlling factor in your life and relationships. Biologically speaking the human body is wired to gravitate toward what produces comfortable, feel-good sensations in you while also avoiding what produces pain and discomfort. The purpose of this design feature is to prompt you to both survive and thrive. Your body reminds you to avoid what is unhealthy, harmful or a threat to your survival, or to move towards fulfilling core drives that matter and create meaningful lives.
The state of falling in love, creates sensory signals consisting of a potent mix of chemicals, which have the power to change the sophisticated communication system between your Mind/ Body tampering with your ability to make healthy choices towards favouring intoxicating demands and quick feel good fixes.
If you experience fear or mistrust, your sensory system takes over.
Feel good hormones have the power to hinder your ability to make good choices, and hold your authentic wise-self (frontal cortex) captive, in a virtual prison of sorts, deceived by limiting unconscious beliefs and illusions of love and power.
Without consciousness your unconscious mind/body can not distinguish between pain or pleasure or that which threatens rather than promotes your growth and wellbeing and aliveness.
Discomfort is an essential part of growth, physical, mental and emotional; unnecessary pain leads to suffering. Pleasure is an emotional and physiological yearning for health and wellness, a sense of feeling good about your self and your capacity to contribute to life, create healthy, vibrant relationships that sustain you. Pleasure at the expense of your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing leads to needless and endless suffering of an addiction.
Learning how to receive and give love to yourself and another person is a great learning curve and challenge – it is not for the faint-hearted.
Addiction & Power.
Addiction can be seen as pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding, or seeking a quick-fix to have a sense of power or control even though it is temporary creating a false sense of self which ultimately avoids dealing with your shadow self. Working with the shadow can better help you integrate parts that thwart your intentions from forming conscious and healthy relationships. “Falling in love” can be seen as a beginning stage of a relationship which if nurtured can create genuine love with another person.
When you work on your shadow and uncover the character that is hiding within you. Uncovering its needs, what it is communicating to you, how you feel when it arises you, how you relate to it. It begins to lose its compulsive quality and does not drive you as much. When it releases its grip you are able to hear your authentic self – your internal intuitive and wise voice wisdom, the part of you that knows what is the right action. Jung suggested that that if we can shed a little light on our own darkness, it will remove some of the larger darkness from the world.
The right people will arrive at precisely the right time. Let your words be bricks in the foundations of the bridges others are striving to build. Let the wisdom gained through your committed intimacy be fruitful. Let love be your guide. And let your love speak profoundly
The true power and creativity unleashed from the shadow is your ability to see clearly and master the art of conscious relationships.
Learn more about discovering and integrating your shadow, bring your true self out of shadow and into the light.
On the workshop you will learn ways to transforming parts of your character with compassion and understanding, to find balance within all your relationships.
Begin the process of positive change on this interactive learning and growth experience.
Join me for the next workshop it is suitable for all
Image by Scott Wilton