one hundred & forty four: shadow

i went through a phase where i read a lot of jung, so this reminded me of his notion of the shadow (even though he kind of stole it from nietzsche, the bugger); that is, those dark, base unconscious desires within us. greed. lust. hatred. fury. envy. those parts that we either hide, or don’t even realize we have. those parts that are denied expression.

which always led me to wonder, where do those shadowy bits go?

my answer came, i think, via working with a therapist i saw for a while, who spoke about how our children reflect our shadows back to us. that when we struggle with an particular aspect of our offspring, we are likely coming face to face with those dark, repressed parts of ourselves. (this idea terrified me. both in thinking about what was passed to me, and what i am passing on to our daughter.) and indeed, many psychotherapists both before and since jung, like freud, for instance, examined the ways in which we deflect our shadow, deny its existence, and even project it onto others in order to avoid confronting it within ourselves.

heady, sleep-stealing stuff, that.

especially tonight, after a long weekend that felt endless and hard and sad. where i was exhausted and present, loving and impatient, absent and nurturing, all. was my shadow what made me want to throttle our daughter? was i projecting my shadow onto my wife, onto pocketbrit?

i hate the thought of the unconscious. it is terrifying and destabilizing. i don’t want to have a shadowy ocean inside. just reading that there are parts of me that i won’t ever know, that are buried in a deep darkness, makes me feel so sick and scared.

ugh. ugh. ugh.

One thought on “one hundred & forty four: shadow

  1. We all have them, and I suspect they do get projected by all of us from time to time. And yet, I don’t think you act on them, maybe you wanted to throttle your daughter, but you didn’t. Your active choice is always love, always gentleness. That’s not always possible, it doesn’t always feel like those things are a choice, and that’s hard all around, and the same I think can be said for everybody. But when you are adult enough, not too triggered, not too tired, when gentleness and patience is an option equally to any of the dark feelings, then it’s love that you choose. There are people out there that wouldn’t, but you would.


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