Owning your shadow is the most powerful thing you can do for your relationship…
When we first fall in love it seems we are perfect for each other. As time goes by you see the cracks beneath the surface where they seem not so perfect for you, but in fact they still are. It just means its time to start owning your shadow.
Because even though at a conscious level we choose someone to be in relationship with, the attributes that live our unconscious mind even more powerfully choose someone for us who is most able to activate our shadows.
Our shadows are the parts of us we hide from ourselves. They’re the parts of us that we have decided are unacceptable and we need to hide them or we won’t be loved.
They can be negative traits or even positive ones. We hid the positive ones because they were unacceptable to our family, culture or religion of origin.
But what we hold in shadow leaves us feeling incomplete, always lost and looking for what is missing.
We can look for it by our neediness and in our addictions- to each other, to love, sex and the list goes on. But the answer isn’t there, it’s in us.
Our partners show us our shadows by unconsciously triggering us into feeling them.
They do this by pissing us off. When our partners are pissing us off they’re actually giving us a gift.
We find it by looking at ourselves rather than pointing the finger and trying to change them. For pointing the finger and trying to ‘fix’ our partners or our relationship is where most relationships start to fall over. Over time when our partners are no longer willing to accommodate us, or us them, is when relationships end. We miss the gifts they offer us along the way, gifts that will take us deeper into connection rather than push us away.
How do we recognize our shadows?
When your partner pisses you off drop your righteous ego and instead of focussing on their behaviour, what they’re doing wrong and how they should fix it to stop you from hurting instead look at your own feeling for the answer. This feeling will be one we’ve tried to shut down in ourselves and accessing it will take our relationship much further than blaming our significant other. This doesn’t mean we have to accept any and all behaviour our partners give us, far from it. It just allows us to sort it from a clear, untriggered place.
Owning Your Shadow Practice:
(a) Centre and ground yourself with your ABC and think of something your partner, (or even ex-partner, parent, anyone) does that pisses you off or hurts you the most. Take the time to really flesh out this experience in your mind- how are they looking, what are they saying/doing and find the feelings that always come along with it.
(b) Detach the image of your partner from your mind and focus on your own feeling instead.
(c) Identify where in your body your feeling is. Feel it fully, staying with it even if it’s painful.
(d) Trust this feeling has a message for you and go into it to see what lies inside it- notice whether there is there a word, an image or another feeling you can identify
(e) Ask yourself what is this calling forth in you? Keep going deeper until you find the original pain point in you.
(f) You’ve got it when you see it is really nothing about your partner at all but something in you.
(g) Ask yourself what does this need to be healed in you- just acknowledgement, something you need to express, a new belief or behaviour to choose? What support do you need to do so? Can you imagine it in your mind’s eye and give it to yourself? (Your mind cannot tell the difference).
(h) The next time you observe this behaviour in your partner notice how you can choose to respond differently and create a better outcome in the same situation.
With major triggers that have a lot of emotion or layers in them we may need to do this process a few times to get it all.
How do you know when a shadow has been fully seen and owned?
- The first step is you being able to see it.
- The second is that you feel like it controls you.
- The next step is being able to see it with some detachment and less emotionality.
- When it’s fully shifting you might experience an inner feeling of a letting go, or ‘shift in yourself.
- Sometimes you can ‘see’ in imaginary veil clearing before your eyes as you move out of illusion into greater clarity.
- You can sit in ease in situations that in the past would have triggered intense emotion.
- You feel open to the other person in the situation yet without attachment to any ‘stuff’- yours or theirs.
- You can see your shadow and have a really good laugh at yourself.
- You can play out owning your shadow in your sex lives, (with a consenting lover) eg. the bad boy/bad girl, the naïve innocent, the powerful dominant etc.
If you need support in seeing and owning your shadow contact Annette or Graeme via email or PH 1800 TANTRA.