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The Jungian Shadow

'In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. It is one of the three most recognizable archetypes, the others being the anima and animus. "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is." It may be (in part) one's link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, is pictured above. One of his 'quirks' was that he used to allegedly sleep with his patients, however that is more of a professional and ethical issue, having no bearing on his actual theories, although one could speculate that some his patients got better because he had sex with them.

According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to project: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized "The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object--if it has one--or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power." These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world. Jung also believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darknessÑor perhaps because of thisÑthe shadow is the seat of creativity.

The shadow may appear in dreams and visions in various forms, often as a feared or despised person or being, and may act either as an adversary or as a servant. It typically has the same apparent gender as one's persona. It is possible that it might appear with dark features to a person of any race, since it represents a distant and indiscriminate aspect of the mind. The shadow's appearance and role depend greatly on the living experience of the individual, because much of the shadow develops in the individual's mind rather than simply being inherited in the collective unconscious (but see description of layers below).

Interactions with the shadow in dreams may shed light on one's state of mind. A conversation with the shadow may indicate that one is concerned with conflicting desires or intentions. Identification with a despised figure may mean that one has an unacknowledged difference from the character; a difference which could point to a rejection of the illuminating qualities of ego-consciousness. These examples refer to just two of many possible roles that the shadow may adopt, and are not general guides to interpretation. Also, it can be difficult to identify characters in dreams, so that a character who seems at first to be a shadow might represent some other complex instead.

Jung also made the suggestion of there being more than one layer making up the shadow. The top layers contain the meaningful flow and manifestations of direct personal experiences. These are made unconscious in the individual by such things as; the change of attention from one thing to another, simple forgetfulness, or a repression. Underneath these idiosyncratic layers, however, are the archetypes which form the psychic contents of all human experiences. Jung described this deeper layer as "a psychic activity which goes on independently of the conscious mind and is not dependent even on the upper layers of the unconscious - untouched, and perhaps untouchable - by personal experience" (Campbell, 1971). This bottom layer of the shadow is also what Jung referred to as the collective unconscious.

According to Jung, the shadow sometimes overwhelms a person's actions, for example, when the conscious mind is shocked, confused, or paralyzed by indecision.'


It is likely that during your life you have found certain people extremely annoying, excruciatingly so. As discussed on the Psychology of Belief page, this response comes from a belief about 'how things should be' and someone or something deviated from it, to the point of embodying the opposite of that belief of how it should be our ideal world. What we have here is an arbitrary belief that polarises the world around us, into 'good' and 'bad', where anyone who deviates from our 'high standards' or whom embodies our projected shadow, is met with our scorn or disgust. The Shadow is often created by the existence of these judgemental beliefs, and is made ever stronger and thicker by them, and the strength of our anger or hurt is exaccerbated by the thickness of our Shadow. Our Shadow seeks to communicate with the conscious mind, and it often does so through such intermittent negative projections. The Shadow represents our weakness that we have tried to deny or suppress, the things we hate about ourselves, that we recognise in others. It can also represent those (missed) possibilities or paths that we have never followed or have chosen not to follow. It represents everything we have not allowed ourselves to be or do, for whatever reason. This why they annoy us, as they reflect who we really are or were on some level. Many of us do our best to grow or to move away from past weaknesses, and if we do so through denial of our core personality type and through overcompensation with another personality type or trait, our Shadow, the repressed parts of our core personality type, come out and project themselves onto the outside world in an erratic and explosive manner.

We may have a number of individuals whom we believe we hate. They wind us up and we may even have mental images of them that we frequently, addictively reference and replay in our minds, to wind ourselves up, torture ourselves or beat ourselves up with. Such images may be that individual in a given awkward situation or a particular mannerism, expression or habit of theirs that we find particularly annoying. What exactly is going on here? Much as the given person may well be a 'loser' or an 'idiot', that is not really why we believe we hate them. What we are actually annoyed with is our own inability to manage the real life situations with the given individual properly, our inability to assert ourselves properly (i.e. being the real 'us'), to act with self-respect around them, and to not let that person mess you around. The actual anger may be shifted onto that person rather than pointed directly at ourselves and our own personal management and fear in such situations where we should have acted and said what we really wanted or meant. We may occasionally acknowledge our lack of ability to assert ourselves with them and to treat ourselves with self-respect around them, even become angry, but for a large part of the time that anger is shifted or transferred onto the person, so that they become the problem and not us. We can then continue in our denial of our own assertiveness issues and shield and protect our incompetence of lack of self-confidence. At the end of the day, the person in question is not really the problem. Idiots are everywhere. We could create a line up of total idiots and rather unimaginative, depressing individuals and put them all in a line-up in a rather misanthropic manner, as if it was a police ID parade, but this time an 'idiot' ID parade. Each individual is no more of an idiot than the next! There is therefore no reason to focus on one given 'idiot' and to give that person extreme significance and power over us, to promote them to the status of our tormentor, and to torture ourselves with the image or memory of that person (and feel sorry for ourselves), as being an idiot is hardful very interesting or noteworthy. That individual is not special. You do not respect them. What let an individual who you do not even respect become your 'shadow' or tormentor? Idiots are a dime a dozen. Essentially you may well come across any number of idiots in your day to day life, but so what if you don't lower yourself in their presence? It really is not very interesting or noteworthy. It only becomes noteworthy to your subconscious when you continue to self-deprecate, reinjuring an old wound every time. One needs to interpret what the mind is telling us is the problem and to associate the pain with the right thing, so that it becomes a useful teacher and motivator, and not something that pushes us further into reinforced self-denial. We need to create the correct feedback loop, restore it to its logical cycle. We need to give the images and events the correct meaning.

We often like to blame others for our problems, rather than take full responsibilitiy for our own lives. Without this desire to take full responsibility, we may never get in touch with our Shadows. Blaming others is a form of projection of our Shadow. Blaming the other person is especially common in romantic relationships, where we may not be prepared to look at our own shortcomings and imbalanced views, and instead resent those qualities in the other person that we in fact have denied in ourselves. Quite often we are actually partially responsible for the other person's behaviour, on account of the balance of dominance and submissiveness (discussed on the Romance page, and not making an effort to appreciate the other person and to engage their Constructive Shadow.

Ultimately, those who annoy us or offend us are great teachers, as they show us what our hot buttons are, and show us what we need to address to reacquaint ourselves with our Shadow, and to reduce the thickness and darkness of the Destructive Shadow. If we hate racists, we may secretly be suppressing feelings about ethnic minorities and social issues that we dare not discuss as we are afraid of political correctness. If we are annoyed about 'yobs', we are probably too 'tight assed' ourselves and need to reintegrate ourselves. Our 'enemies' are in fact our friends or helpers to our subconscious! So if someone is annoying you greatly, you should be grateful in some sense and re-evaluate the negative interpretation of events surrounding them!

The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.
Dr Carl Gustav Jung

The Hermetic principle of 'As above, so below' and 'As within, so without' may have inspired Jung, as it follows that whatever is in the subconscious mind will manifest itself out into one's life. One can essentially look at a person's life and this provides us with a large amount of information about a person's core beliefs about themselves and the world, and what their Shadow is like.

Dreams and the appearance of the Shadow is discussed on the Belief page in the section on Dreams - in the form of anxiety dreams or nightmares. Integration and/or transmutation of one's shadow can be reflected in one's dreams by lucid dreaming or creative and enjoyable dreams.

'The shadow is an unconscious complex that is defined as the repressed and suppressed aspects of the conscious self. There are constructive and destructive types of shadow. On the destructive side, it often represents everything that the conscious person does not wish to acknowledge within themselves. For instance, someone who identifies as being kind has a shadow that is harsh or unkind. Conversely, an individual who is brutal has a kind shadow. The shadow of persons who are convinced that they are ugly appears to be beautiful. On the constructive side, the shadow may represent hidden positive influences. This has been referred to as "the gold in the shadow." Jung points to the story of Moses and Al-Khidr in the 18th Sura (Chapter) of the Koran as an example.

Jung emphasized the importance of being aware of shadow material and incorporating it into conscious awareness, lest one project these attributes on others. The shadow in dreams is often represented by dark figures of the same gender as the dreamer. According to Jung the human being deals with the reality of the Shadow in four ways: denial, projection, integration and/or transmutation.'

We are often however unaware of what our shadow is doing, or if we are aware on some level, we often try to deny it, as it conflicts with the conscious beliefs we have about ourselves and what we are like. This relates heavily to Paul McKenna's concept of the Self, as discussed on the Personality Types page. The Pretend Self is in sense the Conscious Mind, the Ego, the 'Hero', the 'I'. This is the self we believe we are and that we try to show to the world.

The Negative Self-Image is that negative side of our character that we try to hide from the world, hiding it behind our Pretend Self. However, the Negative Self-Image, our negative beliefs and self-loathing, is an aspect of the Destructive Shadow, and our conscious experience and the inevitable result of these beliefs. Whilst we experience this negative shadow, and it's negative beliefs, 'in our heads' but try to hide it from others, and often we believe that we have succeeded, others can see this Negative-Self if they get to know us. Often, others have a clearer idea of our Negative-Self Image and our Destructive Shadow than we do. Ironically, many other people may know what we are like, warts and all, and the only person that isn't really aware of all parts of their personality is you! The person who spends all their time in that personality, or rather in the conscious part, at the mercy of the subconscious mind and what we have put in there over a large period of time. One good way to identify one's Shadow is to ask people what we are like, to list all our qualities, good and bad, without fear of a defensive response from us. This is a very useful personal development tool.

Others may also see the opposite characteristics we have suppressed, as we regard them as weak or inferior, even if our behaviour is still governed by them to some extent; or that our attempts to deny they ever existed govern our behaviour by our slavish insistence on the opposite. We may well experience the opposite (e.g. being 'dopey') ourselves, but try to be 'sharp' instead and project this Pretend Self to others - and this is why we may get annoyed if we see someone else being 'dopey'. By integrating these parts into one's personality, the Shadow diminishes in thickness. By working on our negative beliefs, by being made aware of them and working to erode them and to replace them with positive, empowering beliefs, we can reduce the size of our Negative Self-Image and connect more with our Authentic Self. Of course, we can choose what beliefs we condition into our subconscious, but if they are divisive or imbalanced, and in a sense disempowering, or one sided, then they may actually increase the thickness of our Destructive Shadow rather than reduce it, taking away from our connection to our Constructive Shadow.

Another example of a projection of the Destructive Self can be seen in road manners. Sometimes, when we are in a hurry, we may nip into a gap or pull out in front of another car, believing that we are not really making the other driver slow down significantly or at all (assuming they were following the speed limit!) If the other driver gets annoyed and tailgates us (drives extremely close to our back bumper), we may become a little defensive and think 'what an aggressive jerk' or 'lighten up, that was a fine manoevre, there was a large amount of space' etc. Clearly if one makes the other vehicle significantly slow down we may consider our manoevre somewhat antisocial but not massively so. However, if another motorist pulls out in front of us with a small gap that didn't technically make us have to slow down, then we may ourselves become annoyed as we feel that we 'owned' a certain amount of personal car space around our vehicle in that junction or roundabout. We may tailgate the other driver for a few seconds in 'protest'. However, this is the exact same thing we did before. All drivers know this, but hate to admit it, or if they do admit, immediately forget they ever did anything remotely approaching selfish driving on the road if another road user does anything remotely selfish or antisocial (with plenty of room to spare). Becoming annoyed at other drivers is a sign of limiting beliefs about 'how things should be' and a sign also of a Destructive Shadow. The more self-righteous a driver is, the thicker his shadow. Ironically the most self-righteous drivers may be the most antisocial drivers, or prone to moments of aggressive driving, even if they are not aware of it or do not see it as such 'in their case'.

Idealised societies or scenes can be imagined that are so constructed that if they could ever exist (in a sustainable manner) they would remove the need for one to face up to one's own fears, character deficiencies, weaknesses and allow us to continue to hide away from one's own low self-esteem. For example, if I had an assertiveness problem, then I might dream of an ideal society where I would not have to be assertive, where people were naturally empathic, considerate, egalitarian and sharing.

Many of us have a compulsion or urge to try to convert the entire world to our way of thinking, our beliefs, values or behaviour code. These ideals are usually attempts to hide from our own shadow and areas that we find psychologically difficult to deal with, and which we have denied in ourselves. By wanting to make everyone the same as ourselves, we can avoid having to address or consider our own shadow (or so the conscious mind thinks). A desire to convert the world to middle class, politically correct values, or a particular evangelical flavour of a religion, or to veganism or socialism, may be a reflection of an internal conflict and external projection of our own problems onto the outside world. As discussed elsewhere, there is a natural tendency amongst peer groups to drag people down (or up) to their level, so they are all the same, so everyone feels comfortable, reassured and not threatened in their mind set. This can apply on a global level also.

The Authentic Self, as proposed by Paul McKenna on the Personality Types page, is the creative and positive part of our subconscious and it does come out in the vast majority of us at one point or other during the day or week, and is considered by some to be our good qualities and the side of us they really like. It is the Constructive Shadow. We may not acknowledge its existence or downplay it, preferring to focus on our Pretend Self and the denial and hiding of the Negative Self Image. However, by tapping into it, we can tap into our seat of creativity and positive energy, and really be our Authentic Selves for most if not all our conscious lives (and during our dreams also!) In some cases of sleep disorders, a person may actually tap into the 'Authentic Self' or 'Constructive Shadow'. This may take the form of painting in one's sleep! In one case of this sleeping disorder, the person in question could not paint or draw at all when awake, but when asleep got up and created reasonably good artwork (by objective criteria) in a variety of styles (which few if any painters/artists are able to do). Most cases of sleep walking or other sleep behaviour do not require complex coordination skills. Other more complex manifestations of the Shadow, somewhere between the Constructive Shadow and the Destructive Shadow, are sleeping disorders where the subconscious mind has more base requirements or believes it has these requirements, and these manifest themselves in perhaps eating and drinking during the night, regardless of how full up or hungry the person is when he goes to bed. In some cases, it can involve actually cooking in one's sleep, turning off the cooker/grill afterwards and eating the food in one's bed, leaving the plate at the side of the bed afterwards. If the person is question has an anxiety (when awake) about burning themselves or leaving the cooker on when they are asleep, then this may filter through to the unconscious mind, and they may stop using a grill and maybe use the microwave instead every time after a while! Another example of a positive and negative behaviour is sexsomnia, or having sex in one's sleep. Usually this manifests itself in grabbing at one's partner in bed, sometimes roughly, with no sensuality there at all. It can also be irrational, such as grabbing at a persons should or chest to rip off clothing that has already been removed or is not actually there. How much some of these behaviours have to do with the Shadow and how much is to do with biochemical causes/stimuli or even learned behaviours/expressions in the subconscious is a complex matter to analyse.


Of course, not everyone engages in such activities whilst asleep. However, most people do not of course know what they do when they are asleep, because, well they are asleep when they do it! It is only when partners tell them what they are like when they sleep or when one leaves actual evidence around one's room or house that one may start to become aware of this. It is interesting to know what one is like when asleep, how relaxed one is, how often one rolls over to change position, what position one sleeps in most frequently, if one snores at all etc. If one has a camcorder, it may be interesting, insightful and also amusing to actually film oneself when one is asleep. This is best achieved with a digital camcorder, perhaps on a low resolution and long battery life, that is able to automatically adjust to the changes in light (automatic Day/Night mode - with near infrared capability). It would be best mounted on a tripod, tested to make sure it is actually pointing at your bed at the right distance/height/angle. If nothing, else, as we spend so much of our lives asleep, if there are ways we can improve our quality of sleep by learning more about ourselves and our patterns, then that is great in itself! You could even compile funny moments in a short movie or other.

It is likely that Taylor Hartman's concepts of the negative qualities of each personality type represent the Destructive Shadow. This is why a person may hate to admit these negative parts and predispositions of their core personality type, even thought they know them to be true. Very little conscious thought time is given to them. The positive qualities of the core personality type may indeed represent certain parts of the Pretend Self and Authentic Self, and indeed sometimes, some of these qualities may be in synch, but rarely most or all! Some parts of the Pretend Self are fake, and much of the Authentic Self and Creative Shadow is never outwarding manifested into the Pretend Self (that is, acknowledged or understood by the Pretend Self).

Anyone who has known an alcoholic or drug addict will know all about the Jungian Shadow. An alcoholic for example may appear to become a different person when he is drinking, and have no recollection or deny that this person exists when he is sober. It is as if being drunk is the only outlet available for a fragmented and divided personality; for that denied part of one's psyche to come out and express itself. Alcoholism in some senses is a response to a process of emotional denial, and by overcoming this denial by the conscious mind, one can make it hugely easier to break the physical addiction; and to not rely on a substance for the subsconscious to express itself. For example, I knew an alcoholic who was very strict and regimented in his daily routine, all work and no play. This person used to party and have fun when he was younger, but his use of alcohol got out of hand, and he would lapse into week long drinking bouts, and then stay sober usually for anything between a couple of weeks and a couple of months. This pattern would continue for many years. During his drinking phase, he would initially be happy go lucky and want to socialise and have fun, something he never normally allowed himself to do. He would pick up a musical instrument that he hadn't played in years. However, as everyone knows, alcoholics rarely stay in the 'upbeat' frame of mind for long, and their mood usually degenerates into self-pity and aggression, screaming and abuse, projecting their negative shadow onto others around them, blaming them for qualities that they themselves clearly have in spades and the other person ironically does not actually have at all! Because of negative association with an alcoholic's pattern and behaviour, an alcoholic will rarely be very popular when he starts out on a drinking bout, and even when he is feeling upbeat, others around him may not share his enthusiasm! And usually quite the opposite. This may exaccerbate feelings of persecution and antisocial behaviour later on in the drinking about, and the self-pity. Self-pity is of course a way of meeting one's fundamental human needs also, a feeling of love and connection with oneself, albeit in a non-constructive manner and at the expense of other human needs. The hostile reception and relationship problems such a person may experience whilst sober are often also exaccerbated by their inability to acknowledge their 'drinking persona', the pretty and ugly parts, and also the fact that they just had a drinking bout or are even alcoholics at all! The drinking persona also likes to deny how many drinks he has had, and anything between a couple of drinking and a 'skinful' are all described as 'just a couple' or 'just one or two'. Alcoholics clearly need to try to be more honest with themselves and their families, friends and loved ones, and not compartmentalise their personality or deny any positive characteristics and needs that they have, as they will not go away, and will only make quitting that much harder or short lived.

Psychoanalysis is the method Jung chose to directly experience the Shadow (unknown material) and to integrate it within one's psyche. Transmutation is the changing of the negative sides of one's Shadow, to experience in our conscious minds (i.e. to connect to the Negative Shadow) and to change it or transform it by removal the limiting beliefs that created its existence and to reinforce positive empowering beliefs that allow us to connect to our Constructive Shadow or Authentic Selves. Perhaps in some sense the Authentic Self is the result of integration of our Constructive and Destructive Shadow into our conscious experience or at least control over the interface between these parts of the subconscious and our conscious experience. The subconscious is really just a self-correcting hard disk that stores thoughts, interpretations of events, beliefs and experiences which has a feedback mechanism to the conscious mind, which we can be slaves to (and often to our detriment) or use to our benefit, and control what we put in there. Contrary to conscious belief, we can't hide memories and beliefs away in there and expect them not to haunt us or to affect our conscious experience in some way - moods, feelings, desires, lack of desire etc. So by conditioning our subconscious minds in a positive and empowering manner, and tapping into our creative selves, we can become our own masters rather than slaves of ourselves.

By integrating with our Shadow (by accepting what we had denied and simply letting it go) or transmutating our Shadow, we may make more informed choices about what we wish to be and do, and what kinds of beliefs we really want to affect us from our subconscious. Of course, we are 'slaves' to whatever we put into our subsconscious in terms of thoughts and beliefs, but hopefully these are triggers and influences that empower us rather than fragment us. It is a matter of choice versus denial.

Jung believed that the uncontrolled control and projection of the Destructive Shadow resulted in what is termed as Psychosis - brought about through poor management and awareness of one's Shadow, thickening it to the point of total uncontrolled release into the conscious mind.

'An innate need for self-realization leads people to explore and integrate these rejected materials. This natural process is called Individuation, or the process of becoming an individual. According to Jung, Self-realization can be divided into two distinct tiers. In the first half of our lives we separate from humanity. We attempt to create our own identities (I, myself). This is why there is such a need for young men to be destructive, and can be expressed as animosity from teens directed at their parents. Jung also said we have a sort of Òsecond pubertyÓ that occurs between 35-40- outlook shifts from emphasis on materialism, sexuality, and having children to concerns about community and spirituality.

In the second half of our lives, humans reunite with the human race. They become part of the collective once again. This is when adults start to contribute to humanity (volunteer time, build, garden, create art, etc.) rather than destroy. They are also more likely to pay attention to their unconscious and conscious feelings. Young men rarely say "I feel angry." or "I feel sad.Ó This is because they have not yet rejoined the human collective experience, commonly reestablished in their older, wiser years, according to Jung. A common theme is for young rebels to "search" for their true selves and realize that a contribution to humanity is essentially a necessity for a whole self.

Jung proposes that the ultimate goal of the collective unconscious and self-realization is to pull us to the highest experience. This, of course, is spiritual. If a person does not proceed toward self-knowledge, neurotic symptoms may arise. Symptoms are widely defined, including, for instance, phobias, fetishism, depression.'

These ideas about phases of one's life tie into the ideas and concepts presented on the Fundamental Human Needs page. Here, one may start off life focussing on one's needs for significance, connection, certainty and uncertainty, with the focus on finding out who one is and what one likes, and being a little 'crazy' and 'self-oriented', and ask one grows older, one wishes to fulfill one's other needs, such as contribution beyond the self, for the community, as simply focussing on meeting the more basic needs is no longer satisfying, even though they still need to be met.

One could view fetishism and the negative trappings of negative beliefs, as discussed on the Belief page, for example phobias, depression, anxiety, anger or stress, as an inability integrate one's consciousness and to be disconnected with one's shadow - to be trapped by the ego.

'Jung identified the anima as being the unconscious feminine component of men and the animus as the unconscious masculine component in women. However, this is rarely taken as a literal definition: many modern day Jungian practitioners believe that every person has both an anima and an animus. Jung stated that the anima and animus act as guides to the unconscious unified Self, and that forming an awareness and a connection with the anima or animus is one of the most difficult and rewarding steps in psychological growth. Jung reported that he identified his anima as she spoke to him, as an inner voice, unexpectedly one day.

Often, when people ignore the anima or animus complexes, the anima or animus vies for attention by projecting itself on others. This explains, according to Jung, why we are sometimes immediately attracted to certain strangers: we see our anima or animus in them. Love at first sight is an example of anima and animus projection. Moreover, people who strongly identify with their gender role (e.g. a man who acts aggressively and never cries) have not actively recognized or engaged their anima or animus.

Jung attributes human rational thought to be the male nature, while the irrational aspect is considered to be natural female. Consequently, irrationality is the male anima shadow and rationality is the female animus shadow.'

One could perhaps consider that those men who deny their feminine side (Anima), through society's conditioning, will need to express this feminine side in some manner, and it may often be projected in ways they are not able to control or desire - through homosexuality or through hatred of homosexuals as they are excessively feminine, the very thing they deny exists in themselves. Or it may be expressed through limited compartmentalised expression, for example, in a family scenario, particularly with a baby or perhaps baby talk with their partner (in private!) Perhaps homosexual men are not in touch with their Animus, having focussed entirely on the Anima, resulting in imbalanced behaviour and personality balance.

There are two persona types within Analytical Psychology, the Introvert and Extravert:

'The attitude type could be thought of as the flow of libido (psychic energy). The Introvert's flow is directed inward toward concepts and ideas and the Extravert's is directed outward towards people and objects. There are several contrasting characteristics between Extraverts and Introverts: Extraverts desire breadth and are action-oriented, while introverts seek depth and are self-oriented. Research has shown that there may be a positive correlation between the Introversion/Extraversion types and health deterioration. Introverts may be more inclined to catatonic type schizophrenia and extraverts towards bipolar disorder.

The often misunderstood terms extravert and introvert derive from this work. In Jung's original usage, the extraversion "is an outward-turning of libido", whereas introversion is an inward-turning of libido. Everyone has both the intraversion and the extraversion mechanisms, and the collectively dominant type determines whether an individual is introvert or extravert.

According to Jung, the conscious psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:
- sensing - perception by means of the sense organs;
- intuition - perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents.
- thinking - function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions;
- feeling - function of subjective estimation;

Thinking and feeling functions are rational, while sensing and intuition are nonrational. According to Jung, rationality consists of figurative thoughts, feelings or actions with reasonÑa point of view based on objective value, which is set by practical experience. Nonrationality is not based in reason. Jung notes that elementary facts are also nonrational, not because they are illogical but because, as thoughts, they are not judgments. In any person, the degree of introversion/extraversion of one function can be quite different from that of another function.

Generally, we tend to favor our most developed, superior function, while we can broaden our personality by developing the others. Related to this, Jung noted that the unconscious often tends to reveal itself most easily through a person's least developed, inferior function. The encounter with the unconscious and development of the underdeveloped function(s) thus tend to progress together.'


Jung saw the suppression and lack of communication or awareness of the Shadow as a polarisation and disconnection from the Self. The less awareness or the more one denies the characteristics of the Shadow, the thicker the shadow becomes and the more one is subject to the projections of the Shadow onto the outside world. One ceases to see the world as it really is but projects one's own consciousness and one ideas about the world onto the world. This concept is touched upon on the Romance page, where in the early stages of a relationship or dating, a couple may be infatuated or 'in love' with a projection of their own Shadow onto the other person.

One may perhaps observe that those that try to please others and to be sweet and pleasant at all times may indeed be refusing to be 'real' and to acknowledge or face the 'unpleasant realities' of certain aspects of existence. Those that try to interpret everything as being sweet in this manner and try to avoid any negative emotions, reactions or confrontations may be split inside like an Iron Curtain, hiding all the 'unpleasantness' behind the Iron Curtain, but which is in constant battle with them as they try to deny or hide it. Such people may be easily offended or upset, and seem child-like, as there is a big discrepency between their perception of reality and objective reality. We may feel that we never truly know such people. They may be very sweet indeed, and perhaps a little 'clingy' and without personality or of unknown personality, but what we see of them is not really their Authentic Selves, but a Pretend Self. Under the sweet veneer, they may be very depressed or lonely people. It can be very dangerous to deny one's darker side or nature in this manner. As Jung said 'Whatever one does not live, lives against one'.

Sometimes we may blurt out a statement that we immediately retract, as it is not polite or appropriate, and perhaps rephrase it so it sounds more saccharine and palatable - more positive and easily swallowed by the other person. However, what we have said, we must feel on some level. Even if we cannot construct a sentence very well and sometimes need to think through what we are going to say as we don't immediately know what we think or want to say. We are out of touch with the Constructive Shadow. If we do think something 'bad', then this may simply be a projection of our Negative Shadow. It is good that we said it, even if it is not socially acceptable, because it is pointing to some imbalance, some denial, some repression, that has built up tension and resulted in this 'steam' being let off. The steam itself, i.e. the provocative statement, may not in itself be how we REALLY feel, in our Authentic Selves, but has been created by our Pretend Self as a counterreaction to the Pretend Self's self righteousness and the Hero's image of himself as being squeaky clean and ticking the right boxes. Such thoughts are like people who offend us, they are pointers to a Destructive Shadow, that we have made thicker by our own denial and imbalanced approach. Our 'civilisation' has a number of consequences in society, and this is reflected in drunken violence and gang culture - negative projections of the Destructive Shadow, created in part out of repression of our natures.

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.
- Dr Carl G. Jung

If one is disconnected from one's shadow, or is unaware of it as separation is nearly complete, one fears one's Shadow, it becoming a monster bent on trying to kill you or destroy or torture you with pain. Perhaps this is where much of our monster mythology comes from, a reflection of one's own Destructive Shadow. That which we fear the most, on the most primal level. Made flesh and bone. By trying to avoid this Shadow, we remain divided, segregated and growth is not possible. We are paralysed by fear or by the trappings of the ego. If we are driven by fear, and thrive off the Destructive Shadow, we may be capable of truly unthinkable acts of inhumanity towards others. The conscious mind is like someone treading water, trying not to drown, in his own personal Hell. We are constantly being hunted by our Shadow and although our conscious mind tries to make it 'safe', we are regularly attacked by our subconscious. Some Christians perhaps interpret this as spiritual attack by the 'Devil'. Some Satanists may interpret experiences of 'unconditional love' and 'light' of Jesus as a different form of spiritual attack.

When one seeks to reconcile with one's shadow, through the eyes of love, the Shadow becomes a powerful and dynamic force in one's life, that drives the conscious mind. It becomes one's insight and wisdom, the catalyst for what you know and experience as thought. Positive empowering beliefs indeed act as this catalyst, and reconciliation with one's Destructive Shadow, in effect to minimise it and to make one's conscious experience more balanced, and reconnecting strongly with the Constructive Shadow, or in other words, being driven and motivated by empowering beliefs and beliefs about one's own unlimited nature, result in an abundant state of growth, self-honesty and positive experience. Integration with one's shadow or control over it is in a sense blurring the distinctions between the 'I' and the 'Shadow'. There is no separation.

Quotes from the 1990 film Jacob's Ladder (where the protagonist has been shot and is fighting for his life in hospital, but is struggling to fight to stay alive and fears death - inside his subconscious - and goes through a battle with his Shadow, haunted by his past):

'Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.'

'If you're frightened of dying, and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.'

It could be aruged that the concept of the Jungian Shadow is counter to the traditional concepts of monotheistic religions, and the pure pursuit of good. However, this may not strictly be true. Jesus said in John 8:32 (KJV):

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Perhaps this is arguably a slightly Gnostic verse. Perhaps the concept of the Shadow is more at home in classical Gnosticism, but that is not to say that it is out of place in Christianity either.

The first three verses of the Gnostic Gospel from Nag Hammadi, The Gospel of Thomas states:

These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.
(1) And he said, Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.
(2) Jesus said, Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.
(3) Jesus said, If those who lead you say to you, See, the kingdom is in the sky, then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, It is in the sea, then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.

Many people may confuse the concept of God with being judgemental and easily offended, and adopting modern middle class, Western consumer values, denying their animalistic nature rather than transcending it or simply moving on from it, but these are not really what the original faiths were about - these are more negative projections of the shadow and signs of too much ego being involved in the spiritual experience. Religions are supposed to be about free will and CHOICE rather than DENIAL and comfortable existence. Religions can be entered into in a spiritual or non-spiritual manner.

Whilst Jungian psychology need not be anti-religious, Jung himself was not a great believer in his contemporary religion and preferred to analyse Gnosticism and pagan mythologies and analyse them in terms of his own psychoanalysis, as metaphors for Jungian psychology. This is perhaps why many occult practitioners have adopted the philosophy of Jung, and interpreted his ideas in terms of embracing one's 'dark side' and essentially doing so to some extent to entertain the ego (the conscious mind - with nihilistic and disempowering beliefs) and thickening their shadow rather than reducing it is size (and glamorising the Destructive Shadow and choosing to be controlled by its projections into one's conscious mind - which is missing the point), rather than in the true spirit of integration and transmutation. In addition, those occultists that do not embrace some elements of the Right-Hand Path in terms of its positive attributes, such as love, and softer emotions (usually denied 'dark' occultists on pragmatic and macho grounds), and in fact strongly try to suppress these characteristics, whilst feeling they are simplying letting go of the 'unnecessary', are ironically creating a larger barrier between their conscious mind and their shadow, and thickening their negative shadow (by suppressing softer qualities that are necessary to be a rounded and complete person). Maybe these are reasons why 'shadow work' is considered inherently dangerous by occultists.

The more you pursue purity, innocence and light, the more your shadow and your demons will try to destroy you or the more you will perceive the threat of darkness. I have observed this in some Evangelical Christian home groups,where the more they tried to become Christ-like in their lives and worship, the more they actually felt physically and spiritually attacked by demons and the Devil. In some ways, giving one's shadow a personality like an evil force, a demon or devil, one is making it more threatening and is probably creating more fear of the shadow that existed already, making it even harder to come to terms with. In cases of seizures, when patients are thought to be 'possessed', where priests have come to perform an exorcism and put the idea into the person's psyche that they are being attacked by the devil rather than having a severe imbalance of brain chemistry, it strengthens the condition rather than alleviating it, as the patient takes on elements of their belief system into his illness, making the patient much worse and in some cases even killing the patient. The priests in such instances may take the worsening of the condition as a sign that their exorcism is justified and working, and they may thus continue for long periods of time, effectively torturing the patient. I would be interested in analysiing the neurological data of patients that eventually improved from such 'treatment'.

This is in some ways what plagues many religions that try to divide up the psyche into only good and evil, as it simply fragments the personality. It is not just religion, but those who embrace a child-like perspective of the world. A mind that seeks purity will be ravaged with impure thoughts. Those of a religious disposition may feel a need to suppres those thoughts, punish themselves for having them, and to override them with their religious belief system. Often those with a fragmented personality tend to behave worse than those with a more integrated personality, when they have shadow projections or lose their conscious mind's iron grip on the psyche, despite their self-opinion that they are in fact purer people than everyone else. Of course, some religious people do not have these issues, and in those cases, the religion fits their personality very well, or they use their faith in a positive manner, of choice and genuine love of it, rather than a sense of obligation. Of course, every religious person will beat themselves up about their 'performance' and feel like they are inadequate from time to time, but then who doesn't? It is the extent to which this occurs and why that is of interest. Acknowledging error is useful, if indeed it really is error, to revise one's approach, to do things better the next time. Non-attachment and quietness of mind, characterised by Buddhism and Taoism, of course are not necessarily the same as embracing only good in a dominating and ego-driven manner, but there may be certain overlaps of course in terms of the embracing of benevolence.

"The world is as it ever has been, but our consciousness undergoes peculiar changes. First, in remote times (which can still be observed among primitives living today), the main body of psychic life was apparently in human and in nonhuman Objects: it was projected, as we should say now. Consciousness can hardly exist in a state of complete projection. At most it would be a heap of emotions. Through the withdrawal of projections, conscious knowledge slowly developed. Science, curiously enough, began with the discovery of astronomical laws, and hence with the withdrawal, so to speak, of the most distant projections. This was the first stage in the despiritualization of the world. One step followed another: already in antiquity the gods were withdrawn from mountains and rivers, from trees and animals. Modern science has subtilized its projections to an almost unrecognizable degree, but our ordinary life still swarms with them. You can find them spread out in the newspapers, in books, rumours, and ordinary social gossip. All gaps in our actual knowledge are still filled out with projections. We are still so sure we know what other people think or what their true character is."
"Psychology and Religion" (1938) In CW II: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P. 140

Jung argued that the Nazi regime was not some 'random evil' that befell the German people, but a result of self-righteousness of the Conscious mind, resulting in a form of collective psychosis (or uncontrolled continuous connection with the Destructive Shadow), and something that could very well happen again. Which it did in the Balkans and Rwanda in the 1990s.

"No, the demons are not banished; that is a difficult task that still lies ahead. Now that the angel of history has abandoned the Germans, the demons will seek a new victim. And that won't be difficult. Every man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into self-righteousness, is their prey.... We should not forget that exactly the same fatal tendency to collectivization is present in the victorious nations as in the Germans, that they can just as suddenly become a victim of the demonic powers."
"The Postwar Psychic Problems of the Germans" (1945)

On the Belief page, the concept of evil as a lack of goodness or 'Godliness' is examined, evil being simply the absence of compassion and love towards others to varying degrees and embracing the negative aspects of the ego. Sometimes we can see that monotheistic beliefs create a mindset of being easily offended. This is perhaps the Jungian Shadow. Such belief systems create a thicker shadow if one applies them in the wrong spirit, having rigid ideas about good and evil. However, if we do not believe evil exists as such, but is just an absence of Godliness, in what sense can we have 'good' if there is no evil. Well if we view it as a sliding scale of love or no love (i.e. more or less heat, rather than arbitrary extremes of 'hot' and 'cold' which are all relative anyway), where the less love one has, the more one dwells in the ego and the self, then perhaps it is possible. However, those that embrace this type of philosophy are coming to 'good' and indeed 'God' from the position from the self, so they are half embracing the ego already, at their goal of 'good' or their concept of spirituality. So in a sense, if one is denying evil and being less divisive, then 'good' is only going to be so 'good' - as the self is always there. Perhaps this is the whole point, that the self should always be there to some degree as it is about freedom of choice and choosing to be good and embracing love as a fundamental goal or drive (even if all one's actions don't always express this clearly) rather than 'surrendering to God'. Is surrendering to God then deemd 'unnatural and unhealthy' in terms of a relationship? One cannot have one's cake and eat it, so which is it to be? Good and evil, with surrender to God at one extreme (is this really 'good')? Or varying degrees of good, with the self being at the centre of the consciousness and perception of good? Clearly not everyone agrees on this and likely never will!

Is 'evil' really a form of negative collective consciousness? Negative beliefs spreading from one person to the next, and one generation to the next, in the form of negative suggestion and self-hatred? Does it merely stem from pride and self-righteousness as Jung suggested with Nazi Germany? A form of collecive psychosis? Or is it a result of creating a rigid moral social structure, which creates a 'shadow evil' which we try to suppress with a police force, legal system and the army; relying on the threat of punishment and feeling guilty about breaking the law to stop people behaving inhumanely? Or is inhumanity actually in all of us, just below the surface, keep down with social conditioning and norms and etiquette, and perhaps festered and grown by our unnatural social norms, control, repression of our animal/violent nature and social engineering? There are clearly many possible explanations. The shadow can be seen to come out in various controlled circumstances (e.g. defend yourself and kill those that threaten you in a war and you are a hero and a patriot, come back and do the same or much less and you are a criminal and an 'animal') and uncontrolled circumstances and situations in our society (muggings, fights, serial killings, man slaughter, rape, theft, murder etc.), and no matter how many police we employ, we will never fully eradicate acts of violence and murder.

Does this mean we should not try? No. But should we also try to eradicate this shadow by seeking to become more 'complete' as a society, i.e. more open and honest? Is this indeed possible in a modern, consumer society? And would people really want this? It would be probably too uncomfortable for most, having lived their entire lives avoiding their shadows and in the illusion of civilisation. How would our society look if we achieved this? Would we really want to? Would such a heterogenous or morally relative society really work? Would it create instead more confusion, disorientation and depression in the general population? Increasing internet access with more information, quality and not, may result in 'information overload', people feeling lost in the amount of data and not knowing where to start of focus. Is there a real goal as such? Or is it always going to be a balance between order, cleanliness and keeping up appearances, illusion, compartmentalisation and morality vs directness, integration of moral compartments, honesty, daily and open brutality, tough choices and lack of inhibitions? Can we go too far to the latter goal and become an 'insane' society, which may be more 'honest' but nuture different kinds of mental illness and psychosis than we have today?

It is easy to think that the shadow is just repressed emotions and untaken paths and choices. However, certain events, no matter how traumatised or not we are by them, are inherently difficult for the conscious mind, such as death, dead bodies and killing. Hopefully there would be less killing of human beings in a more 'complete' society, or at least less war, where the killing is hidden away from the general public to a large extent (unless one is directly in the war zone). Killing of animals for foot and clothing is another matter, and it is likely that in such a society, people wouldn't not be so squeemish about killing for food or in fact bodily functions. But somewhere people will want to draw the line where they don't want to see death and defacation in home! There is a fine line between being complete and being insane.

Miscellaneous web sites discussing the Jungian Shadow can be found at the links below.



The above quotations, and others, from Carl Jung from his works, regarding the Shadow, can be found at the link below.


© 2006-2024 Fabian Dee