From time to time, I've read about the "shadow", more commonly referred to our dark side. It is said that for many a successful person, their downfall can be traced to their shadow. The purpose of this thread is to explore the topic of the Shadow. First - what is it and why we care?
Jung said the shadow "personifies everything that [one] refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him." I have seen the shadow described in several ways including:
The Bag We Pull Behind Us - There are a number of things relating to our character or history that we try to repress because it is painful or makes us feel inadequate. In this case, the shadow is compared to the "bag we pull behind us" of all the things we don't want to acknowledge about ourselves. The longer life goes, the more full the bag gets, potentially to the point where we can't pull it anymore. This is related to the concept of "projection" where we quickly identify negative qualities in others that we ourselves possess but are not willing to admit.
The Shadow Functions - The four functions which oppose the functions in our type. For example, if an INTPs function order is: Ti, Ne, Si, and Fe. The shadow functions are correspondingly Te, Ni, Se, and Fi. How these functions manifest themselves in people is unclear or inconsistent in current literature. Lenore Thompson refers to them as "double agents" and "crows nest" functions.
Eruptions Of The Inferior - In Naomi Quenk's book, "Beside Ourselves," she describes the concept of the eruption of the inferior. During an eruption of the inferior, a person acts like an extremely poor version of their opposite type. During one of these episodes for example, a stressed INTJ behaves like a childish and horrific example of an ESFP. These episodes can be fleeting or in some cases go on for longer periods of time. It is a situation where we are "not ourselves", regress and become childish and after a time come back to equilibrium.
These are the descriptions I've seen but I'm not an expert. I'm hoping that with the collective knowledge and wisdom of the people on this forum that we can have a discussion that helps to provide some clarity on this confusing topic. What are your perspectives on this?
- What is the shadow?
- Why is important?
- Why do we care about this as individuals?