What are shadow parts? How do I know if I have any, or how to recognize them?
Shadow parts are like the blind spots in our rear view mirror. One moment we look out of the mirror and it looks as if we have clear sailing, no cars in sight. Then suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a car appears dangerously close to us! Where did that come from?
Similarly in our lives, we may be having a discussion with our partner, co-worker or friend and suddenly a shadow part is triggered, reacts to something said, and jumps out, seemingly without your permission or even awareness! The reaction might be sudden rage or jealousy, sadness or fear. Now we have a mess to clean up that was completely out of our control, like getting side-swiped by an unseen car trying to pass on the highway.
The power of Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy in these situations, when shadow parts jump out, is that we offer many tools and techniques to help that rear view mirror give a clear and realistic picture of the traffic which may be there ready to take you over. This is accomplished by providing tools to effectively work with trance states and with the deep unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is a gold mine ready to be explored through hypnotherapy, to reveal what has been deeply buried within each of us.
How Does this Work?
We take Jungian psychology out of the head, which is only 10% of our mind, and we bring it into the subconscious portions of our awareness, into the body, and even into the unconscious mind. This is only logical since this is where the shadow parts of us reside, in the blind spots hidden deep below our conscious awareness. The trick here is to “see” where the shadows are hiding since usually we only observe the aftermath of a shadow’s emergence. Just like how confusing it is if we have a car accident, without ever seeing the car hidden in our blind spot. We might ask ourselves, “Why did that happen or how did that happen? I didn’t even see it coming!”
Blind spot shadow collisions frequently are evidenced in our relationships. An example is a woman in one of our groups whose shadow parts would emerge through her interactions with others as well as in e-mails. She would characteristically respond to a group e-mail with an angry response to something from out of the blue. One time she was sent an announcement about an upcoming class to which other people responded with excitement and interest in enrolling. Those that weren’t interested simply didn’t respond at all or just said, “No thank you, not at this time.” The shadow part of this woman, whom we’ll call Dinah, responded with an angry tirade saying, “Why should I take this class? It isn’t going to help me and it certainly would not increase my income!”
When we would question this student later about one of these tirades, she either didn’t remember it at all or would just blow it off by minimizing it. “Oh that’s over now, I didn’t mean anything by it.” Her husband would tend to just dissociate by going into shock when her shadow tirades flared up. He would sometimes try to placate her by agreeing with her, and sometimes he would try to ignore her smoldering rage. However, as he continued to grow through his own deep work with Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, he began to thaw out from his shock state of dissociation. He began to no longer tolerate the appearance of these hostile, demeaning and disruptive shadow eruptions. Through their relationship work, Dinah agreed to honor a signal from her husband which he could use to let her know that one of her shadow parts had taken over “driving the bus”.
How Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy Heals these Shadow Parts
Each time a shadow part emerges, we regress the client to the source of the reaction, the connected feelings and the early decision that was made by a young, uninformed child, about how to survive.
Let’s go back to Dinah’s tendency toward angry responses. We would ask her what feelings were triggered when she read the announcement of a new class. She may have said, “Well, I was very stressed about money that day, etc.” Then we would regress the person back to the source of these feelings of not enough money or resources. In this case, she instantly regressed to being five years old, during an economic hardship where her parents were raising several children and they couldn’t make ends meet. There was a lot of family stress during that time and the young girl wanted to help. She offered her services in some way and was pushed aside by the older siblings with shaming and demeaning words. “Don’t be silly, you are a baby, what makes you think you could earn any money for the family?” She went to hide in her room, feeling shamed, unappreciated and very anxious that there would be no food for them to eat. The deeper fear was, “We’re going to die.” The unconscious conclusion she made about herself was, “I have no value, I’m worthless.” The small child’s subsequent decision was, “I’ll get revenge. They’ll be sorry. I’ll show them that they can’t push me around.”
It was here at five years old that her shadow part developed about perceiving threat everywhere and then responding with anger in an attempt to protect herself. This shadow part followed her around for all of her life, angrily attacking or reacting to others who she perceived as rejecting her offers to help or favoring others over her. This shadow part contributed to many personal conflicts, the loss of business partners, and eventually going bankrupt. Dinah’s healing began when she saw that her little girl just wanted to be loved and appreciated and valued. She realized that she had a very soft, loving heart that was easily hurt. She learned to put protection around herself and ask her fellow Wellness students and family members for feedback if her angry child shadow part emerged without her awareness. The blind spot that had caused collisions so often in her life was now moving into clear sightedness.
Healing shadow parts is most easily accomplished with hypnotherapy to bring access to the unconscious events and decisions that are the “petri dish” in which the seemingly isolated shadow parts grow. Further healing is accomplished through groups where loving feedback can bring light to these shadow parts and thus bring them into the person’s awareness and out of the dark.