The shadow encompasses all of the rejected opinions, habits, traits and destructive forces. However, the shadow isn’t necessarily bad. There are, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self esteem).
It may be referred to as one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, (the reptilian brain), which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.
The shadow, in being instinctive and irrational is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognised as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.
When someone demonstrates prejudice or a hatred towards someone or something, the projection aspect is highlighted, the person who holds a deep prejudice about someone or something is projecting the unwanted thought or beliefs onto someone or something else, relieving themselves of the burden and inner shame they are feeling, out into their environment.
An example from Freud – kicking the car when you feel upset or angry.
The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object (if it has one) or to bring about some other situation that is characteristic of its power. These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.
Eg. What they are perceiving alongside what they have been taught.
The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself” and represents “a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well”. If and when ‘an individual makes an attempt to see his shadow, he becomes aware of (and often ashamed of) those qualities and impulses he denies in himself but can plainly see in others—such things as egotism, mental laziness, and sloppiness; unreal fantasies, schemes, and plots; carelessness and cowardice; inordinate love of money and possessions. To overcome the shadow behaviours and reclaim power over the ego, one must begin the painful and lengthy work of self-education.
‘It must be Jekyll, the conscious personality, (morally and socially) who integrates the shadow … and not vice versa. Otherwise the conscious becomes the slave of the autonomous shadow’.(ego, manipulation)
Dr Jekyll an example personifies how the shadow operates and what damage the shadow can cause.
Dr Jekyll – the responsible doctor – Persona. Dr Jekyll epitomises the false mask or the persona that he has created to ensure trust is established with his patients.
My Hyde – the alter ego/shadow that usurps the persona. Mr Hyde represents the unacknowledged beliefs and opinions of Dr Jekyll. He is driven by the power of his shadow, the destructive shadow claims authority and domination over Dr Jekyll.
Shadow behaviours are evident and experienced in battered spousal. The shadow traits become the true identity behind closed doors. The personality is carefully controlled and unleashed covertly through psychological manipulation. The shadow becomes the denominator in manipulation and abuse.