The golden nugget in the dark shadow.

Linda: We may find it helpful to befriend our shadow when we discover that these figures aren’t compeltely bad as we might at first have assumed. When we come into relationship with them, we lose some of our prejudice against them and find that they have a delightful and useful side that we can use to our advantage. It is only when we investigate our dark shadow characteristics more closely, that we are surprised to find that every single shadow figure has a gift in their hands. No matter how dark and scary these figures may appear at first, if we approach them with curiosity and a desire for understanding, we can find their gold nugget of redeeming value.

Some examples are: The golden nugget inside arrogance is self confidence, inside bitterness and grudge-holding is a refusal to overlook injustice, inside clinging is loyalty, inside being controlling and manipulative is taking leadership, inside cowardice is caution, inside hostility is assertiveness, inside selfishness is self-nuturance, inside submissiveness is cooperation, etc. It may appear, at first glance, that your shadow figure does not have anything positive about it, but they all do. Keep looking until you find some aspect that does serve you in your life.

Consider the following list of dark shadow figures that you may be identifying in yourself to find some redeeming value in that figure. Do not restrict yourself to this list. If there is a dark shadow figure that you are aware of that you have not yet found some redeeming value, make your best effort to identify that golden quality now.

Dark Shadow Golden Nugget
Addict Steadfastness
Aggressive Boundaries Are Strong
Approval Seeker Openness to appreciation
Arrogant one Self-confidence
Bigot Discernment
Bitter grudge holder Refusal to overlook injustice
Bliss Ninny Optimistic, Hopeful
Bossy Causing Results
Caretaker Compassion
Cheerleading Optimism
Clinger Loyalty
Co-Dependent Concern For Others, Caregiver Is Strong
Compromiser Negotiability
Compulsive orderliness Organization, efficiency
Con Artist Teaching, encouraging
Conflict Avoidant Peacemaking
Conniver Intelligent strategizing
Consults Everyone Inclusive
Controller, manipulator Leadership, efficiency
Controlling Making Order
Covert, Sly, Scheming Strategizing
Coward Caution
Critical Addresses The Problem To Fix It
Cruelty-The Sadist Anger
Cunning Forethought
Defensive Preparedness
Demanding Assertive
Dependency on others Trust of others
Ditsy, Ungrounded Big Imagination
Driven Goal Setting
Enmeshed Connected
Exaggerating Fascinating Story Telling
Flatterer Complimenting
Fool Bravery
Greed Self-provision
Greedy Goes After What They Want, Lust For Life
Guilt catcher Conscientiousness
Hoarding Collecting
Hostility Assertiveness
Hypocrite Ability to “act as if”
Impatience Eagerness to get to action.
Impulsive Spontaneity
Incompetence Willingness to experiment
Indecision Openness to possibilities
Inner Critic Conscientious
Insensitive Objectivity
Intimidation Confrontation
Intrusive, Nosy Willing To Get Involved
It’s Not Fair Prizing Justice
Jealous Protectiveness
Judgmental Discernment
Jumping to conclusions Intuitiveness
Lack of order, The Slob Flexibility
Laziness Relaxation
Liar Imaginativeness
Loneliness Openness to nurturance
Loner Satisfied To Be Alone
Loquacity Articulateness
Lust Sexual and sensual pleasure
Narcissist Self-Referential
Needy Asks for what she needs
Nervous Nelly Excitement
Never Satisfied Seeking Excellence
Nitpicking Precise And Detailed Oriented
Obsequiousness Respect
Obsessive Focused
Perfectionist Commitment to Excellence
Playing By Rules Reliability
Pollyanna Visionary, Trusting
Preachy Mentoring
Procrastinator Honoring one’s own timing, patient
Promoter, Pitchman Enrolling, Persuasive
Righteous Self-Confident
Rigidity Tenacity
Ruthless Committed To Winning
Sarcasm Wit
Self-pity Self-forgiveness
Selfishness Self-care
Sense of Obligation Choice
Skeptical Thinking Logically
Slyness Shrewdness
Stuck In The Past Appreciating The Past
Submissiveness Cooperation
Tactless bluntness Frank Candidness
Taking for granted Accepting
Vengefulness Justice
Victim Willing To Express Pain
Weak Flexible, adaptable
Weakling Vulnerable
Wise-Ass Humor
Wishy-Washy-Indecisive Flexible, adaptable

We can eventually learn to respect and love even those parts of ourselves that we have found to be loathesome and detestable. We can learn to appreciate ourselves and our partner for things that we previously sought to destroy. Such inner peace and harmony with others is the ultimate value of shadow work. In engaging in it we become more compassionate, loving, and accepting, replacing judgment with tolerance, anger with acceptance, aggravation with patience, and fear with love.

Stay tuned for Part 3 with an example of a couple that started out being possessed by their shadows and were able to step out of the possession to go on to have a fruitful dialogue.


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