The Shadow


Part one: The demons in the shadow

I would like to begin with a story of Franz Kafka: metamorphosis in which Gregor Samsa, wakes up one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect. And this is for me meeting the shadow, or: the shadow is coming out, (or in a fictional story Samsa becomes the shadow).

I want to expand on what Carl Jung called: The shadow; we all have in us a shadow entity, there are all kinds of demons living in the shadow, every once in a while a demon jumps out of the shadow. The shadow is formed out of our attempts to adapt to cultural norms and expectations. It contains all of the things that are unacceptable not only to society. There are all kinds of demons in the shadow: It might include cruelty, hostility, rejection, hatred, attack, cursing violence, insult, antagonism, downgrading, humiliation and aggression – In the most intimate relationships, it can go on peacefully for a long time, and in the meanwhile – the shadows grows and grows until comes a point that it could not be contained anymore and suddenly the bubble bursts out, without a warning it jumps 0ut.   Before this particular shadow agent became activated – it was not even close to appear and come out, and suddenly they kidnap the contaminated partners and takes over.

Sometimes after a while, the routine of life takes over again, and the out bursting demon gets swallowed back into the darkness of the shadow. And we eventually, develop a forgetfulness about these terrible demonic outbursts. And carry on.  (After it’s devastation we usually give it some sort of poor rational explanation, and push it under the carpet).

But if the repression and the pretending goes on for too long it is not possible to bring the demon back into the bottle. And the relationship breaks down in a great explosion of hatred and destruction that knows no end.

People usually are unaware of the number of times it jumps out of the shadow and into their lives. And so they can live with it, coming in and out of the shadows. They call it: a row or a quarrel.

Part two: acceptance and living with

It is important to understand how we relate to being normal, being ok; all our life we aspire to be confirmed by our environment, longing to be confirmed by others that we are as we are supposed to be and nothing is wrong with us. Physically, socially and psychologically. 

This wish and powerful drive to be a normative citizen just like everyone is portrayed very well in a song by Malvina Reynolds: Little boxes:


Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same

And the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same
And there’s doctors and lawyers
And business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same
There’s a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

In all groups and schools everyone wants to be surrounded by individuals and children who look and behave like the rest, and if something seems not ok in some sort of way with someone in a group of children -that is different from the rest of the children, then this child becomes an outlet for the demons in the shadow.

Well, the truth is that the stricter are the rules of what is allowed to be expressed in public the more powerful is the shadow. There is a lot in the dark side that you need, especially if you are creative, a genius, or wish to be authentic. most of the highly gifted creative people have great shadows, and in many of them the shadow turns inwards and caused great inner distraction and crises.

When unknown and denied – it is most powerful, and then it can pop out at any time and do its destructive act.

We are watchful in keeping a clean face. As long as no one knows, and as long as you don’t know (about the active place the shadow has in your life) – all is ok. 

And the more powerful and dangerous is the shadow agent that you are not aware of – the greater is the shock and devastation that is being experienced. 

When the outburst of the shadow erupts – the most common way is to blame the victim in the outburst.  Because if we take responsibility that the shadow could not be contained anymore and it had to burst out – than the self-condemnation and self-guilt are too unbearable.


So, what was said so far? Human beings have got buried in them a conglomerate of what could only be called as: an entity of repression: the shadow.

They greater and more tyrannical are societies’ restrictions as to what is allowed to express and do – the more volume power and space the conglomerate is gathering.

What is allowed to be expressed and be given voice to could be called the light side, and what we burry within out of fear to give them a voice could be called: the dark side.

The light side is the face you show on the outside because it is acceptable by the collective consensus. The shadows not what is accepted by the general norm.

Now the shadow is a mixture of what the average person could not give voice to because of language tyranny. (About language tyranny towards the end).

Germany has probably the most sever oppression on what is allowed to externalize, so there is no surprise that from one side the greatest composers and philosophers came from her, and also the most evil, mean and cruel side would also come from Germany It is important to understand at that point that I am not talking about the repression as throwing inside forbidden staff like into a wheelhouse. It becomes an entity.

It is a mixture of everything we burry in us and could not face and we cannot show on the outside.

The shadow should not be stigmatizes, in it the greatest regenerative and creative forces, joined with the cruelest most eve forces, all in one bundle.

The shadow is not all evil, it is a mixture of all which above the ordinary that has no place in a normative society – above the average and below it.

The greatest composers and philosophers came from Germany, and as well, it is the same Germany that murdered 6000000 Jews. Greatness and demons could not be separated, they are fused together in an entity of what the average mediocre society does not have room for, only for the grey norm.

In direct proportion to the inhibitions imposed by the culture so does the repressed entity within grows.

Rather than confront something that we don’t like, our mind pretends it does not exist. Aggressive impulses, taboo mental images, shameful experiences, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires—these are a few examples of shadow aspects, things people contain but do not admit to themselves and externally – that it lives in them. Here are a few examples of common shadow behaviors:

From time to time the shadow must erupt and release some of the unbearable pressure hidden within: In Holland which is very civilized and citizens obey to all restrictions fanatically, almost, there are 90 cases of women murdered by their husbands.
But in Germany it is the worst:
A woman is killed every 3 days in Germany by a partner or ex-partner

Domestic violence is on the rise in Germany. According to the latest figures from the Federal Criminal Police (BKA), the number of reported acts of violence against women by their partners or ex-partners rose slightly last year. Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey called the figures “alarming.”

Last year, 122 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in Germany – one every three days. According to an evaluation by the BKA, in total, more than 114.000 women were victims of domestic violence, threats, stalking or coercion by their husbands, partners or ex-partners. 

Every day there is an attempt; every third day that attempt is successful.”

81 percent of domestic violence victims are women!!!

In cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual coercion, women made up 98,4 percent of the victims; for threats, stalking and coercion, 88,5 percent of the victims were female; for intentional bodily injury, the proportion was 79,9 percent; and for murder and manslaughter in relationships, 77 percent of victims were female. 

So when the demons in the shadow couldn’t be restricted by rigid way of public conduct the weak, and the helpless and the sensitive are the victims.

This are drives, cravings and desires that live in the bottom of our lower subconscious: All which is not allowed by so called civilized society to be given voice to. This inner demons are being a very serious center of gravity that controls what is happening in the outer courts of one’s life.
But this occupation with demons isn’t seen and legitimate, the person denies the gravitational pull that the demons have over his life. And so he lives in a kind of disconnection between the control from below and the face he present to himself and to the outside.
There is a disconnection between the abys of the lower subconscious and his consciousness. Usually he identifies with the clean public mask and denies the shadow. In this disconnection there is the fatality and even the tragedy of human beings. A person is supposed to be a master to himself, but in order for this to happen he has to admit that he is a slave to the demons.

 On the awareness level, all are aspiring to be masters of their life. But despite the aspirations, ambitions and statements, the person falls back on their demons.
And the maximum that could be reached in this gap (between the aspirations and the demons) – is to hide the demons by what could be conceived as a responsible and mature normative behavior. (And this is what happens usually).

So, from one hand we hide our emotional obsessions (demons), but from the other hand we invest so much in study, diligent work, a normal family life – with which we identifies – until we have no idea of the time bomb gathering power inside.
The most challenging thing for the normal citizen is to admit that the demons are an infliction in our emotions and blood and to accept and recognize them as a legitimate part of our self.

(In a utopian state of real emotional maturity – we no longer hide from the outside our emotional demons)

We all, (who is more and who is less) suffer from the dominance of the emotional demons, and the remedy society found against the demonic power of demonic emotions – is repressions (inside) and masks (on the outside).

A chilling expression of the overtaking of the demons could be found in a book by William Golding: Beelzebub Lord of the flies.
And so great is the power of repressions and masks – that the person himself is not aware of the destruction potential which is in the demons, until they bursts out.
The greatest challenge about the emotional demons – is not to repress them further, or ignore them, but rather, how to become friends and to live in a relative peace, and so, to eliminate the two poles; one is the dominance of the demons (which will intensify the P.I.) and the second is the repression of the demons (which will increase their power, in the dark).
We are easy victims of those emotional demons, it is the vacancy and vacuum of our inner life and inner being – which sucks in those emotional demons, which is charging with power of our untamed and wild emotions.

The great challenge we could arrive at; is to know that ‘I am the shadow’, and the ‘darker’ the shadow is– the real ‘me’.

So, we have two approaches to the issue of the shadow in us;
One, is running away of the darkness of the shadow, The second approach is to give it recognition.
An authentic person is connected to the shadow, and in him he finds his identity. From reading the essays of the Danish philosopher: Søren Kierkegaard – it is quite clear that he was connected to the ‘shadow’ of the ‘poor child’ in him, and through him he was able to connect to what is authentic and real in the world.
But with politicians, many of them are blotted people, talking in high clichés and slogans, mostly because their ‘shadow’, – did not get from them any recognition. Everything below the neck – is the lower subconscious: emotions, cravings etc.
Intellectualism is a proof to that that we lost the contact with the denied self, the unpolished’ unshaped self, the inner shadow. Whereas’ living full authentic life- means intimacy with ‘shadow’. The shadow is everything we deny in our self, because it is not civilized enough, we scarified the ‘essence’ for the sake of the ‘personality’.
We, our self, are living on a very thin layer of consciousness, it stands between two dimensions that we are not conscious of; the ‘shadow’ –which is connected to the body, and it is called here: the lower subconscious, the other is the civilized world.  

Part three:  The language Tyranny

One of the main ways by which the conformist average majority is keeping the shadow from coming out is through the control of our language. The ruling language and vocabulary – are very dominant, so much so, that everyone must watch his language as well as the language of others, and if it is not in the exact line of what is expected, the person might simply be attacked.
For example, we know very well how a person with terminal illness – should talk and express how he meets his illness. For example, he must be positive, not to complain, and even show an unbeatable spirit towards his illness.
Or sex. People should not express complains about their sex life, and sex in general, it either is very satisfying (this is the general conception) or the person gets a treatment from a professional.
Or women lib. It is unacceptable to talk about women as victims, weak, gentle, supporting etc.
She should be addressed as capable, equal to man, and strong.
Or talking about kids and the experience of giving birth – it must be expressed that kids and family life is the most sacred aspect of one life, and the more successful he is – the more he must praise having children. No one should express openly any sort of resentment towards his kids.

Or if a grandparent is saying that he does not like to meet and play with his grandchildren – it would be mostly unacceptable).

Or the way we talk about psychologists and psychiatrists, we should never doubt the importance, vitality and effectiveness of their work, generally we should trust them.

Or the way we talk about fat or restarted people. Today we preach: “you are the best in exactly the way you are”.
Or the gays, today no one can speak against them in any way, and those who dare will be scolded by the listeners.

We are not free to think and express ideas which are not in the heart of the consensus.
Our language is strictly monitored by everyone.
So, no one speaks his mind, but obey to the general accepted norm of speech.
This makes our conversation to be very flat, one dimensional, and very phony, non-authentic and alienated and divorced from our true personal view and experience of life and the world.
This is what is so lacking in the most conventional format of the television; everyone there talks like everyone else, and no one like himself.
This censorship on our language is by no means fixed and permanent, it is subject to constant changes, and our ears learned which direction the wind is blowing now. About 10 years ago woman were hiding the sexual attacks upon them today in the ‘me too’ age the way we talk about sexual harassment – have changed dramatically.
And then when a regular average person is asked to describe what he feels or thinks – he has no words, for all the words has gone to portray the acceptable language norm. So, when he begins to talk he immediately switches to the collective language, even without noticing that he is doing this switch.

And again: everyone talks like everyone else, and no one talks like himself.


“…our souls may be consumed by shadows, but that doesn’t mean we have to behave as monsters.”
― Emm Cole, The Short Life of Sparrows

“Deal with all this, live with myself, you mean? I honestly don’t know. I stand often enough at the abyss of my soul, asking that same question, looking down into the dark crevices where the black monsters dwell on the bottom. They gaze up at me, and I look them in the eyes. “This also you are,” they say, and I almost fall into the void.”
“And then?”
Anaxantis shrugged.
“And then? I turn around and go do what needs to be done. What else is there?”
― Andrew Ashling, The Invisible Chains – Part 1: Bonds of Hate

“We don’t fall in love with people because they’re good people. We fall in love with people whose darkness we recognize. You can fall in love with a person for all of the right reasons, but that kind of love can still fall apart. But when you fall in love with a person because your monsters have found a home in them– that’s the kind of love that owns your skin and bones. Love, I am convinced, is found in the darkness. It is the candle in the night.”
― C. JoyBell C.

“You cannot defeat darkness by running from it, nor can you conquer your inner demons by hiding them from the world. In order to defeat the darkness, you must bring it into the light.”
― Seth Adam Smith, Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern

“They were tricky, those demons. Could they be trusted? Of course they could be trusted. She’d created them. She owned them. They wouldn’t lead her astray.”
― Rachel Cohn, Very LeFreak

“Many a person over the years has tried- both successfully and unsuccessfully, to get rid of their inner demons. Those who are successful are deemed artists, those who are not are called dreamers at best and lunatics at worse. But where exactly resides that line on which two worlds collide? Does somebody know? Is somebody fit to tell? Who’s to say that those deemed lunatics are not just successes on the making? Who says that those who claim to be just a tad bit crazy are not just as crazy as those that had completely lost it? Maybe, and bear with me here…everyone is as crazy as the one before them and the next one could ever possibly be. Maybe at the end- it’s just that some have mastered creating a façade of calmness and collection while others don’t bother going through all that trouble anymore, if they ever did. Perhaps we all have demons…it’s just that some people have demons far more toxic and difficult to ignore than others.”
― Eiry Nieves

“Its where my demons hide.”
― Imagine Dragons

“We must all face our demons sooner or later.”
― Matt Abrams, She’s Toxic

“Inner demons feed on mind games. Trust me, keeping them satisfied with my own twisted way of thinking.”
― Efrat Cybulkiewicz

“Yes, he liked his face as he saw it there, his mouth quivering around the cigarette between his lips and the apparent ardor of his deep-set eyes. But a man’s beauty represents inner, functional truths: his face shows what he can do. And what is that compared to the magnificent uselessness of a woman’s face? Mersault was aware of this now, delighting in his vanity and smiling at his secret demons.”
― Albert Camus, A Happy Death

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real…
— Carl Jung, 
Aion (1951)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

On the Scapegoat theory

Part one: In every house and city there is a sewage system, in the human body there is a similar drainage system, it is operating through the skin and lower…
Read more

We lived in secret.

We lived in secret. The unknown surrounds our lives in a siege. And within that, isn’t it only a percentage of what is known. We desperately try to overcome the…
Read more