Gold In The Shadow
by, 03-12-2011 at 03:06 PM (921 Views)
While out walking this week, I began assessing on some recent events in my life and how I was able to muster energy to rectify what I had allowed to become a crisis. At some point my conscious self was unable or unwilling to deal with my problems, therefore what I can only surmise as my shadow type became conscious, to put these external atrocities in order. I was pleasantly happy with my ability to focus my energy in becoming results oriented. In fact everything I did this week, was with a forcefulness that I had not witnessed in myself for months.
That new-found focus seemed to energize me and frankly “I liked it”. Yet it made me wonder whether I had completely mistyped myself. Was my best-fit type (ISTP) in all actuality my shadow type? Was I really an ESTJ? I began having my usual chicken/egg scenario. After pondering on this for the past couple of days, I started researching Jung’s theory on the shadow type. Everyone has a theory of what Jung meant by shadow. What is consistent in everyone’s work is Jung purporting that our shadow is in layman terms our unconscious. Our dominant attitude (E or I) dictates how we use the functions with the opposite attitude. Ergo, as a dominant Ti type, I am going to be less conscious of at least my Te and other lower functions.
So far everything I have read seems to associate the shadow with our darker side. I have no way of knowing for sure at this time, but even Jung was reported to have said:This brings me back to my thoughts all along that all aspects of my shadow will be dark. Anthony Stevens says:“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” - Jung, C.G. (1938). “Psychology and Religion.” In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131However in his writing on Psychological Type, Jung only refers to the term “shadow” one time, when differentiating between Te and Ti:The subject is prone to projecting their “shadow” onto other persons, so as to dissociate their dark part from themselves. The goes back to the idea of the double.This first should put to rest that cognitive functions are not interchangeable, even when using the same function. The orientation of that function (E/I) will always conflict with how the other works. But what I discovered as this is not the shadow that I experienced this week. When I become conscious of my shadow side, I become community oriented, lucid in handling my business affairs and the affairs of others. Essentially, I get results and my family and friends seek me out for that purpose.This difference is perceived most clearly when extraverted thinking is engaged upon material, which is specifically an object of the subjectively orientated thinking. This happens, for instance, when a subjective conviction is interpreted analytically from objective facts or is regarded as a product or derivative of objective ideas. But, for our 'scientifically' orientated consciousness, the difference between the two modes of thinking becomes still more obvious when the subjectively orientated thinking makes an attempt to bring objective data into connections not objectively given, i.e. to subordinate them to a subjective idea. Either senses the other as an encroachment, and hence a sort of shadow effect is produced, wherein either type reveals to the other its least favourable aspect, The subjectively orientated thinking then appears [p. 433] quite arbitrary, while the extraverted thinking seems to have an incommensurability that is altogether dull and banal. Thus the two standpoints are incessantly at war.
So how is it that something that what we understand as a dark and sinister part of ourselves becomes our advocate in a crisis hour? As stated above, one thought is I complete mistyping, or what I am becoming more aware of is Jung’s “"gold in the shadow". I will attempt to find out more about this, but it essentially refers to the constructive side of our shadow. For instance, the destructive shadow of someone who identifies as being kind may be actually harsh or unkind. On the other hand, the shadow of a person who is brutal may be gentle when using their constructive shadow. In a nutshell a person's shadow may represent hidden positive qualities, or again what Jung refers to as the "gold in the shadow".
I think most can recall times that when consciously knowing they were completely out of character for their type, but were very constructive in using the shadow type. More to come on this later.
Shadow v. In-The-Grip
There is speculation that Naomi Quenck’s coined phrase of being “In the Grip” is synonymous with our shadow types. I am not so sure of that. In her book, “Beside Ourselves”, Quenck describes what triggers a “grip” episode for ITP types for example is “Being around people who are expressing strong emotions, especially if others are criticizing their personal characteristics. Other episodes may include having their strong values and feelings not recognized or affirmed, or others being insensitive to their need for silence and solitude.
Naomi Quenck says that when ITPs are in the grip, they become hypersensitive to relationships, become emotional a express logic to an extreme. Quenck says these identifying factors are the negative qualities of Fe types who are sensitive to the welfare of others, prefer to share their emotions and are comfortable with an inattention to logic. I am convinced that having a grip episode does not equate to our shadow functions, although many INTPs, as well as INJs, ENPs seem to have animosity toward the use of their fourth function.
John Beebe and Linda V. Berens who prescribe to an 8-model function believes the shadow functions start at the fifth function, not the fourth. They call this function Opposing since its energy is opposite of the dominant funciton. In a self-assessment John Beebe describes his 5th function by saying:Linda Berens is somewhat a more positive in her defining the Opposing Role in saying:My introverted intuition, shadow in attitude to my superior extraverted intuition, has decidedly oppositional traits: it expresses itself in ways I could variously describe as avoidant, passive-aggressive, paranoid and seductive, in all cases taking up a stance that is anathema to the way my superior extraverted intuition wants me to behave. I decided to call the archetype carrying this bag of oppositional behaviors the Opposing Personality.Aha, that’s it in it’s entirety, which is why I feel so drained in having to be call on Te for several consecutive days.The opposing role is often how we get stubborn and argumentative – refusing to “play” and join in whatever is going on at the time. It might be easy for us to develop skill in the process that plays this role, but we are likely to be narrow in our application of this skill, and it will likely take more energy to use it extensively. In its positive aspect, it provides a shadow or depth to our leading role process, backing it up and enabling us to be more persistent in pursuit of our goals.
Since I have only recently stumbled on the “gold in the shadow” theory, I will hold judgment until hopefully Beebe enlightens us more with his study of the Shadow.