Updated: Jan 25, 2021
I am a Sagittarian. I am always looking for the bigger picture.
The Shadow as the 3rd Partner in relationships.
The health in any personal relationship is contingent on many factors we struggle to recognize, understand, and contain. The arc of our behavior can be likened to that of a pendulum. Our ability to track wherein the arc our individual pendulum is at the moment of interaction with our partner prescribes our behavioral responses. Tired meeting enlivened, joyful smiling at sad; secure confronting insecure are examples of behaviors of opposite amplitudes, the maximum point of the swing.
Pendulum swing partially depends on weight and gravity. The swing and duration of let's call them 'emotional pendulums are based on our personal hidden baggage weight. The speed and duration are often powered by impulses hidden beneath the skin of our consciousness. These impulses were first named by Carl Jung as the personal shadow. My need to understand why my deep desire for a loving relationship with women was consistently undermined. Internal friction eventually pushed me to the edge of the metaphorical cliff. 'I had to get into my SELF before I could get out of myself.' As Albert Einstein is credited with exclaiming, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
Meaningful connections with female partners have been fraught with contradictions. Lack of sustainably always seemed to result in me being washed up on the beach of disappointment. Four marriages and several long term relationships are witness to this pattern. Despair led to resolve; there had to be a better way.
Self Improvement volumes deliver words of wisdom and advice in search of the 'Holy Grail of Relationship.' The research revealed one resonating approach, 'How to bring the shadow self into the light.'
This process encouraged the dive deep into the pool of my subconscious and face the shadow self's darkness and offer the hand of recognition to my shadow.
The biggest shadow turned out to be suppressed, strong resentful feelings for my own gender. My childhood story, sadly shared by many, is an archetypal example of a dysfunctional home. The bipolar tendencies present in my parents, whom I loved, confused, and disgusted me. I felt abandoned by my father and overwhelmed by my mother's anguish. In adulthood, these buried feelings manifested specifically as profound disapproval of men's behavior, including some of my own!
The negative conditioning around the male/female aspect was a shock and something I wanted to exorcise. Every assumption, every self-righteousness stance, every judgment lacked empathy and compassion for men: quite the opposite to the warm, soft lenses I viewed the plight of women.
Playing the lead actor in the partnership drama where thoughts, emotions, and judgments were forced from the caves of my subconscious into the spotlight on the stage of divorce, separation, and deceit was no fun. Equally, I experienced the support of wise, compassionate women. Women taught me to listen and metaphorically move my mind from my head to my heart. As more of my shadow issues were dissolved in the light of the present time, I became aware of the collective's patriarchal paradigm in my approach to relationships with my own feelings and free will.
I saw that patriarchy and misogyny were bedfellows. The following quotes explain my point best.
"Patriarchy demands of men that they become and remain emotional cripples. Since it is a system that denies men full access to their freedom of will, it is difficult for any man of any class to rebel against patriarchy, to be disloyal to the patriarchal parent, be that parent female or male." ~ bell hooks
In 1975 the famous feminist author Susan Brownmiller discussed the origins of the patriarchal order. Her conclusion below literally hit me in the gut. I could identify, with a deep sense of shock, faint inclinations in this direction.
"Mans discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times along with the use of fire and the first crude ax."
Today I obviously still experience pendulum swing as the balancing process between my body's needs and the arching desires of my consciousness. I can take a breath and access a greater perspective. My relationship to my Male aspect and men, in general, has become one of compassion for the rigid rules manhood we have been conditioned to follow.
In my personal life joy, expansiveness has allowed the light of fulfillment to shine onto partnerships' dynamic potential.
Both men and women have the right and option to choose whether to undertake the Shadow journey to find and embrace the male/ feminine aspect within them.
A journey into the shadow's deep dark pool has even greater rewards than personal emotional health because, as I have discovered. I now have to access the tools to understand and fully support women's emancipation into key players in local and world affairs.
Maybe, if we collectively embrace the merging of heart and mind, we will follow Einstein's antidote for insanity.