Carl Jungs Shadow at Work in Intimate Relationships

I appreciate a recent comment regarding Dr. Carl Jung that addresses how we tend to see the flaws in others which we are not willing to see in ourselves. According to Jung there is a "Shadow", aspect of ourselves that is not within our awareness. It is like the part of ourselves that we don't want to know about or acknowledge. The unconscious "Shadow", does not only contain dark aspects of ourselves but positive aspects of ourselves as well. The part that we want to deny or represses for some reason. This could possibly be when we don't want to admit to a strength within ourselves, like beauty, intelligence, or any number of positive traits. As we don't admit to the shadow aspects of ourselves, there is a tendency to project or see them in others. We may see positive qualities in others that may not exist within them, or if it does exist it is amplified. So we are really seeing ourselves but in their image. This is so weird! Unfortunately we can also see the demon in the other that actually doesn't exist or is amplified.

When someone attributes meaning to our actions that is unrelated to our motivation, this dynamic may be in play. We have all probably experienced this at one time or another.

One of the great thing about couples or marriage counseling is that most often partners begin to improve their communication skills. As they learn to talk and listen more effectively they are better able to more accurately see their partner in a more realistic manner. As a therapist it is a wonderful experience when couples begin to see each other in a more positive way, when they see their partner as more loving than the once believed. Often partners can see that the negative motivation they attributed to their partner's actions were inaccurate and that their motivation for the behavior came from a place of caring and compassion. The truth that we frequently don't see is that much of our motivation begins from a place of caring, Thank you Adrew for your comment!

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