Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Owning Your Shadow

Recently, while cleaning my house I found this book, Owning Your Shadow by Robert Johnson. It was a Harper Collins book, so I figure I most have nabbed it while I did a rotation through there. They had a great benefit (if lousy pay) and that was in the basement they'd put out books that employees could nab. You'd see us all down there just waiting for new books to be put out, and I was more than happy to run any errand that would bring me past that treasure trove.

Anyway, I'm not generally one for self-help psychobabble type stuff, which even when I picked the book up again recently, I felt it was. Just the title kind of irks me. Calling the dark side 'the shadow' isn't my thing, but it's my understanding he takes this from the Jungian philosophies the book attempts to 'bring down' to proletariat level.

But, it has made it's way into my bathroom reading rotation, and I'm about two-thirds through it now. And I have to say, I'm digging parts of it, or parts of it make sense.

I've always been about the unity of self, which this book promotes. It talks about making some ceremonial gifts to the 'dark side' once in a while to feed it and keep it from rearing it's ugly head (and it uses Mass as a perfect example of ceremoniously appeasing dark forces, what with the eating of flesh and drinking of blood and worshiping capital punishment and all that).

The part that stuck out, was where it talks about OTHERS shadows and how parents who don't want to deal with the darkness inside them, split and send their 'shadows' onto their children who then have to shoulder the burden of not just their own disunity, but their parents as well.

Which made me think - before I started this book things came up that brought back old fears (part of why I haven't posted in a while). All growing up, I felt my mother had the power, and technically, physically, she did. She was huge and imposing, taller than me, could throw my brother and I around. She crowed about how strong she was (on more than one occassion she also jumped kids that bothered my brother, a notable one sent her sliding down a snowy hill). She talked about her strength of character and physical strength that could cause us pain.

But she was weak, so very weak. She couldn't handle the burden of pain that her parents put on her, she couldn't handle her own darkness, so instead, she thrust it upon her children. She crowed about her perfections and her strengths and frequently commented on the weakness of her children. But we were the stronger, for we (or at least I, I like to think my brother has succeeded in unifying our fractured selves as well) had to deal with her by ourselves, while she just shoveled burden after burden on us so she didn't have to deal with it. We were like her own emotional garbage cans.

I'm just jotting stuff down freehand here or else I know I won't, so please excuse if this sounds to self-helpy or just incomprehensible (or badly spelled) but it pisses me off to think about it now. More than the physical abuse, all the mental ills that she forced on us just prove what a *insert swear word here* whimp she was, and that as always she put her own immediate needs over the long-term ones of her children. And all this time I thought she was strong, but only because she kept saying she was. I guess that proves that no matter how many times you repeat a lie, it still doesn't make it true.


Amel's Realm said...

First of all, I'm GLAD you published this post, Vic.

Secondly, I knew there was other reason(s) as to why you hadn't posted for a while.

Thirdly, that's right about no matter how often you tell a lie, it doesn't make it true.

What you wrote makes sense to me, even though I probably can't understand it wholly, but I understand the gist of it. MORE power to you, Vic!!!

Hmmm...I think this is the first time I've ever felt your emotions strongly in your blog, but it's good to let it all out here and leave it here. :-))))

Victorya said...

Uhm, yeah :D She contacted me, via e-mail. My friends figure she paid the 29.95 or whatever to get my data. It kind of threw me for a bit, but I'm getting over it. Just, at that moment, that feeling of being hunted came back. I've been hesitant to write about it too, maybe I should? Since my voice is my greatest power here. . .

Amel's Realm said...

Sorry to hear that you felt hunted again. :-((( But yeah, I think you should write about it and leave it out in the blogosphere. :-)))

Anyway, I hope you'll have a BLESSED weekend, Vic! :-))))

Amrita said...

I just came to your blog today.I don 't know your whole story but what you say about your Mom is right, she couldn 't handle her inner darkness to she dumped it on her kids.

Christians don 't worship capital punishment.Jesus was given capital punishment, unjustly..He was sinless...He died for our sins.

The elements of the communion or Mass are symbols of the blood Jesus shed to wash away our sins and the body which He gave to His torturers so that we might be saved.