“So you think I do that?” the soldier asked regarding projecting his shadow (onto me).
“Yes, but not very often. You’re not the type to do a lot of projecting because you look deeply at things. You’ll think about a relationship for years and years, willing to see it from all angles. You strive to do this and once you’ve exhausted the thing you come to a conclusion about what happened. Invariably it’s fair. You are not only fair, you’re generous. You’re very forgiving of other people’s foibles. You give them enormous benefit of the doubt. You find reasons to explain a person’s behavior that actually favor them. This is rare. I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone do this as well as you. You set the example.”
“I do try to…”
“I know, and you’re successful. So if you do project something it’s fleeting. It gets projected for a day or two. You may go a week if you’re extremely mixed up but generally you’re going to be on top it especially if someone says something. If I say there is something like that going on you’ll look at it exhaustively to see if there is merit; most people immediately move to defend themselves. Oh hell no, that’s not me!”
“Well I trust you, P”
“Yeah but you do this for everyone not just me. It’s in your character to be benevolent. You always take the time to get to the bottom of something and this is why when you say something people have to listen. It’s because whatever you say has been thought through. You have thought about it deeply and consequently when you come up with something to say about something it has punch. It’s very different from someone who is puking up what their neighbor told them the week before. There is nothing like drawing your own conclusions that are rooted somewhere deep. You can always tell.”
“Tell when someone is full of shit,” I said with a snort. “But yeah, you don’t project much and when you do it’s not for long. I think you and I have learned this. We don’t like being blindsided so we use our minds. We’d rather discover things for ourselves and it’s always none of your business what the other person is doing anyway. It’s their soul. Your soul is your problem.”
“Yep, that’s true. I agree with that.”
“Okay, well that’s what I am talking about when I say, projecting your shadow. I am talking about those people who never do anything wrong but they can tell you all kinds of the ways you suck… what you did wrong or what you should be doing. Or maybe they see a small spot or blemish on themselves but that is also because of you. Whatever they did is justified because of what you did. You know. Their pinkie may be dirty but you? Well you’re the devil incarnate.”
“I know the type.”
“Me too. We both attract them in droves because we both wear the shadow so well. And invariably these people are as rotten as they come. I just can’t stand to be around them and all their glory for the obvious reasons. They’re clean and I’m dirty and it just gets tiring. I mean it just makes no sense to hang around or try to convince anyone of your decency because you will never be successful. Further when you pull away, nothing happens. If you’re gone they just look around for someone else to hang their crap on. What do I care, I’m gone with the wind? Every minute you spend with someone like this is a waste and who has time to waste like that?”
Your soldier and I have a lot in common, including attracting high-needs women and seeing them through tough times. Its a “personality flaw” that has elements of both heroism and masochism, but is truly neither. But it is extremely rewarding, which is why we do it.
The difference between your soldier and an “enabler” is that your soldier looks to get you through the tough time so you can stand on your own. The enabler keeps the other person weak so that he can always play the hero.
The “projecting the shadow” thing? Unhealthy Saturn. Its not that Saturn is badly placed, but that the owner of that Saturn is using it poorly, and is ignoring the relentless accountability that accompanies Saturn’s return.
We teach by example. Whether that example is positive or negative is up to us, but we will teach.
There is nothing more sobering than an encounter with someone to whom our first reaction is “I don’t want too be like that”. However, we need to be careful, because those are the people we stand the greatest chance of becoming if we are not careful to own our own crap.
Oh, I hear you wicked loud and clear, Elsa. Because of what I have learned about the Shadow and about projecting it on your blog, I have done some research and reading, and have begun working on releasing, expressing, acknowledging and accepting my Shadow side, and I had the most wonderful dream about it just a few nights ago.
In the dream I was in my office upstairs in my house, and it was dark. I heard voices downstairs, of men and women, and I got scared and said “who’s there?” Then 4 or 5 men came upstairs, and two women remained downstairs. I really got frightened then, because they wouldn’t talk to me or answer me, they just started walking up the stairs, so I decided to run away before they hurt me. They were coming up the stairs as I scrambled down the stairs, and they didn’t look at me or try to stop me, but I sensed they were dangerous, like criminals, and was very afraid.
I ran out of the house and across the road to my neighbor’s yard, and they were after me. I tripped and fell down just as I got around the back corner of my neighbor’s house, and they were all there, sitting in a screened porch. I was laying on the ground, calling for help, and the men who came into my house surrounded me, pinning me down, and one had a knife held to my left kidney, threatening me not to call for help.
Well that’s when I woke up, around 2 a.m. and I was really shook up from this nightmare. I got up and turned the light on and read for awhile.
When I woke up, I was still scared from this dream and journaled it. And that’s when I realized this dream was from my higher self, and was sending these people to me to represent the Shadow side of myself that I had been repressing and hiding from all my life, but which had now come “upstairs” into my consciousness where I could see them, and instead of dealing with them I had done the usual: I had run away.
All my life I have run away from rejection and criticism, expecting abandonment. Or I have sat on old resentments, created by real or imagined hurts and woundings, and nursed them for years. I have always found ways to blame others and not take responsibility for myself. I am reminded of a quote from The Reluctant Messiah: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” This was me.
After analyzing this dream, I did a long meditation about the dream. I visualized what happened in the dream after I woke up, at the point where I was pinned down by these men, with the two women watching, and I was laying there with one arm outstretched, weakly calling to my neighbors to help me, help me . . . after all, I was pitiful and powerless, or so I thought.
In the visualization, I got up by myself and stood on my own two feet, and the men pinning me down just let me get up, they didn’t try to stop me. After I got up, I turned around to face them, and I shook their hands and thanked them and told them I realized who/what they were, and thanked them for teaching me about my self and my fears. At that point, they each just smiled and nodded at me and . . . evaporated. The one who was holding the knife on me was last, and as I thanked him I gently took the knife out of his hand, turned it into a lollypop and gave it back to him. He smiled and disappeared. The two women, same thing.
Now when old stuff comes up from my Shadow, revealing stuff about me that I don’t like, or events in which I’m not proud of my behavior, I just see myself smiling at, accepting, forgiving and reintegrating that “self,” that part of me that I have splintered off into the Shadow, and I thank them for what I have learned from them.
I am still getting daily insights as to what each of these people “represent,” as far as the aspects of the Shadow that I have repressed. For instance, one of the women in the dream was dressed as a flight attendant, and she was holding a mixing bowl and stirring something in it the whole time in the dream. This represents the 25-year period in my life when I travelled a great deal with my work, revelling in what I was doing, but feeling (and I still wrestle with this) heavy, heavy guilt about not being home with my husband and children, and making a poor job of mothering my sons. I am now working on reintegrating her in a way that both acknowledges my mistakes while I work on forgiving myself.
Wow I didn’t mean to write so much, everyone, but it felt really important to share with folks of like mind what I have recently learned about my Shadow, and how this dream has marked a profound change in me that I really like, and I feel free. Maybe it will help someone else, I don’t know. Thank you Elsa, for your timely, frank and no-bullshit discussion of this topic. I have learned so much from you and you have helped me to change my life. Thank the Soldier for me too, please, I have learned a lot from him based on your loving and insightful descriptions of him.
If the Soldier is a rhino (smile) then I see you as one of those quick-silver, colorful, intelligent, free-wheeling, busy birds that ride around on rhinos, picking the bugs off their hides and making a splendid meal of them, happy to be exactly who you are! No rhino without the bird, and no bird without the rhino . . . one of those utterly fulfilling symbiotic connections.
My motto for today? “Carpe diem!” There’s no more time to waste with my ass super-glued to the pity-pot, blaming everyone else. Boy I feel GOOD!
Astrosage – I take exception to being called “high needs” as I am anything but.
Elsa high needs? :::Snorts::: As if. Welcome to your first week reading Elsa’s blog, Astrosage.
Peppermint thanks for your comment. I’m going to read it again when I get home from work.
Elsa, this is simply amazing. And very, very comforting. I’m going to print it out and put it somewhere I can read it often.
Hehe.. I knew you were going to have something to say about that, Elsa..
elsa- oops :blush: pardon me
brain fart… there is a difference between high needs and someone who needs a hand… yep, what can I say?
Nope, the whiney, needy, dependent high needs person you are definitely not. Neither do I find that attractive
Rather than dig a deeper hole, I’ll simply remove my foot from my mouth and shut up…
Elsa, I think what you said in that second to last paragraph is my definition of co-dependence, since we were on that topic lately – “if you do this, I have to do that.” or “you caused me to do this.”
Standing on your own two feet means being responsible for your actions *regardless* of what everyone else is doing.
But this isn’t about codependence.
Anyway, I like people who are deep and considerate. If those two things can go hand in hand, you’ve got a really cool human being you’re dealing with – and it sounds like you do.
P.S. I forgot to say I love those shadow pictures. Been doing so much “shadow work” lately – and I just laugh looking at those 🙂
You know what? The more I’m aware of my own shadow, the more I’m aware of other’s shadows. This is not an easy path to navigate.. but it’s also much less burdensome. It just gets too exhausting trying to deny the dark and the hidden.
“All my life I have run away from rejection and criticism, expecting abandonment. Or I have sat on old resentments, created by real or imagined hurts and woundings, and nursed them for years.”
Me too Peppermint. It’s painful and leaves scars. When something happens to you enough times you start to identify with it and it becomes part of who you are. You expect it to happen in the future, and because of past experiences you unfortunately create the circumstances for it to happen again and again. Ugh 🙁
Pluto transiting damn near my whole chart brought this out in the open for me. The only way out of this loop? I had to embrace the persons behind every criticism, rejection, abandonment and force myself to see it in a different light than I normally would. It was only after I did this that I realized these experiences happened to me not as a punishment, but as insight into others (and invariably myself) and from it comes compassion. This behavior largely stems from fear and pain, and when I/others do this, usually it is because it was the best I/they could do at the time. It’s not a judgment of myself or others’ worth or value as a human being.
For me, the most empowering moments of the past few years have been letting go of the struggle to change people and situations that make me feel rotten about the world, myself, and the other. To openly say “no, this is not for me, this is not me!” without a hint of passive aggression, or fear of what someone– anyone– will think.. it’s changing the habit of a lifetime. But geez, the freedom!
I thought I’d moved past my hurt feelings over the situation I mentioned in the post before this – that was until the eclipse hit. I was side-swiped by all of these emotions, all over again, and my heart hurts.
I think these last two posts have hit a nerve, because I know what my own mistakes were (for one thing, I was too cautious in the beginning, due to past experience, and wanting to be careful with my heart). Every so often, I’ll think “If I’d done this or that, or said this much sooner…” I made all kinds of excuses for him, and thought time and time again about whether or not I over-reacted. I’ve beaten myself up so much, gone over everything and acknowledged my own mistakes, that I have no problem (now) saying that he acted like a jackass in December, February, and April – I dont blame him for everything that went wrong in the relationship, but I know that I wasn’t the total failure I felt like for a while. When I called him on his lie, it was because he asked me what was wrong, and I told him *politely*. I thought we were communicating again – obviously not.
We’ve been through this no-communication thing before, and I didn’t say a word, didn’t push… at that point, I had no reason to think he was with someone else, and I trusted him in that way. At that time, he was the needy one (to a certain extent), and I didn’t run, not only because I loved him, and didn’t want to hurt him – I had respect for him and his honesty, and I liked him very much. He, on the other hand, ended up having no problem rubbing my nose in something that he knew would hurt – when he planted the seeds for the concerns I had in April (I suspected he was seeing someone else) – I should have walked away then. When I got angry, but also apologized for making him feel the way he did (in February, not April, although I apologized then, as well) – his reasoning for his own actions – he told me that he didn’t want me to ever apologize for anything again. he thought I was too apologetic, taking more responsiblity for things than I should.
I want him to be happy, I’d hate to be a noose around his neck, and for some reason, I’m sure that we’ll be friends again someday. It’s in the past, I know it can’t be changed, and I wouldn’t want to change him – one thing I learned from observing relationships around me as a kid, was that you don’t go into a relationship wanting to change someone/hoping that something about them will change once this or that happens. I also think about whether or not I’ll be good for the other person. In the beginning, we were very good for each other, but this year we obviously weren’t. I haven’t contacted him telling him I think he sucks, because it’s a few of his actions that sucked, not him entirely. That said, I’m hurt, angry at times, and missing him, all at the same time, all over again. I’m trying to get over the hump, and back to my life – the here and now – but today is *bad* so I’m off to try to get some fresh air and revel in the sunshine with my dogs and cats.
(*Damn* I’ve written a lot ~ I’m sorry, I guess I had to get it out somewhere. I’m not talking to anyone else about anything emotional, precisely because I don’t want to dredge up things that can’t be changed, and I’m just feeling shaky.)
I just remembered a time, a few years ago, when I was playing a CD that I’d burned myself – I couldn’t remember what was on there, so I listened to it whilst cleaning up. I was fuming over something – I can’t remember what – when that song “Get Over It” by OK Go came on, which made me smile, and then burst out laughing. 🙂 I’ve never told anyone to “get over it” that I can remember, because I feel that, whatever happened, they had a reason for their feelings being so strong. The timing of the song was just perfect, though…
“Every minute you spend with someone like this is a waste and who has time to waste like that?”
exactly. only took me about 26 years to figure that one out 😛
“Your soul is your problem.” LOVE it. Reminds of something that means alot to me. It’s credited to Mother Theresa:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
What a fantastic thread…All of these stories about working with the shadow are very helpful.
Elsa’s comment here describes my recent ex very well; I had gone years blaming myself for not being “good enough” for him (my own shadow coming out, obvious to me NOW). My therapist has already brought up the projections to me, so when I read this, I just kinda snapped awake:
“I am talking about those people who never do anything wrong but they can tell you all kinds of the ways you suck… what you did wrong or what you should be doing. Or maybe they see a small spot or blemish on themselves but that is also because of you. Whatever they did is justified because of what you did. You know. Their pinkie may be dirty but you? Well you’re the devil incarnate.”
So that makes 2009 a relationship red-letter year for me. Ive learnt about shadow projection and passive aggression. Its actually very exciting….
I wonder whats next? ? ?
High needs woman. Sounds like projection to me. lol.
I think that everyone has a shadow-self. The interaction of the first house of self vs the seventh house of not-self…it takes the not-self to understand the self. I think that individuals with tough aspects and planetary placements may shadow dance more enthusiastically in the earlier phase of their life and, if all goes well, will experience enough negative feedback to understand and modify their behavior. Otherwise, it just leads to a life of continued and increasing pain, with that person becoming more negative, eventually turning into shadow-boxing.
I wish there was a ‘like’ button on here. Brilliant Mike! No need to say more…all of this is excellent. And important to think about. Thank you!
Two things: one is that I’m naturally one of those people with a chart that is prone to projection and attracting shadow material – I have all my malefics in the 7th, pluto alone, and lilith on the ascendant. At this point I just accept that I look like the bad girl/evil witch, at all times, to the average person. No way out, but I try to be careful to make sure my actions do not match the description.
Two is how difficult it is to have a conversation with people about the levels of responsibility involved in a conflict without antagonism and blaming the other (disowning their shadow). There is the emotional side of it, where I can empathize with fear and anger, and the actual reality of the situation. In some events, a person does shoulder a larger proportion of the responsibility and blame due to actions they take. It doesn’t make anyone the devil, but some acts are darker than others, and people draw their lines and have different capacities of what they can accept. I suppose it’s pointless to say who has a bigger shadow, but I do think people will walk away when it’s simply too much for them, and that’s fair.
I mean it just makes no sense to hang around or try to convince anyone of your decency because you will never be successful.
Elsa, the character traits you describe in the Soldier (his character, his contemplation) are vastly undervalued in this day and age!! I like to come to this blog because 8th house themes are everywhere and it has a healing effect on me.
My partner’s Mars and Saturn are in my 8th house and sextile my Venus and MC. It’s deeply fulfilling to be “seen” and recognized by an 8th houser.
dorchid, you’d be astounded. If you’re following the, Rylee drama on the boards, people are down on the woman over there. But my husband has an exceedingly well considered perspective on this, that’s very generous to her. It is odd in this era when everyone is ready to lynch a person at the drop of a hat.
You may not be doing anyone any favors with that, but you’re not doing yourself any favors either.
@Elsa, not up-to-date with the boards and not familiar with Rylee? I will find out soon enough I guess! lol
I never got to this part of the story. I run out of time and wrist – Mercury. 🙂