1. I want to meet my shadow, so let’s say I do a quick analysis of another person’s traits that annoy me and I see on my list words like:
    ‘unreliable’, ‘frugal’ and ‘unsophisticated’.

    Is it fair to say that these very same traits operate in myself to the same degree as they operate in the other person I analyse?

    Or, because of the nature of projection, are these traits tiny or emerging parts of me – parts which I have greatly amplified in the other person much like a cine projector’s image is magnified through a tiny lens?

  2. Hi
    Thanks for the great question. I would say that usually no, these traits do not operate to the same degree as in the other person (although they may).

    We tend to seek out others that really annoy us and that embody extreme examples of the behaviour we know we have but somehow believe we keep under control. The key is, as you quite correctly identify, projection.

    The reason that the other person irritates us is a combination of two processes – first, they may actually be irritating and others would find them so as well, and secondly, your projections.

    The other person’s behaviour constellates the Shadow in us, we then find this unacceptable (no way am I that nasty!!!) and so have to project the unacceptable aspects. Remember, projection is casting off your own unconscious material onto another because at some level this material is simply unacceptable.

    • I think it’s important to remember that there can be many positive qualities in the Shadow too. For example, some cultures may insist on women not showing overt intelligence, and that may be repressed and become part of the Shadow – this, surely, when projected, would lead to different strong emotions… Hero worship, perhaps, or envy?

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