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Andrew Birkhead
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Divorce Shadow

Posted on January 29, 2008 in: Blogging as Therapy by Andrew Birkhead


The shortcut to understanding Jung’s concept of shadow is anything I hide, repress or deny. I saved this New Yorker cartoon without thinking. As with most things that I do without thinking… THERE’S A REASON FOR IT! The reason is that I’ve been keeping my sadness around my divorce safely tucked away so it would be invisible to myself and the world. Did I already mention, hide, repress and deny?

I hid my sadness to stay safe and to appear strong to myself and others. It served me well by keeping me employed and alive. There is little room in society or business for someone who is perpetually unable to function because of sadness. The problem with many coping mechanisms is that they can turn from useful tool to debilitating shadow when their usefulness expires.

That’s what happed with my divorce sadness. After I no longer needed to ‘tuck away (repress) my sadness’ to function, I continued to hide it. Now it likes to surprise me from time to time. It seems to enjoy hiding behind trees and walloping me upside the head as I stroll by. Then it giggles and runs away while I reach for my big assed bottle of ibuprofen.

How do I deal with a shadow? My first step is to name it: “I know you, you’re my Divorce Grief.” Naming a shadow takes away some of it’s power. The next step is harder. To keep a shadow from walloping me, I must drag it forcibly into the light of day, the light of my awareness. If I’m aware of something, I can make conscious decisions around it. The best way that I know to keep a shadow in the spotlight is to talk about it. If it’s not a SECRET to others, it’s not a SECRET to me!

Happy shadow hunting!

Tuesday Blog Meat

The Daily Saint has a cool post on how to easily live a more spiritual life.

I’ve been meaning to read this post on Freelance Switch about Freelance Accounting for quite awhile. Now that I have, I’m happy to report that I already do most of these.

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