|The Fireside Chats|
|Partnering: A New Kind of Relationship|
|You Don't Have to Write A Book|
|Embracing Our Selves|
|The Shadow King|
|Embracing Heaven and Earth|
|Embracing Your Inner Critic|
|Embracing Each Other|
Our disowned selves can be detected by the intense, often uncharacteristic emotional reaction we have to others. The following examples will illustrate this:
- a man who was an honest, sincere, and faithful husband for thirty years was outraged by a woman he encountered who "had no sense of loyalty orcommitment, whose idea of a relationship was a two-daysexual involvementwith someone whom she would never see again.''
- a dreamy, spiritually oriented young man perceived his financiallysuccessful older brother as "almost demonic in his pursuit of money, power, and women.''
- a thoughtful, gentle, and kind woman couldn't bear her boss who was"cruel,selfish, and only interested in results.''
- a tough self-made man couldn't "stand wimps or victims. They make me want to puke!''
These examples clearly convey the intense emotions attached to the disowned self. These emotions are the result of the tremendous energy in the disowned energy pattern itself, as well as the energy utilized in keeping it disowned. It is no wonder that intense feelings come into play whenever we see a disowned self reflected in someone else.
Before we explore our disowned selves further, one important distinction needs to be made: In general, the term for a self that is not conscious is an unconsciousself, but not all unconscious selves are necessarily disowned. An unconscious self is simply unconscious-no energy is holding it down or main taining its unconscious status. However, every disowned self has an opposite energy with which the ego and the protector/controller are identified. For example, a woman who has buried a disowned self associated with uninhibited sexuality may, in fact, consider herself to be a morally upright, highly disciplined person. This opposite, morally upright energy, in conjunction with the protector/controller, is constantly holding the disowned self at bay. Ultimately, however, we have no way of knowing that a self is disowned until we become aware of it.
The Development of the Disowned Selves
The disowned self is an energy pattern that has been punished every time it has emerged. These punishments might have been subtle-a raised eyebrow, the withdrawal of attention, a "that's rather unattractive, don't you think?'' -or they may have been powerful punishments such as beatings or public humiliation. Whatever the nature of these repressive environmental forces, the result is the same: A set of energy patterns is deemed totally unacceptable and is, therefore, repressed but not totally destroyed. These energy patterns live on in our unconscious.
In Jungian terms, our disowned selves are a part of our shadow. When we see them reflected in others-when we see someone unashamedly living out an energy pattern similar to one we have disowned-we feel this disowned pattern resonate within ourselves. However, this pattern has been associated with pain and punishment in the past, so we want it to go away as soon as possible. In order to quiet our internal discomfort we must rid ourselves of the corresponding external stimulus. We must kill off the person who is so audaciously living out ourdisowned self, whether we do it literally-as in a Jack-the-Ripper-style murder-or symbolically-such as sitting in judgment of someone. Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letterpainfully but clearly illustrated the price paid for living out the adulterous disowned self belonging to the Puritan community in which she lived.
One woman we worked with, Jane, had been taught to disown her sexuality: From an early age, she was punished for any evidence of flirtatiousness or sexuality. She learned to bury her sexuality, and this energy pattern then became a disowned self. By the time she reached adulthood she had learned to dress soberly; value her objectivity, rationality, and independence; and perceive her sexuality as an incidental part of life. Nevertheless, her sexuality did exist someplace in her unconscious.
One evening Jane went to a party where she encountered a woman-flirting outrageously, dressed in a very revealing décolletage, and surrounded by men-who personified Jane's disowned self. An interesting thing happened: Jane's disowned self began to vibrate sympathetically with this woman's. Jane had always been punished for behaving like this woman, so she became acutely uncomfortable as their two energy patterns vibrated with one another-the one unashamed and flamboyant, the other a hidden and unrecognized echo of what it might have been.
To remove the source of her discomfort Jane judged "the other woman'': "I've never seen such a disgusting, vulgar exhibition in my entire life! Isn't she ashamed to walk around like that? I'd think her husband would be embarrassed to death!'' Just as Jane expressed herself with great vehemence and self-righteousness, so do we use judgment to eliminate the vibrating energy of our disowned selves.
Anger and irritability are also usually disowned fairly early in life. Very few parents can resist the temptation to do away with these "negative'' energies in their offspring. Therefore, most of us were taught not to express these feelings directly. People often recall their terrible childhood tempers, but these emotions rarely persist into adult life. It can be quite revealing to track the initial disowning of such selves. When talking to one client's anger voice we heard the following story of its disowning:
Anger: I had to go underground when she was very young because whenever I came out, her mother got upset and her father withdrew. He'd just walk outof the room if she said anything negative. So she learned to hide me. She learned how to please everyone and make everyone happy, but she never letme out. She never said anything negative or angry or selfish.
A disowned self accumulates energy much as water will slowly accumulate behind a dam-and we have built a different dam for each disowned self. These disowned selves are constantly coming through to us in our dreams. Some of these buried instinctual energies are illustrated by the following dreams:
- Someone is trying to break into my house.
- I'm being chased by wild animals.
- I'm driving my car and Mexican teenagers in the car next to me are leering at me.
- I'm with some bad teenage boys and I'm very perturbed with them. They are trying to molest me sexually. I'm trying to lecture to them. One of the boystouches me on the vagina and I am inflamed sexually.
Each of these dreams symbolizes repressed instinctual energy that is using the dream to make itself known to us. In fact, one of our greatest allies in the evolution of our consciousness is our dream process. By observing our dreams and learning their symbolic language we can recognize both disowned energy patterns and energy patterns with which we are identified. Our disowned selves constantly call out to us in our dreams to come and pay attention to them.
How We Develop
The parts with which we identify usually determine our choice of relationships. For instance, if we are identified with a rational self, that self will want us to relate to rational people. Although our basic tendency is to be repelled by our disowned selves, theydohold a certain fascination for us. The highly indignant sober citizen who wants to do away with pornography yet spends months at a time evaluating pornographic material is a fine example of this type of behavior.
Although attraction to a disowned self perceived in another can often lead to the integration of these energies, unfortunately, we are more likely to see individuals lock into destructive relationships with those who reflect a disowned self. Thus, a woman who negates her sexuality and her physical being will be fascinated by a "he-man'' and marry him. She will then do all she can to tame his sexuality and keep him from pursuing his outdoor life. He, in turn, may have been attracted to her timid, nonphysical way of life and intrigued by her sexual inaccessibility. Once married, he, too, is likely to object to these behaviors. Instead of learning from one another, instead of integrating these disowned selves, they live with the reflection of them in their mates, judging them and continually being angered by them.
We can be helpless victims to the multitude of relationships in our lives that reflect our disowned selves, or we can accept the challenge of these relationships and ask: "How is this person, or this situation, my teacher?'' Asking this question in itself represents a major shift in consciousness. A great deal of the stress in our lives results from our tendency to attract reflections of our disowned selves in our relationships, and we continue to suffer as the same patterns are repeated in our lives. Unfortunately, for most of us there is no support to learn the lesson inherent in this process. Without this support the energy of our disowned selves grows stronger and more twisted.
When natural instinctual energies such as the need for survival, sexuality, and aggression are disowned over time, they cycle back into the unconscious and go through a significant change. Energy cannot be destroyed; thus, these disowned instincts begin to operate unconsciously and attract additional energy to themselves. They soon lose their natural qualities and become malevolent. At this point we give them a new name-demonic energies. When the energy of a disowned self becomes demonic, natural aggression is often transformed into killing rage, jealousy becomes uncontrollable passion, and natural sexual impulses turn into fearsome experiences. These demonic energies may break through into our daily lives as destructive and vicious behaviors, both on a personal and on a social level.Cultural Aspects of the Disowning Process: The Birth of the Demonic
Certain energy patterns are culturally disowned. Western civilization, for example, has created the seven deadly sins. Who among us has not been encouraged at one time or another to do away with pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth?
Since the Age of Enlightenment humanity has disowned all the "darker'' energies-the passionate, the irrational, the mystical, the unclear, and the paradoxical-and admired, almost worshipped, rationality, detachment, scientific objectivity, and clarity. In this way, we have negated much of the information available to us as human beings. We have also negated our anger, irritability, insecurities, and confusions in favor of balance, good humor, certainty, and self-confidence.
The disowning of "the seven deadly sins'' results in a particular build-up of instinctual energies in the unconscious that we call demonic energies. They are among the major disowned energy patterns, and as a society we pay a particularly heavy price for their negation.
Traits associated with "the seven deadly sins''-sexuality, sensuality, and emotionality-are natural energy patterns. If, for a variety of reasons, these energies are considered unacceptable they become demonic. Further, it takes tremendous energy to keep our instinctual life buried, and the longer and more deeply it is buried, the more demonic it becomes and the more energy is required to keep it buried. Much of the physical illness and exhaustion that plagues us today can be attributed to disowning these energies.
Many of us harbor the profound fear that if we let these energies out, total chaos will prevail in the world. We wish to make it absolutely clear that we are not recommending that people "let these energies out.'' Voice Dialogue provides us with a way to become aware of these powerful energies and learn how to gradually allow them to emerge in a safe environment. Demonic energies do not have to take over in this process. If, however, we do not allow these selves to speak to us, if we continue to disown them, they will build in intensity, they will be projected, and eventually they will break through into our lives and we will be forced to dance to theirtune.
The word demonicis frightening to many; it conjures up visions of monsters, malevolent creatures, and images of Satan. Nevertheless, we use the word because it clearly distinguishes between a natural instinctual life and a disowned instinctual life that has become distorted. We work with the energies and voices of the demonic in order to help restore them to their natural, undistorted state. In this way, these energies can be used to support us in life as they were meant to do.
Working with demonic energies is one of the most difficult aspects of the Voice Dialogue process. Most of us-whether subject or facilitator-fear these energies and are reluctant to confront them. Our unconscious, therefore, is often our best means of confronting and dealing with the demonic. As we mentioned earlier, our disowned selves constantly communicate to us through our dreams and this is equally true of our demonic energy.
If we carefully study our dreams, it becomes abundantly clear that the intelligence behind the dream process wants these instinctual energies honored and embraced. The case of one woman, Agnes, clearly reveals this process at work. Agnes had done a great deal of psychological work and was aware of energy patterns-demonic energies in particular. She decided to learn more about her own demonic energies and what they represented in her life. Soon after making this decision she had the following dream:
It was early morning at the beach and I was with Tom. We went into the ocean and it was dark. We were embracing and rolling sensually in the water. Then the tide brought us back to shore. It was daylight again and we left the water. I went back to my hotel room. I knew he would follow. When I closed the door behind me I got frightened about what would happen next.
At that point, I called on an actress to help me. She went into the shower. I walked in so I could watch the shower on all three sides. She then told me that she was frightened and couldn't finish this love scene with Tom.
Then we both decided to view an image of her completing it. After we visualized the lovemaking, Tom entered the shower and, as he closed the door behind him, he became a wild beast. He had a serpent's tail, clawed bird's feet, a beak with teeth, and claws on the ends of his wings. He devoured the actress, tearing and shredding her. He had cloven feet, like Satan, and after he consumed her they both disappeared.
This dream provides us with a clear example of how our energy becomes demonic. At first, Agnes experienced Tom sensually, but her control side feared this sensuality and gradually disowned it. So she called in the actress-that part of her that acts rather than experiences. But even the actress was afraid, so together they used their powers of imagination to distance themselves still further from the primary energy pattern of sensuality.
At this point in the process a remarkable transformation occurred: Tom became a monster. A few seconds earlier he was merely the embodiment of ordinary sensuality. However, as this energy pattern was more strongly denied, he changed from a naturally sexual being to a vicious Satan-like beast who shredded and devoured the actress.
This is how our energies become demonic: Our natural instincts, disowned over time, become distorted and threatening. Agnes's dream was telling her that these energies needed to be examined and embraced, and if they were ignored they might well do her harm. Such dreams are compelling warnings from the unconscious that it is time to embrace a self that has been disowned.
It is possible to learn to honor an energy pattern without being required to liveit. The Voice Dialogue process can allow Agnes to experience the total sensual continuum within her before it is able to sour and turn against her. Embracing her sensuality does not mean that Agnes must become sexually promiscuous. If Agnes had learned to embrace her sensuality in the first place, it would not have become demonic. Embracing our demonic selves does not mean releasing them in the world and living them out; quite the contrary, we have a better chance of controlling them when they are allowed expression in a balanced way.
But to express our demonic energy, we must learn to recognize it operating in our conscious lives, as well as in our dreams. As long as it remains unconscious, it is projected; thus, we believe our enemies are outside us. We do not know what is unconscious, because the unconscious is unconscious, so it is hard to recognize our projections. Thus, our "reality'' is that we are good people living in an evil and chaotic world.
We cannot resolve this dilemma for you any more than we can resolve it for ourselves. We can, however, show you a process, together with a theoretical structure, for embracing our totality as human beings. We can try to create for you the sense of excitement we experience in the adventure of discovery when we begin to embrace our selves. It is easy to embrace the "goodies,'' but it is not so easy to embrace the "baddies.'' Demonic energy patterns are among the most difficult to embrace. Here, particularly for people with a spiritual orientation, the medicine is generally bitter.
Encountering the Demonic: Embracing Our Disowned Selves
Sally, a very loving, caring woman, provided us with a beautiful example of how demonic energies develop and how, at a certain point in the evolution of consciousness, the disowned energy pattern presents itself to us, insisting that we look at it however repugnant it may be. She had the following dream:
I dreamt I was the emissary of some emperor, making contact and hopefully arranging an alliance with the sultan of a large country in the Middle East. It was about 800 A.D. I was with the sultan and he decided to take me for a tour of his palace. After seeing all the beautiful aspects of it-fountains, gardens, and so on-he took me to the dungeons and prisons to show me how he dealt with people who were criminals or wrongdoers. He was very impersonal about his treatment of these people and felt he was fair and equitable in his handling of their punishment. He showed me people being punished in the mildest manner, such as whipping for some minor infraction, to tortures and deaths by torture that ran the range from awful to revolting and ghastly! I, the messenger/emissary, was horrified and appalled at the sultan's cold-blooded indifference to the suffering of the tortured and dying people. He was proud of his system of punishments, feeling he was fairly assigning punishments. When I asked him how he could not be affected by the pain of his victims, he was surprised I should ask and just answered that human life was of small importance, and very expendable; that the lives of these people just didn't matter. I was shaken and revolted by his callous indifference to the incredibly horrible way he was torturing people to death. Then I woke up, feeling revolted, shaken, and appalled at the scenes of torture and dying, and terrified of the cold-blooded sultan I had just witnessed in my dream.
Sally was raised in a patriarchal family that was highly impersonal and rejected feelings. She made up her mind early in life that she would not be that way, and so she became the opposite-a totally loving and caring human being. Her impersonal qualities and negative feelings were buried. Throughout her life she encountered situations in which individuals embodying demonic energies attacked her. As we said earlier, what we disown, life brings to us, over and over again, until we can recognize the teaching within these repetitive, unpleasant life experiences.
In the dream, Sally's unconscious brought this negated energy to her. She met the cruelty of the sultan-a man not merely cruel, but impersonally cruel. He was everything she had chosen not to be by identifying with her loving self. There is nothing wrong with being loving, but Sally was identified with this pattern to the exclusion of her instinctual heritage; she was trying to be a certain way at the expense of other feelings. This is like building a beautiful home on top of a rattlesnake pit: We are unaware of the snakes writhing beneath us until one day someone gets bitten, or we ourselves are poisoned.
Marvin was another person we worked with who had disowned his negativity for many years. He also had within him a very caring and loving side and a self that was a real searcher. An illness forced him to look in at himself in new ways, and during this period he had the following dream:
I'm with a man who is a killer. I don't want to be with him, but I have no choice. He commits a robbery and kills people in the process. I am an accessory. We spend time with many of my friends and they see me with this killer and I realize that I'm going to be tainted by him.
In the last scene, he comes toward me to kill me. I have a shotgun. He taunts me; dares me to kill him. I shoot and the gun misfires. He laughs and again comes toward me. This time I fire and blow his head off. Then I hear police sirens. I think that they will never believe me when I tell them what happened. I am a killer now and they won't know why.
When an energy pattern is ready to be integrated, it appears in dreams in various ways, but basically it demands entrance; it demands submission. Phone calls in our dreams, dreams of people chasing us, or people trying to break into our homes-these are all energy patterns of different kinds trying to make contact with us.
The killer in Marvin, a symbolic expression of his demonic nature, wanted recognition. It insisted on recognition and was quite persistent, even giving Marvin a second chance to be a murderer. Marvin could not maintain the disowning process through the authority of his more loving nature and found he had to learn to embrace both patterns-his demonic as well as his loving selves.
In the next few weeks following this dream Marvin began to appreciate its implications; he realized how much he had disowned this energy. He then had the following dream:
I am at a racetrack and a race is going on. A very large horse is in the lead. Suddenly he leaves the track and comes racing after me. I am very much afraid and I start running. The horse is breathing down my neck as I awaken.
In this dream, a transformation of energy had already occurred-the killer energy had been honored to some extent. It was now a powerful horse; although it was chasing him, it was, nonetheless, a horse rather than a killer. Demonic energy was gradually being transformed into the powerful, natural instinct that it was before it became demonic. This transformation is the goal of working with demonic energies.
As you can see, it is quite difficult to overcome the intense effect of our demonic energies. How much easier it would be if we could recognize and embrace our disowned selves before these energy patterns are subverted into the demonic. Yet, as we have seen, our disowned selves were often established long ago, before we were old enough to comprehend what was happening. Further, until now, as you read this book, chances are no one has even pointed out this problem, much less offered you guidance in resolving it. So how, then, can you begin to embrace yourdisowned selves?
First, it is important to recognize that a disowned self is operating. Notice your irritation with someone-does it feel good? Do you feel self-righteous? Isn't that other person sodreadful? Unfortunately, having read about disowned selves, you cannot bask in the sunshine of moral superiority for too long. You now know you cannot reform the other person. It is time to look at those qualities with which you are over-identified (you know-the ones that make you proud) and recognize how they limit you.
Perhaps you are excessively neat, relentlessly hardworking, compulsively kind and thoughtful, always caring and giving, always right, or never complaining or angry. Many of these qualities make us feel special, and we really do not want to give them up. So think about how these qualities can limit you, can make you intolerant, inflexible, unable to relax and accept yourself and others as full, complex human beings. It is nice to try to live a perfect life, but what if that means never trying anything new because you are afraid to make a mistake?
Now comes the fun. Although at first it may seem awkward, talk to the disowned self directly. See what it thinks; ask it how it would run things if it were in control. Feel its new energy, and allow yourself to see the world through a new perspective. Your disowned self is bound to be a source of new ideas, new inspirations, new solutions to previously unsolvable problems. After all, its views have never been available before. You will be surprised at the new energy that will become available. It is important to keep in mind that we are not suggesting you become the disowned self-simply allow its energy to speak.
In the past couple of decades, we have heard a few horror stories about people who were given permission to identify with previously disowned selves. One high-ranking well-mannered business executive learned to express anger and assert himself in an encounter group. When he returned to work, his formerly disowned anger dominated his behavior. He started an argument with his formerly feared boss and told him to "fuck off.'' He was promptly fired and had a great deal of trouble getting another job once the circumstances of his dismissal became known.
This is a perfect example of over-identifying with first one extreme (the obedient son) and then the other (the angry father) without benefit of an intervening aware ego. When anger is first released, there may be an increase in overall irritability and reactivity but it is important not to over-identify with these feelings, as the executive did.
The release of primitive earth energies such as sex and aggression is followed by extremely favorable consequences when monitored by an aware ego. For instance, Alex, a highly spiritual man who had spent years practicing self-discipline and self-denial, was involved in a legal action with some rather unscrupulous characters. He experienced a lot of anxiety about this as a substantial sum of money was involved.
During a Voice Dialogue session his disowned primitive energies emerged in the form of a howling wolf who had been caged for years. The wolf itself was afraid to be released because it felt so destructive. The wolf explained that whenever it had previously threatened to break out of its cage, Alex would meditate or do yoga for a couple of hours and thus weaken the wolf's power so that it was no longer a threat.
After having the opportunity to be expressed, the wolf gradually stopped howling and became a most attractive masculine energy of amazing power. Alex was finally able to step into his wolf self and utilize these wolf energies on his own behalf. When he encountered his legal opponents armed with his wolf-power, he was able to resolve the problem quickly and in his favor.
A disowned self can be very persistent. Mary's business partner, Jack, represented a disowned self but Mary did not use him as a teacher. Their relationship ended bitterly, and for many years thereafter Mary dreamt disturbing dreams about Jack. According to Mary, he was "a self-centered man whose primary concern was his own well-being, both financial and emotional.'' In her dreams he invariably appeared irritated by her lack of self-assertion and he was always trying to tell her how to run her life. She, in turn, became defensive and angry and tried to argue with him and make him go away. She always woke up angry and frustrated, thinking of how manipulative, controlling, and selfish he was and how angry she was that she had dreamt about him again.
This is a perfect example of how a self, disowned by day, might try to get through to us at night. Night after night this subpersonality came to Mary, trying to talk to her, and night after night he was sent away. Although Mary perceived her "dream-Jack'' as an intruder, he was actually trying to balance her, to show her that she need not be a helpless victim to the world around her. But such was the strength of her combined cultural and personal history of disowning that she could not listen to him.
In a Voice Dialogue session one day Mary's hopeless-little-girl subpersonality was talking when Jack suddenly slipped in for a moment.
Jack (with irritation): Mary needs to get her life organized.
Facilitator: You sound like a totally different voice from that little girl. How about moving here and telling us what you have to say about Mary's situation? (Mary changes chairs but looks uncomfortable. She doesn't really want to hear this voice.) I can see that she doesn't want you to talk, but let's give it a try. I hear that you've been trying to give her advice for some time.
Jack: Yes, I have. She doesn't like me though, and I don't like her at all. She's a wimp. I know what she has to do to make money. I'm very good at making money. And I'm not ashamed of it either. She's ashamed of wanting to make money.
Facilitator: And you're not?
Jack: You bet I'm not. I need money to enjoy life. I like nice things. I like comfort and I like power. You need money for all of that. She's too worried about whether or not people are going to like her.
Facilitator: Don't you worry about that?
Jack: Not at all. People like me. I'm happy with myself. I like being the center of attention and people love to be with me. I think they're lucky to get a chance to be with me. I give them a chance to bask in my warmth and they love it. You know, like in the sun. As I said before, I think they'relucky to get to be with me, not vice versa. (Smiling, very self-satisfied.) People don't like it when you try to please them. Besides, if I don't go out of my way for them, I don't resent them. So I don't get angry with them.
Facilitator: But what about people not liking you? Mary worries about that.
Jack: As I said, I just don't care. She thinks I'm selfish but I don't care. And because I don't really care, I can be very persuasive and charming, too. I'm not worried about being genuine, you see. She is. And as far as I'm concerned, that kind of worry doesn't work. I like to figure out what works and then I go ahead and do it. I don't waste time worrying about other things.
Facilitator: Speaking of figuring out what works, what would you suggest to Mary in terms of her business?
"Jack'' then proceeded to give detailed suggestions, some of which he had already given in dreams, but now Mary, along with the facilitator, was able to listen to them. When Mary returned to her aware ego she had a great deal more color in her face and strength in her voice. She was excited about these ideas and eager to try them out. Mary radiated a totally new sense of self-containment and self-sufficiency.
When a disowned self breaks through like this, other selves may object and try to push it back down. In Mary's case, this objection came from a witch-like subpersonality who emerged briefly two days later and destroyed the sense of self-sufficiency that "Jack'' had provided for Mary. Mary was aware of the loss of the "Jack'' energies and the re-emergence of the despondent child, but the witch was so fast in her attack on the previously disowned "Jack'' energies that she remained almost invisible. It is very important, when uncovering disowned subpersonalities, to talk to the other subpersonalities, such as this witch or the protector/controller, who want them to stay disowned.
Witch (with venom): I have to teach her (Mary) the Awful Truth. I had to put her back in her place. She was taking too much attention for herself. She needed to be punished for that! To be pushed back there and over there (gesturing to a corner).
Witch: Because that's where she belongs! In the background, not up front. I get very irritated when she pushes her way out in front like that!!
This is a fascinating introject! We can imagine how Mary's mother might have felt when she had to teach Mary to disown her power and her desire for attention. We can surmise that when Mary's "Jack'' subpersonality came through in Mary as a child, it resonated with her mother's disowned "Jack'' voice, which craved attention. Mary's mother most likely punished this voice with all the bitterness and judgment that we feel when we see our disowned self in another. Thus, the subpersonality in Mary that echoed her mother's admonishments to be a second-class citizen was like a destructive witch who carried with her many generations of hatred.
With this hypothesis in mind, the facilitator continued the questioning.
Facilitator: Why does she belong in the background like that?
Witch: I don't know. Just because she does.
Facilitator: Tell me, do you feel the same way about Mary's brother?
Facilitator: Would you feel the same way if Mary were a man?
Witch (hesitating): I'm not sure. (Gaining power again.) I don't care. All I know is I have to remind her about the Awful Truth, to slap her down and keep her back there (pointing), out of the way. And I don't like it when she doesn't stay there!
Facilitator: But why do you have to slap her down and keep her there?
Witch: Because if I don't, her father will kill her! It's better that I push her out of the way.
The last was such a surprise that the witch disappeared and Mary's aware ego took over again. As we have said before, there has usually been a very good reason to disown a subpersonality. By working with the subpersonality that enforces the disowning, the aware ego discovers this reason and can then deal with the disowned subpersonality in a conscious and constructive fashion. We might expect that the witch will no longer have unquestioned authority and will no longer be able to push the "Jack'' subpersonality down automatically without any resistance from Mary. The aware ego will know what is happening and, we hope, will intervene.
ConclusionIt is important to understand the concept of disowned selves and to actively accept the challenge of the multitude of life situations that bring our disowned selves to us. The challenge to embrace these selves in a creative fashion is, perhaps, the most difficult task in the evolution of consciousness.
Previously we spoke of the roar of awakening, the first realization that you are more than you think you are. In this chapter we have introduced you to the concept that many selves live in the shadows, far away from the primary selves that usually dominate our lives. In the next chapter we will discuss the Voice Dialogue method and how to use it to become acquainted with all the selves-the familiar and the unfamiliar-that make up the sum total of who you are.
Embracing Our Selves ©1989