Whatever parts of ourselves we try to get rid of in our personality, life will bring to us—in the form of people who are exactly like those parts we deny—our shadow side. We will meet people who carry our shadow side and each time we do, these people will be a challenge for us. We will either be strongly attracted, or strongly repelled, or some combination of the two. Our partner is usually the one to project our shadow side back to us to help us transform. This doesn’t happen immediately, of course, but usually after about eighteen months or so. If our partner is not destined to help us transform through the shadow, then usually it will be one of our difficult children who will do so. If this does not happen in the home life, then you can be sure there will be someone at work who will project to us our own shadow side.
The shadow, or these repressed aspects, sometimes called sub-personalities or selves) are like missiles, aimed at us by the intelligence that created us, and they always find their mark; there is no escaping them. There is just the challenge to learn that lesson, to integrate it, then move on to the next experience. Bit by painful bit we can overcome the shadow, or the repressed aspects that are a part of us.
We need to realize that whatever we deny is what we attract. This is the basic law of relationship. We will be moved by spirit in a particular direction and “fall in love” with someone who has the capability to push us to complete ourselves, to become all that we can become in this lifetime. They are not consciously aware of this, it works at the soul level, and that level senses what we are missing and then pushes (or pulls) us to fill the vacuum. What we are missing is what we have denied or pushed down into the dark depths of the psyche. If you can think of relationship as the vehicle for completing yourself, then you will see each of the people who carry aspects of your shadow, as your teachers.
Until you become aware of this basic law of the psyche, you will usually see the shadow or your denied aspects as the enemy, and there will be times when they will cause you much pain. A great deal of the pain that people experience in relationship is based on the fact that they have no understanding that they are carrying each other’s shadow side, and mirroring it back to the other person. This is true in all relationships. At first, you may find the shadow irresistible when you see it in your partner, and then, after a while, you will usually find it impossible to live with, because it really pushes your buttons, simply because you don’t understand that it is really that part of yourself that you need to look at.
The people in your life who carry aspects of your shadow are your teachers, giving you an opportunity to bring your shadow into the light. When you realize this, life and relationships look different. This is true of everybody in your life, not only your partner, but it is usually your primary relationship that carries the biggest charge. These apparently irreconcilable differences in relationships, mirrored back to you by your partner, are opportunities for the greatest personal growth. Your current personality does not like what it sees in the mirroring process, because it can get very painful, but as you learn to make use of the larger perspective that contains opportunities for soul growth and transformation, then you will begin to see the world through different eyes. You begin to see the value of your shadow side that your partner carries, and projects back to you. You get a sense of what you have pushed down and denied. As you reclaim those denied aspects of yourself, you will begin to transform and usually reclaim your relationship. The partner who caused you so much pain before, suddenly begins to look just fine again, and your relationship is able to move forward on a higher level.