Good Girl/Bad Girl—the Shadow Self

September 12, 2017


A couple of weeks ago I posted about the shadow side that has come sharply into the light on a national and global scale (you can read about it here).  Today I want to share a little of my own shadow story.


I am a recovering good girl.  


No, more accurately, I am a recovered good girl.


I spent the first 30 or so years of my life doing my very best to be my very best for EVERYONE.  I was Nice (with a capital “N”), I was sweet, I kept my opinions to myself and generally, people liked me…although, no one really knew me.


Also, I was disciplined and self-controlled.  I had to be to keep my emotions tucked in so tightly.


Honestly, I don’t know what happened around the time I hit 30 that caused my good girl pendulum to take a mighty swing to the dark side.


The shadow of my sweetheart self was not nice and she was not disciplined. 


Was there a particular trigger?  Maybe.  I think it’s more likely that I just reached my threshold of people pleasing.  I was DONE allowing people to walk all over me and take advantage of my easy-going nature.  As a good girl, I wasn’t taken seriously.  And I am serious.


Over a relatively short period of time—maybe 2 years or so—I went from being pretty passive to pushing the edges of aggression.  I embraced my inner Bitch (with a capital “B”).


This switch from sweet to *sassy with swagger* was a bit of a shock to some of the people in my life, but there were a lot of benefits:  1) I was respected more at work—not liked more, but respected more, 2) intimidation definitely yielded results in my professional life as a manager (my “numbers” looked really good”), and 3) I felt a little high on my own power.


Of course, of course, of course…there were a few little problems that accompanied my personality shift.  I was outspoken to the point of rudeness, impulsive, took uncalculated risks, and put people off with my irritability and insensitivity.


Ha. Thankfully, this happened many years before I was a therapist—THAT would not have gone over well.


Truthfully, it was a little like a hypomanic episode (a.k.a. “manic light”—not a full-blown manic experience, but with a lot of the same qualities though diffused).  There was a lot of energy—which felt great—but the energy was pretty hostile—which did not feel great at all.


The point of this story??


Many years later, I think I fall somewhere in the middle of passive and aggressive (without being passive-aggressive, dear God) and hang out mostly in the realm of assertive.  BUT I’m pretty sure I could not have moved from passive to assertive without spending some time exploring my repressed anger which manifested as aggression.


I had to see my shadow side—the side of me that I wanted to stuff down and keep secret—in order to evolve from the representative I was sending out into the world (the side of me I was comfortable with people seeing) to a more authentic version of myself.  Warts and all.


We all go through processes like these—both individually and collectively.  The pendulum swings, it swings too far, and then it comes to a beautiful state of balance…until it happens again.


Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


Have you gone through a process like this personally? Or witnessed it in another person, or in an organization, or in a country? Always love to hear your can comment or question on FB or via email.


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