Episode 55 – Identifying and Integrating the Personal Shadow

Apr 18, 2019


The personal shadow is created as a normal part of development, as we learn what behaviors, values and feelings are not acceptable in our family, school, or religious tradition. In order to be accepted by needed significant others, parts of ourselves have to be split off from consciousness and are therefore relegated to the unconscious as shadow. A major part of becoming more whole is discovering these exiled parts of ourselves and integrating the feelings they carry. Deb, Lisa and Joseph discuss some of the ways that shadow can be confronted and given a place at the table of consciousness.

Here’s the dream we discuss:

“I’m in my Dad’s wood shop, in the basement of the home where I grew up. I need to unscrew a panel on a metal box, and I’m finding the right screwdriver. The first one I pick up is too small, Mom hands me a better-sized one, a Phillips head with four fins. Somehow it is a very large size, and I notice the fins on the head are rusty. I sand away some of the rust on one of the fins, but when I come to the second, it is covered in masking tape. Instead of peeling off the tape, I try to sand away the masking tape, but the sandpaper continues to sand into the screwdriver fin itself, which is somehow made of corrugated cardboard. I am puzzled. I feel a pit in my stomach, like I’ve made a mistake. I find that only the first of the four fins is made of metal, the rest are cardboard. I “undo” (like you would on a computer) to get back to where I was after sanding the metal fin. The cardboard fins are intact again and I’m relieved. I then unscrew and open the panel of the box.”

Check out this episode!

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash


  1. Tosca Zraikat

    I wonder if the dream is about the son feeling somehow not good enough to fill his father’s place in the family …. not yet. I do not get a feeling of shame or unworthiness, but perhaps an acceptance that while he still has some way to go to have all steel fins on the tool, he will rise to the occasion, but meantime, he can accomplish what needs to be done.

  2. LAB

    Can a shadow in someone’s dream be someone of the opposite sex from the dreamer? Or is it mostly a figure of the same sex? Also, can an individual often project his/her shadow onto someone with a certain set of sociocultural and political views in the waking/external world? Thanks!


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