Help! I just can’t stand that person…

Help! I just can’t stand that person!

Wonderful.

What the hell do you mean, “wonderful?”

You’re having a powerful experience in Group. You’re getting your money’s worth.

What are you talking about?

Someone in Group activates you. Their very presence stirs up a lot of emotion. This is a big opportunity for you to learn about yourself. Have you shared your reactions in Group?

No, I wouldn’t do that.

Why not?

Well, because it would hurt her feelings, and it wouldn’t be nice and it would make me look bad to lash out at her…

So?

I can’t have people thinking that I’m that kind of person!

Ah. I’m wondering if you’ve ever been exposed to the psychological term, Shadow?

No.

What is the Shadow?

The Shadow refers to the parts of ourselves that we hate so much that we do not allow them into consciousness. We then get to maintain an image of ourselves that is more palatable. The price of this splitting up of ourselves is that we often project the Shadow onto others, despising in them behavior that we ourselves do but don’t want to admit that we do.

Group is a forum par excellence for working on your Shadow. Other people will bother you, often because they are holding pieces of yourself that you don’t like.

Does that mean I shouldn’t confront them?

No, definitely confront them! Whatever they’re doing may be something that has sabotaged their relationships in the past without them realizing it. Confront away. Just keep in mind as you call them out, that most likely some of your reaction is to a part of yourself.

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