Throwing Light On The Dark Side Of Mother Daughter Relationships

By Val Boyko • June 3rd, 2011

face in shadowHave you looked at your dark side recently? Our dark side, or “Shadow Effect” refers to the part of us which is the shadow or disowned part of ourselves that we keep hidden away out of shame or fear. Because we think of it as being “bad” and we don’t want to see ourselves in this way, we pretend it isn’t there and may deny it emphatically when accused of being like that. Being angry, violent, manipulative, critical, controlling, mean, dishonest, vindictive … etc etc, can be too much for us to accept about ourselves.  But boy – do we see it in others!

The bottom line is that we all have our shadow side – mothers AND daughters alike!

Debbie Ford is a well known coach and author in this area and believes that by looking at our shadow we can unlock a powerful part of ourselves. It isn’t “bad” its a part of being human. In the book “the Shadow Effect she writes:

“We have to uncover , own and embrace all of who we are – the good and bad, the light and the dark, the selfless and the selfish and the honest and dishonest parts of our personality. To become whole we must be willing to take an honest look at ourselves and step beyond our judgmental mind.

When the shadow is embraced it will heal our heart and open us up to new opportunities, new behaviors and a new future.”

The birth of our shadow occurred when were young before our logical thinking mind was developed enough to filter messages we received from our mothers and caregivers. She continues: “Every time a behavior of ours was met with harsh criticism or punishment, we unconsciously separated from our true and authentic  self.”

Here’s the bombshell!

“Whatever we judge or condemn in another is ultimately a disowned or rejected part of ourselves.”

….. She’s telling us that when mother pushes our buttons, she is reflecting back something within us that we are blind to or denying in ourselves……

…. And when a daughter pushes her mothers buttons, she is reflecting back something that she is denying or is afraid to face……

“When we find ourselves obsessed with aspects of other people’s shadow, it is only because we have touched one of our own. We are designed to project onto others the qualities we can’t see in ourselves…. Owning our projections is a courageous and humbling experience we all must go through to find peace.”

When I read this, a realization came to me. No wonder mothers and daughters push each others buttons and are at odds so much!

Our mothers are our mirrors, reflecting parts of ourselves that we have buried or disowned. AND our daughters are our mirrors too! The more buttons get pushed back and forth, the more we see something in the other that we denying or rejecting in ourselves.

The good news is that it shows that there is much to uncover and explore within us. When we accept the parts of ourselves that we have been denying, then we will find real peace.

No-one said this journey was easy! Its tough and takes a lot of courage to look at ourselves in this way. Especially when we thought it was all about the other person. It isn’t. It’s all about us!

Remember that you are not alone. There are many others on the same journey and we are here to help.


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