Summary of Meeting the Shadow by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams

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  • Post last modified:October 11, 2023

Part 3: Shadow Boxing: The Dance of Envy, Anger, and Deceit

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

Carl Jung.

Hate has a lot in common with love, chiefly with that self-transcending aspect of love, the fixation on others, the dependence on them and in fact the delegation of a piece of one’s own identity to them… The hater longs for the object of his hatred.

Vaclav Havel


We see in our brothers, sisters, and good friends both shadow and self.

In many families, two sisters often develop as complete opposites. They’re usually envious, jealous, and competing with each other.

Opposite yet complementary brothers also exist like Cain and Abel. If one sees the other as an enemy, he can kill him.

The key to healing these relationships is shadow work.

When you include a trait from your opposite sibling, you integrate your shadow and a part of that person too.

We’re often troubled when we meet our opposite as if we needed what they have.

The idea is that whatever we’re unable to develop, we’ll marry. In a way, you’re marrying your shadow.

One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.

James Baldwin

Chapter 12: Sisters and Brothers Casting Shadows by Christine Downing

The sibling relationship is among the most enduring of all relationships as it starts at birth and ends at death.

Same-sex siblings seem to be both shadows and ideal selves. They differentiate each other by doing the exact opposite of what the other does.


  • “I am the smart one, and she’s the pretty one”.
  • “I am daddy’s girl, she’s mommy’s girl”.

She is both what I would most aspire to be but feel I never can be and what I am most proud not to be but fearful of becoming.

Women need sisters, and they look for one when they don’t have one.

The Sister is an archetype, it’s a need. On a deeper level, it communicates the willingness to let the ego die and be united to something greater as we transcend ourselves.

However, no one can assume this responsibility.

Chapter 13: My Brother/Myself by Daryl Sharp

People that are the complete opposite of you are your shadow.

Chapter 14: Meeting Our Opposites in Husbands and Wives by Maggie Scar

The qualities that attract you to somebody in the beginning usually end up repulsing you in the end.

This is because attractive qualities are charged with ambivalence.

In couples, one will often accuse their partner of wanting or wishing things that they themselves crave unconsciously, acting out in a way that would initiate the other in requesting what they themselves need.

Eg: he unconsciously wants attention so he will behave in a way that will make his girlfriend directly pay attention to him by, for example, making her jealous, then will accuse her of wanting attention all the time, projecting his own needs onto her.

These desires are in the shadow and can be solved with its integration.

Relationship needs ≠ individual needs. Both need to be tended to and the failure to do so would transform the individualistic conflict (inside the person) into a relationship conflict (inside the couple).

Chapter 15: Shadow Dancing in the Marriage Zone by Michael Ventura

If you hope to rid yourself of your shadow by marrying somebody, you will marry their shadow.

Part 4: The Disowned Body: Illness, Health, and Sexuality


Western culture has led to a split between the mind and the body as all of the bodily reactions (sexual impulses, decaying nature, etc) were pushed down into the shadow.

Culture shines its light on left-brain logic and the striving of individual ego, while shading right-brain intuition and carnal matter.

As a result, we feel terrible since many bodily functions appear shameful.

We worsen the mind/body split by proposing that the purpose of life is to transcend the body. Eg: sex desires “redirected” for something “better”.

Our shadow isn’t only in our minds; it’s also in our bodies.

Chapter 16: The Body as Shadow by John P. Conger

We hide our shadows as much as we hide our bodies.

It must be admitted that the Christian emphasis on spirit inevitably leads to an unbearable depreciation of man’s physical side.

Carl Jung

The body is not the shadow, but it suffers just as much.

For those who can read the body, it holds the record of our rejected side, revealing what we dare not speak, expressing our current and past fears.

Chapter 17: Anatomy of Evil by John C. Pierrakos

It’s easier to study evil by studying its opposite – the good.

The good is health, truth, energy, and consciousness in unison. In evil, the reality is distorted.

Evil, then, is a distortion of facts that in themselves are natural.

Sick people don’t notice they don’t see the world in the right way. Rather, they believe the world is out to get them.

His feelings are expressed by hate and brutality and cruelty, fear and terror.

Reich described how the sick person shuts himself from nature by forming barriers against the impulses of life.

The armored body stiffens up and is inaccessible to feeling, and the organ sensations are diminished or subside.

When we feel hateful or negative, we feel heavy. When we feel powerful, we feel vibrant.

Evil is resisting life. Let it go and accepts what there is, letting energy flow through.

Chapter 18: The Light of Health, the Shadow of Illness by Larry Dossey

We cannot talk about health without talking about illness, and we forgot what illness is. Health and illness are like the self and the ego, they must go together. Since we forgot about the shadow, we can never truly be healthy.

We can’t have one without the other.

Chapter 19: Illness as Descent Into the Body by Alfred J. Ziegler

Man is a chimera, a monstrosity composed of an indeterminable number of contradictions.

Diseases don’t hit us out of nowhere. They are the normal outcome of feelings like hate, guilt, or anxiety.

Chapter 20: The Demonic Side of Sexuality by Adolf Guggenbuhl-Craig

One of the great tasks of the individuation process is to experience the dark, destructive side.

This can happen through sex with masochism, for example. Masochism was very popular in the Middle Ages when religious people frequently beat themselves up.

This may have had to do with individuation. That life is suffering is one of the most difficult things we have to accept.

In masochism, pain and pleasure are reunited together, so it’s easier to accept – and can even be nice to experience.

Sadism is the expression of the destructive side of people and is uniquely human.

The joy of destroying is also experienced sexually. The self-destructor is at the center of the shadow. Another side of sadism is the exhilarating feeling of power, that one can play with his partner how he wants to.

Sex remains seen as something demonic in our society. Why?

The sinister is always the unintelligible, the impressive, the numinous. Wherever something divine appears, we begin to experience fear.

Sexuality is a symbol that relates to the meaning of our lives. Everything can be interpreted through sex.

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