Friday, June 8, 2012

Confronting the Shadow

I've written in some depth on the blogosphere about my adventures with my bipolar daughter. The truth is, in all the years and with all the methods I've used to deal with her issues, healing is no closer than it was when I first started. I guess I've always focused on the "solution" (future) instead of focusing on the experience (present). For the first time, I am aware of what it means to confront the shadow.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of what has taken place in recent weeks. I believe my daughter is going through a manic phase. Unfortunately for us, this often involves severe outbursts of impulsive anger that seems to feed on itself. I have been walking on eggshells for fear of setting her off. This has progressed to the point where she seems to be imagining certain events taking place that never actually happened. For example, she accused my husband of sitting down and eating a bowl of doritos that day and then fiercely insisting he was a liar and verbally assaulting him.

Last night, the situation got way out of hand. She did not eat the dinner I had prepared before my shift at work. My husband came home and threw what was left away when he was cleaning the kitchen. When I got home after my four hour shift, my daughter decided she was hungry and went ballistic when she discovered her stepfather had thrown what was left away. She started verbally assaulting him. He lost it and began egging her on. Long story short, he began calling the police. She got desperately impulsive and pulled out a knife. (Yes, in that order.) She ended up being arrested and hauled off to jail. My husband went to stay with his folks.

As I sit here alone in my house, I am surrounded by the shadow--my daughter's, my husband's and my own. From the silence I hear words of counsel from the voice of the shadow itself. "Do not deny my existence. I do not come to bring accusation, blame or shame. I come to bring richness of experience--a depth you have yet to know and appreciate. I come to bring integration and healing. I come for peace. And love. And wholeness. And oneness. Be willing to embrace me. I am part of you--a part of all of existence. It is only by embracing me...experiencing me...allowing me in that I can heal all the emptiness inside of you. Oneness and wholeness are only achieved when you are willing to integrate me within."

Confronting the shadow is not about fighting it or overcoming it. It is about opening yourself up to the depths of experience it contains and making it a beloved friend. You cannot run from the shadow because the shadow is indeed you! Sit with it...and allow the healing to enter in.


  1. Sorry to hear about the latest episodes with your daughter. I can't imagine what it must be like for you and it seems unfair that anyone would have bi-polar / manic-depression as their life's challenge to live with. Especially hard for those who have to live with people who have this. As one who prefers to live in peace and does not like conflict, it would be a nightmare for me to either be married to someone with bi-polar or have a child who has this. It's heartbreaking that the person with bi-polar seems unable to control their compulsions or the way they treat others.

    You have a tough job, for sure, but I admire your strength and capacity to love. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.