“Strangely enough we strengthen love in ourselves when we raise into consciousness the shadow side of our lives. Conversely, when we keep negative feelings out of sight, they smother the love that seems to lie deeper and closer to the real self. This is probably why there is so much pain in not loving. The life that is not able to express the love which is so integral to it grows deformed.”Elizabeth O’Connor
We all have parts of ourselves we would like to reject, to cast into the shadows and pretend they no longer exist. Those of us who struggle with addictions have cause to fear our shadow sides because they have so often in the past led to great pain for ourselves and our loved ones.
Early recovery often feels like an epic battle between the part of ourselves that wants to heal and our addict who wants to keep us in darkness. We often seek to sever our addict from our lives. However, we do so at the cost of learning about our darkness and discovering the unmet needs that gave rise to our addict.
When we go deeper into recovery, we realize that we must be willing to explore our darkness, that when we refuse to honor and come to love that part of ourselves, it will continue to push to get our attention.
Are you willing to examine and come to terms with those aspects of yourself you reject? To explore the wounds that drive your darkness? To come to love those wounds and understand the motives that give rise to its behavior? To learn to love the wounds, so they can finally heal? To embrace your darkness so you can more fully experience your light?
“How odd that if we reject what is painful, we find only more pain, but if we embrace what is within us – if we peer fearlessly into the shadows – we stumble upon the light.”From Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser
Dr. Janice Caudill is the founder and Clinical Director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery. MCR offers individual, couples, group therapy and multi-day intensives for partners of sex addicts and wounded hearts struggling with sex addiction, infidelity, love addiction or love avoidance, intimacy anorexia, or relational trauma in the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Richardson, Frisco, Carrollton, Lewisville, Dallas and surrounding areas.
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