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Q: Communication and Identity / How we communicate with others... ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Communication and Identity / How we communicate with others...
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: taylor12-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Apr 2006 20:32 PDT
Expires: 14 May 2006 20:32 PDT
Question ID: 719068
How does the "self-concept" influence our perception of others?
Subject: Re: Communication and Identity / How we communicate with others...
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 14 Apr 2006 22:31 PDT

It's great that you recognize that there's a connection.

I'm going to speak primarily from 25+ years working in 
the field of mental health, and also from my experience
as a graduate of the AvatarŪ course in personal development.

Identity consists of both what we believe ourselves to be
(self-perception) and what others can recognize about us
that we are unable to see. It also includes what neither
we or others may be able to see - the resisted aspects of
our nature, or in psychological terms, our shadow.

As we grow and experience others, we make choices about
who we want to be like and who we "would never want to
be". The former we choose to identify with, and the 
latter we disown and resist. Unfortunately, what we
choose to believe about ourselves isn't always what's
true, and is clear to others when they see a person
as angry and resentful when the person's own perception
of themselves is that they are reasonable and assertive.

What commonly happens is that the aspects of ourselves
which we resist acknowledging are, to use another term
from psychology, "projected" onto others.

Say we grow up and experience an angry parent, and so
decide to "never be like that". We then resist seeing
any anger within us (even though it certainly exists,
being a normal, healthy emotion, rather than a behavior
we can choose to allow or discard). Our resistance may
be easily recognized by others who may recognize our
throbbing temple or grinding teeth as anger, even if
we successfully ignore it. We may also resist being
around other angry people, but the way the universe
actually works is that both the things we resist and
the things we desire are magnetic for us - we are
drawn to them, and they to us. We therefore find 
ourselves surrounded by the very things we resist
the most. We may even marry a person whom others can
clearly see is not right for us. "Love is blind" is
an aphorism that reflects this obscured vision.

In relationships, this can get very complicated. We
may end up marrying someone whose anger issues are
clear to everyone but us, or we may become intimate
with someone who is very even-keeled, but assertive.

If we marry the angry person, we may end up experiencing,
and taking out on our partner, all the anger we never 
expressed toward the angry parent. That relationship
may easily fail, simply because we continue to misdirect
the anger we never expressed toward that parent toward
our partner. We may spend the whole time attempting to
change them rather than resolve our own inner conflicts.
If I made a choice as a child never to be an angry person,
I will resent and resist my partner's ability to express
anger with ease. Part of me will secretly envy that freedom
and ability, and another part will hate them for it, and
judge them endlessly.

If we marry the level-headed person, the anger within us
that we've resisted may become so strong in the atmosphere
of intimacy that they will begin to experience it almost
as though it were their own. If they lack good "boundaries",
another psychological term, and a strong sense of personal
identity and integrity, they may even act out the anger
you are resisting. They may feel compelled to push you
out of your hypnotized sleepy state and cause you to be
aware of the anger they sense seething beneath your
carefully-maintained angerless exterior. They may or may
not recognize this.

The essence of "projection" is, that no matter who we are
involved with, we will tend to see in others both the
qualities we are able to recognize within ourselves, and
the qualities we most actively resist.

For an excellent exploration of identity, consciousness,
integrity, honesty, and more, that goes even deeper into
these dynamics, I highly recommend that you download the
free AvatarŪ Mini-Courses available on this page from the
Star's Edge website:

In first one, on Personal Integrity, Harry Palmer, the
author of the AvatarŪ materials, notes:

"When we are dishonest, we project
 onto those around us the
 actions, thoughts, feelings, and
 intentions that we are reluctant to
 express. They, the others, become
 the cheaters, swindlers, robbers,
 liars, or cowards that we will not
 admit in ourselves. We deny the
 worst by projecting it into the
 world where some broken soul,
 desperate for any attention, acts
 out our secret. Then we point an
 accusing finger and wash our
 hands of responsibility. We project
 onto the world our secret dishonesty,
 and it returns to us in the
 actions of strangers."

This above is a good description of the "shadow" which
was first conceived in detail by the Swiss psychiatrist,
Carl Jung. Here's another, from the IloveUlove website:

"The Shadow is the personification of that part of human,
 psychic possibility that we deny in ourselves and project
 onto others. The goal of personality integration is to
 integrate the rejected, inferior side of our life into
 our total experience and to take responsibility for it."

Here's another good description from Wikipedia:

"The shadow is an unconscious complex that is defined as
 the diametrical opposite of the conscious self, the ego.
 The shadow represents everything that the conscious
 person does not wish to acknowledge within themselves.
 For instance, someone who identifies as being kind has
 a shadow that is harsh or unkind. Conversely, an
 individual who is brutal has a kind shadow. The shadow
 of persons who are convinced that they are ugly appears
 to be beautiful.

 The shadow is not necessarily good or bad. It simply
 counterbalances some of the one-sided dimensions of our
 personality. Jung emphasized the importance of being
 aware of shadow material and incorporating it into
 conscious awareness. Otherwise we project these
 attributes onto others."

As we are able to integrate (hence, achieve integrity) these
hidden and resisted aspects of ourselves, which include the
qualities we admire in others because we are unable to see
them, or the potential for them, within ourselves, we are
more and more able to see that we contain unlimited possibilities
and we are able to more easily identify with and feel compassion
for all others, recognizing all human qualities as potential or
existent within us. We are freed from the compulsion to judge
and condemn or desire and envy. We can relate as equals with
increasingly greater numbers and varieties of people. We are
free to express or not express feelings we formerly resisted,
such as anger, when the occasion calls for it.


Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below.

Searches done, via Google:

"Carl Jung" "the shadow"
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