Ego vs. Shadow

I found this strange table in an old journal titled “ego vs. shadow”. It described the consequences of denying certain parts of myself while presenting other parts to the world.  I’m sure its a byproduct of the Jungian and Transactional Analysis stuff I’ve been reviewing.  Since I thought you might find it entertaining, I’ve reproduced it here.  This divisiveness of self starts out with a description of my hidden self and lived self.  Keep in mind,  I wouldn’t describe it as an iteration of theory but instead application of insights.  

EGO – lived self
SHADOW – denied self.

Area of active thought and conscious awareness
Subconscious blind spot, area of repressed memory.

Conscious memories and thoughts created within the prefrontal cortex.
Emotion, imagination and bodily responses from limbic system.

A perceptive object of my own conscious self – it is what I present to the world
What I deny and fear about myself out of shame – a concealed truth I try to avoid.

My Ego-based presentation to world perpetuates lies, illusion and bullshit.
Reflects back consequences of this denial while insisting on wholeness of self. 

EGO – defines who I am being and acting in life.  
SHADOW – presents the hidden reality of my “concealed-self”.

So what are the consequences for my lived daily experience?  If there are certain elements of myself I deny, what happens to those avoided components?  “Emotions tend to be present on two levels. They are ‘out there’ in relation to our goals, the environment and others. They are also ‘in here’ in response to the inner life of the self” (Wiley, 2003, p510)

My emotions are outward responses to people, and events in life.
My emotions are limbic responses to thought content and belief systems.

The outer world causes me to feel as I do – emotions are reactionary.
My brain provides limbic memory whereby  – emotions define experience.

My emotions are adaptive responses to goal-seeking behavior.
My emotions are self-fulfilling prophecies reflecting unresolved hurt.

If emotions are indeed bilevel how can we be certain about them as a guidepost for what we desire and want most in life? How can I know if what I want is really what I want?

Outwardly, the object of my desire is sought for enjoyment through attainment.
Inwardly this desire is understood as a product of affective forecasting (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005).

When I see my value as extrinsic, I create a “missing piece”.  Desire is about me.
My shadow recognizes this faulty thinking & reflects this thru disappointment upon attainment.

If I see my value as intrinsic, I want from a place of wholeness, desire is about the object itself – nothing more.
When my shadow recognizes this wanting from place of wholeness I can relax into the fulfillment of desire by giving into it – fully.


Wiley, N. (2003). The Self as Self‐Fulfilling Prophecy. Symbolic Interaction26(4), 501-513.
Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). Affective forecasting knowing what to want. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(3), 131-134.


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