Can shadow work be dangerous? The answer is no, not likely. But it is possible, and it has happened.
For example, those stories that you see on the news. The ones where people hijack planes and crash into buildings. Or the ones where unassuming people take guns to schools and shoot everyone. These are instances where the shadow took over.
But I’ll explain how things get to that point in a moment.
First, you need to understand what the shadow is and how it works.
What is the shadow?
The shadow is the side of yourself that is disconnected and unfelt. It’s the part of yourself that’s been rejected since childhood and you have no conscious awareness of.
The shadow is the part of you that thirsts for power and destruction and can seemingly be evil. Knowing that I can understand why someone would ask:
“Can shadow work be dangerous?”
But people who ask that question don’t know what Shadow Work is.
Shadow Work is integrating the entire spectrum of your being. It’s the intentional process of admitting parts of yourself that you’ve ignored and repressed.
You see, your shadow is more powerful than you think.
Everything that’s wrong with your life, and damn near everything that happens in your life, is actually thanks to your unconscious–the shadow.
This is because in a battle between your conscious will and your unconscious will, the unconscious will always win.
This is why Shadow Work is important.
By doing shadow work, you get to validate your shadow’s wants. And by doing so it will let go of its own desires and channel its energies to help you achieve yours.
There are many methods, techniques, and angles you can use to perform shadow work.
If you’re interested in integrating your shadow, check out our Shadow Work guide.
None of the techniques we share on this site are dangerous. However, they can take a lot of emotional labor. This is because Shadow Work works much like a confessional. And it’s common for things to get pretty heavy.
What happens if you ignore your shadow self for too long?
The more you invalidate, neglect, and ignore your shadow desires, the more hostile it’ll become.
Usually, this happens when a person is acting a certain way because they think they should. And by doing this, they’re actually ignoring who they truly are.
In essence, your shadow is the unloved part of yourself. And all it wants is you to love it for what it is.
The shadow wants to be validated. It wants to be accepted and honored.
But the longer you pretend to be someone who you’re not, the bigger the shadow becomes.
After being ignored for so long, your shadow becomes very black and dense. It begins to find more impactful ways of expressing itself to be seen in your life.
The Shadow does this by affecting you indirectly via projections, harboring very negative emotions, as well as unconsciously guiding your life towards tragedy.
Over time you lose sight of reality. Your view of reality is distorted. The way you see people is distorted. Even your sense of right and wrong becomes distorted.
This is because the shadow has been bottled up inside for too long.
It deeply infects your psyche in a very dangerous way.
You’ll reach a point of mental nihilism, drowning in resentment, as if you’ve been rejected by fate.
You find yourself hopeless and see no point in going on.
The Shadow has a death grip.
When the shadow has you in its grasp you will think to yourself that your life is useless and miserable. If it’s going to be like this then you don’t want to keep going. And in an act of self-hatred, you’re more than willing to take others with you.
It’s usually at this point, someone is looking directly into the eyes of their shadow.
And it’s at this point, you either make a great realization, or you come to the wrong resolution.
If you’re ever in this position, you will be surprised by what you see. You’ll tell yourself:
“No. This can’t be it. This can’t be me.”
And you’ll deny what you’re looking at. At least for a while.
If you’re lucky you’ll realize, “Oh my God, that is me…”
Should you come to this realization that the malevolent force inside you, your shadow, is actually a part of you, it will calm down.
Then you will be surprised that it took this much for it to come into your awareness. It took you this far in hopes of your validation.
Within a short time, you’ll find peace.
But not everyone is so lucky.
Some people don’t make this realization.
Instead, they come to the resolution that they want to forfeit. And they’re taking other people with them.
It’s like the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The doctor is a good, refined man. He creates a potion and when he takes this potion his shadow self comes out, known as Hyde.
But the more freedom Hyde is given, the more destruction that comes of it.
Over time, Hyde starts to take control, causing mayhem and massacre.
In the end, at the very moment that Hyde, the shadow self, takes complete control–He commits suicide.
So you see, Shadow Work is becoming aware of your shadow self and integrating it into who you are.
It just so happens that people who are in a very bad place tend to come into contact with their shadow.
So instead of integrating with their shadow via shadow work, some people give in to their shadow persona.
By this point, their entire worldview is completely twisted.
Like mentioned earlier, this is the type of person who hijacks a plane or takes a gun to school, causing mayhem and massacre.
They act out wildly up until those final moments where their shadow takes complete control. Then they off themselves.
Because you see, you can’t be all shadow. You need both sides.
You need to have a balance where your conscious and your unconscious are honored equally.
Can shadow work be dangerous?
The final answer is no.
What is dangerous is not discovering shadow work soon enough.
My experience confronting my shadow.
A long time ago I remember asking myself,
“How did I get here? How did things end up like this?”
My birthday was coming up and I was miserable. I tried so many things in my life, but nothing was working out.
One day I took time to look back at my life and I realized I didn’t like it.
I said to myself, “If the next 25 years of my life are like the first–then I don’t want it.”
By this time, I was full of resentment, humbled by life, and spirits crushed.
Listen, I don’t know anyone who’s more hopeful than I am. But by this point in my life, I was damn near hopeless.
I felt the shadow’s death grip.
But like I said, I still had a little hope left.
So I made a deal, and I only had so much time to hold up my end of the bargain.
And I did.
But it was during this time that I got to see my shadow face-to-face.
I was lucky enough to have given myself the time to process what was going on.
I remember when it happened too.
It was early morning and I was outside lifting weights. In between sets, my mind would be sucked into rumination.
I kept having these intrusive thoughts of doing cruel things.
For the longest time, I denied wanting to do commit these acts, until that day.
I admitted the desire to be destructive and cause mayhem.
I admitted that these thoughts are who I really was deep down inside.
When I finally did, my shoulders relaxed. I didn’t realize I was so tense. I could breathe a bit deeper, stand a bit taller.
If I didn’t give myself that extra time, who knows what would have happened?
But I’m glad I took the time that I needed. Because from then on I would have an ongoing relationship with my unconscious mind.
I’d eventually discover the patterns in my life, the projections, and how I was still immature.
When I realized I was repeating a cycle, that’s when I stopped everything. I realized I needed to get help.
So I did.
That was a very long time ago, and I’ve changed a lot since then.
And I put all this online hoping that it’ll help someone who might be in the same place I had been.
In hopes of encouraging anyone who reads this to develop more self-love and self-acceptance.
To perform shadow work and realize who they truly are.
Instead of reaching the wrong resolution and throwing it all away.
Thanks for reading.
Check out the Shadow Work Course here.