Identify Your Shadow 14 Shadow Types

Uploaded 12/30/2020, approx. 1 hour 15 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and a professor of psychology.

Today I have a special treat for you. All of us have a part of our personality which Jung had labeled the shadow.

The shadow is, to a large extent, Freud's unconscious. It's where we deposit, it's like the attic in house. It's where we deposit all the discarded things, everything we feel uncomfortable about, our complexes, things we don't like, we dislike about ourselves, traits, memories, behaviors, portions of our identity that we feel uncomfortable with, egodystonic.

But of course the shadow can also contain positive things, not only negative.

Still, the shadow is inaccessible to us and that's why it's very similar to Freud's unconscious, although it's not exactly the same.

Now, I encourage you to watch videos I've made about the shadow before we proceed.

First and foremost, I advise you to watch the video Narcissist is Your Dark Side.

Today I'm going to describe to you 14 types of shadows. There are 14 types of shadow.

I would like you to listen to these 14 types and identify your shadow. Find your shadow in one of these 14 types or in a combination of some of these types.

And once you have found your shadow, that's the first step towards healing, as I will discuss in forthcoming videos.

But the first thing you must do is gain access to your shadow, at least by recognizing its attributes, recognizing its existence, recognizing how it looks.

The shadow is the dark mirror image of yourself. You are incomplete without the shadow and with the shadow, integrating the shadow, you become whole and wholeness is of course the precondition for healing.

Before we start with the 14 types, a methodical explanation, each type is tackled via a dialogue. Each type is a dialogue between me and the shadow.

So these are vignettes, these are small self-contained dialogues. There are 14 such dialogues. Each dialogue corresponding to one of the 14 types of shadow. Listen to the dialogues, find yourself in one of these dialogues or a combination of these dialogues and thereby you get a handle on your shadow.

Before I proceed to technical notes, I strongly recommend a channel called Borderliner Notes. The order of the channel had uploaded amazing videos by the fathers of the field of personality disorder, Kernberg, Yeomans, others and I strongly recommend that you go there and finally get yourself exposed to real scholars, not wannabe experts, coaches and others but real people who really know what they're talking about.

I also recommend that you find anything but by Keith Campbell and watch it.

The second thing is that many people had written to me about emotional flashbacks, challenging my contention that there's no such thing and many of them have said, especially recently, I don't know why, that emotional flashbacks were invented by Judith Herman. Untrue. Judith Herman never mentioned emotional flashbacks. Why? Because she's a real scholar, because she's an academic. She was a professor at Harvard University.

Emotional flashback is a nonsense hype construct introduced by Pete Walker. It is the same nonsense that gave rise to empath or too shy borderline or to recover narcissist. There's a lot of such nonsense online. It's nonsense that means to absorb you of personal responsibility and make you feel good. Don't fall for it.

Academics, universities, textbooks, studies, scholarship.

Try to avoid the nonsense online. Ask yourself, who is the source of this information that I'm digesting right now? Is he reliable? Does he base himself on studies or does he base himself on the likes of Pete Walker? Pete Walker is a good case. They are much worse.

So there's no such thing as emotional flashback.

And one last thing, some of you asked me about false memories and they misunderstood what I said.

I said that people who had experienced trauma are likely to have real memories, not false memories.

False memories usually are tangential. They are peripheral. False memories have to do with items, objects, places, people, dialogues, that are really not at the core of the trauma.

So you may remember a trauma properly, but you will misremember. You remember wrongly, where it took place or what was the abuser wearing at the time. So false memories are never at the core.

Now, false memories can be induced in therapy. And when they're inducing therapy, which is a very pernicious phenomenon, the American Psychiatric Association has a lot to say about it. When they're induced in therapy, they do pertain to alleged childhood traumas.

But instead of reiterating what I've already said, I encourage you to watch my university elections, which I've made available on this YouTube channel. One university lecture is about so-called emotional flashbacks, this nonsensical construct. And the other is about false memories. And there are many more. Enjoy.

Now let's get to business.

Shadow, the unconscious part of you, mostly dark, mostly rejected, mostly denied, there are 14 types of shadow. And I'm about to describe each and every one of them via an imaginary dialogue with me.

Identify yourself, identify your shadow in each of these dialogues or in a composite.

Let's start with the first dialogue.

Sam presents with anhedonia, failure to enjoy or find pleasure in anything. He also has dysphoria, bordering on depression.

Sam complains of his inability to tolerate people's stupidity and selfishness in a variety of settings.

Sam admits that as a result of his intellectual superiority, he is not well placed to interact with other people or even to understand other people and what they are going through.

Sam is a recluse. He fears that he's being mocked and ridiculed behind his back, as a misfit and a freak.

Throughout the first session, Sam frequently compares himself to a machine, a computer or a member of an alien in advanced race. He talks about himself in the third person singular. Life bemoans Sam has dealt him a bad hand.

He is consistently and repeatedly victimized by his clients, for instance. They take credit for his ideas and they leverage them to promote themselves, but then they fail to rehire him as a consultant.

Sam seems to attract hostility and animosity, incommensurate with his good and generous deeds. He even describes being stalked by two or three vicious women whom he had spurned, he claims, not without pride in his own implied irresistibility.

Yes, he is abrasive. Yes, he is contemptuous of others at times, but only in the interest of tough love. He is never obnoxious. He is never gratuitously offensive.

Sam is convinced that people envy him and are out to get him. It's persecutory delusions. He feels that his work, he is also a writer, is not appreciated because of its elitist nature. It's too high brow. The vocabulary is complex and such.

He refuses to dumb down. Instead, Sam is on a mission to educate his readers and clients and bring them up to his level.

When Sam describes his day, it becomes clear that he is desultory, indolent and lacks self-discipline and regular working habits. He is a slacker. He is fiercely independent to the point of being counterdependent and highly values his self-imputed brutal honesty and original, non-hearing, non-sheeple, outside-the-box thinking.

Sam is married but sexually inactive. Sex bores him and he regards it as low-level activity practiced by empty-headed primitive folk.

Sam has better uses for his limited time. He is aware of his own mortality and conscious of his intellectual legacy.

Hence, he has a sense of entitlement and never goes through established channels.

Instead, Sam uses these connections to secure anything from medical care to car repair. Sam expects to be treated only by the best but is reluctant to buy their services, holding himself to be their equal in their own fields or activities.

Sam gives little or no fault to the needs, wishes, fears, hopes, priorities and choices of his so-called nearest and dearest. He is startled and he is hurt when they become assertive and exercise their personal autonomy, for example, by setting boundaries or even by abandoning him.

Sam is disarmingly self-aware. He readily lists his weaknesses and faults but only in order to preempt real scrutiny or to fish for compliments. He is falsely modest. He constantly brags about his achievements but he feels deprived. He says, I deserve more, much more than that.

When any of his assertions or assumptions is challenged, he condescendingly tries to prove his case. If he fails to convert his interlocutor, he sulks and even rages. He tends to idealize everyone or to devalue everyone.

People are either clever and good or perfectly stupid and malicious. But everyone is a potential foe.

Sam is very hypervigilant and anxious. He expects the worst and he feels vindicated and superior when he is punished. He becomes a martyr. He becomes a victim.

Sam rarely assumes total responsibility for his actions or accepts the consequences of his actions. He has an external locus of control and his defenses alloplasty.

In other words, Sam blames the world for his failures, for his defeats, for his bad luck. This cosmic conspiracy against him is why his grandiose projects keep flopping and why he is so frustrated.

Now this is shadow type number one.

Shadow type number one. If you had found yourself in this shadow type, if you identify yourself in this shadow type, note it down.

Go through, listen to the 14 shadow types and find yourselves. Find yourselves in one or more of them.

There could be a combination.

Shadow type number two.

Annie was referred to therapy by the court as part of a rehabilitation program. Annie is serving time in prison, having been convicted of grand fraud. The scam perpetrated by Annie involved hundreds of retired men and women in a dozen states over a period of three years. All of Annie's victims had lost their life savings, had suffered grievous and life threatening stress symptoms.

Annie seems rather peeved at having to attend the sessions, but he tries to hide his displeasure by claiming to be eager to heal, reform himself and get reintegrated into normative society.

When I ask Annie, how does he feel about the fact that three of his victims died of heart attacks as a direct result of his misdeeds?

He barely suppresses an urge to laugh out loud. And then he denies any responsibility. He says that his clients were adults who knew what they were doing and had the deal he was working on gone awry. They would all have become filthy rich.

Annie then goes on the attack. Aren't psychiatrists supposed to be impartial, neutral?

He complains that I sound exactly like the vicious and self-promoting lowbrow prosecutor at his trial.

Annie looks completely puzzled and disdainful. When I ask him, why did he do what he did?

For the money, of course.

Annie blurts out impatiently and then recomposes himself. Had this spammed out, had this worked, these guys would have had a great retirement, far better than their meager and laughable pensions could have provided.

Can he describe his typical customer? I ask.

Of course he can. He is nothing if not thorough.

Annie provides me with a litany of detailed demographics.

No, I say I'm interested to know about their wishes, their hopes, needs, fears, backgrounds, emotions, families.

He, Annie, looks totally befuddled, totally confused. He stumped for a moment. Why would I want to know about their emotions? Why would I not want to know about their needs and wishes? What would I do with this data?

It's not like I was their bloody grandson or something.

Annie is contemptuous towards the meek and the weak. Life, he says, is hostile, one long cruel battle, no holds barred. Only the fittest survive.

Is he one of the fittest?

He shows signs of unease and contrition, but soon I find out that he merely regrets having been caught in the first place.

He depresses him to face incontrovertible proof that he is not as intellectually superior to others as he had always believed himself to be.

I ask, Annie, are you a man of your word? Yes.

But sometimes circumstances conspire to prevent me from fulfilling my obligations, he says.

Is he referring to moral or to contractual obligations?

It's not the contracts he believes in because they represent a confluence of the self-interests of the contracting parties.

Morality, he says, is another thing altogether. It was invented by the stroke to emasculate and enslave the masses.

So is he immoral by choice? Not immoral, he agrees, just amoral.

How does he choose his business partners?

They have to be alert, he says, super willing to take risks, inventive and well connected.

Under different circumstances, he says to me, you and I would have been a great team.

He promises me, as I am definitely one of the most astute and erudite persons he had ever met.

I thank him for his compliments and he immediately asked me for a favor.

Could I recommend to the prison authorities to allow him to have free access to the public payform?

He can't run his businesses without a single with a single daily time limited call.

And this is adversely affecting the lives and investments of many poor people.

When I declined to do his bidding, he sulks, clearly consumed by barely suppressed rage.

How is he adapting to being incarcerated?

He is not, he says, because there is no need to. He is going to win his appeal. The case against him was flimsy, tainted and dubious.

And what if he fails? He doesn't believe in premature planning. One day at a time is my motto, he says, smugly. The world is so unpredictable, it is by far better to improvise.

And he seems disappointed with our first session. When I ask him what his expectations are or where, he shrugs, friendly doctor, talking about scams, I don't believe in this psycho babble of yours. Your profession is a scam. You're a con artist, but I was hoping to be able to finally communicate my needs and wishes to someone who would appreciate them and lend me a hand here.

His greatest need, I suggest, is to accept and admit that he erred, made a mistake and to feel remorse.

This strikes Ani as very funny and the encounter ends as it had begun, with him deriding his victims.

This is shadow type number two.

Did you recognize yourself?

An example of these shadow types run the world.

Many politicians are like that, without naming names.

Shadow type number three.

Dale's first inquiry is whether I'm in any way associated either with the government or with his former employer.

He doesn't seem reassured by my negative response.

He eyes me skeptically and insists that I inform him if things change and I do become entangled with his prosecutors.

Why do I treat him pro bono?

He asks suspiciously.

He suspects some ulterior motives behind my ostensible altruism and inexplicable generosity.

I explain to him that I donate 24 hours a month to the community. It's good for your image, he says. It gives you access to local big wigs, I bet.

He retorts, accusing me.

Dale refuses to allow me to tape record our first conversation. I set some boundaries by reminding Dale that the therapy session is about him, not about me.

And he nods sagely. It's all part of an intricate scheme to subdue him and place him under firm control.

Why would they want to do that?

Because he knows too much, he says. Because he had exposed fraud, lies and deceit in the highest places. He has done all this from his position as a sanitary worker in the municipality.

And when I say, is this possible? Would a sanitary worker have had access to all this information?

He is visibly offended.

There are more secrets in people's trash than in the CIA, he exclaims.

You think that your academic degree makes you more clever than I am, or somehow superior to me?

Well, you're wrong. I remind him the therapy was more or less forced on him by his long-suffering wife.

Is she one of them?

He sniggers. Well, is she?

Yes, he rages.

They got to her too. She used to be on my side. Now she isn't.

His phones are tapped. His mail is intercepted and inspected.

There was a mysterious fire in his apartment only days after he had complained against a senior law enforcement officer. Wasn't it the antiquated television set that burst into flame as his wife says?

If you care to believe such nonsense, he eyes me with pity. Just go ahead.

When was the last time he went out with friends, I inquire?

And he has to think very hard to come up with an answer.

Four years ago, he says, I think it was four years ago. Why so long?

Is he a recluse by nature? Is he a hermit? Not at all, he says.

I'm actually gregarious and sociable. I love people.

So why the social isolation?

It's part of my defense, he says.

You never know when something you have said in a company will be used against you.

His so-called friends have been asking him too many intrusive questions lately.

They insist on meeting in new venues at odd times. And he just got suspicious and cut them off.

So what is he doing all alone at home all this time?

He loves bitterly. Won't they love to know? Won't they love to know my next moves?

He isn't going to give them the pleasure of evincing his strategy.

All he is willing to say is that they will pay dearly for having underestimated him and for having turned his life into a long nightmare in hell.

But who are they?

I keep asking. Who are they?

His superiors at the sanitary department, he turns out to be.

They reassign him to a dangerous part of town, working night shifts, effectively demoting him from team four men to common janitor.

He will never forgive them for this.

But wasn't this a temporary arrangement owing to manpower shortages?

That's what they said at the time.

He admits reluctantly.

But I don't believe them.

At the end of the session, Dale insists on inspecting my phone jacks and the undersurfaces of my desk.

You can never be too careful. He half apologizes.

This is shadow type number three.

Shadow type number four.

Dal is an attractive young woman, but she seems to be unable to maintain a stable sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Her confidence in her ability to hold on to men is at a low ebb, having just parted ways with the love of her life.

In the last year alone, she confesses to having had six serious relationships.

Why did these relationships end, I ask?

Well, irreconcilable differences.

The commencement of each affair was a dream come true. And the men were all in one prince charming.

But then she invariably found herself in the stormy throes of violent fights over seeming trifles.

She tried to hang on in there, hang on in there.

But the more she invested in the relationships, the more distant and vicious her partners became.

Finally, they had abandoned her, claiming that they are being suffocated by her clinging and drama queen antiques.

Is she? I ask. Are you? Are you really a drama queen?

She shrugs and then becomes visibly irritated.

Her speech slurred and her posture almost violent.

No one f's with me. I stand my ground. You get my meaning?

She admits that she physically assaulted three of her last six paramours. She hurled things at them. She broke their smartphones.

And amidst uncontrollable rage attacks and temper tantrums, she even threatened to kill them.

What made her so angry, I ask?

She can't remember now. She can't remember now.

But it must have been something really big.

Because by nature, she's very nice, kind, calm and composed.

As she recounts, these sad exploits down-alternates between boastful swagger and self-justifying, biting criticism of her own traits and conduct.

Her affect swings wildly in the confines of a single therapy session between exuberant and fantastic optimism and unbridled gloom.

One minute, she can conquer the world. She's careless and she's free at last.

And she says, it's their loss. I would have made the perfect wife had they known how to treat me right.

But the next instant, she hyperventilates with unsuppressed anxiety, bordering on a panic attack. And she cries out, I'm not getting younger, you know.

Who would want me when I'm 40 and penniless?

Dan likes to live dangerously on the bleeding edge, as she calls it. She does drugs occasionally. Not a habit, not a habit. Just for recreation, she assures me.

She's a shopaholic and often finds herself mired in debts.

She went through three personal bankruptcies in her short life and blames the credit card companies for doling out their wares like so many drug pushers.

She also binges on food, especially when she is stressed or depressed, which seems to occur quite often.

She sought therapy because she is having intrusive thoughts about killing herself.

Her suicidal ideation often manifests in minor acts of self-injury and self-mutilation.

And here she shows me a pair of pale, patched wrists, more scratched than slashed, frankly.

Prior to such self-destructive acts, she sometimes hears derisive and contemptuous voices.

But she knows that they're not real, just reactions to the stress of being the target of persecution and vilification by her former lovers and mates.

This was shadow type number four.

Did you identify yourself in any of these four?

There's a lot more to come. There's another nine.

Be patient. You may still find your shadow somewhere else.

Shadow type number five.

Mark Sitts were instructed.

He's erect but listless. When I ask him how he feels about attending therapy, he shrugs and mumbles, okay, I guess.

Mark rarely twitches or flexes his muscles or in any way deviates from the posture that he had assumed early on.

He reacts with invariable, almost robotic equanimity to the most intrusive queries on my part.

Mark shows no feelings when we discuss his uneventful childhood.

His parents, of course I love them, he says.

And when we dwell upon his sad and happy moments that he recollects at my request, he's equally neutral, emotionless.

Mark veers between being bored with our encounter and being annoyed by it.

How would he describe his relationships with other people?

He has none that he can think of, he says.

In whom does he confide?

He eyes me quizzically.


I mean, I ask.

What I wanted to ask is, who are your friends? Do you have a girlfriend?


Mark shares pressing problems with his mother and his sister.

He finally remembers.

When was the last time he spoke to his mother and sister?

I think it was more than two years ago.

Mark doesn't seem to feel uneasy when I probe into his sex life.

He smiles.

No, he's not a virgin.

He has had sex once with a much older woman who lived across the hall in his apartment block.

That was the only time because he found sex boring.

He prefers to compile computer programs, to quote, and he makes nice money doing it.

Is he a member of a team?

He involuntarily recoils.

No way. Please.

He's his own boss and he likes to work alone.

He needs his solitude to think, to be creative, to focus, to concentrate.

That's precisely why he's here.

His only client now insists that he collaborates with the IT department and he feels threatened by the new situation.

Why does he feel threatened?

He ponders my question at length and then he says, you know what?

I have my working habits. I have my long established routines. My productivity depends on strict adherence to these rules.

Has he ever tried to work outside?

He's self-made box outside the envelope, outside his comfort zone.

No, he hasn't.

And he has no intention of ever even trying this.

If it works, don't fix it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it and never argue with successes.

If he's such a roaring success, I say, what is he doing on my proverbial couch?

He acts indifferent to my provocation, to my bar, but subtly counter-attacks me.

I thought I'd give it a try.

Some people go to one type of witch doctor, I go to another.

Does he have any hobbies?

Yes, he collects old sci-fi magazines and comics.

What gives him pleasure?

Work does. He's a workaholic.

What about his collections?

They're distractions, he says. They're distractions, mere distractions.

But do they make him happy?

Does he look forward to the time that he spends with his collections?

He glowers at me baffled.

I collect old magazines, he explains to me patiently.

How can old magazines, how are they supposed to make someone happy?

What's wrong with you?

This was shadow type number five.

Many of you will find themselves, I'm sure, in one of these shadow types.

Once you've identified your shadow, you can move on to integrating it, which is something I'll deal with in future videos.

But first, find yourself.

Shadow type number six.

Marsha, by the way, before I proceed, the gender pronouns are interchangeable. I use sometimes men, sometimes women in these vignettes, in these small stories, but it's utterly interchangeable, whether there's a woman, could be a man, whether there's a man, could be a woman.

Marsha visibly resents the fact that I've had to pay attention to another patient, an emergency, at her expense, as she puts it.

She pouts, she bats suspiciously long eyelashes at me.

Has any of your female patients fallen in love with you?

She suddenly changes tack.

I explain to her what is transference and counter-transference in therapy.

She laughs throatily and shakes loose an acid blonde mane.

You can call it whatever you want, doctor.

The simple truth is that you are irresistibly cute.

I steer away from these treacherous waters by asking her about her marriage.

She sighs, her face contort on the verge of tears.

I hate what's happening to Doug and me.

Doug has had such a stretch of bad luck.

My heart goes out to him.

I really love him, you know.

I miss what we used to be and what we used to have, but his rage attacks, his jealousy are driving me away.

I feel that I'm suffocating.

Is he a possessive paranoid?

She shifts uneasily in her seat.

Look, doctor, I like to flirt. A little flirting, never hurt anybody. That's what I say.

Does Doug share her insouciance? Does he share her equanimity?


He accuses me of being too provocative and seductive.

Well, is she?

A woman can never be too provocative or seductive.

She protests mockingly.

Has she ever cheated on her husband? Never.

So why these jealous tantrums?

Because she has been pretty direct with men she fancied. She told them what she would do with them and to them if circumstances were different.

Was this a wise thing to do in public?

Maybe not the wisest she admits, but it sure was fun, she laughs.

How did men react to her advances? Usually, within enormous erections, she chuckles.

How did you react, doctor?

I was embarrassed, I admit, even annoyed.

She doesn't believe me, she says.

No red-blooded male has ever been put off by the lure of an attractive female, and from where I sit, you sure look as red-blooded as they come.

Doug has been her fourth serious relationship this year. How can such a short-lived liaison be meaningful? Depth and intimacy can be created overnight, she assures me.

They are not a function of the length of the acquaintance.

Okay, but surely intimacy and depth depend on the amount of time spent together.

Is this your wife, she points at a silver-framed picture on my desk?

I admit you are hitting it off in the sack.

Actually, I tell her, that's my daughter.

She shrugs off her faux pas and sprawls across my duvet, long legs exposed to the hip and crossed at the ankles.

She sighs theatrically, and she shields her eyes with her hand.

I wish it was all over.

Does she mean her relationship with Doug?

Not silly. She was referring to her tumultuous life and its vicissitudes and vagaries.

Does she really mean it? Does she want her life to end? Of course not.

She rolls to one side, leaning on her elbow, face supported by an open palm.

I just wish people were more light-hearted, you know?

I wish they knew how to enjoy life to the maximum, give and take with joy.

Isn't this what psychotherapy is all about? Aren't these the skills that you, as a psychiatrist, try to instill in your patience?

This was shadow type number six.

Onward to shadow type number seven.

Not before I derive some nourishment from my meaning.

Shadow type number seven, a proper meaning.

I would like to be normal, says Gladys, and she blushes purple.

In which sense, I ask, are you abnormal?

I prefer reading books and watching movies with my elderly mother. I prefer this to going out with my colleagues to the occasional office party.

Well, I say, maybe you don't feel close to your colleagues. How long have you been working with these people? Eight years in the same firm, and not one raise in salary.

She blurts out, evidently hurt. Her boss bullies her publicly.

The searing shame of it all prevents her from socializing with peers, suppliers and clients.

Does she have a boyfriend?

I must be mocking her. Who would date an ugly duckling, plain secretary like her?

I disagree on heartedly and in details with her self-assessment.

I think that she is very intelligent. She half rises from her seat and then thinks better of it.

Please, doctor. There's no need to lie to me just in order to make me feel better.

I know my good sides, and they don't amount to much.

If we disagree on this crucial point, perhaps I should start looking for another therapist.

A glass of water and mounds of tissue paper later, we are back on track.

She dreads the idea of group therapy.

I'm a social cripple, an invalid. I can't work with other people. I decline the promotion to avoid working in a team.

Her boss thought highly of her until she turned his offer down.

So in effect, it's all her fault, and she has earned the abuse that she's being subjected to on a daily basis.

Anyhow, he overestimated her capabilities and skills, she says.

Why can't she interact with her co-workers?

Well, that's precisely what we're supposed to find out, isn't it?

She retorts.

Everyone is too critical. Everyone is so opinionated, and she can't stand it.

She accepts people as they are, unconditionally.

Why can't they treat her the same way?

She fantasizes about getting married one day to a soulmate, a twin flame, someone who would love and cherish her regardless of her blemishes.

I asked her to describe how she thinks she's being perceived by other people.

Well, she says, after giving it some thought, I think I'm shy, timid, lonely, isolated, invisible, quiet, reticent, unfriendly, tense, risk averse, resistant to change, reluctant, restricted, hysterical and inhibited.

Wow, I say. That's quite a list, I comment.

Now, how does she view herself?

The same. She largely agrees with people's perceptions of her, but it doesn't give them the right to ridicule me or torment me, just because I'm different.

Shadow type number eight.

Elor's real name is George. He had changed it as a result of an epiphany he had experienced at the tender age of nine when he encountered an alien spaceship in his backyard and in all probability was abducted by its crew.

Can't he remember for sure if he had been abducted or not?

It's all kind of fuzzy, says Elor, George.

But ever since then, he has had numerous out-of-body experiences and has developed psychic capabilities such as clairvoyance and remote viewing.

I can see that you don't believe a word of it.

He declaims bitterly. You probably can't wait to tell the other therapies here about me and have a good laugh at my expense.

I remind him that therapy sessions are strictly confidential and I don't share them with anyone, colleagues included, but he nods his head sagely.

Yeah, yeah, sure.

Whatever you say, Doc.

Elor, wounded by my skepticism, lapses into his own private language.

The locust days are here and the wise shall behold the Nazi.

Hear the deafening and yet not be lifted.

Can he help me understand what he had just said?

Your crown is naked, Councillor. He is there to fathom and yours to cling to. All your kind shall perish if you forsake not your mind's cage.

In other words, I better believe what he tells me. I better give up my prejudices or I shall be rendered obsolete and dispensable when the time comes.

I think that's the interpretation.

Elor firmly believes that Earth is flat and is about to be overtaken by alien species. They are already here, scouting the land and choosing who will be lifted and who will perish.

The authorities all over the world, governments, collaborate with the aliens. Many adepts have defected to the alien side and they're collaborating with the aliens in the subjugation of mankind and the ultimate conquest of our planet.

Elor though has decided to not betray his species, his kind, his self-assigned mission is to warn everyone of the impending doom and to save as many enlightened souls as he can.

Hence his irritation with my attempts to puncture holes in his scenario.

Elor is marked.

Every morning he paints a giant bright red square on his forehead to renew his covenant with his erstwhile captors.

He also wears a multicolored armband and ankle bracelets. He does that to make them think that he is fully converted to their cause. He's cheating the aliens.

Surruptively, secretly, though, to signify his true allegiance, Elor paints a pale blue circle, a symbol of our habitat, pale blue dot, under the square.

And he always carries with him a duffel bag stuffed with clothes and bare necessities. This is what he calls his flight kit.

Only his intimates, people he can trust with his life, all of them first degree relatives, only they know about this subterfuge. It is very dangerous to go against the aliens. He saturates and glances around the room fretfully.

And Elor resents the fact that his love for humanity is not appreciated and reciprocated.

The huge sacrifices that he is making every day are not being recognized.

People frequently mock him and ridicule his ideas, often behind his back, when he is unable to defend himself and show them the errors of their ways.

That's why he has no friends. He can trust no one.

The knife in the back, always trust by the pretending soulmate.

Does he feel safe in the framework of psychotherapy?

Heaven and earth, heaven and earth conceal that which cannot be revealed, is his enigmatic response.

This is shadow type number eight.

Many conspiracy theories.

They have a psychological trait called conspiracism.

And they would have this shadow part.

Shadow part number nine.

By the way, before we proceed, shadow parts could be collective.

Whole collectives can have shadow parts.

For example, Nazi Germany had shadow parts, many of these shadow parts.

So shadow parts can characterize an individual, a cohesive and coherent group of individuals like a nation, a club, a church.

So when you listen to this topology of shadows, try to apply it not only to yourself, but to your mate, to your children, to your colleagues, to your bosses, to your neighbors, to your friends, to organizations you belong to and to institutions you have come across.

An institution could be passive-aggressive. An institution could be narcissistic or psychopathic.

Shadow parts exist everywhere. They are a language element. They allow us to tackle and explain that which is hidden from sight.

Now I sound like a lord.

Okay, shadow type number nine.

Magda is distressed when I reschedule our appointment.

But we always meet on Wednesdays. She pleads with me, ignoring my detailed explanations and my apologies. She is evidently anxious. Her voice trembles.

In small, precise movements, she rearranges the objects on my desk, stacking straight papers and replacing pens and pencils in their designated canisters.

Anxiety breeds frustration. Frustration is followed with rage. The outburst lasts but a second, and Magda reasserts control over her emotions by counting aloud only odd numbers.

So when and where are we going to meet?

She finally blurts out.

On Thursday, same hour, same place, I reiterate for the third time in as many minutes.

I must make a note of this. Magda sounds lost. Magda sounds desperate.

I have so many things to do on Thursday.

Well, if Thursday is not convenient, we can make it the next Monday, I suggest.

But this prospect of yet another shift in her rigidly ordered universe alarms Magda even more.

No, no, no. Thursday, fine, fine, fine.

She assures me, unconvincingly, a moment of uneasy silence ensues between us.

And then she says, can you give it to me in writing? Say what in writing? The appointment.

Why do you need the appointment in writing? In case something goes wrong, what could go wrong?

Oh, you won't believe how many things often go wrong.

She laughs bitterly and then visibly hyperventilates.

What does go wrong, for instance?

She'd rather not think about it, she says.

One, three, five, she's counting again, trying to allay her inner turmoil.

Why is she counting only odd numbers, I ask?

These are not odd numbers. These are prime numbers, divisible only by themselves and by one.

I rephrase my question. Why is she counting prime numbers?

But her mind is clearly elsewhere. I'm certain that the office, am I certain, she's asking me, am I certain that the office is not reserved by another therapist this coming Thursday?

Yes, I'm certain it is not.

I checked with the clinic's receptionist before a reschedule. How reliable is the clinic's receptionist, she's asking me.

And then Magda adds, is it a he or a she?

I try a different tack. Is Magda here to discuss logistics or to attend therapy? To attend therapy, she says.

Then why don't we start with therapy?

Good idea, she says.

Her problem is that she's overloaded with assignments and she can't get anything done despite putting in 80-hour weeks.

Why doesn't she get help? Why doesn't she delegate some of her workload?

She cannot trust anyone to do the job properly. Everyone nowadays is so indolent, so morally lax. Work ethic is dead.

Has she actually tried to collaborate with someone?

Yes, she did.

But her co-worker was impossible. Rude, promiscuous and a thief.

You mean she embezzled company funds?

You could say that.

In what way?

She spent the whole day making private phone calls, surfing the net and eating. She was also slovenly, in fact.

Surely you can't hold her obesity against her.

I can, says Magda.

Had she eaten less and exercised more, she wouldn't have looked like a blob.

Magda demurs.

This shot comes aside, I say.

Was she an efficient worker?

Magda glowers at me.

I just told you, didn't I?

I had to do everything by myself. She made so many mistakes that often I had to retype the documents from the beginning, from scratch.

What word processing software does Magda use?

Magda is accustomed to the IBM Selectric typewriter.

She hates computers. They're so unreliable, so user-hostile.

When these mindless monsters were first introduced into the workplace, the chaos was incredible. Furniture had to be moved, wires had to be laid, desks cleared.

She hates such disruptions. Routine guarantees productivity.

She declares smuggling and counts prime numbers under her breath.

Shadow type number 9, that was.


And now onwards to shadow type number 10.

Remember, there are 14 shadow types.

Shadow type number 10.

I know I won't actually die. But it often feels like I'm dying, says Mona, and nervously pats her auburn hair.

I can't live without him. I just can't live without him, that's for sure.

When he's gone, it's like life switching from Technicolor to black and white. When he's gone, when he's away, there's no excitement. There's electricity in the air that seems to constantly surround him.

She misses him so much that it physically hurts. Sometimes she feels like throwing up at the mere thought of separating or of being abandoned by him. She's helpless without him.

He's so masterful. He knows how to fix things around the house. He's gorgeous. He's a great lover.

Does Mona find him intellectually stimulating? Do they talk a lot?

She moves uncomfortably in her seat. He's more this strong, silent type.

She's supporting him financially because he studied.

In the last seven years, he had switched from psychology to political science to physical therapy.

How long does she intend to underwrite his quest for self-actualization? As long as it takes, she says.

I simply love him.

She acknowledges that he's verbally and sometimes physically abusive. He has cheated on her more times than she can count, usually with classmates at the university.

So why is she still with him, I ask?

He has his good sides. Do these good sides outweigh his bad sides?

She's evidently displeased with my question, but is reluctant to express her reservations.

I tell her that her intimate partner having refused to attend therapy, I merely try to get to know him better, if only by proxy, through her.

Evidently something is bothering her, otherwise we wouldn't be having this therapy session.

Yes, yes, of course something bothers me, she says.

I want to learn how to hold on to him, Mona whispers.

He's a very special man and has special needs.

I'm looking for guidance on how to hook him. I want him to become addicted to me. I want him to be like a junkie. I want to be his drug.

She even participated in group sex once or twice to make his fantasies come true.

Does this strike her as the basis for a healthy, long-term relationship?

She doesn't care.

She consulted all her friends and even casual acquaintances, but she doesn't know whether to trust them.

Does she have many friends? Not anymore.

What does she mean? Why not? People get tired of her.

They say that she's clinging. But that's not true. She's not clinging. She only asks her advice on a regular basis.

Okay, Mona, do you have a job?

Mona is a lawyer, but her dream is to become a film director.

She vividly and enthusiastically describes what she would do behind the camera.

Okay, I say, great, what's holding you back?

She loves self-deprecatingly.

Except for mediocre talent, doctor. Nothing else.

That's the only thing that's holding me back.

And plus, I need all the money to support the studies of my loved one.

Shadow type number 11.

Coffee break.

What's a shadow without coffee?

Mike is attending therapy at the request of his wife.

She complains that he is emotionally absent and aloof.

Mike shrugs.

We used to have a great marriage, but good things don't last.

You cannot sustain the same levels of passion and interest throughout their relationship.

She has unrealistic expectations. Isn't his family worth the effort, I ask?

He shrugs again.

He doesn't pay to be a good husband or a good father.

Look what my loving wife did to me.

In any case, at my age, the future is behind me.

Caro Pediam sees the day he's my model and he winks.

Does he consider his wife's demands to be unreasonable?

He flares up.

With all due respect, that's between me and my spouse. It's none of your business.

Then why is he wasting his time and mind if he wouldn't talk?

I didn't ask to be here, he says.

You know, it's not my initiative.

Did he prepare a list of things he would like to see improved in his family life?

He forgot.

Can he compile it for our next meeting?

Only if nothing more urgent pops up, he's very busy.

It would be difficult to continue to work together, I tell him, if he doesn't keep his promises and refuses to collaborate.

He understands.

He understands it and he will see what he can do about it, he says, but without great conviction.

The problem is, he says, that he regards psychotherapy as a form of con artistry.

It's a scam.

Psychotherapy is a snake oil salesman.

Luxury day witch doctors, only much less efficient.

He hates to feel cheated or deceived. Does he often feel cheated or deceived?

He loves dismissively.

He is too clever for run-of-the-mill crooks. He is often underestimated by them and he gets them.

Do other people beside crooks underestimate him?

He admits to being unappreciated and underpaid at work. It bothers him.

He deserves more than that.

Obsequious intellectual midgets rise to the top, brown-nosing their way in every organization.

He observes this with virulent envy.

How does he cope with this discrepancy between the way he perceives himself and the way other people evidently evaluate him?

He ignores them.

They're fools.

How can one ignore one's co-workers and one's superiors?

He doesn't talk to them.

In other words, he sulks.

He refuses to answer.

Then he suddenly reconsiders.

I don't sulk.

Sometimes I try to enlighten and educate the people I deem worthy.

It often gets me into arguments, and I've acquired the reputation as a cantankerous curmudgeon, but I don't care.

Is he an impatient or irritable person? What do you think?

He counters.

During this session, did I ever lose my cool? Did I ever lose my cool, I ask you?

Well, actually, frequently, I say.

He half rises from his chair to go away, and then thinks better of it and settles down.

Okay, he says, do your thing.

He says, sullenly and contemptuously. Let's get it over with.

Shadow number 12.

Yet another Sam is an advertising executive.

He keeps sending letters with damaging and incriminating information about himself to various online print and electronic media.

He knows that it is an extreme form of self-destructive and self-defeating behavior, but it feels good afterwards, like I'm cleansed.

Does he enjoy doing this?

He records.

Enjoy is a strong word.

Okay, what themes, what pastimes does he find pleasurable?

He scratches his forehead and says, I like classical music.

Okay, when was the last time that you've been to a concert?

He can't remember.

Sam is gregarious and somewhat narcissistic. He likes being the center of attention.

Still, he's a virtual hermit. He rarely exits his home.

He spends all his time in solitary activities.

I ask him, why do you abstain from social contact?

He tends to make a fool of himself, he says.

He often gets drunk and then loses control of what he says and does.

And that is not fun, he concludes, sadly.

Sam is homosexual, is gay.

He craves a stable and long-term relationship, but he keeps finding himself involved with unsuitable partners.

These brief and stormy liaisons invariably end in heartbreak and financial ruin.

Why didn't he seek help before?

I don't need help even now, he sounds resentful.

I need advice.

Okay, okay, then why didn't you seek advice before?

He murmurs something about something. It's inaudible.

I can't understand what he says, but he refuses to share it with me.

When I insist, he confesses that he has been to therapy a few years ago. She gave me all the wrong advice, he complains, and proceeds to list his former therapist's suggestions.

I inform him that he is likely to receive very similar guidance from me. And I offer to assist him to assimilate these lessons, to gain insights, and act on these insights.

That's more than I had bargained for when I came here, he frowns.

Therapy is not exactly my idea of intimacy or companionship.

I'm not offering intimacy or companionship, I tell him.

I'm offering support, I'm offering you some knowledge regarding the workings of the human mind.

But he's still on edge.

I understand that you practice brief therapy.

Yes, sometimes, that's true.

This means that we can see results in one or two sessions.

Sometimes, I say, it depends on the client's circumstances, problems.

He looks at me suspiciously.

That sounds more like brainwashing to me, he declares.

I don't like people tinkering with my mind like that. People always tinker with other people's minds, I say.

This is what feels like advertising and political campaigning do.

Psychotherapy does it.

When you talk to a person, he tinkers with your mind. It's all about tinkering with minds.

People cut you down to size, he sneers.

They force you to conform or die.

I don't want to conform, I prefer to die.

Sam feels constantly manipulated by people who pretend to care about him.

Love is a chord word for subjugation on the one hand, and obsequiousness, obeisance, submission on the other hand.

Only weak people develop such dependence.

He is shocked by the fact that I fully concur.

Yes, love and dependence are mutually exclusive.

At work, Sam is much loved, much admired. He is known for his willingness to help others with their tasks. He dedicates time and attention, and he puts lots of efforts into these altruistic excursions, while neglecting to attend to his own clients.

And so he jeopardizes his standing in the firm and his career, even though he is helpful and collaborative in a team worker.

The only time Sam had a row with his superior was when he was promoted. I didn't want the new job, though I admit that it far better suited my qualifications and experience, he explains to me.

He remembers the incident because that night he had a near fatal accident. I was saved by the wits he loves disingenuously. Someone else got the job while I languished at the hospital.

What do you think of my story, asks Sam? Am I not a pathetic piece of work?

When I ignore the bait, he proceeds to taunt and provoke me.

What's the matter, doc? As a therapist, aren't you supposed to answer truthfully? Am I not the most screwed up, hopeless, miserable imitation of a human being you've ever come across in your practice?

Now, that's quite a shadow.

Shadow 13, one before the penultimate.

Penultimate, look it up.

Shadow number 13.

A little discipline never hurt anybody, repeats Jared, clearly amused.

Beating a three-year-old and letting her freeze to near death on your doorstep in sub-zero temperatures.

Is this his idea of discipline?

Jared says it's one way of getting the message across and then he laughs heartily and then he composes himself.

Listen, doc, I am as merciful, as compassionate and kind as they come.

Believe you me, but what I cannot stand is cry babies, weaklings and whining bitches.

Besides, it's fun to see how a little ice does wonders to the siren voices of these babies.

Why did he force the mother to dump her limp and profusely bleeding infant daughter outside the door?

If she were a proper caretaker, he says, none of this would have happened. It's her fault.

He wanted to show her wretched family, who is the only boss in the household. They were getting on my nerves.

Her mother, her sister, they needed some re-education, like in the Chinese camps.

He chuckles. They all claimed to be terrified of him and intimidated by his capricious and violent behavior, I say.

I sure hope so, he laughs.

The kid says that you pinched her repeatedly and that's why she cried.

I was just kidding with her. I was just kidding with her.

Pinching hurts. It sure does.

He roars and slaps my shoulder across the desk.

I like you, dog. I like your sense of humor. The slap hurt, too.

Could he please refrain from doing it in the future? Whatever the hell is going on, my shrink, he accepts my indirect criticism jovially.

The mother says that about a year ago, you beat the same child and you caused her grave injuries because she wouldn't cry. She wouldn't cry when you pinched her and kicked her around. You kept yelling at the child, cry, you bitch, cry. Then you mauled, mauled the child, hit her badly because she wouldn't cry.

I don't understand. That time, you broke her bones because she wouldn't cry.

Now you spanked her because she did cry.

So what gives? What do you want her to do?

She has to make up her own mind, he says.

She has to stick to her own mind. I respect that. I respect consistency.

But she cannot change her behavior every time I pinch her. That's why I disciplined her.

I wanted to have a spine. It seems to me I say that he's the one who keeps changing the rules.

His face darkens and he leans forward, whispering hoarsely.

Doc, I like you and all.

But don't cross the line here or you may get a taste of the same medicine yourself.

You get my drift?

Are you threatening me, ask?

He merely glowers at me malevolently. Doesn't he like me anymore? I ask.

F off, he says. F off.

Gladly onward to the next shadow and last one.

Next shadow type, number 14.

Edward has a lumbering, numb presence. He walks as if he is in a dream. His gait robotic, his eyes downcast.

Within minutes, it is abundantly clear to me. It is gloomy, dejected, pessimistic, overly serious, lacks a sense of humor, cheerless, joyless, constantly unhappy.

How does he react to good news? I ask him.

What if I had just informed him that he had won a million dollars in a game of chance?

He contemplates this improbable good fortune and then shrubs.

He wouldn't make much of a difference, Doc. A million dollars wouldn't make much of a difference in your life.

I'm astounded. This time, he doesn't even bother to answer.

Okay, let's try some other way.

What would you have done with money?

I'd probably fritter it away.

He loves mirthlessly.

I'm not good with finances either.

I confide in him. I understand what you're saying.

I'm not good at anything, he counters.

Well, that's not what I hear from his wife and close friends whom I've interviewed.

I try to reassure him.

They say that you're outstanding at your work. They say you're a loving husband. They say you're a chess champion.

What do they know he sneers? I'm a loser.

The only thing I'm really good at is disguising it.

Failing from time to time doesn't make you a failure and definitely doesn't make you a loser.

I try to reintroduce a perspective into the fast deteriorating conversation.

And now he snaps suddenly.

I'm worthless, okay? I'm inadequate. You get it?

I consume scarce resources. I give very little in return.

I'm too cowardly to put an end to it all.

And that's all there is to it. Don't give me this fake sugary pep talks, doctor.

Okay, okay. I'm merely trying to understand and reassure him.

Can he provide examples of failure and defeat that prove conclusively?

Is he self-assessment and substantiate?

He slips into a bout of brooding and then reawakens.

I'm afraid to lose my job. Why is that?

His boss praises him to high heaven. Why would he lose his job?

He dismisses this contrary information. He praises me now, but when he finds out, it's going to be a different story.

He finds out what?

He finds out the real me.

He blurts and averts his gaze.

Can he describe this filthy penumbral entity, the real me?

Well, he says, let me put it this way.

I feel, no, I know, says Edward, that I lack perseverance. I'm hypocritical, obsequious, obstructive, full of suppressed rage, full of violence.

And it worries me. I'm very judgmental of others and give an authority or power over other people.

I'm sadistically punitive.

I enjoy their writing pain and suffering when I criticize or chastise them.

But at the same time, I hate and despise myself for being such a low life.

So I often apologize to the victims of my own abusive conduct.

And sometimes I even cry when I do this.

I really feel bad about this behavior and I'm sincere and they forgive me and they grant me another chance.

I also claim knowledge and skills and talents that I do not possess.

So, in effect, you could say I'm a scammer, a con artist.

Wow, I say, that's quite a long list.

Now we understand.

He concurs with me. That's why I will likely end up unemployed.

Can you try to imagine the day after he was sacked?

I ask him.

He visibly shudders. No way. Don't even go there, Doc.

I point out that he has been leading the conversation inexorably exactly to this topic.

At which point Edward sulks and then rises from his chair and walks towards the door without word.

Where are you going? I'm genuinely surprised.

I'm going to get myself a real psychiatrist.

He triumphantly calls out.

You're as much of a sham as I am, Doc.

It's no use, one fraudster trying to cure another.

And he's gone. He's gone.

And so is the list of shadow types.

I hope you would listen carefully. Feel free to rewind and fast forward until you find your shadow types.

And remember, apply these shadow types to everyone in your life and to every institution and collective in your life.

It will introduce a lot of order to things that hitherto have been a bit obscure.

And it's the first step in healing.

Thank you for listening.

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