As we journey through life, any time we experience unresolved trauma, our human ego fragments into different parts.
In shamanism, these are lost soul parts, reunited in a process called soul retrieval. In Jungian psychology, these are the archetypes within that have been pushed into the subconscious shadow. In interfamily systems, these are the different “family members” that live within us.
Any of these systems are appropriate for doing shadow work, soul retrieval, or parts work as it is sometimes called. I prefer a combination of shamanic journeywork and Jungian psychology.
When I was young, at some point my soul decided it was no longer safe to be me. This occurred when I was very, very young, as it’s been very difficult for me to remember any attributes of my authentic self.
Over the years, I’ve been having many dreams, almost every night, where I’m running away from someone or something trying to kill me. I’m escaping buildings, jumping out of windows, running through neighborhoods, hiding in the bushes, even at times flying above the trees just to get away from my attacker.
I’ve known for some time that I needed to face my fears and had been working on facing the biggest fears I’ve held in my life, from people to experiences. But the dreams persisted.
Then, the dreams shifted. I was the killer first, watching people die because of poison I’d given them or something similar. Then I’d immediately shift to being a witness of the killing and be afraid I’d be the next victim, and again, I’d run.
Now, I am not a violent person, like at all. I’ve never been in a physical fight and I’m not cruel toward others. I certainly have never killed or injured anyone. Many people tell me that I am actually one of the most calm and compassionate people they know.
In fact, I’m incredibly calm even in crisis situations, always have been since I was a child. So calm in fact, that if I wasn’t so kind and empathetic and rational on the outside, I could potentially come across as an unfeeling sociopath.
But my outward facing behavior is so good at being the perfect person in a crisis, that no one would ever blink twice. In fact, I’ve had myself fooled this entire time.
What I’ve realized through immersing myself in the depths of my shadows is that when my soul decided at a very, very young age that it was no longer safe to be me, my ego fragmented into extremely different parts. Pretty effective ones at that.
There’s the part that is the vulnerable, weak, incapable, emotional, submissive archetype that needs the help of others, so as to solicit sympathy and protection from those around me. I especially have played this part around those that feel unsafe, hoping they’d have mercy on me rather than hurt me.
And then there’s the part that is the calculated, highly capable, extremely confident, manipulative, rational, calm, sociopathic, trained killer archetype who uses different roles to protect the inner soul, to get what she wants, and to be accepted by those around her.
I didn’t know until recently how much my inner killer archetype was running the show…