Awareness of One’s Shadow Aspect in BDSM

BDSM and Fetish in general is a misunderstood and very prejudged lifestyle. It all comes down to a deep social taboo and expectance to keep the shadow aspect of our persona, or the shadow, in check and hidden. What is a the shadow of one’s persona? Originally theorized in Jungian psychology, it is one of two sides of us; the first is the persona or fa├žade we show the world that conforms to societal rules and standards. The shadow aspect is who we truly are but hide from society, and is often times not even recognized by people because of how negative they feel it is. The shadow can have traits such as egotism, selfishness, laziness, greed, lust, etc. depending on the individual person. It harbors what we act out in our dreams and, in many people, can actually manifest itself in our dreams as a person of the same gender as the dreamer, and may appear with dark and/or inexplicit features. Our interaction with the shadow in our dreams can reveal one’s current state of mind. The shadow, often determines what we enjoy watching in movies and/or reading in books. It is everything we wish we could openly live, but suppress due to a deep-set, often times justified, fear of rejection due to what we’re taught as children. Most people will go through life completely unaware of their shadow aspect and will live unfulfilled lives and never really understand why they feel as if something is missing.

People who practice BDSM are one group who have come to acknowledge, fantasize, or even fully accept and live vicariously in harmony with their shadow. This is in direct contrast to the overwhelming majority of society who subconsciously engage in a never ending battle with it. Personally, I decided long ago that I would not suffocate my shadow aspect for others happiness. With that said, I also have come from a childhood that is far beyond comprehension for most people. The specifics are not open for discussion in this article, or at this time, but they were detriment in forming who I am today and forming the alliance I have with my shadow aspect and account for the absolute lack of shame in having it. Essentially though, most people are never forced to encounter their shadow aspect if they do not wish to. I lived it or saw it being lived out on a daily basis and was very familiar with it as a child, though I did not even know what it was, or that it was abnormal for one to be so in tune with it. My shadow was just my friend, my ally, my voice.

I have found that quite a few people who are open in their lifestyle of BDSM are very in touch with their shadow. Though they may have never known its name, they have always been aware of a side of them that they know is not acceptable by societal standards, but embrace it regardless. Most people who are closeted in their love for BDSM have one common fear amongst one another; the fear of what their family and/or others will think about them. In fact, their fear is so strong that I have seen all too often people spending a great majority of their lives hiding who they really are as to not displease their loved ones. As you sit down for a moment of ponderance tonight, ask yourself this – Do you know your shadow? In answering this question you may find that you are either much more, or much less truthful with yourself than you realized. The impact your awareness of your shadow has can be huge in regards to your BDSM life, or life in general. At a very minimum, perhaps your new knowledge and awareness of one’s shadow will give you a new-found respect for the BDSM and fetish communities.