The personal unconscious contains the shadow,
“a living part of the personality” which “cannot be argued out of
existence or rationalized into harmlessness” (Jung, 1990, p. 20). Johnson
(1991) calls the shadow the dark side of
the psyche and says that should it develop more energy than the ego, it will
erupt in us as an overpowering rage or depression. He says that “the shadow
gone autonomous is a terrible monster in our psychic house” (p. 5). He also
points out that the psyche must keep its equilibirium through control mechanisms
as accurately as the body balances temperature, chemicals, and other parameters.
The shadow acts as a control mechanism by balancing the ego.
According to Johnson (1991), “the ego and the shadow come from the same
source and exactly balance each other ... one cannot exist without the other”
designates aspects of ourselves that we cannot accept; these aspects do not
agree with our ego ideal, and are often in disagreement with the values
established by society. We therefore repress them and prefer to see them
projected onto other people, where we can fight them. (Kast, 1992, p. 197)
When we associate the ego with order, then the shadow, its polar
opposite, becomes associated with chaos. According to Jungian psychology, health
requires a balance of all polar opposites or syzygies. Jung (1981) says that
“one-sidedness” can be removed by the “realization of the shadow” (p.
208). In other words, we must realize that a certain amount of
irrationality exists within us, and come to terms with it.