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We Leave The Past Behind? Wait, Not So Fast! Shadow will follow you.

What You Can't Be With, Won't Let You Be

~Debbie Ford | The Shadow Effect

What Is The Shadow?

"Shadow" is used as a metaphor to describe unresolved over-reactive aspects of ourselves that we repress, ignore, or deny, holding us back from healthy relationships. Unattended, they end up sabotaging our best intentions to live and enjoy healthy relationships and keep away from repetitive drama and confrontations.

Example of shadows:

  • Repetitive reactions of anger, confrontations, temper tantrums, or short tempered behaviors that are embedded in our subconscious and will be quickly triggered under the right circumstances.

  • "Shadow” fuels toxic relationships, impacts our friendships, crushes our self-esteem, and leads us into more toxic relationships.

  • "Shadow" is subtle, hard to detect, and misunderstood. Therefore, we hide behind these out-of-control emotions or look the other way. Acting-up it will make us do things we rather not remember. "Shadow" attracts their kind and will poison your life. They are called "Shadow" and we "rehearse" them. "Birds of the same feather will flock together." ~Hindi Proverb

“The shadow is not a problem to be solved or an enemy to be conquered, but a fertile field where diamonds are waiting to be cultivated.” ~Louise Grogan, founder of Let Go of Toxic Relationships.

THE EVOLUTION of one’s own soul is a process. It is not a quick fix, It is not a five-day or a two-day workshop. It is a lifetime process where we let go.”

~Debbie Ford "The Shadow Work"

The past is the past. We leave it behind. Not so Fast...

"The past if the past. We leave it behind." is what our parents growing in the midst of their own emotionally and abusive toxic environments would tell us over and over. In their defense, they had no clue, no language, or understanding of how to address these shadows there in the first place to protect them.

Truth be told, I repeated it too, and more than once; "The past is the past and we leave it behind." I believed the past was something we left behind. And that was that. Settled, nothing to worry about!

That is, until "baggage" grew bigger and louder, becoming a real problem in my behavior and making my own relationships toxic.

I was unable to emotionally detached from pretty much anything and lived from reaction to reaction. I had "Shadow" flying here and there and out of control. I was living my life by "default" just like a leaf carried by the wind.

As I write this article, I can see my mother's reaction when I asked her questions about her experiences. She would deflect the conversation in a blink, and in a condescending tone would reply, "I made it, you'll make it too," and then walk away with her chin up. Nice act, Mom.

As for myself and siblings, we did make it, but not before unloading a lot of baggage.

It took six decades before my mother's story was revealed to me from a direct source. Needless to say, it tremendously helped to connect the dots and close some loopholes.

In 1915 my grandmother married someone who turned out to be a physically abusive alcoholic. A classic today. However, in 1915 times were tougher and no resources existed to help my grandmother! A couple years or so after my mother was born, my grandmother took her by the hand and ran away.

That's the way you do it, GranMa, and more power to you! I've also heard that she had quite a temper, no fear, and lots of spunk and fire in her! Do you notice the Shadow aspects of my grandmother at work, which saved her and my mother from a life of abuse?

It’s in situations like this, where there is use, manipulation, lies, and abuse, when we need this energy at work. Coming back to our topic, when our turbulent life settles down, our unattended Shadow will not settle down until we tame it.

At the slightest sign of alert, it will be triggered with the same force. As to my grandmother’s situation, she needed her Shadow intact for the rest of her life.

As to my mother, she "made it" as she had claimed. The consequences of her leaving her own past behind, ignored, repressed, and especially denied, created a lot of collateral damage day in and day out for her and my siblings.

Today, I can see as clear as water that behind all this bravado, anger at men, hurt, pain, and deceit, was a highly resourceful woman, an excellent English grammar teacher fluent in French and English.

She was a woman with charisma, powerful with endless potential to achieve and succeed the way she wanted to. Two personalities, one woman. It took a long time for me to get to the bottom of this and reconcile everything.

We Are So Blessed Today!

We can express gratitude for the large amount of empowering information available and accessible to us today.

We have access to webinars, books, seminars, information on the impact of growing up in city street environments, impact of thoughts of retaliation, and accumulated resentments. We understand how it all impacts us at a cellular level.

This type of information was not available or accessible to people in the 1900s. Let's make good use of it.

My personal conviction is that environment and hard science support that it begins in the womb and impacts each one of us in different degrees.

The good news is the brain is not hardwired and new beliefs can be embedded, disconnecting the old ones. I studied the work of inspiring teachers, and implemented their tools and life principles. I quit believing these myths and false beliefs about money and my future, and I stopped believing I was a victim of my mother's genes.

I connected to my value, qualities, and what I take to the table of any type of relationship I have. My quality of life took a 180-degree turn many years ago, and I never looked back.

Whatever emotional or event memories I had unresolved from a past long gone are now nicely placed into a Book of Empowerment, Insights, and Knowledge that is supporting my work assisting people still living or growing up in similar emotional conditions and feeling trapped in a repetitive toxic merry-go-round.

CLICK HERE! See how knowledge and implementation could give your mind-set a 180-degree spin in the right direction! leading you to live your dreams and passions.

You can change your inner environment and live your dreams. It's only a matter of making up your mind and taking action with determination, tenacity, and focus. There is an environment inside of us we we live with it every day.

I can hear you say, "But Louise, I don't know what I want!"

There's one thing you clearly know you want. It's inner peace and happiness. You don't have to know what you want first, no. It's the other way around. You need to know what you don't want first.

That's the faster route to knowing what you want. Try it. Pick up a pen and paper. It's so easy to list what we don't want and what we will not tolerate anymore.

If you are seeking to understand what is blocking you and how to unlock the blocks, if you feel ready to put some skin into it, now is the time and here is the place.

"What you can't be with won't let you be." ~Debbie ford

A Short Q&A

Q. Louise, how do we make sense of people living in the midst of toxic neighborhoods whose lives are dysfunctional while others living the same city street lifestyle ― sometimes as the nextdoor neighbor ― will end up living a good quality of life?

A. Excellent question. This can't be explained in a few words and is not a black-and-white answer.

Keep an open mind to the fact that hard science is supporting that our state of mind started taking shape inside environments we were surrounded by, including in the womb. This is not some new age philosophy, hearsay, or made-up information to make me sound smart.

Let's reflect on this. There is the fetus environment impacted by the emotional environment of the mother. She is impacted by her own acquaintance, friends, culture, beliefs, religiosity, environments, etc. It's a state of mind I labelled the "Hypnotic Conditioning Syndrome."

Indoctrination and being a product of a toxic or healthy environment are as real as the sun rising tomorrow.

Q. Louise, how do you know you really have closure with a parent you so much resent, mistrust, and had deep grudge against for so long?

A. When closure set in, I felt a true heart-opening sensation. The curtains of judgment and retaliation dropped down. I knew for the first time in my life what compassion feels like. I was not, until then, a very compassionate person.

I reached closure and forgiveness. People or siblings defending her with the classic "She did the best she could considering where she came from" was not cutting it for me. It was not enough to get me to the bottom of what exactly was at play. First off, none of my siblings knew her real story. They were simply repeating something from the top of their head.

It's only when I had a clear understanding of Dr. Bruce Lipton's work on the biology of beliefs that I saw the consequences of her being chained and at the mercy of toxic myths, views, and opinions not even hers but from her environment. As a metaphor, she unquestionably believed she was this person in a wheelchair with both legs amputated. Life had dealt her a bad hand of cards, myths were true, and you had to cheat, lie and plot to make money. All the while, she had all these talents that she had expressed before that had been left in a corner doing nothing.

Q. What led you to the work you do now?

A. Understanding human behavior has been a passion for me since the tender age of 12. I had an inquisitive personality and especially for that topic. Thank God for that gift! The complexity of my mother's behavior was the perfect enigma to study and make some sense out of.

Getting back on topic, I have two powerful analogies for you guys.

The Puppet And Turntable Vinyl Analogies

The Puppet Analogy

Imagine a puppet attached to invisible strings. The puppet represents people. Each one of these invisible strings represents Shadow aspects or sides of us that impulsively choose for us, speaking and acting for us creating self-deceiving situations and relationships.

At this point of my article, I would like to invite you, if any of this is unclear, to drop your questions or share your thoughts at the end of this article. I welcome and respect your input. I share my knowledge but I do not claim to know everything!

The Turntable Analogy

Imagine a turntable spinning a 12" vinyl record. The 12" vinyl represents negative chat in our mind.

Stay with me. The title of this 12' vinyl “Embedded Toxic Beliefs and Views." One track only.

As the record plays and reaches its end, the arm lifts up and goes back to the beginning, replaying the negative thoughts and inner dialogue over and over again.

In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. Of those, about 80% are negative.

Would you agree that unless we become aware of the chattering replaying over and over in our mind and lift the needle off the record, it won't stop replaying?

Conclusion: Until we gain knowledge, educate ourselves, be blunt and true to ourselves, be humble, and forgive ourselves, the rehearsing of these thoughts will keep on playing in our mind and our experience of life will be miserable.

Again as a metaphor, we can lift the needle off the "I Can't Do This" record anytime we're ready and determined to change things in our life. It's doable, it is feasible. It's a question of how determined you are in taking the quality of your relationships into your own hands and finally have this peace of mind everybody wants.

Again as a metaphor we can lift the needle off the "I Can't Do This" record anytime we're ready and determined to change things in our life. It's doable, it is feasible. It's a question of how determined you are in taking the quality of your relationships into your own hands and finally have this peace of mind everybody wants.

The question is ... “How Do We Do That?”

First and foremost, understand that these bursts of flaming emotions were there as defense mechanism during childhood. If over the years, it becomes toxic baggage and you have aspirations and dreams for your relationships and future, it will have to be addressed.

Regardless of what people may believe, the brain is flexible and the brain is malleable.

The brain is not hardwired as our parents believed or still believe. It can be rewired through new neuron connections stimulated by new beliefs held in our mind. Please take a peek at the video on the left. In a few words, any type of embedded toxic beliefs we have learned can be unlearned. If you believe something long enough, you will live it or hold it in your hand. Watch what you emotionally and intensely wish for.

The Five-Step Life Integration Road Map

First Step: Inventory of Our "Attic"

Give yourself permission to explore aspects of yourself where you feel there are negative self-depreciating judgment, feelings of not being enough, anger or pain percolating in the background. We know what they are my Ladies. We know. I'm right there with you.

With a pen and paper in hand make a straightforward list of what catches to your attention. Remember, we have to feel it, name it, and write it down to nail it as if you were an observer from a distance.

The simple act of creating a list will shine the light of truth over the "shadow" effect which in turn will empower you and provide you with important information. When we are true to ourselves it's easier to let go. As I learned from my own experience, if you are not overly concerned to put the real stuff on paper you will greatly benefit from this exercise.

Second Step: Knowledge - Seek and You Will Find

Knowledge is the first step to understanding how we repeatedly tick or experience repetitive toxic relationships.

I would like to recommend you get the book “The Shadow Effect.” by author Debbie Ford.

As you will read through it, you will discover the positive side of shadows we tend to deny or repress. Debbie Ford, author of "The Shadow Effect" teaches about the shadow using a language easy to understand and wrap our mind around it.

Third Step: Implementation

Dedicated implementation is the key to any type of successful endeavor. Implementation generates tangible results that we can feel, see, and experiment. Life will still go on, ups and downs will show up but you will ride on top of the wave much easier and stronger.

Fourth Step: Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3

"Rome was not build in a day." This is not a one time "go around the steps" and then you're all set. The process becomes a way of life. Your way of life.

The power within us is much greater than the power we believe situations have around us and when you do "the Work" the rewards are great!

Fifth Step: Reminder As to the spiritual aspect of all that, always remember that God is the glue that holds everything together and brings every-thing in perfect harmony and balance. I would recommend you familiarize yourself with the work of the wonderful and unique Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, "The Answer Is You - Waking Up To Your True Potential."

Seek and you will find. Keep educating yourself with the work of authors referred to in step two and five.


"You can break yourself free from hereditary patterns, street culture environment; and prove once and for all that the power within you is greater than the power around you."

~ Dr. Michael Beckwith

Let me know if any of this resonates with you. I invite you to post your questions, thoughts, or comments. Feel free to also include a topic you would like me to write an article about!

Be Strong, Be Well, and Dare! LouiseGrogan Toxic Relationship Strategist

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© Transform Your Life By Design LLC. 2019 | All Rights Reserved | Policy | Disclaimer Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the readers.

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