The Dark Side of Women
By Amber Flynn
This article appeared in Vision Magazine August 2004
“This thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine.”
~ William Shakespeare
Every woman has a story of the “Dark Side.” Sit down with a woman long enough to let her polite, guarded side down and she will share this burden with you. Persuade her to go into detail and you will soon find yourself revealing your own personal dark side experience.
The Dark Side story is an often unpleasant, but powerful tale that can be found in anyone’s life. It is a forbidden account of an action, thought, idea or feeling believed to be unacceptable in our society. Sharing this story can create a deep vulnerability within each of us. At first, the vulnerable feelings become associated with intense feelings of separation. But ultimately, the dark side story when shared will help you connect with your personal Spiritual journey.
Vulnerability is uncomfortable. But, vulnerability is part of the unique process in sharing our dark side stories. The problem is that many women perceive vulnerability as weaknesses. What is the difference between vulnerability and weakness? A vulnerable woman is deeply connected to her feelings. She can openly express her deepest joy, her extreme outrage and her irrational fears. After expressing these feelings she feels alive, vital and empowered. These feelings connect her to her authentic spirit. The result of this connection is a woman who is strong, intuitive and self-assured.
A woman unconnected to her feelings becomes a victim to others because she cannot or will not express her feelings. In order to build a proper ego she becomes “the good girl,” suppressing her feelings to be accepted by others, a very normal reaction to outside influences. But, by doing this she risks her authenticity and will end up constantly looking to others for validation and recognition instead of to herself and her valuable feelings. The result is a woman who is dependent, needy and extremely insecure.
I am in constant admiration when a woman reveals her dark side story to me. It takes great courage to accept responsibility for ones story and to share it with another women. Women’s dark side stories such as abortion, rape, anorexia and plastic surgery have been touched upon in the media but there are greater depths to our dark side: dating married men, being daddy’s little girl, low self esteem, not feeling loved. Then there is the side even more rarely discussed: ambitions, lying, cheating, manipulation, planning, even teeth-barred wildness. And these are just a few of the topics; there are many, many more.
If we keep these stories inside and refuse to share them, they develop into deeper problems. These taboo feelings and stories begin to build their own life inside our psyches and begin to bleed out into our lives in unconscious ways. When we can no longer suppress them, they are finally revealed and then we wonder why we carried them for so long.
If you are a woman, reading this article you are probably connecting to your own dark side story. I encourage you to feel the vulnerability that exists in the mere thought of revealing your story. Perhaps you have never shared your story with anyone. My experience is that when this story is shared, something magical happens! A feeling of liberation and energy begins to release into the body. Perhaps the first thing you will need to do is write it down. If your vulnerability feels too intense and you are afraid someone might read it, burn the story. If that does not feel too difficult, find a girl friend and share it with them. Ask them first for their confidence and let them know how sacred this story is to you. Once your story is revealed you will find that a unique feeling begins to encompass your body. The power women begin to feel when we share our story to another woman is incredible. Sharing our dark side story is the first step in coming home. We are not alone in the dark.
(Please note: Of course, men have shadow side stories too that are unique and different, but that is another article.)