Everyone has their shadow; some people just are shadow.
Finding out that I was mostly shadow really messed with me and seemed to come out of left field. I had been in various stages of psychological and psychiatric care for years dealing with mental health and mood issues and my focus lied primarily there. It wasn’t until an acquaintance of mine suggested that I might be a psychopath that I even began the deep introspection required to see such shadow. As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky in that I got to take the PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist – Revised) voluntarily. However, there was much introspection before I was diagnosed as a psychopath and this introspection led to the unearthing of characteristics that I just could not see previously.
We are taught that everyone possesses good in them. Like one of seemingly millions of movies, we are taught that if we are behaving badly, that we have merely not received proper stimulation to behave in a moral way. Like the climax of Star Wars, we just simply need the proper motivation to cast our darkness aside. Reality doesn’t work quite that way. Some people do not possess light inside of them or, if they do, it is so muted that it is imperceptible. However, restating yet again, the absence of light does not mean that one is going to behave badly; it just means that they have no moral alignment to behave in a social way.
When I began that introspection, after my associate mentioned the word ‘psychopath’ and before the official diagnosis, I was truly disturbed by what I saw. I finally admitted my antisocial proclivities and my indifference of morality. I was deeply frightened by such revelations. I was raised Christian and, even though I am now atheist, the message of the inherent good (although I such mention, the inherent sin as well) of people in Sunday school and sermons still resonated with me at the time. Only the truly evil were made of shadow, I thought. Was I truly evil?
I quickly squashed such thoughts as I began the discovery process of my psychopathy. I was still human; I just had a different worldview and internal state of morality that most. It did not matter if I was shadow, it mattered whether I let that shadow break free. So long as I could keep my antisocial bent in check, there was nothing to be ashamed of or to fear. I was disturbed because I was taught to be. I was troubled because I realized that I was very different than many.
In the end, we all possess shadow. Some of us just possess more than others. We need not fear that shadow, but we must realize that, in order to be not subject to atimia, we must keep that shadow within acceptable boundaries. Once I realized that I had the power over that shadow, I was able to finally be free as a person and I also realized my identity. I was able to embrace myself and realize that I am merely an atypical person, not an evil person, and not one to be absolutely feared. Instead of instilling that everyone possesses good, maybe we should be preaching that everyone possesses evil (or shadow) and that we must all face that within ourselves.