Shadow Work: How to start healing past trauma now

We all have some kind of trauma in our pasts. It doesn’t have to be childhood trauma, It could be from a breakup last week, A negative thought you just had about yourself before you started reading this. Stop and take a minute or two to read what I have to say about shadow work and how it can help you start healing all the past trauma.

Shadow Work

It doesn’t matter when it happened… What matters is that you work through it. Don’t keep pushing down feelings you can’t shake.

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4 parts of the human body

When you think of the human body most will think of just the mind, body, and spirit. However, there is 4th part called the shadow. you can’t have the light without the dark. There is a balance that has to be maintained.

We work so hard on our mind, body, and spirit but what about all those suppressed memories or events you have that you shove deep down inside that you never got closure for or just don’t want to deal with. That is your shadow work.

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What is Shadow Work?

Shadow work is working through things from your past. Could be from your childhood, relationship experiences, or events in your life that are not resolved. With them not being resolved it still affects you still to this day.

This is all the stuff we don’t deal with or don’t get closure on. I look at it as we have an internal suitcase… (I know just follow me) We keep shoving things in our suitcase and it’s starting to overflow. So what are you to do?? You try sitting on top of your suitcase to zip it up.

Thinking we need to carry all that baggage with us throughout our life and eventually, the zipper breaks and everything that you were shoving in it comes flowing out.

When you know your suitcase is full, it’s time to start decluttering inside to make room for things that bring you joy.

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Shadow work

Shadow work may also be known to some as working on your inner child. Although some issues you may have may not have anything to do with your inner child. It can be from any time in your life.

On a molecular level, every organ in your body changes every seven years.

If that is the case I have been 5 different versions of myself.
(1) ages 1-7
(2) ages 8-14
(3) ages 15-21
(4) ages 22-28
(5) ages 29-35

Just by looking at these ages, I can see how different I was in those 7 years. When I look at my shadow work from this perspective I can think of certain things that happened in ages 1-7, 8-14, and so on. Each of those age gaps had a serious impact on me and who I am today.

I may have changed on a molecular level, but I still carry all that baggage.

Shadow Work

Benefits of Shadow work

Newton’s third law of motion is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.

It is the same with your shadow work. Behind every negative action, there is a positive reaction. Changing your outlook from negative to positive so it can no longer affect you the way it has in the past.

You are healing yourself from the inside out.

I watched this video on YouTube that had 5 steps to working on your shadow work. His name is Clark Kegley and he references the 3-2-1 method by Ken Wilber. I like the way Clark lays out his steps to shadow work which is similar to Kens. Clark describes the 5 steps as follows:

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Think of something you want to work on

Think of something you want to work on. Again it could be the pain of a past relationship. If you are having feelings of worthlessness or if you are seeking validation from others or you are lacking confidence.

There is no rush thinking about what you want to work on. Take some time and think about what could really benefit you from working on it.

I came up with a few questions you can answer to help narrow down your search.

Questions to help find events

Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to find some events to work on.

When I am thinking of _________ what do I think of them?
What major events in my life stand out that affected me in a huge way?
Do I have any anger or resentment towards anyone that is in or used to be in my life?

Invite your former self

All of this you can do verbal or written if you would like to keep a record. Or you may even record yourself.

Invite your former self from that time in your life to have a discussion about the situation that occurred. Let yourself know that you are not here to judge but to understand the situation and come to some kind of closure. Be nice and no negative self-talk.

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Start a conversation

Have a conversation with your former self asking simple questions. No judgment so negative self-talk. Be patient and kind to yourself. They did not know the things you know now. Take your time do not rush anything.

Questions to ask each event

What can I do to move past this?
Why are you doing this?
What do you want from me?
What is the positive intent you are trying to keep me from?
Am I letting this past trauma hold me back in any way? If yes, Why?
Can I see the growth I have made as a person since this past trauma?
Has this trauma brought good things into my life because of the lessons I have learned?
Am I able to step back from this past trauma with a clear heart?
Can I be unbias about a solution to move forward?
What would I want to tell the person who caused my trauma?
Can I forgive this person or situation within myself?
Am I okay if I never get closure from this?

Listen & acknowledge

Listen to what your former self is saying Understand that again they might not have known the information you know now. Educate them on their actions and decisions. Allow them time to process what is being said and do not make yourself feel guilty.

Making yourself feel guilty about the situation is not going to do anything for you except make the pain you pushed down that much stronger. Look at this from a birds-eye view. You are talking to your former self as a mediator, not a judge and jury. Be kind to yourself, you didn’t know better than or you did what you could with what you had.

Shadow Work

Integrate it

Now that you have had the conversation with yourself it’s time for you to take what you learned from your former self and go back in time to correct some of the situations.

Let the scene play out in your head or speak it out loud if you need to, but play the scene in your head how you would have liked it to go. Resolve it for yourself and change the narrative. Let it benefit you.

Give yourself the support & validation you did not get from others when you needed it.

After you played out the scene in your favor… Imagine yourself walking through your timeline from being your former self to who you are now. Let yourself know that whatever happened is okay. It does not define you.

No I am just healing from the inside out… Charlotte. But thanks for noticing!

Don’t blow it off

I know we all have some stuff tucked out deep in our closet and like Eminem said “I am cleaning out my closet”. Declutter that bitch.

I can tell you I overthink a lot of things that happened in my life. A lot of things that I let define who I was. What really helped me was doing this shadow work. Anytime I used to talk about my 5-year abusive relationship and how it ended with him almost raping me. I would bawl my eyes out.

When I wrote that post on my blog about starting over after leaving an abusive relationship that was me working through shit. I bawled my eyes out writing that post because I never told anyone all the shit he did to me. Those 5 years broke me to the point that I thought I was worthless and unloveable. That I was the problem.

It has been about 10 or 11 years now since I left. When I talk about what happened I bawl my eyes out anymore. Why… Because I healed and now focus on my growth. If I think about it long enough I do get teary-eyed, but not for what he did… but for myself. I get emotional thinking that 23/24 year old me was so brave for finally leaving. She was so strong for knowing her worth. She did the best she could with what she had and somehow she made it work for the better.

That is was makes me emotional about my past. I changed the narrative from what HE did to me and how HE made me feel to… what I did for MYSELF and what I will continue to do for MYSELF. I took the power away from him.

Shadow Work

Try doing your own shadow work

There is no right or wrong way to do this. Don’t watch millions of videos and read thousands of books. It is just going to overwhelm you and you won’t do it. It is not a big complex problem. Just remember:

1. Find something you want to work on
2. Invite your former self to a conversation
3. Start the conversation without judgment
4. Listen & Acknowledge
5. Integrate it

It is time to declutter the skeletons in your closet. There is no time like the present to work on healing yourself from the inside out. If you enjoyed this post please comment, like ad share. If you want these posts delivered to your email every Sunday please sign up for the email list. I will have a worksheet in my freebies tab for you to grab if you need a reminder of the steps and the questions to ask yourself. I am rooting for you and your healing!

Until next time, have a great day!

Shadow Work

28 thoughts on “Shadow Work: How to start healing past trauma now

  1. Shadow work helps us to accept that which we’ve found unacceptable so that real change, healing, and transformation can occur. One of the most important things to remember when engaging with shadow work is to be compassionate with yourself.

  2. THis is really interesting and I have never heard of Shadow Work before but I know a few people that could benefit from this! I am going to send it to them now – thank you for sharing! I love learning new things!

      1. I love, love, love this post, Michele! We all have suppressed memories of past trauma, whether major or minor. This is a great way of addressing it and healing ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally. A definite must-share! 😊💞

  3. Life can be really so challenging at undefined that we don’t know what things will happen to us causing us to suffer such trauma. I enjoyed reading this post as I learned something new. Definitely for sharing!

  4. Interesting post, I have never heard of the term “shadow work” so this was a very informative post for me, Thanks for writing this!

  5. A big Yes! Healing and vulnerability are a huge strength and not a weakness. Feels those feels and heals that pain.

  6. I carry a lot of unnecessary worries around with me simply because they were situations that have not been resolved or that I think could have had a better resolution for all. I can see the shadow work would be a way for me to let go of some of that baggage that I just don’t need to carry any more.

    1. I do too. I constantly think back to situations that were not resolved. Going back to those situations doing the shadow work and resolving it for myself has really made a difference. I would never want to go to that person unless I felt the need that it would help me better, but I don’t want to open the door to being “vulnerable” again. I left for a reason and do not plan on going back

  7. Thank you so much for this. A lot of people are dealing with so much in silence and it always feels good to read something and be able to relate. I have to share it cause it needs to reach more people.

    1. Oh you are so welcome. I am also doing this myself. I surprise myself every day that I am still here fighting another day because of what I went through. So I owe it to myself to work through all this crap.

  8. Oh wao! I have never heard of shadow work until this point but it makes so much sense actually. It’s insane to think that there aren’t more conversations about this and how we can do our shadow work.

    1. I have plenty of more to say on the subject. Please follow up or sign up for my newsletter and get it emailed directly to you. (I know it sounds stupid and pushy, but really it’s the best way to get the updates on when I expand on this subject more)

  9. I really love this idea. I want to try to work through my childhood,
    teenage, and adult traumas. I have been in therapy. This Shadow Work seems worth a try.

    1. I am starting from the beginning and will be working my way through everything. I am going to document the whole process. Yes, I am making it public, but it is more so for me than anyone else.

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