Witch: This “Shadow Work” I keep hearing about isn’t very fun at all. I’d rather not…
Universe: But I insist…
Witch distracted by something shiny: OOOH! Look at this romantic new bauble of witchery I just acquired to cork the creeping darkness I refuse to acknowledge! I’ll just keep stuffing it down with another crystal amulet. Maybe if I put a second gemstone ring on every finger, it will form a shadow-mask to hide this necrotic bane I’m harboring, and no one will ever know.
Universe: Or, you could strip bare before this mirror I hold for you, and embrace the darkness within? Let’s heal together.
Witch: My witch-friends might reject me if they ever saw my weaknesses…just like all the rest. <darkness looms> I AM A VICTIM!
Universe: Now wait a minute, I heard ALL you witches vow to each other to live in “In Perfect Love and Trust.” Perhaps you could try trusting them first? Give them the benefit of the doubt? You do realize that you’re projecting your fears on innocent bystanders? Those folks love you, why are you burning them at the stake?
Witch: Everyone I ever depended on betrayed me eventually. Witches expect me to heal these wounds, but I’ve clung to them so long. I am still so angry at the assholes who hurt me in the past. Nope. Can’t do it. How dare anyone suggest that I forgive or release my anger. I HATE the people who hurt me in the past!
Universe: They say that hatred is like poisoning yourself and waiting for your enemies to die. Perhaps your friends simply hope you’ll stop poisoning yourself? Why not just go talk to them about your concerns?
Witch: Look here, look here… if I hold my shadow-mask out far enough, I can see the world through it like a filter. SEE?!?! Darkness is everywhere! They are all out to get me! My boundaries are threatened!
Universe: Rather than drag them down into your fears, why don’t we work together to lift yourself up into my Divine Love?
Witch: No way, man! I’m gonna preemptively defame all those witches on Facebook instead. Let me just block them first, so they can’t see it or defend themselves. I AM SOVEREIGN!
Universe: So, how did that turn out for you?
Witch: My life is a dumpster fire. My “friends” expect me to show up and explain why I’ve been talkin’ shit about them. Can you believe it? They are just demons attacking me! Those witches I’ve been slandering for no good reason must have put a curse on me. That’s it! My woes are ALL THEIR FAULT! I will curse them as they’ve cursed me. Calling all my fellow victims! Who will rescue me from their heartless neglect of my drama?!?! I AM A WARRIOR WITCH! ATTACK!
Witch: I burn! I burn!
Universe: Shitty out, shitty in, I always say. It’s a universal law. Maybe you’ve heard of it? So are you ready yet to face your shadows and take responsibility for how your fears are creating this nightmare for yourself?
Witch: Responsibility is hard. Being a reactionary dramamonster every time life challenges me is much easier. Victims get so much more attention.
Universe: Witchcraft and victimhood are mutually exclusive, dontcha know. Besides, “victim” is the passive form of “survivor.” But to truly survive and begin to thrive again, you have to choose sovereignty every day and break this drama cycle. Face your shadowy fears, name them, and own that your reactionary behavior toward them has been immature. Then you have to actually change your ways and be a better person.
Witch: But…but…my go-to move is to play the victim-card, because I like the attention pity gets me.
Universe: You’ll have to give that up. I promise that there are healthier powers for you to enjoy instead.
Witch: If I heal myself, my oh-woe-is-me excuses for bad behavior won’t work anymore.
Universe: Do it anyway.
Witch: But I’m afraid.
Universe: I love your whole self. We are one. You are never forsaken, no matter what.
Witch: What about the people I’ve hurt? Will they forgive me?
Universe: If they are the wise witches’ they claim to be. they already have. However, you have to make amends. Unconditional Love is not the same thing as unconditional relationships, and trust is the hardest thing to regain after it’s been broken. However, forgiveness is always the right answer. Forgiveness starts with you.
Do you recognize yourself playing out in some version of this story? To break free from the cycle of the “Drama Triangle” of Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, as defined by Steven Karpman, MD long ago, check out this helpful article by Linda Graham, MFT:
For a good witchy resource on tackling the difficulties of Shadow work within Witchcraft, I recommend Timothy Roderick’s book: Dark Moon Mysteries.
My favorite quote from the article linked above: “The only way to “escape” the drama triangle is to function as an “adult” and not participate in the game. ” – John Goulet, MFT, Breaking the Drama Triangle
I’ve found that to be the most helpful advice when confronted by this sort of drama. Decline the invitation to play their game. You will still be decried as the “bad guy” no matter what you do, but at least this way, you’ve sacrificed far less energy and heartache into their black hole.