Shadow Behavior In Relationships: Spreading Pain vs Containing It

spreading butter in pan

I know people who never, ever, spread their pain around. Clearly, they have pain. All kinds of calamities fall on people like this and they never reach out and smear you with it. Somehow they manage to carry their burden without forcing others to pay along with them.

I admire this and I can’t believe how hard it is for me to emulate this behavior. I’ll give you an example scenario so we’re talking about the same thing here.

Let’s say someone breaks a promise. As a result, you suffer some kind of indignity or other cost. Maybe it’s money. You’re going forgive the person, for whatever reason. Family? Close friend? Because you know they have a good or a good enough reason.

The challenge is to forgive the person without any added commentary.  To be able to say, “No problem” rather than something like, “No problem, but it caused me X and cost me Y.”

It’s not like I don’t have the ability to behave properly. I can and I often do but sometimes it’s inordinately difficult. At the root of it, at least in my case, it’s self-interest, causing the problem, along with a willingness to sacrifice the other person to some degree.

Here’s another example: I go to the doctor and complain about the other doctor!  Like he can do anything about it? Like he needs this weight placed upon him?

That butter is me, getting ready to spread my pain around! It’s mortifying and it has to stop!

This is a good topic for Mars in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn. Taking control of shadow behavior in relationships.

Are you familiar with this? Do you have any negative behaviors in relationship, you might address?

22 thoughts on “Shadow Behavior In Relationships: Spreading Pain vs Containing It”

  1. I think it comes down to communication and compassion. I work in long term care, on a dementia unit. Most of the people there have declined to a point of not needing to be on a unit where the front door is constantly locked… but they stay, whether dictated by their family or the management.

    I have told the management they should move these people out, but they are SLOW to do it, or not at all. Some families have refused.

    The weight of the work is crushing. Co-workers are having disagreements with themselves. Chaos is becoming a normalized thing. Frustrating for a Virgo.

    I have lots of Leo, so I shout and put on theatrics, but that doesn’t do any good.

    I’d like to express my pain, and spread it to the management and others with vicinity.

    But I also know, without a bandaid, the infection will spread, with or without me..

    1. I hear you, Mike! Your situation is rampant throughout and post pandemic. Understaffing is killing our healthcare workers and is why we’re having a three day strike at Kaiser in LA. We have to stand up and take on wealth inequality and corporate greed. Mars in Libra is taking action for Justice!

  2. “Here’s another example: I go to the doctor and complain about the other doctor! Like he can do anything about it? Like he needs this weight placed upon him?”

    Hmmm that’s interesting perspective – food for thought!

  3. Yes, I find that this kind of taking accountability in managing your own problems and burdens generates respect from others. People do respect self control. I find that people are usually already aware of how their actions affect others. They are also more likely to change their behavior if they are not put on the defense where they tend to go into self preservation mode. It does help relationships run smoother.

  4. As fate would have it l have been re: reading The Jupiter/Saturn Conferences Greene/Arroyo, just on the bit about shadow work. l have decided l can’t be ‘that good’ because l am not. It also talks about how a saint will have a very dark shadow…Sometimes it is a problem if a promise is broken or harm is done intended or not and sometimes pain is spread around deserved or not. Some people repeat the pattern of hurting and forgiving with out change and learning. Some people turn the other cheek so much the end up spinning like Regan out of The Exorcist.

    1. My Dad was a “SAINT” but yes he had a very dark shadow. So confusing as a child growing up. I still don’t get it completely as an old lady today and he has been gone 28 years.

      1. When you write SAINT, Opalina, do you mean he was ‘a street angel but a home devil’? I remember being confused too…too many things ‘said but not done’at home and in the world.

        Can astrology and this blog help?
        28 years is a specify time. Anything to do with Saturn?
        Just saying: from one old woman to another. (Bet l am older than you)

  5. My Mars/Pluto shadow behavior is accepting and internalizing boundary pushing from others until I blow. I’m ok at setting the initial boundary. But when that’s pushed, I don’t know how to handle it in the moment so I will acquiesce. Then it inevitably gets to a point where I’m overwhelmed and I see that I will lose my autonomy in some way if this continues and that this person has to go. It’s never a graceful scene- although it does always work, every time.

    As far as the example you gave Elsa, I can see your point. Sometimes I will post something here for discussion and end up feeling I was dumping my burdens even though my intent is always just to bring something to light. I wonder if sometimes people just want their burden perceived by another, not necessarily for someone to take it on themselves. I think there’s a way to listen without absorbing the burden.

    I’m also thinking about this woman I used to work with. Every day is was one thing or another. Her cat, her chickens, her sciatica, her son. If she had been a kind person, I might have listened and been drained but she was so completely self absorbed that I just never took the time to care, because I could tell right off the bat that the energy only flowed one way with her.

    I realized personally at a young age that most people don’t really care what I’m going through and they have their own burdens. But there are some people who DO care and are happy to listen and help. It actually gets them out of their own worries. So.., I don’t know, I don’t think there’s a blanket way of relating. It’s just about being in tune with the other and seeing what they need and are willing or capable of providing.

    1. I agree with all of this. I see myself in this, too.

      I was just discussing with a friend about being a certain type ‘fixer’. These fixers want to help you fix a problem. You go to them, they listen to everything, they offer solutions, they absorb your problem onto themselves. They are being good friends/family/neighbors. You love them because they care so much. But the caring can go awry, it can seed resentment if you don’t take their advice for one example. Caring can be being a really good listener, offer advice! And take 5 giant steps back, because in the end, the person will fix their own problem the way the lesson needs to be learned.

  6. Just as a follow-up. l am not a fan of containing emotion, l can do it, but l dont know if it is a good thing for health…where does it all go?

    Libra Noir, you said you let it go ‘all at once’l also take your point about ‘lose of autonomy’…and the draining person–it is not so bad if you get a turn, l reckon.

    And Vic, l have heaps of water. l am a good listener and ‘container’ for others. l have been a ‘fixer’ until recently and it doesnt feel natural…makes me feel ?? Invalid.And l am…a part of societies’ shadow…hidden away.

    I was at a birthday party listening to my Libra (Venus Scorp) host complaining about children ‘blaming’ parents. l said: Let them say it (hear it) dont justify just listen…but she didnt listen. l have spent many hours listening to her ‘blame’ her parents…they dont listen (she said). Her children have banned her from the topic of her parents. Only seems fair.

    I think it goes back to the old give and take…balance.

    Elsa, l think your ability to share your experience has helped others to ‘say it’ but not not everyone wants to…some only once and never again.

    Lastly, shadow is not easily named. l read: good friends will see it(shadow), and if they are wise, they wont tell you.

    1. true, its not good to contain it, thats why there’s paid therapists and counselors that will help. If you dont let it out, there’s something even more sinister that may happen (could be in the form of health, containing so much negativity and pain or anxiety and running away from problems). it’s good to hear complaints, let them purge and purge. maybe it’s best for a professional to hear it. even a really good friend/family member who can handle it.

      1. Good help professionals are hard to find, Elisa, and the good ones are overworked. But l agree, someone outside the situation can have a clearer perspective. It seems ‘pills’ are the go to solution atm and l dont like that one bit. Pills mask sym. for the most part, but do nothing to address issue, but they are cheaper. One thing l have learnt — it is important to find a mental health professional who shares your world view…or in the very least compatible Mercury and Moon. Someone who you can talk to who ‘gets’ you is always a good start.

  7. If you are going to forgive a person, wipe the slate clean, why would you give them a lecture as well?…That spoils everything…

    1. To spread the pain around, as I said.
      Pain that can be considerable, though I do want to overcome this.

      It’s so hard for me, I may be better off to just spend more time alone.
      It really shouldn’t be so hard to get along.

      I will take responsibility of course. I feel bit like, Ben, at 29 years old, when he swore off partnering. I would not do that, but as far as socializing around, if I can’t stop screwing up, I will isolate. Like a drunk who avoids bars.

  8. I don’t disagree with that, but I think it’s very immature and un-spiritual to spread the pain around, since the point of forgiveness is to actually forgive…and heal the pain in yourself…

    1. Immature? Un-spiritual? Are you standing in judgement of others gemini7 l thought that was a no no.

      Who are you to tell others how to forgive?. All of us nice clean slates… all in a row…just like you? No messy emotions or messy people?

      Forgiveness- if it is given at all- cant be demanded…first comes understanding. Sharing pain helps with that…

      I dont think you are a spiritual person, but l bet you polish a nice pew.

  9. I think I became better at not to spread my sh*t around like a fan after training myself to acknowledge my emotions.

    For example, my BF can say something hurtful, and previously, I would have just spewed a lot of crap in his face, but I am more mature now (at least a lot of times, nobody’s perfect), and so I allow myself to just sit with my pain, and let my inner child’s feelings of whatever inadequacy I feel, be soothed by being the adult mother to it.

    It is NOT an easy task!
    Often I will just explode or spew my pain out. It depends on the subject or source of pain for me.

    My progressed Sun has been entering Capricorn recently, and I find myself feeling more dignified. My natal Mars is in Cap too, but he’s square my Libra Moon and THAT is often no silent affair. Sheesh, the intensity I crave and ditto temper I have. Mostly it’s Italian though… I spew a lot of anger, and then, smile and wave boys.

    But I have also come to learn, that having a fight releases dopemine to the brain. And having an ADHD diagnosis is like living with a gas tube with holes when it comes to sufficient dopamine levels.
    So, one of the ways you get dopamine can actually be by getting into fights! When I realized that, my Dad’s behaviour throughout my life. Ok, he was a chronic alcoholic as well, so it probably bites itself in the tail, as alcoholics has a relatively higher co-morbidity with diagnoses such as ADHD, and alcoholism also make you more prone to aggression.

    BUT nevertheless. When I learned that my brain got into conflict often times due to low dopamine and all that, I tried to do something else, that could spark some neutransitters in my head instead 😉
    Because shortly after or during a fight, I calm down completely, having released enough dopamine to last me at least one or half an hour.

    1. You could try exercise to get that dopamine hit. Would preserve your relationships and help with your blood pressure. 😁

  10. I’ve always been the type to shoulder my own burdens because I don’t want to be a problem for anyone. So I hardly talk about anything that goes on in my life that is “difficult”. I think this comes from growing up in an impoverished, big family and feeling like my problems were minor to what we were going through. Like there’s already enough, why add to it? So I sit in my own shit and try to figure it out, myself. But this hyper-dependent feeling leads to me feeling alone, occasionally. I’m here for other people to unload their problems and be a listening ear, and I’ve been okay with it.. until I feel like I’m being solely used for that instead of a genuine friendship with some reciprocity – like asking me, how am I? Even if I only share the tip of the iceberg. It also makes me feel like, will someone ever be there for me? But I know that’s my own doing in the first place seeing as I don’t really let people be there for me because it’s my burden to shoulder alone. It’s a real atlas-world on your shoulders-type of feeling. The astrology for it would probably be my Capricorn NN and Capricorn placements opposing all my Cancer stellium. I have several outlets, physical and creative, that help me get through ruts and release some of that energy, but when times really do get rough, I know I can usually lean on my Virgo friend who is just an absolute gem of a person. Very thankful for them.

  11. hmm yes i’ve done this many times and dont realize it.

    aside, as it dawns on me; i’m complaining about the current hospice worker who never shows up and purge this complaint to the other part time caretaker who is very responsible and is reliable (virgo sun with scorpio mars/libra moon caretaker) and she’s telling me i need to report her for always not coming and getting paid. but then i’m just frustrated because this hospice worker keeps promising to come and doesn’t and she doesn’t inform me. the other two part time caretakers always contact to tell me if they dont come or if something important comes up but they dont miss any appointments unless emergency. I have contacted the organization that she doesn’t show up, but the hospice department already finished so they can’t do anything. In the meantime, this same hospice worker must have felt bad and told me she can provide a different department to put my elderly parents in and with some resources and help. I thought about it, and i think she is going through some hardships herself. I’ve stopped purging my complaints and i’m gonna tell the two people who i’ve been purging it to, (the virgo caretaker and my sister who lives close, because my sister is trying now to come at least once a week with her 10 hour job during the week) that the hospice worker is going through hardship. If she doesn’t call or misses, i’ll just cover it remotely with deliveries. When i was with my elderly parents for two months, she never showed up and said, ” you’re here so i decided that i dont need to come.” lol sigh. maybe i’m just too kind and then she said my family is so kind. But my limit broke when she did it for nearly a year. lol then the purging of my complaints started. i just wanted her to show up once a week and she is getting paid anyway. oh well. i’ll just let it slide because she has done alot in other ways. ^^
    i feel bad for even complaining. lol

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