The Shadow King and Queen in Relationships


If we haven’t developed the self-confidence, personal authority and sense of moral responsibility of the Sovereign it’s because we’re still unconsciously stuck in one-sidedness of some kind.  This not only impacts our leadership abilities but also contributes to problems with our partners and peers. Here’s an example of a couple that embodies negative extremes in their relationship.
Tina is stuck in the mind-set of an obsessive King.  Her husband Jay is stuck in his undeveloped Queen.  Tina and her sisters had a very authoritarian father and a timid, submissive mother. Consciously, the girls sided with their mother and rebelled against their father, but unconsciously, they grudgingly admired him for the power and respect he had in the community and felt sorry for their mother who seemed weak in comparison.
Too long under her father’s thumb, Tina overcompensates by being overly dominant in her own home, while Jay, who disliked his authoritarian step-father and identified with his gentle and sacrificial mother, is overly passive and accommodating.  If one of their children has a problem, they go to Jay because they know he will sympathize, whereas experience has taught them that Tina will be insensitive and quick to criticize.
Tina is so convinced of the rightness of her opinions and so defensive when Jay challenges her that he doesn’t speak up when he feels she’s being overbearing.  Instead, he goes to the children when she’s not around and offers them treats and sympathy.  Tina knows this and gets furious at his betrayal of her. Jay gets angry at her stubborn self-righteousness, but he hates conflict so he stuffs his feelings inside until they erupt in occasional uncontrollable outbursts.
Tina’s need for control combined with Jay’s subtle resentment and undermining of her has caused the children to side with him and rebel against her.  Although Tina and Jay have switched gender roles from those of their parents, they haven’t changed the dynamics they observed in their parental models.  One parent is an overly authoritarian Shadow King, the other, an overly sacrificial and submissive Shadow Queen.  Unless Tina and Jay recognize and heal their shadows, their children will inherit them.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

This scenario is extremely common because the one-sided paradigm of the dominant King still has a strong hold on our psyches even as we envision reciprocal partnerships between our masculine and feminine sides. Both intuition and experience tell us that this new paradigm will birth creative solutions in everyone’s best interest. Yet with comparatively few models of healthy Kings and Queens to emulate, we’re struggling mightily to subdue him and understand and respect her.
It won’t be easy for Tina and Jay to change habitual patterns of behavior. They may never even try. Both secretly yearn for more self-respect and better relationships with each other and their children, but so far they’ve resisted stirring up this hornet’s nest. Changing Woman and her companions, Conflict and Chaos, guard the threshold to our noble inheritance and inspire fear and apathy in every traveler. Yet they alone hold the keys to our noble birthright.
This is as true for society as it is for individuals.  Our world family is suffering through painful change.  The one-sided Kings of many countries are learning difficult lessons about softening their rigid positions and listening, compromising, and relating.  Repressed Queens everywhere are trying to find their voices and defend their truths without creating undue conflict or causing others pain. But one thing we can be assured of:  with every step we take toward healing our own Kings and Queens, we will empower the Sovereign that’s struggling to be born in us, our relationships, and the next generation.
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0 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanie,
    Thank you for bringing my attention to the struggle between the inner King and Queen. Your example reminds me of the teaching of Marian Woodman on archetypes and animus. As I do a final round of book editing, I wrestle with the negative aspects of my animus who corners me in rules and squelches my creative flair. May the inner King and Queen work together to balance and support our world and all of us in it.
    Best to you from cold and cloudy upstate NY. I imagine you basking in perfect weather.

    1. Hi Elaine,
      I wrestle with the same issue all the time. The old King/animus in us fiercely resists releasing rules, habit and tradition and our ego has a tough time seeing through the lies of his rigid opinions to the truths of our creative selves. Still, they are there, and we can find them if we persist in trying. From what I’ve seen of your book in your blog posts, it looks like you’re succeeding! Best wishes with your editing. I look forward to the finished product.
      As to the weather, your imagination corresponds with reality. It is a beautiful, mild and sunny day. A beautiful time to be in Florida.
      Best, Jeanie

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