A Consciousness Challenge: Recognizing the Inner Antagonist in the Outer World

When is the last time you bumped into “an exteriorization of an inner antagonist”? It is challenging for consciousness to grasp the possibility conflict with others may reflect, at the root, an out-picturing of an important inner conflict. Think about times when you found you were very sensitive or emotional reactive to a situation or person.

What do we know about the inner antagonist and its origins? What is the meaning and purpose of  projecting this pole of the complex onto someone in the outer world?

Edward Edinger suggests we consider the possibility conflict in the outer world is psyche propelling us into a situation specifically for the purposes of learning something essential. The timing reflects our readiness in the moment to consider the next piece in working through a complex. From this perspective, what we are in conflict with is  an exteriorized, embodied, Inner Antagonist. This is a radical notion. What is the teaching? How can we be open to another who suggests our problem with them comes from us?

Conflict, with the presence of emotion signaling something important is trying to happen, brings the complex to our attention. In what way does our partner selection reflect their unique and peculiar capacities to carry the Inner Antagonist for us?

See discussion in the Representation of Persona Submitting to Emotion page.

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2 Comments on “A Consciousness Challenge: Recognizing the Inner Antagonist in the Outer World”

  1. […] the plot thickens. Life offers many distractions, and troubles out there can be very compelling. (see Exteriorization of Inner Antagonist) The partial cure dilemma reflects the problem of the life saving defenses: while they support us, […]

  2. […] Author comments on re-posting this: I am moving this to the top of the posts as I think it is one comprehensive way into this symbol system. It is in the details. My seemingly endless emphasis on the importance of recognizing the blur – because healing only occurs in the blur – reflects how difficult this concept is, until you can see it. Philip Bromberg’s reflections on subsymbolic and symbolic modes of being and the role of enactments in bringing lost parts of ourselves into consciousness, is not to be missed. In terms of my contribution, it seems, limited as it may be, it is important to recognize these dynamics for their profound implications. Translation: we need to stop blaming each other for our core unhappiness. If psyche chose well, and I am always working to track how that is so, our partner is bringing exactly what we need to surface our deeper awareness and resources (see the Exteriorization of the Inner Antagonist post). […]

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