Shadow Work Prompts for Trauma

If you’re ready to face some of your past trauma and heal from the painful memories of the past, then shadow work prompts may be the answer. 

Shadow work is a powerful tool that can help you answer specific questions that you’ve never thought to ask before. 

Through this exercise you’ll be able to identify where certain toxic behaviors and triggers originate from which will help you to heal and let go. Let’s get into how it works. 

    What is the Shadow Self?

    So first, let’s explore what we mean by the “shadow self”. It was a concept first introduced by renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung and refers to the unconscious part of ourselves that we refuse to confront. It’s where we store all of our bad experiences, trauma and pain. This could be anything from our deepest desires to our impulses or repressed memories. 

    Really, the shadow self is just our dark side. It’s important to note that we all have this and it is nothing to feel shameful about. Ignoring the shadow self (as most people do) can lead to a feeling of disconnection from yourself and the world. It can keep you in a negative thought-cycle that you probably can’t seem to break. 

    By acknowledging your shadow self through shadow work prompts, you can integrate these rejected parts of yourself which leads to self acceptance and leading a more authentic life. It will also act as a release for the physical body which can help you feel better overall. 

    What are Shadow Work Prompts?

    So you’re ready to break the cycle? Shadow work prompts are exercises or questions designed to help you explore and integrate your shadow self. 

    This means you need to be ready to identify your toxic patterns and beliefs, as well as confront your past trauma.

    Shadow work prompts can be used to heal a number of things but are particularly beneficial for those dealing with trauma. 

    Trauma creates a very dark shadow and can lead to deep wounds in the psyche that you unconsciously hold. This will often lead to feeling low, showing patterns of avoidance, dissociation, negative thought-cycles and self-blame. 

    Shadow work can help you to confront these traumas so that you have space for love and self growth. 

    Signs that You are Dealing with Trauma

    Firstly it’s important to acknowledge that there are 2 types of trauma. The first is big “T” trauma, which are deeply traumatic experiences like; abuse or abandonment. The second is small “t” trauma which can be a number of things from being bullied to having a narcissistic parent. 

    Here are some signs that you’re suffering from trauma: 

    1. Persistent feelings of anxiety, fear, or unease
    2. Flashbacks or intrusive memories
    3. Avoidance of situations, people, or activities that trigger trauma-related memories or emotions
    4. Emotional numbness or detachment
    5. Negative beliefs about yourself, others, or the world
    6. Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
    7. Hyper-vigilance or feeling constantly on edge
    8. Physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, or chronic pain
    9. Substance abuse or other addictive behaviors

    Shadow Work Prompts for Trauma

    1. If you could have a conversation with your 8 year old self what would you say to them? Are you worried for your 8 yourself? Why?
    2. As a child, who was your closest relationship? How did this person impact your growing up? What traits in yourself do you see in them?
    3. Thinking back to childhood, how did you feel when you looked in the mirror? Do you remember the first time you ever felt any insecurity? What triggered it?
    4. As a child who was the person you could say you trusted the most? Why did you trust them? If no one, why didn’t you trust anyone?
    5. Who would you say was your most positive influence growing up? How did they impact you? List 3 ways you’re grateful for them. 
    6. What is a memory from your childhood that you ignore or seem to overlook? Why do you overlook it? How do you think that situation still impacts you today? 
    7. How did your parents/guardians shape the way you think? Can you think of opinions that you had when you were younger that you no longer have? Why did they change?
    8. If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would be it? Why are you telling yourself that? How did it make you feel?
    9. Do you have a lot of negative thoughts? If so, what do they sound like? How do you speak to yourself in your mind? Go into detail listing 5 things you always think about
    10. What was your first experience of having someone break your trust? What did they do? How do you perceive it? How do you think they perceived the situation? Could you forgive them and yourself?
    11. How do you feel about being vulnerable? Are you comfortable with it or does it make you feel uncomfortable? Why? 
    12. What limiting beliefs do you hold about yourself, and how do they hold you back?
    13. How can you be more kind to yourself?
    14. What are some fears or anxieties that hold you back from pursuing your dreams, and how can you begin to overcome them?
    15. How can you learn to trust your intuition more, and what practices can help you tap into it?
    16. In what ways do you resist change, and how can you learn to embrace it more readily?
    17. What patterns or habits do you engage in that are not serving you, and how can you begin to shift them?

    Final Thoughts

    Shadow work is an incredibly powerful tool for self exploration and integrating the shadow parts of ourselves that we often reject and ignore. When we ignore these feelings they tend to grow and fester causing us both mental and physical health problems. 

    When we do shadow work prompts we’re able to identify our toxic patterns and beliefs and begin to transform our lives for the better. 

    If you’re going to practice these shadow work prompts please be sure to take it easy on yourself. This can be a very confronting and painful experience but will ultimately help you to heal. 

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    Author Bio

    Just a journalist who fell into spiritual practice by accident. I wanted to share the lessons I've learnt in a cool place and write in a way that appeals to all generations. I cover all things spirituality with a special interest in pop culture trends.