Artist: Tamantha Williams
Medium:Oil on board
Size:30cm x 25cm
On completion of the art work Conflict, I thought it apt to take on one of the sources of Conflict in our lives; the past.
We all have that one or 2 or plenty of people who did not walk the walk we assigned to them in our lives, the ones who seemed to let us down or not give us the love, attention and or feeling of specialness we so craved. Those who did not live up to our expectations, possibly our specific family members, close friends or business acquaintances. And yes, they have disappointed us, our universe was set off tilt due to them not meeting the expectations we had of them.
They are in the past right? Not so. We desperately replay the past in our present, and the attack they made on us in the past now becomes vengeance on a new body, one which replaces the disappointment of the person from the past. “We try to extract from these new people what the shadow figures did not give us”. Basically we are now “really interacting with memories, not with our current partners.” The Shadow Figures are these people from our past, who we felt did not deliver what we thought our due. We set about looking for ‘replacements’ a new cast with which to continue the show of our lives and maybe this time we can get our pound of flesh, maybe this time we can fix them, even though the ‘them’ is by no means the original perpetrator of our hurt.
You may think this is not so, but I often hear people with difficult pasts discussing their current spouse or partner, “he/she is just like my father/brother/mother”. This tied into our low or battered self-esteem which seems to be the fault of our past anguish, results in a search for vengeance in a ‘new’ present relationship and so “Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which become a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem.”
The challenge is as follows, as much as we have possibly drawn a line in the sand, put up a fence for defence, and left ‘the past behind us’ we truly haven’t and so we treat our new present trophy AS IF they are the embodiment of that Shadow Figure; “Shadow figures are our images of people who did not fulfill the functions we gave them. We project these images onto current people in our lives, so that in their behavior we see the shadow figure reaching out of the past to attack us once again.” And so the past perpetuates into the present and future, old grievances keep being replayed, different forms (people/relationships) with the same content (grievances/attacks) and we are left asking “Why does this keep happening to me??!” It hasn’t, you have invited it in.