Nothing good is born out of shame. Ever. And it does not resolve itself over time. If we don’t intentionally work to heal it, shame makes us unwell, and also makes those around us sick–particularly our children.
According to Brené Brown, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.(…) I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.”
Shame begs us to lie and pretend- to be, feel, and want as we do not.
It may drive us to be competitive in unhealthy ways and also to be cruel–to establish our goodness and worthiness only by comparison or “betterness” than others. It prohibits the possibility of humility/courage and thus honest ownership & reparations of our mistakes and harmful choices. Shame keeps us hustling for approval and validation – willing to say and do literally anything for the appearance of goodness, strength, impeccability, positivity, and authority.
Our shame can make us feel both bitter and entitled, while at the same time believing we are total shit. Hot shit and piece of shit–all at once. Crazy that those two beliefs can exist along side each other in our psyches….entitlement and unworthiness. Either way, we feel disconnected–better than or less than—but no sustainable connection.
Shame can look like arrogance.
It will make us feel terrified – ALL OF TIME – that:
- People know what we are actually like OR
- They will find out
Shame may make us abuse drugs, food, alcohol, shopping, sex—but mostly it will make us abusive…. and cowardly.
Shame tells us that we are not enough and that there is scarcity of all things good–and so we may tend to snatch and grab and withhold.
Shame causes depression, which for some causes even more shame and then maybe self-harm or suicide. OY— To feel ashamed– for feeling sad/alone/depressed–too ashamed to share or to seek help. Hopelessness. I am grateful to have learned about shame and to be recovering, in time to parent my sons in a more gentle and sane way.
I believe….that behind every bad deed and mean word, there is a whole fuck-ton of shame. Shame is a lie, though, thriving only in darkness and secrecy.
While shame is toxic, it is not a life sentence. There is alllllways hope and help. Any 12 Step Program can help us heal our shame issues. When we are Honest, Open, Willing, we can break the cycles and the generational curse of shame.
Also, I do know some precious tender and kind people who suffer from shame. They are always believing that they cause all of the bad things. People with shame tend to be either the bully or the bullied.Much Love,
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