The Only Way to Get Rid of Shame
Jul 12, 2018
This past week in the online group we have been talking about shame. It is always a challenging topic but it is crucial for victims of abuse to understand in order to feel free from shame.
The feeling most people avoid feeling is shame. I love Brené Brown's work around shame and her research, books, and Ted talks shed a light onto what she calls the master feeling because when we have internalized shame, it becomes the lens for how we view the world and ourselves in it. And it isn't until we understand how it impacts us, that we can consider the possibility that there is another way to see and feel about ourselves.
Survivors of child abuse develop toxic shame because of the lack of support they get from caregivers and family to process what was done to them. Trauma becomes internalized without support soon after the abuse happened. The child feels and experiences abandonment and extreme confusion when they are hurt by someone they know and love, and when others around them don't respond with empathy and support. As children, survivors internalize the belief that they did something wrong, that what was done to them is shameful (since no one talks about it) and should be kept a secret and hidden away.
This wound, kept in the dark, continues to feed lies and fear to the developing mind and vulnerable heart of a child. Eventually, it takes up so much space in our core that we don't realize that it is the filter we live out of, that every thought and feeling is distorted because of the impact shame has had on it. Without the support to talk about the hurt and the abuse, survivors cope with this shame in creative ways, from trying to be perfect, acting out, numbing the pain through drugs and alcohol, or feeling depressed and fueling worry and anxiety.
What keeps shame from festering is the ability to share what happened with a safe person that responds with empathy, validation, and compassion. But taking the first step to reach out for help can feel next to impossible. So survivors tell themselves, "it doesn't matter, it is too late, it happened so long ago that it should not matter now..."
Here's the thing, my friends. The only way to deal with shame is by exposing it. To do what you can to find a safe person to explore sharing your truth with. It can feel like the scariest thing you will ever do, but let me remind you that the part of you that is feeling that fear is likely your wounded inner child, the part of you that experienced the pain and the confusion. To that little boy or a girl, the pain and shame is unbearable and overwhelming.
You are an adult now. You have been through the worst already. The fear of telling the secret is stronger than the fear you will experience in sharing it. Yes, it will be hard at first but when you share it, you will honor yourself and the part of you that has felt alone with the burden of this secret. Shame cannot survive being talked about, it hates being brought into the light.
I can confirm this fact. When I started telling my story of abuse, I would use my own story of abuse to help people understand how a child can be abused for years and not talk about it. When I started, it was hard and at times I would dissociate. But the more I talked about it, the more I could feel the shame go away and how people responded and thanked me for sharing my story. They validated me and my hurt and I felt seen and heard. The abuse was not my fault. And after hearing that over and over again, I started to believe it and I realized that I did not need to feel ashamed. It was a process but it worked.
The abuse you suffered was not your fault. Telling the truth helps you realize that. With the safe person, you will feel the validation and support that you needed as a child. The shame you are feeling is not even your shame. It was given to you by the person that hurt you.
I hope you continue your search for a safe person to share your journey with. Too many survivors will go on for years managing chronic tension because of their inner battle with shame. Most do a brilliant job coping with it for a long time but the cost is high, too high. It can cost you your health, your relationships and intimacy, and closeness with others. Shame will keep whispering in your ear that no one cares, that they will only leave if they knew the truth...but it is a lie.
Some survivors don't get the validation and support they need from their families, especially those related to the person that hurt them. But don't give up!! There are plenty of survivors out there that have been in your shoes, that understand and know how you feel. You are not alone!
Do you have a secret that you have not shared? Did something happen to you as a child that is still unresolved? Something that makes you cringe when you think about it? Maybe something you are starting to suspect is the reason you feel stuck or are being so hard on yourself. The thought of it keeps coming up but anytime it does, you do whatever you can do avoid thinking about it. But there it is again the next day, creeping back into your thoughts, making it hard to focus on anything else. Does this sound familiar?
If that is you, don't wait another day. Make a plan to reach out to a safe friend or find a therapist or a coach. You owe it to yourself. Your inner child will thank you. Your adult self will thank you.
You are worth the healing and support. When survivors heal their broken hearts, they become a part of the solution and the solution is to keep talking about it. By shamelessly talking about your healing after abuse or trauma, you are helping countless others.
Ready to to get help with shame? Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. I can help! Just follow (this link) or call 619-889-6366 to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me ($125). Let me help you with the next step to heal your life. You deserve it! Reserve your spot NOW!
Have you read my new book, “Releasing Your Authentic Self”? If you’re ready to do the deep, hard work of emotional healing, this book is for YOU!! You’ll find it at Amazon in paperback (link) or Kindle (link). Enjoy and happy reading!
Are you looking for more support? I have created a closed Facebook group for the readers of “Releasing Your Authentic Self” If you are ready to dig deep, and want to experience the daily support, encouragement from others like you. Follow this link to learn more: Releasing Your Authentic Self Support Group.
Stay connected with news and updates!
Are you on my email list? Email list subscribers receive an email with a link to my weekly blog post and occasional special offers. If you’d like to subscribe, click below!