Shame hurts. It is humiliating
and that is painful. Shame can be an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness of being bad, ‘unclean’ wrong, unworthy,
flawed, or simply not good enough. Surprisingly shame frequently results in low self-esteem. Individuals struggling with deep
shame may believe these feelings are no more than they deserve. People often accept these feelings as being normal, and may
even assume other people feel exactly the same way. Regrettably these feelings are quite common, but they most certainly are
not ‘normal’ and have been identified as a common factor in suicidal thoughts and feelings.
"I’m a failure"."I'm bloody useless"."I shouldn't have bothered" ."Nobody could possibly love me"."I’m not a good mother/father". "I can’t
relate to other people"
Shame is a powerful feeling as are many others. But shame is a ‘stigmatised’
condition and so, rarely mentioned. This ‘stigma’ has a lot to answer for. But the bottom line is that most of
us feel shame. Not only for the things that we have, or have not done, but paradoxically, feeling shame about feeling shame
itself. Consequently, shame is seldom acknowledged to others, or even to oneself. As with any emotional feeling, when
shame is denied it will only resurface to create even more pain and havoc.
Shame is a humiliating experience and can become overwhelming, its effects too painful
to endure The pain it causes is very real and can even lead to acts of violence, self-harm or even suicide. Shame often evokes
feelings of being worthless, being unloved and unlovable, lost and unredeemable, or alienated from humanity. It is frequently accompanied by a host of other painful feelings. Up to and including the ever-present torment
that our shame will be discovered and that we will be abandoned and continue to live in an insufferable state of sheer terror
and despair. In the final analysis: Shame is: humiliation. Shame is embarrassment.
Shame underlines our negative feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness, and belittlement. It causes one to hide (their shame)
from the world at large. Not being able to face others. Lowering of the gaze, averting the eyes, blushing, the biting of lips or tongue; a forced smile; or fidget. Shame can also evoke annoyance, exaggeration and (of course) denial.
Shame often manifests itself as a voice inside your head which judges everything we
do in an highly critical manner. Nothing is ever good enough. Whatever we do is wrong, worthless
or without meaning. It is thought that this inner ‘critic’ is an echo of what was said to us by others important
to us in our past. Parents, relatives, teachers and others whose opinions were important to us.= Authority figures.
Shame can also be caused by others expecting too much of us. Putting us ‘on
the spot’ and obliging us to do something that we would otherwise choose not to do. When we fail to meet their expectation
they are disappointed and we feel even more shame. Our best is simply not good enough and this evokes even more criticism.
These criticisms can become ‘internalised’ causing us to criticize ourselves even more. Thereby reinforcing all
of the negative feelings of shame and confirming our own low self esteem.
In the thing which we laughingly call a society (as it is in many families), expressing
emotions is positively frowned upon. Feelings such as despair, anger, fear, loneliness, sadness or any feeling which is associated
with vulnerability is virtually taboo.
Expressing vulnerability is not only not encouraged, but often trigger cruel and shaming
reproaches. Often these criticisms become internalized, so that when we experience any of these shameful feelings again we
will automatically experience shame. Blame ourselves and try to control or hide the feelings. This can cause enormous damage
to our self-esteem.
Self-abuse, Chronic victimization, Denial of others. Abuse of others.
Depression. Anger. Controlling, Addictions and other Compulsions: shame is said to be at
the very heart of all types of addictions/compulsions. Shame predisposes a person for psychological dependency which in turn
can lead a person to physical dependency. Sufferers of unresolved shame issues Suicide/attempts: the ultimate act of shame. I am hopeless, unworthy and don’t deserve
or want to live
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