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#462919 - 03/21/14 04:10 AM Shame
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: C.G. Jung
"Shame is a soul eating emotion."
I can certainly agree with that. I've been thinking alot about shame lately. What it is and how to deal with it.

Google it and you'll get alot of pop psychology websites with various definitions. The one I've settled on is:
Originally Posted By: Fossum and Mason Facing Shame
"While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person."
Thats it. Shame is a negative feeling about ME. Stupid, worthless, inferior, damaged, stained, ugly, failure, incompetant, pervert, pig, weak, unimportant, meaningless, ME. Shame is what defines many of us, it tells us who we are. WHY?!?

I made a list of experiences which I believe instilled shame in me. Not to assign blame or wallow in self-pity, but to try to take a few baby steps toward freedom from shame.
  • My alcoholic parents emotionally abandoned me. Satisfying their disease was more important than I was. I received the unspoken message "You're not worth our time".
  • I worked hard to succeed. Got good grades. Went to college and graduate school on scholarships. Graduated with high honors. Began a successful career. Always hoping to be recognized for it. There was only silence. My parents did not come to my high school, or college graduations. I received the unspoken message: "Whatever you do, you will always be worthless".
  • I married, had children, had at least outwardly, both personal and professional success. Never a positive word about it. My parents didn't come to my wedding, and never met most of their grandchildren. I received the unspoken message "You've always been a disappointment to us, and always will be. You'll always be a loser".
  • When I was 13, I was groomed and manipulated by a man in my neighborhood into trading sex for alcohol and drugs. I received the unspoken message "This is all you're good for, a dirty little whore".
  • I spent the rest of my teens and adulthood in a secret life of anonymous sex, drugs and alcohol. Always trying to numb the pain, and always keeping it all a secret from the world while showing a completely different personna. I received the unspoken message "You would not be successful, loved, or respected if anyone knew what you are really like. You'll never be anything but a dirty drunk manslut".

There's more on my list but I'm sure thats enough for this post. So what can we do about this? How can we silence those voices? Redefine ourselves? Change our beliefs about who we are at our core? I'm still looking for the answers. Please reply if you've found what works for you.
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#462925 - 03/21/14 10:28 AM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Jude,

I identify with the effects of your experience. My parents did not drink, but they did both sexually abuse me and physically abuse me from infancy on. They were never able to see me or value me in any way other than what I could provide for them. I didn't begin to remember my father's abuse until age 53 and my mother's abuse at age 63. I, like you, learned to be a chameleon as a survival skill. All the while I was drying up inside because I did not know how to love myself or open myself to receiving love. My only value was learned as utilitarian.

Congratulations on being able to bring all these old lies out in the clear, healing, light. I incrementally learn to love myself, and the effects are definitely cumulative.

Sending you love,

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#462933 - 03/21/14 04:41 PM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Me too.

Drunken parents left me to be molested regularly when I was 7. I left the house full of drunken screaming and fighting to willingly be with my molester. I felt loved and wanted....

But I will take the side that shame can at times be positive.

If we are ashamed of some behavior of ours for legitimate reason, shame is the internal mechanism to change. If shame does not motivate us to change, then pain can. We may even get in legal trouble, in jail.

So looking T the root of our shame, and our part in it key. False shame and guilt, like feeling we asked for our CSA.... Bad. Living in violation of our own code of morals, then that is probably good shame.

Just my take on it.

I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#462944 - 03/21/14 07:49 PM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
1lifenow Offline

Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 437
Loc: west coast

Shame can only be felt by those with a capacity for connection and empathy, so the GOOD NEWS is you are not a sociopath!

Shame is the feeling we put on ourselves you are so correct. But your parents , perp and societal expectations are external. ITs how you ( we all) deal with it. Especially for survivors, Taking on that shame is something we don't realize we have a choice NOT TO OWN.

Shame is the warm wash we all feel that flushes our face and squeezes our Heart. I know for all men, the first default is the we feel shame when? When we show weakness or feel weakness. What bullshit. A true man shows vulnerability. Just as you have. A warrior going into a battle who feels fear is a hero, one who feels nothing is the fool.

This is the path to get over the Shame. As you are embracing, show vulnerability. Unabashedly and without Apology.

Shame lives in secrets, kept from ourselves and from others we care about and love. That soul blackening tape in our heads stops when that recording is no longer for our ears only. It won't survive. You are already living your answer.

You are a hero in this battle!

Edited by 1lifenow (03/21/14 07:51 PM)
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

#462945 - 03/21/14 08:23 PM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
justplainme Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 472
This is a great read on the topic..

"Survivors need an opportunity to define their own sexuality in their own terms, rather than in reaction to the abuse, so that they stop allowing their offenders to have power over them sexually."

#462948 - 03/21/14 08:32 PM Re: Shame [Re: On The Fringe]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2970
Originally Posted By: On The Fringe
But I will take the side that shame can at times be positive.

I agree but would add that the crime of CSA is not the shame but rather its misplacement. Shame in CSA is a good thing, but it belongs entirely on the abuser. Owning my molester's shame was truly the most destructive element of my abuse.

Shame is what this is all about. If you watch the news, however, you'd think it was about sex. We as survivors know better. Let's see, of all those victims of Jerry Sandusky - the ones who had to be numbered - how many came screaming out of that basement? Probably as many as came screaming out of the basement of the molester next door to us. Zero.

Shame. That invisible, magical force that helps us keep our abusers' secrets for a lifetime. Certainly a worthwhile topic here.

#462953 - 03/21/14 09:39 PM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
What a great topic!

I like the Sandusky illustration. It is so true.

The external world type of shame.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#462956 - 03/21/14 10:47 PM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
It is indeed a great topic. I wish there were a cure for the "shames". My family is still attempting to diminish me, ridicule me, put me down exactly the same as they did while growing up. Even today. And it stills hurts.

Jude, the funny thing is that from reading all of the postings you share, and the wisdom and strength and intelligence that comes forth for the rest of us, it never occurred to me that shame was a part of your existence. I guess that different persona you present has been mastered. Rest assured, you are loved, respected, and valued by this guy.

And I am sorry you have these feelings after all these years. I wish we could reverse the feelings of shame and deliver them to the people who gave us such a wonderful fucking gift. I deal with it constantly myself.

As late in my life as late November, I was given verbally a new basket of shame from the older bro. His words haunt me at least once a day. AND I HAVE TO MAKE MYSELF REMEMBER THAT THE WORDS HE SAID ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF ME. But it is energy I could use elsewhere. I don't want the shame, but it is a gift from the wonderful family I came from.

But all of this helps me to remember why I could never share the abuses with any of them. Ever. Wow. I'm sorry you couldn't rely on your family either.

For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#462959 - 03/22/14 01:04 AM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
I know this all too well, embarking into my late twenties with an ocean of mediocrity in my wake. I, too, had a horrible family and the only attention I ever received, the only time I was not obviously unwelcome was when I was being used for sex. Used to the point I wasn't even getting the grooming attention and presents anymore. The old, "do this. Come over here and do that." Protest was met with staring at the barrel of a firearm.

I recall when my mother uncovered it, she immediately went on teh offensive, even though she made me do all the dirty work from confronting him and calling the cops myself. But still, I felt loved that she would take my side like that. Until she said, "I'm really glad you said something. It could have happened to [my brother]." The whole time the affair was going on I was freaked out by it, mortified, so alone, humiliated, and poked, prodded, and having my genitalia photographed...and getting no support from it past "be sure to tell the cops everything" and I got a little sharp tongued, had trouble not getting angry under pressure. I was told my pre-school aged siblings were suffering as much as I, if not more, due to the family drama and I needed to contain my emotions and not be so selfish. So, the fact that I got raped was fine because it potentially saved my brother, and getting raped pales in comparison to seeing a stressed out family. Roger.

Anyways, the thing I do, and granted not with much success, but I cling on to the memories of when people I am close to now have stood by/gone to bat/helped me. It reminds me that I probably have some kind of value as a human being, however small. And that is something. But yeah, most of what you describe is still pretty insurmountable for me, but that is the tactic I use to avert feeling complete despair and self-loathing. Take it where we can get it, right?
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

#462990 - 03/23/14 02:17 AM Re: Shame [Re: Jude]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
"Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself" -Anais Nin

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