Spend any time reading or listening to Brene Brown’s work and you’ll get to understanding the toxicity of Shame. Watch her brilliant Ted Talk here on Shame. This word has such power in it that we tend to think its reserved for people in really bad circumstances; ones that have nothing to do with us. But sometimes we just don’t want to remember.
I had a flash today of several moments in my life that were all about shame mugging me. And I realized too, each has then required me to stand up and say I was worth better. The hard stuff can give you the good stuff but you must endure it.
My Shame Memories
I was in my 20’s and had slept with a University student, a rich boy with a bunk bed most likely at a frat party. I can’t even remember the incident but somehow and for unknown reasons, I spoke to this guy on the phone later when he went and asked me if I had any communicable diseases. His girlfriend was coming to town so he needed to know. Horror is the first word that comes to mind.
I went to file charges against my ex-husband at the police station for domestic abuse. It felt as if I was wearing a leaden suit when I walked in. The shame I felt as I wrote the written description of how I was victimized was the heaviest I’ve ever felt. I didn’t feel quite as bad when I bailed him out of jail later where he’d been hauled in for not completing his abuse counseling after I filed those charges. But I knew I’d blown my chance to leave.
And I felt unworthy when a client told me my work wasn’t worth the money I’d asked for. I wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t worth loving without hurting, being appreciated for my talents, or worthy of being paid the price of human decency. Except that in each circumstance, I was also not the one acting abhorrent.
Shame is funny like that. It makes the victim feel responsible for the pain. It’s a passing of the buck of a sort, a deflection of one person’s unworthiness on to another. And when the person being shamed feels like a child, or is one, it’s horrific.
I’m certain there are many other memories I could dredge up. But honestly, I don’t need to. Because I know in these situations, I was choosing these people to be mean to me because I felt unworthy. There will always be people out there who will look for weaker people to project or displace their ugly feelings onto. It’s a true bully tactic. But I’d like to think as we get older, maybe we build our soul forts stronger and when the world comes huffing and puffing, we’ll laugh and put the pot on the fire.
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And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.
I’ve known the impact of shame, the sexual kind and other kinds, all of which can haunt a person. Thank you for another important post.
Thank you for yet another response to let me know that what I’m doing, my heart’s words have reached someone. That is equally important Tamara.
Much Love to you !