Posts Tagged ‘Shame’

My two big traumas laid dormant for decades.

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I knew something was different about me, but had no idea why I did not feel worthy as others or could not trust.

Childhood trauma exploded first with a family crisis and my inability to help one of my kids.

My dominate trigger happened in restaurants with someone staring at me. A daily benign slice of normal life, anyone can do. I was ashamed of this limitation.

Always knew there was no danger but my fight or flight mechanism sensed imminent danger and would explode.

Two months ago my girlfriends gangraped surfaced, my second big trauma.

Finally I understood my trigger.

It was from college, the aftermath of the frat boys who assaulted her would stare at me, kind of celebrating their gangrape at my expense.

Public shaming and them bragging about pulling a train on Cheryl, made a permanent mark on my being.

Hard to believe college guys could be this barbaric and demean for no reason.

Lesson: Now that I understand the origin of my trigger, unplugging it should be easier.

This event needs to have all the stored danger and emotional damage exit my body.

The last two months have been hell as this trauma exploded inside me.

Hopefully the intrusive thoughts run their course and I can integrate what’s left.

I can not run from this or suffering will never end.

As I use to teach, trauma is up, active and available for integration.

Childhood trauma makes us vulnerable to being traumatized in the future, our brains did not wire like a normal brain, with some parts of our development damaged.

I had to learn survival skills, ways to endure physical and emotional abuse instead of developing social skills.

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Fear and Shame from “Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness”

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“But here are two factors that are immediately relevant to trauma-sensitive mindfulness.

The first is fear.

Trauma can make us terrified of our internal experience.

Traumatic events persist inside survivors in the form of petrifying sensations and emotions.

Understandably, survivors become afraid to feel these again. Van der Kolk described it this way:

Traumatized people . . . do not feel safe inside—their own bodies have become booby-trapped.

As a result, it is not OK to feel what you feel and know what you know, because your body has become the container of dread and horror.

The enemy who started on the outside is transformed into an inner torment. (Emerson & Hopper, 2011,)

A second barrier to integrating trauma is shame.

Connected to humiliation, demoralization, and remorse, shame is a complex, debilitating emotion that often arrives with traumatic stress.

A person who was sexually abused may berate themselves for not having fought back—even though they may know it would have made matters worse.

A soldier who freezes under fire during combat is demeaned by others, and comes to feel fundamentally flawed.

Someone who is discriminated against can internalize the form of oppression being directed at them and begin to feel defective and unworthy.

Shame is a powerful, paralyzing force.”

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An important relationship that stays hidden!

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Many things we experience daily are overlooked, almost invisible in plain sight.

If I were to ask you to describe everything in a room, the two most dominant things would be overlooked.

Similar to this, we hardly ever consider the relationship with our mind even exists.

As a somewhat seasoned meditator, an old guy, I never knew the importance of my relationship with my own mind.

Being severely abused as a child, my mind did not wire properly from the start.

An abused child needs much more work to have a healthy relationship with their mind.

Worry, doubt, fear, shame, joy, happiness and anger spring forth from our minds.

Suffering and happiness are the extremes.

Meditation has taught me to let thoughts go, to resist the invisible prison negative thoughts and emotions surround us with.

The more I can stay present, focused, empty of negative influence, the greater chance for wellbeing and happiness.

Answer: The two dominant things in the room are light and the spaces between furniture and things.

Without light the room appears empty, without the spaces between objects it would be a storage unit.

We focus on all the chairs, tables, floor, and accessories, the two dominant things are invisible to us.

Think about your relationship with your mind.

Do you avoid and deny when trauma or emotionally awkward situations occur?

My mind needs more resilience, more self-compassion and more equanimity.

How about your mind?

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80% of Women do not like what they see in the Mirror

That’s Life by Mike Twohy

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“Among women over eighteen looking at themselves in the mirror, research indicates that at least eighty percent are unhappy with what they see.

Many will not even be seeing an accurate reflection.

Most of us have heard that people with anorexia see themselves as larger than they really are, but some recent research indicates that this kind of distorted body image is by no means confined to those suffering from eating disorders—in some studies up to eighty percent of women overestimated their size.

Increasing numbers of women with no weight problems or clinical psychological disorders look at themselves in the mirror and see ugliness and fat.

• According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, since 1997, there has been a 465 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.

• Women had nearly 10.7 million cosmetic procedures, ninety percent of the total. The number of cosmetic procedures for women has increased forty-nine percent since 2003.

• The top five surgical procedures for women were: liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck and facelift.

Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2004. Who benefits from the appearance expectations?

• The $38 billion hair industry.

• The $33 billion diet industry.

• The $24 billion skincare industry.

• The $18 billion makeup industry.

• The $15 billion perfume industry.

• The $13 billion cosmetic surgery industry.”

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Early shame experiences stored as Trauma?

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From Benne Brown:

“After studying Dr. Uram’s work, I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas.

This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed.

Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big trauma and covert or small, quiet trauma—it just registers the event as “a threat that we can’t control.”

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My two cents: I believe some emotions especially shame, enlarge our Trauma, our PTSD symptoms and the duration of our suffering.

My childhood trauma is the bed all other traumas in my life lay in.

My childhood trauma in fact, made me much more vulnerable for other traumas to happen.

Childhood trauma has crippled my resilience to handle betrayal.

Even now, if someone betrays me, they are done for life.

I have healed a couple of times but many behaviors and fears still operate.

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Benne Brown: It’s everything you have to deal with the rest of your life.

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“Experience: When I think of shame I think of being sexually abused when I was growing up.

I think about what that’s done to my life and how it’s changed everything.

It’s not just the abuse itself.

It’s everything you have to deal with the rest of your life.

It’s like you feel different from anyone else; nothing is ever normal for you.

Everything is about that.

I’m not allowed just to have a regular life.

That is the thing that made me who I am and so everything is stained by that.

That’s what shame is for me.

Emotions: Feeling labeled, dismissed, misunderstood and reduced.

Emotions might include grief, loss, frustration and anger.

Dig Deep: Have you ever been defined by an experience? Found yourself unable to get out from under a reputation or “an incident”?

Have you ever been unfairly labeled?

Have you ever had people attribute your behaviors to an identity you don’t deserve?

Have you ever fought to overcome something, only to find others less than willing to move past it?”

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the need to know that we are not alone.

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Benne Brown:

“Empathy seeking is driven by the need to know that we are not alone.

We need to know that other people have experienced similar feelings and that our experiences don’t keep us from being accepted and affirmed.

Empathy helps us move away from shame toward resilience.

Sympathy, on the other hand, can actually exacerbate shame.”

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Shame and Fear From Benne Brown

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From the book: “I thought it was just about me” (but it isn’t)

“When I asked women to share examples of how they recovered from shame,

they described situations in which they were able to talk about their shame with someone who expressed empathy.

Women talked about the power of hearing someone say:

• “I understand—I’ve been there.”

• “That’s happened to me too.”

• “It’s OK, you’re normal.”

• “I understand what that’s like.”

Like shame itself, the stories of resilience shared a common core.

When it comes to shame resilience, empathy is at the center.”

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Erasing Shame: Self-Compassion for the Past .

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“The Self Compassion Skills Workbook”:

“We all carry around pain from the past within ourselves.

Some call it emotional baggage or unresolved issues.

My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls it the seeds of suffering that have been planted in the garden of our minds.

In my experience, self-compassion can be a tremendously powerful practice for healing pain from the past so that it will no longer burden us in the present.”

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My two cents: My shame from childhood is called Complex PTSD.

My seeds of suffering have been faced during meditation, integrated to current time.

Now, healed or greatly improved, I do not think about my trauma.

It is like my chronic pain, it gets no energy, no attention, none!

It is a moment to moment awareness of my mind, guarding against ruminating in my past.

After a while practice becomes habit, thoughts fade and only visit with external stimulus.

Pay attention, refuse to grasp trauma thoughts.

Breathe, observe, focus and let the noise go.

We need to learn to be totally present, without thought for short periods of time.

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Shame and Perfectionism

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The Complex PTSD Workbook: A mind-body approach to regaining emotional control and being whole


“Shame is often hidden underneath perfectionism. As a child, you may have internalized the belief that you had to act perfect because your parents couldn’t handle your authentic feelings. Or perhaps you believed acting “good” would stop the bad things from happening. In either situation, you may have had to hide your true feelings to avoid rocking the boat.

 


Perfectionism is maintained by critical self-talk that attempts to push down painful feelings. When the inner critic berates you for being lazy, stupid, or useless, you are again confronted with your shame. Let’s take a closer look at some practices that can free you from the cycles of shame and perfectionism:

 

• Explore your use of language: Dr. Siegel points out the difference between saying “I am bad” and “I feel bad.” The first statement reflects identification with a painful emotion, whereas the second statement allows for recognition of a feeling without being consumed by it.

 


• Avoid “shoulds”: “Shoulds” are one way of pushing perfectionism or perceived expectations on yourself and rejecting your authentic presence. You might say, “I should be over this by now,” “I shouldn’t make mistakes,” or “I should be strong.” When you say or think the word “should,” I invite you to step back and instead focus on self-acceptance.

 

 

• Imagine shame is a bully: Seeing shame as a bully can give you some space from the emotions and allow you to talk back! How do you feel when the shame bully puts you down? What do you want shame to know? If you have a hard time standing up to shame, you can bring in your ally from chapter 3 (here) for reinforcements. Who would stand up for you and protect you? What would you and your ally say to the shame bully?

 

 

• Experience the body’s sensations of shame: Often the most difficult part of healing shame is tolerating that felt sense in your body. Words can hardly describe the often intolerable “yuck” that accompanies shame. You might experience an encompassing sinking feeling or a vague sensation as though you did something wrong. A valuable practice for unwinding the somatic experience of shame is to return to the pendulation practice from chapter 4 (here). The goal is to slowly build tolerance for the physical discomforts that accompany shame. Once you can feel your body, you have greater choice about how to move and breathe. There is tremendous power in reclaiming your body from shame. Perhaps you find a posture that feels strong and capable, or maybe you place your hands over your heart in a gesture of loving kindness.

 

 

• Invite vulnerability: When feeling shame, it is common to hide your true feelings for fear of further embarrassment. Showing people how you really feel allows them to support you. Dr. Brené Brown’s research has shown that expressing one’s most vulnerable feelings is a sign of strength and facilitates health. She explains, “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

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