Shame (168)

This word is a huge one in both of our lives, and seriously, how are we even meant to come close to doing this word justice given the hold it has over us? One blog post can’t ever even begin to describe the fucking constant presence of shame. How it sits back and quietly tuts at you so that you think you have enough of a hold over it to not let it impact your life, until it eggs itself on until its completely screaming in your ears, and you can no longer hear/see/think straight.

***

The image that comes to my mind when I think of shame is of a fire…sometimes controlled, a medium burn, easy(ish) to handle. Sometimes that dies down, its just embers, still hot, but not in your face, not painful…and then all of a sudden without any warning it’s fed some fuel and it’s roaring, burning you, engulfing everything around you. If anything is volatile (yesterdays word), it’s shame. Shame can go from nothing to everything in a millisecond.

***

Last summer shame was being particularly noisy one day, and pocketcanadian suggested that I write out everything I was ashamed of, and for once I did. I’ve got a word document here titled ‘all the shame’. It’s not short, 3 pages long, full of things that I was ashamed of. Some of them feel less real reading them tonight (though I know they were incredibly real to me back then), and some of them still ring true. And, as ever there are more that come to mind. It’s an ever changing (and probably expanding) list.

Here’s one that still has a massive hold over me because the personal belief underlying it is one that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to shake:

  • That I’m too much. Too needy, too incessant, too annoying, want too much, ask for too much, am too emotional, take too much away from other people.

And here are a couple that I wrote that still make me feel physically sick:

  • That it was my fault because he was just a kid, a victim, and if he’s so young and innocent I should have been able to stop him.
  • That he was just a kid so it can’t have been bad. That it’s different to abuse by an adult, that I’m lucky and should shut up. That I’m being disrespectful to people that were actually abused.

***

If/when PC writes about this one, I think she’ll probably talk about the shame spiral…about how once your ashamed and then trying to let somebody in you start getting ashamed about being ashamed in the first place. I’m nowhere near as eloquent as pc, so I’ll leave that bit to her.

***

I wish I could say something more positive in this post, but well, I can’t. It’s just one of those crappy things, and I could write a whole load more about it, but I think that’s enough rubbishy stuff from me for today.

5 thoughts on “Shame (168)

  1. Like I said to PC, I don’t think any amount of being told directly that those things are nothing to be ashamed of ever sinks in – what really sinks in is the other person *showing* in how they interact with you that you needn’t feel shame. Giving you time and attention over and over again when you need it shows you that you are not too needy, and listening to you tell your story in a way which quietly but consistently supports you, perhaps by things like expressing shock and outrage at the actions of others and compassion and respect and even pride toward you for doing the best you could at the time and for coming this far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah you’re completely right. It’s that stupid thing though that it doesn’t matter how many times people do those things, it never seems to counteract that one time that someone else does the opposite. When you already have those core beliefs you brush off everybody’s words and actions that counteract it (though I do think that over time it seeps in perhaps), and all it takes is the smallest thing, tone of voice, thing said in passing, that serves as evidence that everything shame is saying is right, and makes him so loud again.

      It’s just learning that how our families reacted and were is very different to how the majority of people would respond. Except it feels like an impossible lesson to learn sometimes, like it’ll take forever

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i’ve been thinking (eek, always an interesting foray), and it seems the biggest thing to counteract shame is self compassion. which is something you and i are a bit low on, my love. compassion for others is fully there. but adding ourselves to the list is hard. different rules and all that.

    however, there is something to loving others through their shame…to sitting with them, in the pit…that ignites a little counter spark to our shame. i feel that little spark with you.

    i love you and i’m sorry you know this guy too. sending the biggest hug your way. xo

    Like

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