From “Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame” By Patricia Y. DeYoung

“Some chronically shamed clients don’t live out a split existence.

Rather, they struggle daily just to survive constant feelings of isolation, despair, and worthlessness.

Beneath their current lives of alienation and emotional pain lie histories of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse at the hands of caregivers they should have been able to trust.

I think of Susie, her father’s favorite when he was sober and the one he came to visit at night when he was drunk.

Other nights he would beat up her mother.

If Susie’s mother loved anybody, it was Susie’s older brothers, not her.

Susie was certain that if she ever told anyone about her father’s sexual abuse, everything would blow up, maybe everybody would die.

Susie first tried to kill herself when she was fifteen.

When I met her she was twenty-four, living alone and barely surviving on social assistance.

Tormented by intense emotions, she desperately needed and often hated the few people in her life.

Medication numbed her feelings a bit, but it didn’t erase her suicidality.”



My two cents: Life makes no sense for some of us, the violence, abuse, and criticism dominate all else.

Susie did not form an attachment to either caregiver, her self worth non-existent, fear and shame were her emotions.

To think therapy will give her a decent life seems a distant miracle. What do you think?

Maybe she will not commit suicide but she will suffer.

Will Susie ever enjoy a healthy relationship with a mate?

Things did not work out in childhood, then continued into adulthood, it’s all so abstract, irrational, and right-brained.

Betrayal destroys trust and self-worth, our brains develop differently amid violent abuse.



7 responses to this post.

  1. Aww, this resonates so much with me that its painful. 🥺🤧 But yes, there’s a way out. In time. Hugs to everyone who felt the share the same experiences.

  2. So you had an abusive shame filled childhood?

    And you live a normal life?

    Please share

  3. yes, i had and have.🥺 I cannot say that I’m living a normal life. I am still struggling to live a life normally., i am far away from healing, forgetting and forgiving. It is still happening, a continues cycle, a never ending pain and trauma.

  4. Would you like to share more details and what has helped

    Healing I think is incremental for us

    Takes many different actions and therapies

  5. Hi, I am thankful for your kind gesture of reaching out. I have shared a little about this on my page. I hope you’ll have time to read about it. That was the only blog I wrote about my personal life. It’s like an overflowing of emotions that have given me the courage to express it all out. I know I can trust you. Here it is…

    Juleia.speaks; A grateful heart within amidst the adverse life’s journey.

  6. What a childhood

    You have a good attitude in spite of your childhood.

    Birth is the ultimate lottery

    Life is very unfair

    I think our brains are wired differently

    We see danger, much more sensitive much more worrying about what will happen to us next

    I journey close to you in your path

  7. Aww, thank you very much. I am not alone anymore now that I have you. 🥺💙

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