Posts Tagged ‘Shame’

Do we ever break free of childhood abuse and habits?

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I find the isolation and lack of autonomy the most damaging scars from my childhood.

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My father was a puppetmaster, he told me who I would be, what I would believe in, and who I could be or could not be friends with.

He controlled the depth of all friendships, and others he did not like.

All the stats say community, having support is excellent for healing.

I have no history of community except for team sports and I guess work.

My dad isolated me for greater control, whether it damaged me or not, a narcissist does not give a shit.

I could not function inside my house, how would I survive the outside world.

My dad assumed part of my being, autonomy was too risky for him.

No way he would even let a thought of going against his will survive.

His hair-trigger volatility and penchant for violence against me were always loaded.

To this day I struggle to know who I am or repair my damaged ego.

Abused kids are rarely trusting or open to others, many warm feelings are unknown to us.

What a dilemma!

As an old retired guy, reaching out has become much harder, my trauma erupting has brought suffering and fear.
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For abused kids: Why are we on this Planet?

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I have questions that will never be answered, so many of us out there.

Why am I on this planet? Am I paying for a bad past life? Abused kids do not understand why we were born into violence and abuse?

Old age seems as unwelcoming as birth for this abused kid.

As my body deteriorates, my mind slows, becomes forgetful and weaker, my chronic pain increases.

My emotional and physical pain are out of control.

Childhood trauma has an encore for me, the most damaging experiences return with a vengeance.

I do not understand why I suffer, why my mind will not let go of its most painful event, why nothing helps.

Abuse has robbed my brain of wiring in a supportive and safe environment.

Life carries far less value for abused kids.

I do not feel good about life, what has happened to me, how I have been treated, how I have suffered because of others.

When we experience loss, our being is wounded, we sink, recoil, isolate and try to numb the pain.

We have difficulty enjoying life, trauma fills our being with danger and shame.

People have done things to me I will never forget, a mate shaming me publicly has left a permanent stain.

After a horrendous childhood, we are vulnerable to being used by people.

It happened to me in a way that brought suicidal thoughts, feelings of not wanting to be alive.

Who understands?

Why am I on this planet?

My hopelessness embarrasses me but I share anyway.

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I favor Ptsd over Depression

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PTSD has energy, cortisol and adrenaline, fear and danger, it’s much more exciting and enjoyable than deep depression.

Depression sucks the life out of you, for abused kids it is devastating.

My legs have stopped moving while hiking from depressive thoughts and emotions.

PTSD, I can engage and battle, calm my fight or flight mechanism while observing my trauma.

Depression, I have no answer for the shame it carries.

It is an awful mental disorder, it drained the little peace of mind my life enjoyed.

Seriously abused kids get crushed by betrayal.

We fear the outside world, when we get betrayed from inside our circle, life collapses.

We will never understand how a mate betrays us, a permanent scar will make trusting another impossible.

It’s such a narrow and risky existence, death does not scare me, being ridiculed or betrayed scares me.

Death before dishonor rings true in my world, my father drilled that into me.

I have experienced a betrayal that bad, publicly shamed for a mate’s actions.

What is your worst betrayal since childhood?

Is depression or PTSD harder for you?
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Emotional Regulation: Yikes!!!!!!

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Excerpt: From Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

“The Body Keeps the Score”

“When trauma emanates from within the family, children experience a crisis of loyalty and organize their behavior to survive within their families. Being prevented from articulating what they observe and experience, traumatized children will organize their behavior around keeping the secret, deal with their helplessness with compliance or defiance, and acclimate in any way they can to entrapment in abusive or neglectful situations.

Being left to their own devices leaves chronically traumatized children with deficits in emotional self-regulation. This results in problems with self-definition as reflected by a lack of a continuous sense of self, poorly modulated affect and impulse control, including aggression against self and others, and uncertainty about the reliability and predictability of others, expressed as distrust, suspiciousness, and problems with intimacy, resulting in social isolation.

Chronically traumatized children tend to suffer from distinct alterations in states of consciousness, including amnesia, hypermnesia, dissociation, depersonalization and derealization, flashbacks and nightmares of specific events, school problems, difficulties in attention regulation, disorientation in time and space, and sensorimotor developmental disorders. The children often are literally are “out of touch” with their feelings, and often have no language to describe internal states.

When a child lacks a sense of predictability, he or she may experience difficulty developing of object constancy and inner representations of their own inner world or their surroundings. As a result, they lack a good sense of cause and effect and of their own contributions to what happens to them.

Without internal maps to guide them, they act, instead of plan, and show their wishes in their behaviors, rather than discussing what they want. Unable to appreciate clearly who they or others are, they have problems enlisting other people as allies on their behalf. Other people are sources of terror or pleasure but are rarely fellow human beings with their own sets of needs and desires.

These children also have difficulty appreciating novelty. Without a map to compare and contrast, anything new is potentially threatening. What is familiar tends to be experienced as safer, even if it is a predictable source of terror.

Traumatized children rarely discuss their fears and traumas spontaneously. They also have little insight into the relationship between what they do, what they feel, and what has happened to them. They tend to communicate the nature of their traumatic past by repeating it in the form of interpersonal en- actments, both in their play and in their fantasy lives.

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What are the social-community expectations of appearance?

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“First, what are the social-community expectations of appearance?


Brene Brown:

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From a societal level, appearance includes everything from hair, skin, makeup, weight, clothing, shoes and nails to attitude, confidence, age and wealth.

If you pile on community-specific expectations, you might have to add things like hair texture, hair length, skin color, face and body hair, teeth, looking “done-up,” not looking “done-up,” clothing and jewelry.

Why do appearance expectations exist?

I would say they exist to keep us spending our valuable resources—money, time and energy—on trying to meet some ideal that is not achievable.

Think about this: Americans spend more each year on beauty than we do on education.

How does it work? I think the expectations are both obvious and subtle—they are everything we see and everything we don’t see.

If you read fashion magazines or watch TV, you know what you are “supposed to” look like and how you are “supposed to” dress and act.

If you look hard enough, you also see everything that’s missing—the images of real people.

If you combine what’s there and what’s missing, you quickly come to believe that if you don’t look a certain way, you become invisible; you don’t matter.

What is the impact of these expectations? Well, let’s see. . . .

• About eighty million Americans are obese.

• Approximately seven million girls and women suffer from an eating disorder.

• Up to nineteen percent of college-aged women are bulimic.

• Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among females.

• The latest surveys show very young girls are going on diets because they think they are fat and unattractive. In one American survey, eighty-one percent of ten-year-old girls had already dieted at least once.

• A research survey found that the single largest group of high-school students considering or attempting suicide are girls who feel they are overweight.

• Twenty-five years ago, top models and beauty queens weighed only eight percent less than the average woman; now they weigh twenty-three percent less.

The current media ideal for women is achievable by less than five percent of the female population—and that’s just in terms of weight and size.

• 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.”
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The Shame Trigger Questions


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Brene Brown:

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“How do we start to recognize our shame triggers?

What do we need to do to start acknowledging our vulnerabilities?

I think we begin by examining each of the shame categories and trying to unearth the unwanted identities that cause us shame.

As I was interviewing both men and women, many of the same phrases kept coming up in the interviews—the ones that I heard over and over were “I don’t want to be seen as . . .” and “I don’t want people to think I’m . . .”

There were many variations on this including, “I would die if people thought I was . . .” or “I couldn’t stand people thinking I’m . . .”

As these phrases indicate, shame is about perception.

Shame is how we see ourselves through other people’s eyes.

When I interviewed women about shame experiences, it was always about “how others see me” or “what others think.”

And often, there is even a disconnect between who we want to be and how we want to be perceived.

For example, one woman in her seventies told me, “I’m OK when I’m alone.

I know I’m changing. I know things are slowing down and everything is not what it used to be.

I just can’t stand the thought of others seeing it and dismissing me as a person.

Being dismissed is shameful.

To help us begin to recognize some of our shame triggers, let’s look at the questions I use in my workshop sessions. We start with these fill-in-the-blank statements, which should be answered separately for each of the shame categories:

I want to be perceived as __, _____, _________________, ___________ and __________. I do NOT want to be perceived as ______, ____, ___, ______ or ___.

These are fairly simple statements; however, when you start to think about these questions in relation to the twelve shame categories, this can be a probing and powerful start to the process.

But it’s important to remember that it is only a start.

As I’ve said throughout the book, there are no easy answers or quick fixes.”
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Are normal people proud of their lives?

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Can therapy fix my life?

Will I ever feel normal, have warm emotions and attachments like normal people?

Will I ever feel safe in public, around strangers, or in a relationship?

Can you show me what love is?

How does it work, feel? How can you trust, how can you feel safe?

What is it? I experienced public shame when I tried to love.

I only know abuse and betrayal, I have no idea what love is, or how it works.

How do you trust another human being?

My childhood was brutal, dad beat me with a special paddle, screaming shame-filled words as he abused me.

That son of a bitch enjoyed brutalizing me.

It would take me into adulthood before I threatened him.

He was a coward facing a grown man, but the damage was done.

A coward, my father could only bully a kid.

Love does not flow from violent childhood abuse.

How do I handle the shame from childhood, from college?

Normal kids got love, abused kids received a heavy dose of shame.

Are normal people proud of their lives?

I am ashamed of my life and do not want to be reincarnated or born again.

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PTSD: Things normal people do not know

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Childhood for all abused kids: We experience the coldness, the cruelty, and violent dysfunction of life immediately.

It is all we know, a loving touch becomes the sting of a paddle or belt, the emotional connection becomes abusive language and criticism.

When both caregivers participate, the child’s life will be riddled with turmoil, suffering, more loss, and abuse.

I was shamed physically and emotionally by my father on a weekly basis.

This is where future drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, criminals, and highly dysfunctional adults are created.

We fix very few of these kids, in my opinion.

Look at our jails, our opioid crisis, our divorce and rape rates.

Hell, we shoot each other over masks, politics and some of these people had normal childhoods?

I did not form an attachment as a kid to either parent, kids like me have never felt normal emotions of love, kindness, safety, or calm.

We do not know what a loving relationship looks like, our role models abused us.

My ego has never felt safe or worthy. I know this after a decade of therapy and intense meditation.

All those accomplishments, all those trophies did nothing for my soul.

Some of us have never loved or felt like someone loved us.

Betrayal collapses our world, we retreat, hide, hibernate and try to unplug from all people.

Was there to much damage to us that we can not feel safe enough to try and see the good.

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Ptsd, our emotional pain and shame

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I handle my chronic pain with a jocks attitude, one person out of my chronic pain group followed me and regained his life.

Childhood abuse is different, betrayal in college altered ever trusting a human again.

I should have left this planet back then, the rest of my life would be filled with suffering.

My suffering is not greater than other abused kids, I am not special.

My childhood abuse and betrayal in college devastated my spirit.

My attitude, I was scared to death, anxious and humiliated, criticism and violence would be my daily companions.

Physical pain did not dent my armor, emotional abuse rocked my very core.

It’s hard to write in words the impact violent abuse has on a child’s brain.

It’s impossible to describe in words what a caregiver’s shaming does to a kid.

I hate what some people have done to me.

I will never understand how or why I was abused so severely.

Now, my life is lived in my room, it is one of the only safe places.

Is complex PTSD isolating?

I do not know, but I have lost the desire for being around people altogether.

You will never find me in a crowd or rarely out in public.

My thoughts are the terrible invisible prison I occupy every morning.

Since college, I have tried to isolate myself as much as I could.

I do not feel safe around people, I fear betrayal.

I have found no silver lining, no gift from my childhood, nothing positive out of betrayal.

Life is more painful than it is worth.

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childhood relational trauma.

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

“I believe most symptoms of so-called mental illness, from depression and anxiety disorders to personality and dissociative disorders, have something to do with childhood relational trauma.

As a relational therapist, I’ve had ears for the quiet trauma hidden in stories of clients’ early relationships with fragile, needy, wounded parents.

I have also heard in accounts of cruel, abusive caregivers the deeper story of trauma inflicted on a child’s longing for loving attachment.

Once hurt, human beings have remarkably creative ways to repel and avoid further harm, and so relational trauma engenders a wide spectrum of self-protective symptoms.

There are common symptoms, too.

Clients often tell us about anxiety far stronger than their life situations warrant and about depression that drags them down even when everything seems to be going well.

The anxiety and depression seem to come from nowhere.

And then there’s that other ubiquitous symptom of relational traumachronic shame—that clients don’t usually mention, though they may speak of problems with self-confidence or self-esteem.”

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