Posts Tagged ‘Shame’

The Shame Trigger Questions


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Brene Brown:

https://pixabay.com/users/lechenie-narkomanii-3764644/

“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?

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/16114511154814772/

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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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https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/

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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.

https://pixabay.com/users/valiphotos-1720744/

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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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Updated: Fear and Shame from “Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness”.

Pixabay: lechenie-narkomanii

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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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Unused Emotions: Warning; sarcasm and gallows humor ahead!!

You Can Stop Apologizing for Your Sick Sense of Humor!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/498281146262541482/

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My PTSD symptoms have developed into habits, some emotions have been tamped down, almost buried.

I feel the void watching others interact, watching such trusting and kind emotions surface.

Defenses are down, they display warmth, I am envious, a coldness engulfs me.

I do not feel what they feel? Why is what they do worthless to me?

People laugh out loud, hug each other, seem to absorb great emotional rewards, valuable property. They smile and I guess life is good.

This sharing and community must be happiness. What do they feel?

Memories and terror are absent from their demeanors, their behavior. I do not feel safe, free, exuberant emotions, not in private, not in public.

I have no idea what this abstract thing they enjoy, it seems to fulfill them. Makes me uncomfortable.

They have some special connection, attachment, some secret communication of knowing, trusting. I think they developed this in childhood, the security they feel is also foreign to me.

I have not and do not feel these emotions and never would I trust people like this.

Why have certain emotions been absent from my life? When others have warm inclusive feelings, mine are cold, watching for danger.

Have they not been betrayed, publically humiliated, beaten half to death as a kid?

Oh, I love gallows humor, you have to laugh at what we were born into.

If you do not believe in reincarnation, childhood abuse sucks.

If I ignored my PTSD, did nothing to heal, I would expect to suffer.

Why does my PTSD haunt me after a decade-plus of intense effort?

I navigate life in a narrow alley of confusion, anxiety, and terror, finally absent of guilt.

Words can not explain the emotion of unworthiness at my core.

How could my friends understand my feelings, understand my words, or what my life is like?

How should I look at my life at 70, hope for healing by 80?

Sarcasm and gallows humor. Depression is so serious.

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The Journey for abused Kids

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In the beginning, healing was always slow, an amazing amount of time and effort are invested for a small return.

Healing was so subtle I did not notice for months, small improvements were underway.

A trauma event as an adult, brain fully developed, is much different than childhood trauma.

Childhood trauma has a depth, a plethora of unknowns, seemingly unending instances of more abuse.

This creates some big issues.

An adult endures abuse or a horrible accident and develops PTSD. He/She knows what a normal non-traumatized existence feels like.

He/She has a finite, one-off trauma to deal with. Healing is much quicker, much easier with good tools and effort.

His/Her brain is developed and handles trauma much differently than a kid with a brain incapable of handling life.

An abused kid has never experienced a normal life, never known life without emotional or physical abuse.

An abused kid’s brain is altered from that trauma, smaller hippocampus, larger amygdala, and compromised prefrontal cortex.

Our brains are injured and trauma is mixed up with brain development. As an adult, we fail to realize we need in-depth counseling or maybe in-house therapy.

We do not have a basis to understand our life is screwed up.

We have never experienced normal, how do we know what life is like for others.

My friends think I am just crazy, weak, and stuck. They have simple fixes, then question me for not being brave enough or skilled enough to live life as they do.

I wonder how they would have survived my childhood, my dad.

I did not seek help until I was about 60.

We are similar to narcissist, how can we see something wrong with us with nothing to compare it to. Life has always been like this for us, we have not experienced support or attachment or normalcy.

Childhood abuse is a well with no bottom, no end, no hope.

That is how it feels and looks to us at times.

None of this allows us to give up trying to heal.

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Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

https://themighty.com/u/mrpositive/

I was force fed Lima beans once a week, I puked them, then got beat with a big paddle he drilled holes in to hurt me more.

Never have touched a Lima bean since childhood.

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Our mind does not work the same when PTSD is active.

Anxiety and fear switch the minds mode of operation.

A calm, safe environment has our mind relaxed, open and maybe looking for opportunity, we can think quickly and clearly.

A PTSD mind can spot imminent danger in a second, activating our defense mechanism.

A PTSD sufferer has practiced over and over his/her reaction to trauma, paved a highway to survival mode, becoming best friends with avoidance.

Our mind becomes confused, pressured by anxiety drugs as fear spikes, trying to escape at all costs.

Our mind panics, cognitive functions almost stop, fine motor skills are gone, tunnel vision ensues.

Severe cases mimic near death experiences.

PTSD fear is the worst fear we can imagine, it has the ability to fire our fight or flight mechanism 15 times a day.

The drugs are real, the PTSD is abstract and subjective to us and lives only inside our mind.

The drugs stopped secreting the first time I healed.

Now instead of my fight or flight exploding, my mood changes, spotted and pointed out by those close to me.

My abuse, now at 69, still impacts my daily existence.

It is humbling, frustrating and full of guilt when my PTSD upsets those closest to me.

Hard to not hold anger at our abusers.

There is no wand or pill or quick solution for violent childhood abuse.

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Looking back on the Week

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Description of this week: There is an internal war going on, battles are intermittent but intense.

My moods can switch instantly, the morose part brings many emotions, seemingly before thought even starts. Remember the defense mechanism fires immediately, the cognitive side is 5 seconds delayed.

PTSD triggers fire our defense mechanism, called our fight or flight mechanism. This is part of the mechanical, physical side of trauma. Think of that, a trigger fires before directed thought even knows what the hell just happened.

I have eliminated this repressed trauma three times, gaining some freedom for a few days, then it appears again. With my childhood trauma, once a piece was integrated, my improvement lasted.

So part of my day is good, part horrible and then the rest spent distracting my mind.

I have to play solitaire while I watch 📺 tv, it takes two things like this to prevent my mind from ruminating. Having chronic pain and being 69, I do not have the energy to go back to my workaholic distraction.

Much of my adult life, I see now, was spent working or being busy, overloaded to outrun what was chasing me. Spending time alone with my mind was avoided at all costs. Sound familiar?

Fear is not a big part of my PTSD lately, humiliation and shame are far more dangerous and debilitating.

Humiliation and shame have a huge impact on unworthiness.

Childhood abuse brings anxiety, fear and unworthiness at its core. Unworthiness and abandonment were my big fears as a child.

I was going to get beat severely no matter what.

I feared, but never cried, giving that son of a bitch (dad) any satisfaction.

Even as a little kid, there was a apart of me that would not let him think he could hurt me.

That’s hilarious now as he has stolen most of my adult life. I was using my only strength against him, sadly it was not enough.

It was the emotional crap that carried on inside. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

I can endure pain, unworthiness and shame are my weaknesses. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

For me going after the physical part of PTSD first, was using my strengths. I needed to take as much power away from PTSD before I attacked my weaknesses.

Common sense for me, comes from pro ball, how to improve and fill in your weaknesses.

It’s called the off season.

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