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the shame about shame

Posted Mar 12 2012 10:13pm

And, here's the entire title for this post: "The shame about shame, and the good news that shame and other pains lessen with time..."

But that was a little long for a title I thought, so...

Shame is such a lousy thing. I mean, I do believe there are things people are capable of that when they do them they truly ought to be ashamed of themselves (you know, really terrible things like gunning down someone simply for sport... I had to give an example of some kind here because at least one of you would have read the sentence and thought up all kind of things you think you should be ashamed about... and whatever you came up with that you're thinking you should be ashamed about, I doubt you should be ashamed about it. So, I thought if I gave an example it might help you put shame in its proper, and realistic, context).

The kinds of things you guys feel shame for are SO not things that warrent shame. You feel shame that you have a body, shame that you have feelings, shame that you want and/or need things, shame that you're happy, shame that you're sad, shame that you "take up too much space," shame for being human, shame for not being good enough... and on and on your lists go...

None of those are things that should have shame attached to them.

Here's the good news and the relieving news (which is what you want to know, Laura R): as you continue to work on yourselves over time, patiently and consistently and industriously, shame, and other super tough experiences DO lessen in intensity.

You guys know my cut image- where you imagine a cut on someone's arm (or wherever... where the cut is is totally irrelevant). If it's been sealed over (by disconnection from one's self, by an eating disorder, by use of alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, working compulsively...) it will have become infected over time.

It's very hard, and quite painful, to take off that "sealant" layer. It takes HUGE courage. Many, many people are unwilling to even acknowledge there's anything under the sealant, since the courage it will take to have a look feels too much for them to bear.

If you take off that sealant layer, you then see what's there to be dealt with. This can be NOT FUN.

The process involves getting out the Bactine or Neosporin and cleaning out the wound.

Sometimes people's symptoms become more intense (anxiety, depression, bingeing, purging, restricting, over-exercising...) as they are working to clean out the wound.

But if you keep at it, the wound does first get clean, then begins to truly heal- in the way wounds need to.

I like the cut image because, well, for one thing, it's how we actually do heal, both physically and psychologically, and it gives us a concrete image, and "map" for how the process happens (and the fact that the process is time-limited... the cut does heal... it doesn't go on being a wound forever- unless you don't clean it out, and then it can remain infected forever, which is a bummer!).

There's that usual plug for keeping at the work- for not giving up- because it does get easier. And, sadly, if we give up the wound-healing, the wound can quite easily and quickly become infected again... who needs that?!

 

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