For many years, I felt alone and isolated. For a very long time I had no idea why I felt alone and isolated. Through my process, I discovered that my sense of being alone and feeling isolated stemmed from my inherent sense of shame. In Part 1 of this article, I would like to share what I have learned about shame and its effects. In Part 2, I will share how shame impacted my life and well-being. And in Part 3, I will share some strategies that help me to recognize and combat shame and in the process, avoid being manipulated.
Note: First of all, let me make some distinctions. Shame is different from guilt. Guilt is an indication that some thing wrong has been done. By recognizing guilt, an amends can be done for the wrong done. Shame, on the other hand; is a being wound. Shame — through blame and scapegoating — seeks to make one responsible for another persons, behaviors, attitudes, restlessness, irritability and discontentment. The impact of shame — through repeated conditioning — leads the individual to believe that they do not just make mistakes, but that they are a mistake.
Shame leaves the individual not knowing where they end and other people begin. Shame drives the individual to overcompensate out of the belief that they need to be perfect to avoid being blamed and being a scapegoated for matters that they are told they are responsible. Perfectionism leads the individual to believe what other people think of them is more important than what they think of themselves. Shame and perfectionism frequently leads the individual to believe that their good is not good enough. This belief is reinforced because the bar of expectation is moved indiscriminately.
Shame leads to the individual to believe that they deserve to abused, mistreated and excluded. Shame leads the individual to being taken advantage of by other individuals, groups, organizations and even churches, because of their need for approval. Shame, in unhealthy relationships — with individuals, groups and organizations and even churches — is used to manipulate and control individuals who are shame based. Shame based individuals do not believe that they make mistakes, but that they are mistakes. Shame based individuals are led to believe that approval comes from doing is ultimately important, instead of learning to be.
Please read Part 2 of this article by clicking on this link: Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury — Am I Being Manipulated? Part 2
Information learned and shared in this article series comes from a multiple of sources such as John Bradshaw Healing the Shame that Binds You, Jane Middleton-Moz Shame and Guilt – Masters of Disguise and Alice Miller Drama of the Gifted Child among other sources.
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