Shame

What is shame like. Well, I tell ya, not pleasant at all. A sinking in the pit of my stomach. Feeling in my throat that’s thick and choking. Fear going up my spine. An overall feeling of danger, or not being able to rest anywhere. A needing to hide. A needing to be very small and very very still. A feeling of total uneasiness, that something is very wrong, but not knowing what or how to make it OK again. My legs kind of ready to run. A deep chasm opens up and beckons.

Thoughts wise – i have done something terrible and wrong. Everyone can see the badness of it, so must hide away. Wanting forgiveness, but not knowing what it is that needs to be forgiven. A feeling of being completely unacceptable. Perhaps deformed. Perhaps horribly ugly. Wanting to cry, but not able to.

Delayed reaction to crush confession. Feeling very very small and crushed.

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15 comments
  1. Ruth said:

    Oh I am so sorry. That is such an awful feeling. I felt like that a lot when I explored my feelings. I am noticing I don't feel that crushing feeling of shame as much now as when I first started talking about how I feel. You might want to talk about that feeling in one of your sessions. I learned that it is a fairly common feeling for people with parts.

  2. Laura said:

    oh wow, Ellen. First you feel good, relieved, then, the tsunami! It's a horrible feeling. You know what it's about this time, that's good. Someone who is terrified of exposure, of vulnerability, of having him know that you need him? Is it an inner critic, or a young part? try to reassure this part – you're all right. You're all right. No different than yesterday. self-talk a la Sylvia Boorstein: Sweetheart, you're in pain. try to relax. take a breath.

  3. Laura said:

    ps, great job observing the wave as it goes by. Remember, you're the ocean – you can't drown.

  4. i went through a similar range of emotions when i told sharon i had a crush on her. it was very embarrassing, and i felt very, very vulnerable. it will be easier again next time you see him, as you realize it changes nothing and he is not going anywhere. he will be there for you.

  5. Ellen said:

    @ Ruth – I didn't know it was a common feeling for parts people. Hmm….makes me feel better. It is an awful feeling – better today though. Thanks Ruth@ Laura – There is a part of me that hates exposure. It's not like a part, like a person, it's more in the sense of a part of me hates that and guards against it. Thanks for the wise encouragement. I figure if I can describe it, it won't catch me and eat me entirely!@ OBD – Thanks! I think I will be embarrassed to see him actually. Did you find you felt more comfortable after you'd told Sharon how you felt, eventually? That's what I'm hoping will happen for me.

  6. Laura said:

    I don't know, I think it's a good thing (your crush). Maybe it means your heart is working. I might be a little envious. It's a mystery to me why I don't have a crush on Howard. What they do for us feels so much like love, so much MORE like love, than I have ever known.

  7. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – My heart or other body parts. It does feel like love, that close attention.

  8. Laura said:

    oh right! that male-female thing. I've heard about that. Well, it's Spring, after all.Maybe having a feeling all on your own, not contingent on something you're getting from him, is an extra level of risk, vulnerability and shame.How wonderful it will be to be free to express what you feel, without reference to what anyone else feels.

  9. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – I tend to think all my feelings are my own, not made by others…hmm…not sure what you are saying actually. I'm not at all deep.I am really seeing how much shame I have towards men in general, especially if I like them. This has brought that more to the foreground for me.

  10. Laura said:

    I guess I'm noticing that I shape my responses to Howard to fit what I'm getting from him. Follow his lead in our sessions. If he seems cool, I back up. If he writes a terse email, I am terse in reply. If he's more expansive, I'm more expansive. It's like trying to follow exactly in his footsteps. You GUESS how he's responding to you, so that you can stay in his shadow. It seems like we feel ashamed of any feeling (anger, love) that's outside what's "permitted". I imagine baby Ellen reaching out to mom and being coldly rebuffed. She learns 'BAD! don't reach out – unless she's in the mood', don't risk exposing your feeling.Does that sound right?

  11. Paula said:

    It is often easy to develop a strong relation to the therapist as they give us teh attention and nourishment we so often miss. That is part of their job. Feeling embarrassed is ok, feeling crushed is ok, over the course of my therapy I came to appreciate my vulnerability as it shows my humanity and even more though balances my strength. Strength with vulnerability turn a person hard. I am glad I didnt turn that way. I am glad you dont liek the vulnerabiltiy but deal with it. I ma glad how you slowly emerge. YOu are doing truly great. In the good and not so good moments. You have become so much more open. You ahve btter times at work, you are part of a group, you are consistent in therpay. You have achieved so tremendously much. Be good to yourself.

  12. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – It's true that likely my mother rebuffed my reaching out. I actually am not aware of following Ron's lead in a session. By email he is always terse, so if we both were, nothing much would be said. In sessions….maybe I follow his lead. I'll have to think about that.

  13. Ellen said:

    @ Amanda – I watched the video and it is inspiring. Thanks for the kind words.

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