"I RUIN EVERYTHING & EVERYONE WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITHOUT ME": HEALING FROM SHAME YOU CAN’T GET OVER
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
And if you have been compared to an ever-shifting & unreasonable standard of perfection that you of course failed to “live up to”...
Shame is the thief of joy.
Shame is often weaponized by people so overwhelmed by their deep-seated own, that their only way to cope is to front narcissistic traits of grandiosity or bask in reflected / associated gradiosity (such as belonging to "the one true church", cheering the winning sports team, volunteering with a noble organization, etc.) to the point of delusion.
Couple their self-appointed god-like “authority”, “expertise”, “perfection”, and refusal to take ownership of their own emotional weather with your vulnerability, inexperience, impressionability, and need to please...
and you have the perfect recipe for brainwashing, where this weaponized shame becomes your neural pathway that keeps you self-regulating your behavior to become the compliant, blame-taking automaton they always wanted / needed.
Over time, the murderer that is shame kills your sense of self, your peace, your autonomy, your self-worth, and your hope for a future you can’t imagine not “screwing up” (again).
Shame is a co-dependency-creating, spine-snipping, despair-inducing self-fulfilling prophecy.
So how can you recover when you don’t even know who you are, how to trust yourself, how to forgive yourself, or how to break out of a toxic chain reaction that is to self-love what chlorine tri-fluoride is to matter?
HOW TO FINALLY GET RID OF SHAME AND LIVE A LIFE WORTH LIVING
1.) Remember That Your ”Mistakes” Are An Integral Part of The Universe’s Evolution:
Not to get all “higher purpose” on you, but if you think of all-that-is as one enormously complex organism that is ever-evolving...then whatever you did or didn’t do is really just part of the cosmic evolution.
"Everything big is just a big version of something small." So if you feel as if you are literally dying of shame...just remember that the Universe--and therefore it’s microcosmic echo, you--changes one past-version-of-you at a time.
With the contrast of shame comes the clarity of desire for it’s opposite; the obsessive, miserable rehashings can become reflection that gives rise to new beliefs and how to choose / act differently when a new but similar situation is born.
Don't forget to choose YOU.
2.) Point To Where It Is
To this day, there are things I’ve done that still haunt me: that hurt others; previous versions of myself that disappoint and embarrass me SO.MUCH. Bad choices and situations and inadequacies that ruin my sleep and bubble up (at worst possible moments, OF COURSE) to prickle, shock, & condemn.
At those moments, as I’m about to spiral downwards, convinced of my own uselessness, failure, and "secret" "real" monstrosity…
I have to ask, “Where is [this event]?”
The only resolve I have is that all these issues are imaginary. Completely in my own head. They don’t exist and (unless you invent a time machine) never will.
*ALOT* of shame falls into this category.
It is okay to acknowledge gone events will stay impossibly gone instead of resurrecting them with your attention, re-animating them with relevance they don’t deserve, and then, for all your pain and trouble, becoming an eaten-alive emotional zombie. (click here to watch TheraminTrees's excellent video about rumination on YouTube)
3.) Is It Something To Be Ashamed Of...And Why? Who Says?
If there is no victim, there is no crime.
I can’t tell you how many victimless “crimes” I framed myself for:
***Whether it was trying to believe and slavishly obey ancient stories and customs appropriated as religion by my parent who gravitated towards intellectually-insulting, mythically nonsensical, consistently inconsistent, hyperbolic, openly and proudly vengeful all-powerful hyper-authoritarian deities...
(my parent did this because:
*they derived a sense of legitimacy and normalcy for their own consistently-inconsistent emotional instability + their illegitimate, histrionic, desperately-desired, all-encompassing need for control and authority
*provided a perpetual competition to "win" their 1st place superiority--in this case, who could follow and obey the loathsome, capricious, backwards rules and rituals the best)...
***Or my own sense of worthlessness, convinced I burdened and wronged others by fact of my very existence and presence (that I did my best to conceal)...
I actively sought out ways to reinforce and punish my belief that I was inherently, awkwardly, a problem.
This made me MORE weird and awkward, which further confirmed that I was right about how wrong I was, and appealed only to those with an emotional intelligence level at or below “predatorial abuser” because like attracts like and my vibration was definitely “toxic--please use me so I feel not-worthless for one second--PLEASE”.
It's pretty heartbreaking and it makes me pretty emotional to remember and write, but this blog post is the hug I wish I could give Younger Me, who was (undeservedly) emotionally beaten to a pulp.
It's my hug to you and Younger You too.
I couldn't make, much less keep, a deep, lasting, wholesome friendship because (see above) I drove those people far. far away. And the few people who tried to give me a chance? I couldn't respect because deep down, you can't respect someone you think is a fool (a fool for liking and respecting the unlikable and the un-respectable).
Maybe, just maybe, the shame you feel is less about anything any rational person with a clue could attribute to you personally, and more about the fact that you have been conditioned relentlessly to:
*Silently accept without question your alleged unworthiness, incapability, and "evil-from-birth-ness" (religions love to base themselves on this premise because this is the only way to manipulate otherwise capable and mentally competent people into surrendering and even denying their worth, capability, inherent goodness, competency, autonomy, sense of fairness, and justice.
With that out of the way, people will "believe", follow, and obey the most fantastical and illogical stories & rules to try to rebuild their decimated sense of self by trying to out-do everyone else for an impossible, unnatural, hypocritical, contradictory, and ridiculously-premised standard of perfection)
*Be the family's emotional vacuum cleaner. You find your face pushed into dramatic messes you didn’t make, but somehow are still responsible for cleaning up and internalizing. You emotionally become the literal filth-bag-holder for any and all “disasters”, real, imagined, exaggerated, fabricated, and victimless.
Because you are man and not a machine, you MUST try to make sense and some kind of fairness out of it. You agree to a “justice” system that is anything but: the judge, jury, and executioner is YOU, conditioned to take the fall when blamed for anything and everything by emotionally-crippled people who can't self-soothe.
After a lifetime of manipulated “facts”, manufactured "evidence", interrogated with loaded questions, emotional torture, and confident pronouncements of guilt…
few with even an iron will wouldn’t succumb, much less a completely impressionable child.
This is one reason oversharing is a sign of emotional trauma: constant drama / oversharing modelled as "normal" + constant need to "explain" for vindication / validation / attention.
4.) It All Comes Out In The Wash
Long-reaching or immediate, the effects of something you feel you did (or didn’t do) eventually becomes old news thanks to the gift of time.
So much changes, even in a short period of time. As Esther Hicks puts it: “You can’t get it wrong because you can’t get it done.”
Decisions, events, priorities aren't final: they are a flashpoint in time of a much greater momentum to which there is no end, only evolution.
And because you don’t live forever--in this plane of existence--there is nothing to worry about. Repercussions are permanent for no one because the duration of playing in this current form and illusion is measurably finite.
I say all this, not to justify, excuse, or endorse harmful behavior (obviously), but to put give proper perspective that can free you from paralyzing delusional grandiosity of your own "negative" impact: This too shall pass. What will be, will be and what is meant for you will not pass you by:
What you do now is a foreshadowing (just like in a story) of what happens next. Any remorse, reflection, and new-found knowledge becomes the components of the world you shape tomorrow. If you have so much power that you can “do damage”, however slight, then you also have so much the more power to do healing.
Because damage and wholeness are not equal and opposite. Healing, wholeness, happiness has *always* been and *always will be* more powerful:
“One joy shatters a hundred griefs.” --Chinese proverb
What To Do To Heal From Shame And Reclaim A Life Worth Living:
It’s so cliche that it is almost painful to type but really, all you have is now. How you got here is only relevant in that, the intellect and self-awareness of reflecting on the past gives you the building blocks NOW to steer to the future you want to live in.
There are infinite Universes. What you choose to do today determines the version of the Universe you land in later.
*Stop Confusing Shame With Decency:
Unfortunately, society today prioritizes harsh, unending punishments (to the tune of billions of dollars every year) over restorative justice. How often do we see that even after being released from a state-mandated cage, life is more difficult due to public-record stigma for so-called “ex” convicts, even non-violent or victimless ones?
The intimidation of “permanent record”, "background check", or “credit score” shame is ingrained in everyone from schoolchildren to those who have never even been to court.
Shame is about barriers and exclusion. Decency is about essential properties of wholeness and wellbeing.
A common phrase in English, used when people have done something truly terrible: “Have you no shame?!”
The phrase should really be, “Have you no decency?!”
Shame is not the same as a sense of decency.
Too often we focus on being haunted by our “bad”, while instantly dismissing our good.
But what gets rewarded gets repeated, and the ultimate reward is any kind of attention.
Reward the decency I know you have (or you wouldn’t still be reading this). The Fabsolutely.Co Self-Enlightenment Enchiridion can help you identify the values that are important to you.
*Realize That Shame Is Emotional And Spiritual Suicide, Not A Virtue:
Shame is the OPPOSITE of and INHIBITOR to restoration (personal wholeness and peace, or any kind of restorative justice).
Shame in and of itself is stagnancy, not a solution. It drives a wedge instead of building a connection.
Shame can truly be considered “the coward’s way out” because it may *feel* productive to self-mutilate (emotionally, mentally, financially, or even physically) over and over...
But take stock: what is actually being done to restore wholeness or bring healing?
Is this how you *really* want the rest of your life to go? No rest?
It is easy to feel bad. It is easy...and oh so comfortably-uncomfortably familiar...to sink in the quicksand of hopelessness and self-defeat.
But you know what else is easy?
It is easy to get tired of feeling bad.
It is easy to know for sure you can do better this.
It is easy to believe there has to be better for you.
It is easy to take a micro-step in the direction of something that feels better.
Because it feels worse NOT to and at this point, you have nothing to lose by betting on yourself for once.
Because you keep happening to you. You are going to stubbbornly KEEP happening. How do you want to happen? You may not have been given much. but you were given this choice.
Because what proof do you have that you are so "special" that you are THAT less worthy or THAT much more terrible than any other rando on the street, full of their own tragedies and suppressed flaws?
*E.F.T. / Spinning / Magic Frame / Grey Room Techniques:
Shame needs silence and cover. When you talk through it or take it out...for some reason, it dies. This never needs to be a public spectacle. An empty room has the same effect as telling someone untrustworthy, with less chance of it being brought back up long after, weaponized, and boomeranged back in your face (at the worst possible, most uncalled for moment).
*Quit Your Job As Garbage Collector:
There is only one unclaimed baggage center, and it’s not you. Stop taking and making everyone’s projections, shortcomings, and issues all about you.
DO start noticing what you would say to someone else if they were in your position, getting shamed and blamed in your place.
Would you find it reasonable for them to be the perpetual scapegoat "screw-up" who is clearly the lowest rung on the relational ladder and yet so omnipotent that everyone else’s emotional sunrise and sunset depends entirely on this one person?
The more you see it, the more you can’t NOT see it.
Toxic people will always try to turn others into targets. How much you agree with their decision that you are “it”, and internalizing their narrative by feeling unduly ashamed, is YOURS. YOU are the gatekeeper, no matter how hard they try to convince and command you not to trust your “lying eyes” and innate sense of justice that even puppies are born with.
You can do it. I believe in you (always!).
All My Love,