Healing shame

Any ideas on healing shame? I’m busy watching this, still half-way…

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It’s a hard one for me and I think a lot of people in general struggle with this in degrees.

I think it requires a lot of bravery to risk exposure of your true feelings and thoughts.

For me, I live with chronic shame for just about everything and I want to blame that in part on our society and of course for upbringing and not getting any approval or ‘implied shame’ or ‘indirect shame’.

“Guys aren’t supposed to care about how they look.”
“Don’t be a cry baby.”
“When are you going to stop playing those games?”
“Do you think you’ll ever grow out of those?”
“When will you get a job?”
“Only ■■■■■■■ are skinny.”

Meanwhile I’ve gotten the opposite responses at times but it’s like my mind goes to extremes.

Either I am accepting of myself or I push myself away to gain others approval. Or I just have a rebellious attitude which just hides the shame or makes it worse.

Feels like it’s really a hard matter of self-acceptance and not caring about others approval.


Ah! But what just comes up was something that has hurt the most physically which is that guys are not supposed to cry and ‘be tough’ or not have mental health problems like depression/anxiety/etc.

I’ve pushed myself to bad extremes because of that one.

Like, I’ve lifted sofas because I lacked the assertiveness and was fed some indirect shame to do it anyway.

That lifting of sofas thing has led to serious muscle strains in my arms that was disabling. It made me cramp intensely and took a week or so to fully heal.

Ever since I now feel averse to physical activities because of fearing that kind of pain.

Now, if I find myself getting into that kind of thing I think it’s important to assert ‘No!’ to people that want to use shame to get you to do something they want that isn’t good for you or dangerous.

This issue is pretty complex as far as I see it lol. Feels like I could write an essay in all the ways shame shows up and how damaging it is and can be.


There’s a part of me that almost feels guilty for working through a lot of my trauma. Almost like it proves that what happened to me must not have been that bad and that all the bad habits and things I did wrong were just me being a bad person.

I know that that’s not true but sometimes I struggle with these thoughts.

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I had a lot of shame. Working the AA program helped make my life more livable.


There is one thing I will say that is kind of important still to talk about with understanding shame.

It’s that it acts like a sort of block to healing more so than it is just a reaction that causes your body to feel awful and lowers your mood.

I mentioned this somewhere else, but the hardest thing in healing is also not shaming yourself for having a ‘dark side’. But the hard thing is not letting it control you…

For me, I do have a dark side that likes to see people in pain - I hate to admit that, but that’s what shame does. When we feel like that it’s wrong, this thing that’s in the background never comes up.

And to heal it always really just seems like realizing it comes from pain. Otherwise, I just try not to let it control me… But it doesn’t lighten up if there’s no acceptance of it and the pain underneath. It’s very hard to soothe sometimes.

Just writing this is hard because there’s definitely a concern that there’s too much shame about having any ‘dark side’ to you at all. As long as it’s not on the forefront and creating pain and havoc…

It requires heartful awareness though and willingness to feel vulnerable to it.

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Thanks all. And thanks genbu, for that vulnerable and valuable contribution. I think that is a very good point. Sometimes I need to think before responding though…and my mind is very “full” now. Going to respond better… but I think you have a key thing here…how to cope with that darker side created by pain, is very relevant.

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It also helped me shrink the list of things I actually had to be ashamed of, namely those things that were under my control. I used to take ownership of things I didn’t need to, like the abuse from my childhood.

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