(Continued from “Toxic Shame“)
The misperception that we are fundamentally flawed, which feeds our sense of shame, does need healing, but not because we are wrong, bad, ugly, awful or damaged. The misperception needs healing simply because it is untrue. It is an illusion perpetuated by our wounded self-perception. It exists because we give it power. We fear that it’s the truth, so we hide it away.
As we reveal our broken bits from the darker recesses of our psyche, we eventually see that we are all beings of light that cast shadows, on an evolutionary journey back to the One place of undivided consciousness of pure love. In every moment, no matter what shame binds our perception temporarily, we are loved and supported beyond what we can habitually and consciously see.
If you feel you suffer from debilitating shame, other than reading John Bradshaw’s book, I would recommend professional help from a skilled therapist who can help create a safe place in which you can allow your feelings of low self-worth to emerge, without judgment. Because shame exists in the severed places in our self that we fear, the process of revealing them in a safe environment is powerfully healing, just in itself. We need to be seen, just as we are. When we bring our wounded bits to the light and we see we will not die, we will not be punished, we will not be annihilated but are loved and accepted, we feel more alive and whole than ever before.
If you suffer from an addiction of any kind, the twelve-step programs are very powerful and transformative. If you have not yet given a meeting a try, then please look up your local AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SA (Sexaholics Anonymous) or OA (Overeaters Anonymous) or WA (Workaholics Anonymous) – depending on your particular tendency – and show up for a meeting. When you go, you likely will feel that you don’t belong and will want to turn around and leave. This is natural. Many other people at the meetings likely feel the same way. But this is also part of the denial that keeps you acting out and feeding the shame that binds you. That inner voice that whispers “I don’t belong here” or “this is not me” is spoken from that severed places in your psyche that keeps you feeling disempowered, broken and doing things you really don’t want to do. Children of addicts often too develop either borderline or addictive tendencies and would benefit from groups like Al-Anon, where meetings are specifically designed for friends and families of addicts. I discuss addiction more in Ask Parvati 27.
Healing your inner child is an essential component in healing toxic shame. You can read about how to do that in a variety of blogs I have written, such as my recent post on the power of the inner child. Once you open to your inner child, you will be more inclined to follow your bliss, and create the life you truly love.
Most of all be gentle with yourself in this deep and powerful healing process. The pain that caused you to bury the shame deep in the recesses of your psyche was real for you. There is an essential grieving component to healing shame and healing your inner child. This takes time and patience. As most addict support groups would say, “easy does it” and “take it one day at a time”.
Thank you for this week’s question. Please send me your questions by Thursday this week so it may be answered in this Sunday’s post. Until then, be very well.