Transformational Talk ... a column by Penelope Young Andrade
Do You Know How to Heal Toxic Shame?
July 04, 2016 -Penelope Y. Andrade
Do you know how to heal toxic shame? If you’re alive, you’ve likely experienced shame…both healthy (which helps develop humility) and toxic (which brings a cognitively disorganizing collapse of self.) You may even feel ashamed of being ashamed…a double whammy. That’s when you withdraw from everyone and try to push that dreadful experience out of sight and mind. The problem is your wounded shame circuit remains on high alert in your nervous system ready to be triggered without warning. Recovering is a challenge because shame responses don’t move like other emotions. They often stay stuck in collapse and contraction.
Here’s the tip. Look inside to see if you’re ready to free yourself from residual shame patterns. If yes, find someone who loves you…a friend, lover, family member. Look for someone you trust will not judge you. Choose carefully. Ask for help in dealing with shame. See if she/he would be willing to share some of their shame experiences and how they’ve recovered. If you don’t have someone like this in your life, get professional support. Healing shame requires loving contact with another person
Take all the time you need to feel safe. There’s a little one inside who’s had to deal with very bad feelings all by her/himself for way too long. Share your experience and stay present. Resist the impulse to withdraw into yourself. Make eye contact and take in the acceptance and love you see…even a little bit. Watch as shame dissolves. You’re okay and you’re not alone anymore.