How To Handle The Most Toxic Emotion

I quit things when I feel shame.

There’s something to be unpacked there, some root cause of this behavior that I should spend some serious time trying to figure out.

I quit things because when I feel shame, I have to hide from all people.

I leave behind things I love. I walk away from relationships. I banish myself.

There are some things and people I truly miss but I have double shame. I have the original shame that caused me to leave, and then I have the secondary shame of having left.

Admitting this to you and to myself doesn’t feel good at all. But it is something that has bubbled up to the surface this morning after a long night of running tapes.

You know, running tapes. That’s when I go over everything I’ve said and done in the last week and point out all the reasons why I was probably wrong. Or why that person responded to me the way they did. Or why, why, why, etc.

I have to share this part of me here because I have to be authentic. It doesn’t work for me to put up some kind of shield and write something surface-y, something self help-y, something where I am fancying myself the expert.

I tried and deleted all that.

Because the real issue is my shame. It doesn’t make any sense. I am a loved, happy, forgiven woman and I shouldn’t be ashamed about anything.

Most of the time I am happy, not ashamed, optimistic, and seizing my day.

But sometimes that nasty shame just bubbles up and over the edges like a pot of brewing malt that cannot be contained. It is the most toxic feeling I can experience, and the most difficult to shake. It feels like a florescent green glob of hot napalm has attached itself to my skin and begun to grow. I instinctively shrink and hide to try and get away from it or at least to keep it from getting worse.

I wish it was a switch that I could simply flip off (literally and figuratively) but the process of distancing myself from sticky shame is more complicated than that.

I’m not completely sure what triggers shame in me. I’m not sure if the trigger is consistent or if it changes each time.

I think it comes after my motives are questioned in a way that I perceive as unfair, unjust, and unexpected. I think it’s certain times that I feel really good and certain about something I’ve done, said, or thought, and someone else doesn’t see it that way and says so in a way that makes me see a version of myself that is digusting to me.

Yes, I think that’s it. And this “attack” (it’s not really necessarily an attack, it’s just how my body perceives it) can come from anyone: inner circle, outer circle, stranger; it all seems equally as potent and dangerous to my inner child.

It seems like anyone and everyone has access to unlock this inner pool of shame. That feels really vulnerable and dangerous to me.

What happened to cause me to have this deformity?

Why can’t Jesus just take this shame away? I’ve asked so many times. I don’t know why this “thing” has not gone away yet. I do know that my emotional healing has occurred over time and is very much a process, a long process that has taken decades and is not complete.

Knowing that gives me hope that some day in this life shame will be destroyed in me.

Admitting all this is part of the process. I realize that some of my issues are so childish, so primitive, so insecure. How could I possibly be so sensitive and unable to take “criticism” or push back? It’s hard to admit.

But part of banishing shame is being able to stand in my weakness and know that I am still worthy. So here I stand.

Note: After I wrote this I had a nice long talk with Darin. He always helps me to see things more clearly and also reminds me how much I am loved and accepted just as I am. Even though I still need work on this issue in my life, I am seizing my day and making the most of it!

Leave a Reply