We all have the experience of walking away from a conversation feeling beat down, defeated and exhausted. Hopefully, these conversations are infrequent and sparse.
However, there are some of us who walk away from most conversations feeling deflated and criticized. It may seem as though no one understands us. Or maybe we're only surrounded by critical and mean people most of the time. This can be another aspect of shame:
Shame Can Filter Our Experiences and Communication
When we have shame, it filters and twists our perception, experiences, conversations, etc., to sound/seem more negative and critical than what is true. Shame likes to "read between the lines" and frankly, it's interpretation is never anything positive. If someone makes a comment, shame will spin it to sound hurtful & mean, when in reality, it may not have been said this way at all.
For example, a friend says to you, "Hey, you look beautiful today!" Shame will twist this into being something negative. What we hear instead is, "You look beautiful today, but most days you do not."
The tragedy with shame is we focus on what we "hear" rather than what the other person says. As a result, we may walk away from conversations hurt, confused or feeling inadequate. Just as Christy pointed out yesterday, when we're experiencing shame, we may struggle to communicate, not knowing how we feel. Unfortunately, this may be when we lash out at someone else, or cutoff from others.
We're not saying that every time we feel negative in a conversation that it's shame. There are times when others say things to us in a rude manner and tone. These are not the times of which we're speaking.
If you believe you're filtering out the negative of what others say, please keep reading. We have many more aspects of shame to share this week!
Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.