shame

How to Forgive: Symbolism

How to Forgive: Symbolism

As Natalie discussed yesterday in Part 4 of our blog series on forgiveness, it's important to try and hang onto forgiveness, once you have gone through the steps of the process.  While she discussed some different ways you can make the commitment to forgiveness, what happens if you are struggling with this, and the memories continue to come back?

How To Love Yourself Part 2

How To Love Yourself Part 2

As Teri shared yesterday, an inability to love ourselves extends to being unable to accept love from others. But where do we start? It's easier said than done, but there are manageable starting points for each of us. This week we're going to discuss ways that we can love ourselves. Some ways will apply and some will not.

How Shame Effects Relationships Part 5

How Shame Effects Relationships Part 5

As we have learned this week, shame issues take many forms in relationships and can have very damaging effects on a relationship.  Many couples who come in our office initially think they are struggling with communication issues surrounding a particular area of their life (e.g., domestic support, finances, parenting, intimacy), but once we dive into the way they are communicating, we find that it has less to do with the content of their conflict and more to do with the way they communicate, if the communication is filled with shame.

Attacking the person vs. the behavior:  Criticism

How Shame Affects Relationship Part 4

How Shame Affects Relationship Part 4

How does shame effect relationships? It effects it so much that we typically talk with every person who walks in our door about shame. It not only effects married couple's relationships but our relationships with our children, our friends, our co-workers, and even ourselves. Hopefully this week is giving you a good look at how it is effecting you. The most common thing I see as a therapist is how it couples get defensive and start blaming.  

The Masks We Wear....Shame

As Teri discussed yesterday, some people wear masks when they are around certain people to hide emotions. Perhaps you don't want anyone to know how you feel or what is going on in your life, so you put various masks on....again, emotional masks. Today, we're going to discuss the mask of Shame. What is Shame?

Shame is toxic guilt. Shame is the feeling that you are bad, or that you've done something wrong, when you've really not done anything at all. Shame is a critical voice inside of your head that compares you to others; makes you believe you have to do things perfect; and if something goes wrong, somehow it must have been your fault. Shame makes us want to be defensive and hide....because Shame says "if you're not perfect, (or come across that way to other people) no one will want to be around you or they will reject you in some way". Shame tells a lot of lies.

How does Shame affect areas of life?

When you're wearing this mask of Shame, you don't want people to know who you really are, because you're convinced people wouldn't accept the real you. You believe everyone else has it all figured out, and you're the only one still trying to piece the world together. In relationships, it's hard to hear constructive criticism. Instead of responding with, "thanks for telling me that, I'll work on it", you respond with defensiveness, "That wasn't my intention!" (Remember, you aren't allowed to make mistakes with Shame).

At work, this mask would make it hard to be a team-player at times. A person with Shame has a hard time taking responsibility for the mistakes that they make or on the other end of the spectrum be over apologetic for the mistakes they do make. At the same time, someone who is wearing this mask has very high standards for themselves and for those around them. If they work through their lunch, they expect others to do the same.

With friends, the mask of Shame has you come across as if everything in your life is perfect and going great.....even if you're hanging by a thread. Because you think their life seems so well put-together, you're afraid of what they'll think if they knew of how much you're struggling. This mask keeps you isolated, depressed and wondering if it's "just me?".

The reality of the situation is that most people can relate to universal feelings and if you were to share, you might find comfort and healing.

What Will Help?

We all have basic needs. Someone who wears the mask of Shame is trying to meet the basic needs of safety, self-worth, love & belonging. Isn't that what we all want? Some of you may believe you have these needs already, but for others, it may feel it's out of grasp. Shame gets in the way of BELIEVING these things are achievable. Sometimes these things do exist in a person's life, it's just that Shame blinds someone from being able to see it. The key is to tell Shame to "be quiet" and to get an understanding of why we wear this mask in the first place. It could be from an incident that happened in our life to the way we were raised.

This is just one of the many "masks" we'll be discussing this week! Please check back in as we tackle many more masks we hide behind. Thank you for reading!

 

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.

How To Love Yourself

We all fail. It’s part of being human. Unfortunately many people respond to their mistakes with self-hatred and condemnation. The voice inside beats a person up like an internal bully and abuses it's victim relentlessly.

Believing the lies of this voice results in shame issues, feelings of abandonment, isolation and destruction in relationships.

When a person is under the influence of these issues, they often have trouble giving and receiving love. The voice tells them that they are not loveable due to their failures, so the result is a “love repellant”. The ability to love ones self is negated by the voice; therefore, the ability to accept another’s love is too.

The voice can be strong and will grow overtime when it is reinforced.

So what weapons can we use against such a powerful negative self-critic? LOVE YOURSELF.

This week we are going to share simple, yet powerful tools to help you learn to love yourself and practice it regularly.

As you can see, if you don’t learn the skills to love yourself, you will likely fall into the painful voice’s trap where your thoughts and relationship will be twisted to support it’s lies that you are not loveable.

Read all week for great tools to fight against and be free from the negative voice inside!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

Fall Book Recommendations- Tammy

If you struggle with shame, have insecurities or doubts, then this book recommendation is for you! Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

This book is powerful, funny, convicting and full of God's truths. Pastor Furtick discusses all the ways the Enemy speaks to us about our insecurities - whether it be our abilities, talents, parenting, etc.

He walks us through how to notice when the "Chatterbox" (aka Satan) is speaking, how to realize that the Chatterbox only spews lies, and how to combat these lies with God's truths.

What I absolutely love about this book is Furtick's ability to share wholeheartedly from his own experiences, admitting his own insecurities in ways that are humble and honest. His sharing allows the reader to realize that no one has it figured out, no matter what the Chatterbox says.

One of my favorite lines from the book is from Chapter 2 which states: "One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is because we're comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else's highlight reel." Oh how true this is! I find myself constantly comparing how I feel internally with how others look on the outside, or what someone lets me see on their outside.

This book will deepen your faith and dependence on God and allow you to hear more of God's truths as you listen for His promptings.

 

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.

Dynamics of Shame and Low Self-Esteem 5

Blocks to Healing Shame issues are so liberating to heal, though they can sometimes be very difficult, especially if we encounter roadblocks to the healing process. There are different things that can prevent us from healing shame, including:

Negative attitudes we may have about ourselves. 

If you have always carried negative attitudes about yourself, when you try to heal the shame "tapes" that play in your mind, it can be difficult to change those messages to something more positive because you have truly come to believe that "tape" about yourself.  For example, if you have a tape that says "I am never good enough", to heal the shame surrounding that statement, you have to believe that there is a possibility that isn't true!

Memories of facial expressions or other images we see in other people that made us feel shameful about in the past, that we now see in other people.

For example, if your father used to get a certain "look" that made you feel like a disappointment as a child, when you see that similar look on your husband's face, you might instantly feel like a disappointment to him, too.

Age-regressive behaviors or reactions to another person.

For example, as a child, when your parent did something to you that caused you to feel angry, if you felt as though you weren't allowed to feel angry, you may have tried to cover up your anger by being numb or being quiet and shutting down.  The quietness is because you feel confused and overwhelmed by the feelings you are unable to express.  As an adult, when your spouse says or does something that makes you feel angry, you may have this same reaction of being quiet and shutting down, or becoming overwhelmed by all of the feelings you aren't allowing yourself to express.  This is a shame-based response.

Learning to get past these shame-based blocks to healing, first involves learning to become aware of it.  If not, we will constantly see our spouse and THEIR reaction as the problem, when it truly is our ability to see our own responses to them as the area of healing.

What to do when you encounter these reactions?

Take a deep breath.  Walk around and gather your thoughts.  Ask yourself, "What am I truly reacting to right now?"  Does this remind you of an earlier time in your life?  What limits do you need to set with this other person?  How can you have a voice with them to help you heal the child within you that wasn't allowed to have a voice?  Healing these roadblocks to shame means learning to take action and heal the situation by avoiding the mistreatment we lived through as a child.  Maybe you weren't allowed to have a voice as a child, but as an adult, you have the ability to say what you think, feel and need.

Adapted from "Healing the Child Within" by Charles L. Whitfield.

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.

Dynamics of Shame and Self Esteem 4

Now that you have a good idea of what shame is, its distinction between guilt and shame, and where it comes from, let's talk about the Shame-Based Family. A Shame-Based Family is just basically a family where everyone comes from and communicates from a framework of shame. Usually the parents had parents who spoke to them with shame and/or they didn't get their needs met as children. Usually their parent's parents had the same framework.

When people operate from a shame base, their communication is dysfunctional. They hear things in a different way than the person communicating is actually saying. They often unnecessarily feel defensive when someone is trying to share with them or explain something to them. Therefore, they are more reactive instead of really hearing what the person is saying.

Sometimes, although not always, Shame-Based Families hold a secret. The family feels like they cannot communicate freely with others because they have to protect the secret. The child may feel like something is "wrong" with the family, otherwise they could speak freely. Kids aren't able to psychologically separate themselves from their family, so they begin to feel like something is wrong with them.

In Shame-Based Families, the boundaries are very fluid. Relationships need to be flexible, open, and allow individuals within the family to still be who they are. Shame-Based Families think everyone should think, act, and feel the same or there is something wrong with them. The relationships within the family are usually closed, rigid, and discouraging of individuality.

When someone from an unhealthy family leaves to try to create new relationships, they usually attract other shame-based people or the relationships don't work out with healthy people because they communicate in a dysfunctional way. Therefore, most shame-based people find other shame-based people to be with in a relationship. Guess what they do. You got it- they have shame-based kids.

Is There a Way Out?

Yes! But we cannot and shouldn't handle our shame alone. We actually need healthy people to help us on our journey to healing our shame. It's important to have some safe, willing people to share our story with and help us make connections with our family and how it effects us today as adults. Listening to others will help us feel less shame about our stories and will help us show unconditional love for someone else struggling with shame. This can happen with a willing friend, a support group, self-help group, Bible Study (related to shame), or individual therapy.

I know I keep saying "willing". You want to be careful not to discover this issue and then start dumping it on people. That can feel bad to the person being dumped on. Unfortunately, if individuals weren't taught good boundaries this can happen. Make sure you have asked this person if they would be willing to hear about this and do they have the time. You want to create a safe environment for you to share.

In my opinion, individual therapy is the best place to work on shame. You can say what you want to say and have an objective person with unconditional positive regard hear you and validate your experiences. A therapist well-trained in shame will be able to help you identify it AND give you tools to heal from your shame.

I hope this weeks blog has been helpful. Honesty, as a therapist, I believe shame is the most important issue to shed light on. It effects every area when it is alive in us.

Tomorrow Joleen will share some blocks to healing shame.

Thank you for reading and have a great week.

* Source: Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles Whitfield

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville

The Dynamics of Shame & Low Self-Esteem – 3

This week so far we have talked about what shame is and isn’t, and also the differences between shame guilt.  But where does shame come from?  The answer may be related to your childhood. If you grew up hearing messages like “Shame on you!”, “You’re bad!”, “You’re not good enough!” there is a good chance you may have some shame.  When you hear these messages over and over again from people who have a lot of influence on your life (parents, family, coaches, clergy, teachers, etc.), you tend to internalize the messages.  These are the people that you are most vulnerable to and dependent on growing up.  If they think you’re bad, then you must be, right?

If you grew up with your feelings being invalidated, you may have shame.  If you were told, “You shouldn’t feel that way!”, “Don’t cry!”, “Toughen up!”, or “Get over it!”, you probably did not feel safe to express your feelings.  Not only have you been told that you are bad, you have also been sent messages that your feelings are not real.  You were told to stifle any expression of feelings, because it’s not ok or safe to talk about.

If these “rules” were enforced inconsistently, as an adult you may experience difficulty with authority figures, feelings of guilt and shame, and an inability to express emotion in a healthy way.  You may even struggle with knowing and expressing how you truly feel, because you have stuffed your emotions for years. You may also struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues.

Continue to read this week as we talk more about shame, self-esteem, and how to heal.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

* Source: Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families  by Charles Whitfield

 

Written by: Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

The Dynamics of Shame & Low Self-Esteem - 2

It's very easy to confuse the differences between shame and guilt. They are common feelings, but there are big differences in how both of these emotions affect us and manifest themselves in our lives. As discussed yesterday, shame is the belief that something is defective about ourselves.

Guilt on the other hand is an uncomfortable feeling that arises when we DO something that hurts another person or when we do something that goes against our own personal standards.

Do you notice the major difference between these two similar feelings? Guilt is feeling bad about our behavior, while shame is the belief we are bad as a person.

Guilt is a very healthy emotion to experience. Guilt guides us to know the difference between right and wrong, and helps us know when to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Feeling guilt is a good sign that our conscience is working properly. This type of healthy guilt allows us to function properly in society and improve our relationships. Can you imagine if we never apologized for things we did that hurt others?! We'd lose friends and family members very quickly.

There can be "unhealthy guilt", which is when we have a hard time letting go of mistakes we've made, which can make it hard for us to experience peace and serenity in our lives. There can also be "survivor guilt" which happens when we feel undeserving for going on with our lives when others cannot. It's not uncommon to have a mixture of healthy and unhealthy guilt.

Overall, guilt is more easy to work through and resolve than shame. Our focus this week is shame, where it comes from, & how to identify when it's showing in our lives. Please keep reading to learn more about this very common topic that affects everyone's life. Thank you!

 

* Source: Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families  by Charles Whitfield

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm 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.

Dynamics of Shame and Low Self Esteem 1

Shame is a VERY common topic we discuss here at Imagine Hope. Nearly every client we see has some shame issues varying from intense and paralyzing (feelings of worthlessness) to subtle (low self-esteem and self-confidence issues). In order to help our readers understand shame more, here's crash course on shame issues:

  • It is a belief that a part of us is defective, bad, incomplete, phoney, rotten, inadequate, or a failure.
  • It is different from guilt. Guilt is like feeling ashamed that I did something bad (it's focused on the action being bad). Shame is that I am something bad (it's focused on me as a person being bad).
  • It can be overwhelming as if there is no way out.
  • People with shame issues try to hide it.
  • All people have some form of shame. It becomes toxic when it is not worked through and let go of. Overtime you could become it's victim.
  • Shame makes you feel like people can see through you and hopeless that you cannot correct it.
  • You may feel isolated and lonely as if you are the only one with this issue.
  • You may be afraid to tell others about this issue for fear of judgement.
  • Your shame may wear a disguise like anger, rage, resentment, control, perfectionism, or compulsive behaviors.
  • Shame causes defensiveness.
  • You may notice people's shame through their non-verbals (slumped down, lack of eye contact, apologizing for needing something).
  • It will not go away without help.

Shame is a deep issue for people to understand. Keep checking in all week to get a better grasp on this common unspoken issue.

 

* Source: Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families  by Charles Whitfield

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.

What Is Terminal Uniqueness?

Have you or a loved one gone to a 12 step meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous? Did you ever go back? If not, you might have had a "terminal uniqueness" reaction.

This is a term that the AA community calls people who come to a meeting and suffer through it thinking that they don't fit in and that they are nothing like the people there.

Not everyone connects the same with the 12 step model of treatment for addictions, but it is effective when taken seriously.

When an addict is lost in their "denial" about how bad their addiction is consuming their life, he/she often creates a sense that they are "terminally unique" when compared to peers in the room at a meeting.

Want to know common ways an addict expresses their terminal uniqueness? Check in tomorrow for the answers!

 

Source: DARA-alcoholrehab.com John Lee "AA and Terminal Uniqueness- Are You As Unique As You Think You Are?"

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including