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 To Love Yourself – 3

When you don’t love or accept yourself, it can be very difficult for others to love you.  If you’ve been reading this week, you know that we have talked about the importance of self-love and provided some tips to start moving you in a more positive direction.  Here are some additional ways to work towards loving yourself: Stop Perfectionism

Like Teri mentioned on Monday, none of us are perfect!  Accepting this truth is the first step in releasing perfectionistic tendencies.  Perfectionism is often created from shame and not feeling “good enough”.  Perfectionists often overcompensate for not feeling “good enough” by trying to gain others’ approval in alternative ways (ex. perfect house, perfect looks, overachieving at work).

Allowing yourself to mess up and recognizing your shortcomings can go a long way in decreasing perfectionism.  Realize that most people are still going to love you even if everything about you is not “perfect”.   YOU are ENOUGH!


You have the ability to be your biggest critic or your biggest cheerleader.  The self-talk that you hear constantly can either build you up or bring you down.  Which voice in your head is going to be the loudest today?

The negative voice is condemning, pessimistic, and always “glass half-empty”.  It makes you look at a difficult situation and feel completely overwhelmed and discouraged.  It convinces you that you’re incompetent for any task and that nothing is ever going to get better.  Is this the voice that you want helping to navigate you through life?  Of course not!

Listening to the positive voice can make you feel like a million bucks.  It’s encouraging, optimistic, and affirming.  It makes you look at difficult situations and see the silver lining.  It gives you confidence that you are capable and have the tools to handle life’s challenges.  It’s always PRO-YOU!

Utilize Your Support System

Recognizing your shortcomings as a human being can be humbling.  You are not always going to have the solution for every problem you encounter.  Sometimes, life is just tough.  Reaching out to people doesn’t mean that you are weak—it actually shows that you recognize the importance of community support.  We are not made to navigate life alone.

Utilize your support system as you learn to love and accept yourself.  If someone else can love you despite your flaws, you should be able to do the same.  Ask a friend what they see as your greatest gifts/talents/traits.  Sometimes all it takes is someone else seeing positive in you—and you can start to believe that you are worthy of love.

Continue to read this week as we share more ways that you can work towards loving yourself.

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.

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.

Advice to My Younger Self- Joleen

You don't have to be perfect. Dear Younger Joleen,

I know that you struggle with anxiety, but you really need to be much kinder to yourself with what you expect from yourself.  Striving for perfection will only make you more anxious, and will keep you from being in rewarding relationships.  Especially, the relationship with yourself. After all, if you are so worried about what other's think about you (and how they are perceiving your every word and action), you will be more worried about that, than getting to know people and letting people see your true inner beauty.

You will meet a mentor later in life that will give you great feedback:  "You don't have to constantly treat your life as though you are 'on stage'!"  Feeling as though you always have to be "on" and be "perfect" makes it feel like the world is looking at you through a magnifying glass... or even worse-- like there is a giant spot light on you at all times.  These words will resonate with you when you get older, but for now, just think about that!

When you struggle with social anxiety, it's rooted in shame and perfectionism (and fear).   You will never feel comfortable with social situations if you feel like a giant spot light is on you all of the time.  So, stop it!  Other people don't expect you to be perfect.  They only want you to be yourself.  Let them see this person. You are a pretty awesome person, and other's deserve to get to know you better.  Start listening more to what they have to say, and worry less about how they are perceiving you at every step of the way.  This will allow you to connect to your heart and find your voice.

I know this is difficult to hear, because it feels like other's have a lot of power over how you see yourself right now.  Don't worry... you will work on this and make huge strides, and it will help you in all areas of your life.

Other's will ask things of you and you will be afraid to say no, for fear of disappointing them.  You will worry they will be disappointed in you, no longer hold you in a positive light and see you as less than perfect.  STOP WORRYING ABOUT THIS!  It is okay to disappoint people!  You are not responsible for other's happiness and you are not responsible for other's lives.  You are only responsible for yourself.   Please take care of yourself.  It only makes you run yourself ragged to be in a role where you are worried about everyone else's feelings more than taking care of yourself.

Just remember this:  you don't have to be perfect to be loveable.  You already are.  Start loving yourself more today, and you will be much happier for having done so!

Love you, beautiful girl!

Your older self

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.

Advice to My Younger Self- Teri

Here at Imagine Hope we often ask our clients to look back at their "little boy" or "little girl" that still lives inside and needs some healing. It's common for us to ask a client to write a letter to their younger self or offer advice to the little kid inside who needs some TLC. So this week we are each going to share a personal version of this from lessons we've have learned in life. We hope these are helpful for you as you walk life's crazy hard journey!

You Are Loved

Dear Younger Teri-

I know there are times you fear that love isn't real. You feel it is conditional and you have to earn it through how perfect you try to be.

There are people who operate that way in this world. But I promise you that there are people who will love you just for you.

Some people won't be in a healthy give and take relationship with you. Others you will never please.... Stop wasting the mental energy trying so you can spend time on things that really matter.

Focus on being real and genuine. Know who you are so you can be her all the time. Don't morph yourself into what others want you to be.

The first step to loving yourself is to stop believing all those critical lies in your head...they are LIES! Learn from your mistakes and the consequences you face. Don't spiral, wallow and condemn yourself for them. You are human and will make mistakes. But that doesn't mean you aren't loveable.

And at the end of the day remember, you are loved by the most important person- Jesus. There is nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you. He loves you and you can't do ANYTHING to change it!

That's where your comfort is...God's love. Not human love. You are made to please God, not humans.

Younger Teri, if only you could see the peace you would feel from seeing yourself the way Jesus sees you. It is such a freeing peace to sit in this love.

Someday you will know and believe me. Until then know that you are loved because I love you.

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.