The power of Shame


I had a horrible day yesterday.  My emotions got triggered violently and created a storm of monumental proportions and although I let them out in their full strength in my privacy, I did express a bit.  The whole thing left me feeling shattered.

In another lifetime I used to wonder what it meant when my therapist said “your emotions aren’t about the other person or situation, they’re about you”.  Yesterday I had a perfect illustration.  The trigger was something fairly innocuous yet the storm of my emotions crucified me.  Anger.  Hurt.

Those emotions weren’t even about the present, they were shadows from the past.  But when the past revisits with such potency clarity often comes a day later, when all the dust has settled.

Shame.  That’s what I saw this morning, it’s what I woke up to.  Shame’s not an emotion.  Fear is, though.

When I was a child I was afraid that people would see how inadequate I really was – anything I did was underpinned by terror that actually everybody was laughing at me or would punish me for who I truly was.  I lived with shame.

The stuff is like super-glue.   And still, a  punitive voice in me says I have to be absolutely perfect.  If I show any emotion at all I will to be hung drawn and quartered – and I deserve it.   That’s when my fear of insanity rises to the surface.

Do other people have these moments, do other people misinterpret, am I a lunatic?  Today I think some people do and some don’t, and both are normal.   Still, as I write this, I can see I feel a little tentative about saying it.  I’m not 100% sure what’s normal and what isn’t.  I’m not sure that I’m really okay.

But maybe, just maybe, perhaps I’m not a shameful individual at all and have never been.  Probably I’m just human.

On that profound note I shall shower, have breakfast, and go to therapy.

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