Last week during my session with my therapist (via telehealth) we spent some time talking about shame and embarrassment. I’ve known for awhile that I still feel embarrassed by my trauma responses, especially the ones that are ill-timed in public or professional settings.
However, recently as I faced some fears of taking my website and my writing to another level it became glaringly clear to me as I struggled to share my writings on my personal Facebook that it was because all of my friends in real life would see it. It’s been so much easier to share with strangers.
It’s not that my friends don’t know what I have been through but I have seriously controlled the narrative with them. What happens when they read about all of this trauma and chaos, what would they think of me? Would I be judged? My capabilities viewed differently?
Wow did it stir up all kinds of feelings. As I waded through it all, I realized I felt shame. Something I hadn’t realized I felt because I know I have nothing to be ashamed of. Nonetheless – here it was. Shame.
Not the First Time
Today on Facebook, the following memory came up as a post I shared 2 years ago when I was just over a year into my trauma healing. This post showed me in a matter of seconds just how layered my trauma is, and how long the work can take.
Turns out I’ve faced off with shame before, not knowing yet what it was. Not connecting to it or allowing it any space in my life directly. Now I see how tricky denial is as I navigated survivor mode?
A Hindrance to Healing
Realization struck as I faced off with my feelings, this shame has shown up often over the years but I have always interpreted it as embarrassment. My denial game has been strong.
Every time my therapist has asked me in a session what my feelings about a situation are telling me about myself I have felt like the kid in class who desperately did not want to be called on. Often, I have tripped over my tongue and rambled a little bit, not really knowing what the correct answer is. Ugh, shame.
As we talked about all of this this last week during my appointment, unknown to me at the time that I was in a parallel channel with myself from two years prior, I began to understand more deeply how shame has shaped my views of myself. How it has seeped into my life for as long as I can remember without my knowing. Shame has taken my confidence hostage for decades, robbing me of a connection to my authentic self.
The Healing Cycle
As I read over my post from two years ago and reflect on the conversation I had with my therapist I see the cycle of my healing. This has happened so many times over the last few years. I come across something I wrote in the beginning months that I feel like I have only just realized I am struggling with now.
It shines light on just how layered and complex childhood trauma is and demonstrates how the mind filters out what it isn’t ready for as the healing journey unfolds. There have been a few times now during our meetings that my therapist repeats to me, once more, the same concept she has spoken of a few times before. I can see the continuity of my therapy and of how consistent the space has been for processing which provided me space to heal.
This won’t be the last time I take notice of the cyclical nature of my healing process, or of how many times it might take before awareness and connection happen.
Trauma healing is individual and it’s personal,. The more complex the trauma the more intense the commitment and the work involved.
I am grateful that I have been documenting my recovery so that situations like this are able to happen. It helps me to really see the progress that I am making.
Breaking the Chains of Shame
Now that I have identified my shame, called it by name, and dragged it out into the light I hope I will be able to break the chains and set myself free of it.
This companion is insistent, we’ve been inseparable for quite some time. I’ve grown comfortable in the cold embrace of shame, allowing it to cover me in shadows and misgivings of self. Alas, I know the feelings are unwarranted and unhealthy and I am thankful to have a professional to help me work through all of this.
Layer by layer I will uncover my true self and shed all of the darkness in my past.
If you are someone you know needs to seek professional help for mental health there are many options online for telelhealth, or you can call your county health department for options
Betterhelp.com is a well known platform for telehealth that is affordable. (This is not an endorsement of their services.)
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