Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Hole in the Ground

During internal excavations I stumbled upon my sense of shame. I was shocked by its enormity, its breadth and depth. In a single quiet afternoon, after much effort, I found the reason for this unnamed pain. I have internalized everything that ever happened to me as a child.  The voices that plague me, weather or not I am in a deep depression, the ones that tell me I am ugly and stupid every single minute of every single day, these are the sounds of my childhood. 

I began to research. In his book: Healing the Shame That Binds You, John Bradshaw calls this particular kind of shame, toxic. Toxic shame becomes pathological. In the face of early trauma, shame is hard wired into the brain. "I am defective," is the daily mantra of the walking wounded. Shame burrows deep into the psyche and becomes one's identity. When this happens, Bradshaw states, that the individual vows either, "I am less than human," or "I am more than human" and acts accordingly. "I am less than human-why try?" or "I must be perfect in everything I do or I am nothing." Induced shame is the root of all meanness and all perfectionism in the world. 

 Therapy is funny, you can hear something over and over without getting it, until the day that you get it. I have carried this feeling all my life. I know that people can tell I am damaged in this way. I act so crazy sometimes, so easily hurt and angry. I always think I am being judged. I am paranoid and nervous. I always think I am going to get into trouble after all these years.

 It feels like a big cosmic joke that it is a lifetime of negative self-talk that brings me to this place, here on my knees. I have caused much of my own suffering trying to prove to others just how worthless I am. It makes me nauseous to think of the wasted time. 

Although it will be a long road out of this kind of thinking, a victory is a victory. Some of my pain has a name. It can be color coded and lined up with the rest of the files. I saw some light at the end of the tunnel.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes wisdom sounds like a hollow platitude until you're ready to accept it.