Author Archives: btonn

Shame and rage

In my book I talk often about rage coming directly from shame. If it is destructive to self, property, or others, it is rage, not anger. It can be covert or overt. Covert rage takes place in a persons’ thoughts. Overt rage takes place in a persons’ actions.

I look at the world and hear the news and know that our world is mired in shame. When a person feels shame they feel powerless, less than and out of control. At this point rage takes over. I truly believe that the mass shootings, the wars, the abuse and the suicide increase stems directly from the shame in the world. If I feel less than, unlovable, worthless, undeserving, fraudulent and/or many of the other words that describe shame, I will act out in some way. The feeling of shame is untenable. I will not be able to deal with the pain of isolation until I deal with the shame directly.

There is not a common language for shame. People can cycle in it their entire life and not know what to call it or how to stop it. In that cycle the behavior and thinking is self defeating.

In my book I talk about shame, rage, the self-defeating behavior, the pain of shame. It is not an easy book to read and the healing of shame is not an easy process. However, there are tools, there is help and there is hope.

My book is called, “Shine the Light of Truth on Shame: Daily Reflections.” I wrote 365 days of healing interventions on shame. I believe it is the gentlest yet most effective way to intervene on shame. We do a bit of work each day. We learn tools and how to use them. We develop a language for shame. The book is all about solutions for healing shame. It was a very difficult book to write. It represents my 30 plus years as a therapist who specialized in healing shame. I have used all of the tools in my own personal work and the work with my clients. They are tried and true.

My book is on Amazon.

Barb Tonn

Shame is an Interference

One of my wise friends calls shame, “the biggest interference on the planet at this time.”

What does it interfere with?

  • Knowing that the true essence of each person is love.
  • Forgiving ourselves for our mistakes.
  • Forgiving others for their mistakes.
  • Extending love.
  • Living in a peaceful space with self and others.
  • Knowing and honoring our personal rights and other peoples’ rights.
  • Living in the NOW.
  • Taking responsibility for our choices.
  • Basic trust.
  • Compassion toward self and others.
  • Accepting self and being good enough as we are.
  • Valuing our relationships.
  • Kindness.
  • Honesty.

Shame interferes with what is good and with what moves us in the direction of healing.

If we experience what feels like interference in our lives, we might want to be curious which inner voice we are listening to. Is it the voice of shame or the voice of love?

Mass shootings


I have some thoughts on the mass shootings and the part shame plays in those shootings.

As many of you who have read my book found out, I talk about shame and rage as the same thing. Rage differs from anger in that it always is destructive. Anger is not destructive. It is a response to an invasion of ones boundaries and is a red flag that a boundary needs to be established.

If I feel shame, a sense that I am unimportant, inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, less than in some way, or a fraud, that will be extremely painful. Many people live in this experience of themselves. Others experience it at certain times and in certain situations. If my shame gets tapped or triggered, my first response is to shut down, become defensive, detach from myself and my feelings and move into a destructive, self-defeating behavior. Most of us who move in and out of that cycle do not get so destructive that we shoot and kill others, but we do hurt others in many ways.

I believe the mass shootings are indicative of the amount of shame people in our world are carrying. This world is shame based. In my book I talk about that in great detail. For now I will just reference it.

We will not be able to get to the bottom of the shootings and the shooters without addressing the shame in our world. That is something we each get to take responsibility for in our own way. I get to become aware of how I shame others and myself and step into the hard work of changing that behavior.

It is not the guns that are the problem. It is the shame that gets triggered in an individual that causes an immediate and destructive response.

More to come.

My book can be purchased on Amazon or Create Space under the name:

Barb Tonn

Title: Shine the Light of Truth on Shame: Daily Reflections


What now!

I ask myself the question: What now? I check in with my inner wise woman, Maude. What I hear is that I get to rest until September and by that point I will have some clarity. I can do that. Writing and publishing my book has been such a consuming process. I deserve rest. So, I sing in my 2 choirs and I walk my dog, and I have great fun. Then I nap! I like the freedom I have now that I am not meeting deadlines each day. Guess I am pretty proud of myself. Anyway, my book is selling and I am pleased.

Happy Summer everyone!


It is done!!

Hi to you who have been following this amazing process.  I just wanted you to know that on Friday the 8th of April I completed the last of my 365 daily entries for my book. Yes- I did!!!

I gave myself a week off and now am going to do the last of what I need to do, including finding an editor.  I now know, for sure, that my book will be out in 2016.  I cannot tell you how good this feels.  It is a huge relief and a burden off my shoulders!  This past week when I did not need to write about shame I felt a lightness in my energy that I know came from not writing and thinking about shame each and every day.

If you know any editors or people who could help me get this formatted so that I can get it uploaded, please let me know.

Thank you for the words of encouragement.

With love and profound gratitude!





So, we have trouble trusting? We don’t know how to trust self or others? Sounds like shame is running the show.


A very wise young man who is on a healing path out of shame said, “ the “T” word”. I didn’t know what he was referencing. We had been talking about trust. He was seeing how shame had impacted him and had interfered deeply with his ability to Trust. At this point in his healing he wasn’t even saying, “trust”. He was saying, “the T word.”


The statement captured how difficult it is to begin to trust when we have shame at our core. Most of us with shame have been betrayed by someone we had every right to believe we could trust. We turn that on self and feel like there must be something wrong with self, or the person would not have betrayed us. So our shame gets locked around a “betrayal bind.”


Repairing that betrayal bind requires learning to trust again. It can be terrifying. We take baby steps and we learn to build trust with trustworthy people. We learn how to take care of self so we are not so vulnerable to other people and their bad actions. We learn we are loveable and worthy. We start to trust our self and then learn to trust others. It is a process that helps move us out of the isolation and self- loathing. It is worth taking the risks, baby step by baby step.


Reminder: We move from the “T” word to Trust in self and then others. We learn to live in the world of people and relationships.

Time to start again

I am a life coach.  What I know works for me is to have some accountability.  So, I am holding myself accountable.  I have now been in the play.  We did it and it was amazing!!!  I learned about working in a team and coming to terms with my ego/shame.  I can memorize and that is lovely to know.  I had so much fun and worked so hard.  I did work on my book much at all.  That is fine.  I only have so much energy.  However, it is time to start again.

Tomorrow I will start working on my book again.  The flow had really started before I got so deep in rehearsals.  So, I will pick up that thread and get this book done!  My goal is to have it published next year.  I will have the first draft ready for editing by the end of this year.

I will keep you in the loop via this blog.  Just know that when I say I will do something, I do it!

Rock and roll!!!


I turn 65 in an hour.  I feel like staying up late and welcoming it in.  I feel like sharing this.  I feel like claiming what comes next.  I feel excited.

I have reached a place in my life where I experience contentment.  I have few regrets.  I can see that my experiences, no matter how painful have served me and brought great healing.  I have learned to forgive.  I have learned to take responsibility as opposed to blaming others for my problems and dissatisfactions.  I have learned to care less about what others think of me and this has led to profound freedom.  I have learned to appreciate my way of being in the world and not apologize for myself.  I have let myself take risks and experience many new things.  I laugh a lot and that is such a gift.  I have a personal connection to love.  I have hope.  I feel peaceful more and more.  I can see the heart in people more often and look past the unkindnesses.  I think I could keep this up for hours.

What next?  What am I claiming and welcoming in?

More creativity

More risk

More laughter

More kindness to self and other

More sharing on a soul level

More sweetness (Seeing it in others and myself)

More fun

More God

More love

More peace

I have a few bucket list items.  The big one is swimming with sea turtles.  They just amaze me.  I want to take more risks.  That would be letting myself do things like publish my book, and do more acting, and publish my poems, and teach more.  It would be only doing things I will enjoy and that bring me peace.  No more “should” in anything.

I think I will like myself more and more which will help me like others more and more.

I will be gentler with you and me.  I will walk softer.

Peace will be the mainstay of my life.

I like this.

It is less than an hour now until I turn 65.  I wish I could hear my mom and dad claim their disbelief that they have a daughter who is 65.  Well, I will claim it for them.  I am the daughter and I can’t believe I am turning 65.  I like it.  I earned it.  I am good with it.

Thank you to each and every person who has been a part of my life.  You have enriched my experience and blessed me in countless ways.  I am grateful to you all.

I am going to sit with my God now and rest as the illusion of a clock chimes in my 65th birthday!


Choose Peace

There is a very simple way of determining if we are listening to the voice of shame or the voice of Love.

If what we are hearing brings us Peace we are hearing the voice of love.

Shame speaks first and Never brings Peace.  Love simply Is and speaks the language of Peace.  Shame always is about “doing” something, When we listen to shame we get more agitated, confused, and less contented or peaceful.  When we listen to Love we settle down, feel clear, contented, and more peaceful.

Sometimes we make things really hard.  What voice is the voice of what?

I love to keep things simple.  Love = Peace.


Letting “Joy” lead the way

I am starting to not only see the wisdom in letting “Joy” lead the way in my life, but am actually letting “Joy” lead the way.  I am letting joy be a part of everything I do.  If I am not feeling joy doing whatever I am doing, then I stop.

I recently closed my counseling practice and moved to Albuquerque.  I am resting and looking at: what next.  Sometimes I come up with an idea that comes from fear.  It sounds something like, “I am fearful I won’t have a good enough financial retirement, so I will do ________ because I can make more money.”  Now, there is nothing wrong with the idea, and because fear motivates it, there is no joy.  What I know for my self is:  I deserve to live in joy and to enjoy my moments, work and all.  So the question I asks myself is:  If I am not operating from fear, and I just let myself do what I enjoy, what will it be?”

When we live our lives in joy, the shame is not there.  When I live in fear and make choices from that fear, I live in shame.

Reminder:  Whether I believe it or not, I deserve to live in joy.  What choices will I make if joy leads the way in my life?