Sometimes I feel so obsessive about how I go on and on about shame. Then I really look at the havoc it creates in our world and in individual lives and I know I am not obsessive. I am just profoundly tuned into the pain it causes. I have been since I first began truly comprehending shame back in the 80’s. At that time I was working in a sexual addiction unit with Dr. Patrick Carnes. I was lucky to be one of the original therapists who trained with him when he started the sexual addiction unit. In any case, I would work with people who were very committed to their recovery. Many were repeating in sexual addiction and many had been in treatment for other addictions. I kept wondering what we, the therapists and clients, were missing. Then I stumbled onto the concept of shame. Then I read all I could (not much at that time) and went to a lecture by Dr. Kaufman on shame. From then on I was so very interested in shame.
I believe shame is rampant in our culture. It not only underpins addiction, but most, if not all, mental health disorders, and runs throughout all subcultures. The belief that one is not good enough or constantly needs to prove oneself is in most people. It is not just in people with obvious challenges, but also in the inner beliefs of most everyone. Why is that? What is wrong? We have it completely backwards. Instead of believing that I am enough, lovable, and worthy, people believe they are fraudulent, or less than, or people would not think so highly of them “if they only knew…”
Shame is a constant construct in our culture. Perfectionism, Blame, Hierarchy, Dishonesty, etc., are the hallmarks of a shame based system. Does that look familiar? It is the groundwork for most of our world, at least until someone gets conscious and truly works to make this different.
So, I keep at it. I keep working with understanding it and finding tools to help intervene on it. There is not peace in a persons heart while shame resides in it. “Until I can sit in the presence of myself and love myself, as I am, there will be no peace.” What is there instead, is shame.
Please don’t think it is just the other people who have it, or the “crazy” people, or the “addicted” people. It is part and parcel of the air we breath and we need to heal it if we ever want peace in our world.
I needed to rant a bit today. I am so very tired of the pain I see in our world. I know we can bring that pain into healing. I just know it!