- When I feel shame, I am like a crazy person. I do stuff and say stuff I would normally never say or do.
- Sometimes I just wish I could make other people feel as bad as I do. I just want to lash out and scream at everyone.
- I get desperate when I feel shame, like I have nowhere to turn--no one to talk to.
- When I feel ashamed, I check out mentally and emotionally. Even with my family.
- Shame makes you feel estranged from the world. I hide.
"One time I stopped to get gas and my credit card was declined. The guy gave me a really hard time As I pulled out of the station, my three year old son started crying I just started screaming, Shut up...shut up...shut up! I was ashamed about my card. I went nuts. Then I was ashamed that I yelled at my son."
In order to deal with shame many of us move away by withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves and keeping secrets. Some of us move toward by seeking to appease and please. And some of us move against by trying to gain power over others, by being aggressive and by using shame to fight shame. Most os us use all of these--at different times with different folks for different reasons. Yet all of these strategies move us away from connection--they are strategies for disconnection from the pain of shame.
There are many strategies to combating shame. Practice courage, and reach out. Talk to myself the way I talk to others. Own my story, don't bury it and let it fester. If we own our story we get to narrate the ending.
As Carl Jung said, "I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become."