In today’s article I want to bring up a topic that so many people don’t want to think about or talk about.
It’s about that inky, insidious word ‘Shame’. Even saying the word “Shame” feels yukky!
The reason I want to do this is because if we leave shame buried in the darkness it remains insidious. Truly this topic needs to be brought up into the release and the relief of the light of day – and that is my intention in regard to ‘shame’ today.
Life doesn’t always go perfectly. Life just isn’t like that. There are things that happen in our life that get us questioning all sorts of things.
Such as “Did I make the right choice?’ ‘Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”
In fact life can shake us up so much, that we can start questioning not just our choices – but the very foundation of ourself.
It’s very likely that after enduring narcissistic abuse the very core of your self-esteem and self-worth will be shaken.
You may surmise that bad things have happened because you are ‘cursed’, or you must have deserved to be punished.
You may ask yourself questions such as “Am I worthy”, “Am I good enough?”, “Who am I? or “Am I good person?”
In today’s article I am going to explore the topic of shame, and explain to you how by accepting yourself “warts and all” you can release shame and start coming home to yourself.
The Choices We Have When Feeling Unworthy of Love and Connection
Feeling unworthy and fearful of being hurt again may cause people to retreat from life, or they may try to fit in with others by seeking approval, and trying to be everything someone else wants them to be in order to be loved.
This non-approval of self means not being able to be in life openly and authentically – as oneself.
Shame is the very reason for non self-approval. It is a deep seated belief of somehow I am defective, and because of this I am not worthy of love and connection.
Shame is a serious problem for abusers and for those who are abused.
Abusers had projected on to them the belief that their abusers held – I am defective and no good.
All abused people suffer the force of the painful inner feelings of the person abusing them. Abusers project on to the abused the identical pain and suffering that they experienced when they were being abused.
It is all a viscous cycle of shame.
There are two ways people express themselves when they believe they are defective and unworthy of love. Either as the ‘bad’ person they were programmed to believe they were, or – if they retain a conscience and don’t want to hurt anyone – they become the recipient of more abuse which confirms the subconscious belief of being unworthy of being loved.
We know these models as narcissistic and co-dependent. The narcissistic model is about not being authentic, having to ‘one up’ to retain the upper hand, the objectification and manipulation of others, and the creating of unrealistic expectations to never truly connect and bond so as to never have to risk abuse or rejection ever again.
The co-dependent conversely becomes over attached, forgoes his or her own self, and tries to cling and fix the other person’s abusive behaviours in order to secure being loved.
Bringing the Darkness of Unhealed Parts Up Into the Light
Every relationship we have with another is always about the essential relationship we have with ourself – because all of our significant relationships are reflecting back to us our unhealed parts.
In fact this is the most loving gift another human being can commit to when they enter a relationship with you.
What they are really saying subconsciously to you is not “I promise to be with you for life”, really what they are saying is “I promise to bring up for you all the unhealed parts of yourself so that you have the opportunity to heal them”.
The problem is, this was never part of our learning curriculum. We were never taught that this is the most important purpose of relationships – to grant the opportunity to personally grow and evolve.
This may seem ‘unromantic’, but when you understand it on a deeper level you will understand what true love really is. The most loving people are those who are whole. The most dysfunctional and abusive people who those who are not whole.
The more ‘well’ anyone becomes, the more able they are to be loving and loved.
We were also never taught that the level of relationship we attract and participate in is the present level of relationship we have established with ourself.
The human experience was always going to be about growth. That is the very nature and cycle of creation, and ‘life’ it is forever expanding – and therefore we are meant to as well.
The cycles of nature are all about ‘stress’ and then the ‘growth’ which is produced from that stress.
Think about a new tree, and what it needs to do to sprout through the dirt and gain its roots to be strong enough to survive. Then as the tree gets older and stronger its growth is far less traumatic.
The same applies with ourself. If we have not pushed through the insecurities of becoming a solid source to ourself by establishing our own anchors of self-love, independent of the neediness for others, we are going to be very fragile and extremely susceptible to damage. Once we have established these foundations, then life and relationships go so much easier.
The Flawed Human Premise
So what is the key to creating these essential anchors of self?
It certainly isn’t what we were taught to believe.
Because what we were taught has had a huge NEGATIVE impact on our ability to be able to heal, evolve and grow.
We were conditioned to believe that being ‘imperfect’ was not acceptable.
We believed admitting or displaying our flaws and vulnerabilities would lead us to be rejected, abandoned, pushed aside in preference of someone more ‘perfect’, or we would be overpowered and controlled if we showed any weakness.
We could not show our flaws outwardly, and we certainly could not admit them to ourself. If we did we would simply feel disgusted in ourself or even experience self-hatred.
We were conditioned to believe in ‘conditional love’ – which is the greatest FLAWED human premise of all time.
The lie that we were fed goes like this: “You are only worthy of being accepted and loved if you look like this, behave like this, go along with this, own this, dress like this, know this…etc. etc.”
This created humankind as people who disowned themselves, covered over ‘flaws’ (lack of self-acceptance), and created a persona to compensate. Then these people walked forward into life creating relationships where all of their flaws were always going to emerge and erupt within their personal relationships.
There is NO avoiding our own unhealed parts. If we disown them and try to run from them – life simply brings them up and hits us over the head with them.
The reason is because life gloriously grants us every opportunity to finally be freed from the painful entrapments within ourself– and does not STOP gloriously granting us these opportunities.
The most impactful way (to get our attention) life can do this for us, is through our close personal relationships.
Because of the disowning of ‘flaws’, people have forever been judging themselves, holding themselves up to some unreachable benchmark, and feeling totally inadequate for not reaching it.
This self-judgement creates intense and painful separation within oneself. It creates feelings of not being acceptable and not being worthy of belonging. It creates the addiction of having to get ‘more’, or appear as ‘more’ to make oneself finally feel worthy enough to be loved.
Of course this is a bottomless pit.
How can a person be authentic when they are carrying so much inner shame? They either have to hide from life to avoid the risk of the painful rejection they believe their defective self will receive, or they have to be in life as a False Self – someone else than who they really are, in order to try to be acceptable.
Accepting Imperfections Equals Belonging
When we take the journey out of the insanity of this flawed illusion, and into our inner being towards being conscious, we understand just how damaging the beliefs of being imperfect, defective and not good enough are – and how it sabotages our ability to feel worthy of connection.
We also understand that it is this unworthiness which is the root of the pain, fear, unloving and abusive patterns within relationships.
We start to understand that connectedness must start within – it needs to begin with the purging of our own sense of shame, and a deep inner acceptance that we are never going to be perfect, there will always be others who have more, are prettier, smarter etc, and none of those criteria have anything at all to do with how connected, loved and loving and accepted we can be in life.
Brene Brown a leader in the studies of vulnerability and shame found through her statistical research that the one factor that granted people love, connection, healthy relationships and sense of belonging was the ability to be real and vulnerable.
In effect what this means is that these people did not carry the shame of being defective, they were able to accept themselves ‘warts and all’ and present themselves as authentic people to others. These people did not hold the beliefs that their not so perfect parts made them unloveable, and these people did not have a set of unrealistic conditions placed on themselves. They did not live their lives by some crazy competitive and unrealistic criteria in order to feel worthy of being love.
These people simply felt and knew they were worthy of love.
Shame Becomes Blame
When we understand how shame works, we know that the intensely painful inner feeling of shame leads to internalisation and / or projection. Shame always becomes blame. It leads to blaming oneself and others.
A deep insidious belief of being defective means that others will be assigned as defective also.
Shame is the most destructive emotion to intimate relationships. This is why narcissists find every reason to discredit and demean their intimate partners. In effect the partner can never be ‘good enough’ and this is exactly what the narcissist deeply feels about him or herself.
Intense inner shame creates malignant disconnection and destruction within relationships.
Because you have been narcissistically abused, it is normal to feel defective, unworthy, riddled with shame, and believe you were at fault. You may even start to question whether you are the narcissist.
This is the shame you have accepted and absorbed deep within your own being from the narcissist’s projections. Some part of you had already been conditioned and programmed to accept this shame – and this was as a result of some sort of conditional love you had received in the past that primed you to accept these projections.
As a child you may have been taught you were only loveable if you did what you were told, or your received certain grades, or if you carried out the expectations your parents had for you. You may have believed that if you didn’t you were unworthy of their love.
The messages your received did not allow you to believe that you were worthy of love simply because you exist. You were not taught that being worthy of love was your basic human right and truth.
People who are not primed to accept this shame don’t stay in relationships with narcissists. They can identify “That is your stuff, and it’s NOT mine”, and remove themselves from the abuse.
The narcissist’s shame of unworthiness at some level is reflecting back to you the parts of you which feel the shame of being unworthy of love and connection.
This has primed you to accept a False Self, false love and abuse as substitutes for real love – because at some deep subconscious level, as a result of carrying shame, you don’t believe you deserve true love and connection.
This may be a bitter pill to swallow. It’s not intended as such. Please understand this is exactly what I needed to confront within myself, and shift out of my beliefs and body in order to heal and break free.
Back to the part of the fear of being imperfect.
We are all ‘perfectly imperfect’ – that is the very nature and bedrock of growth. If you were a fully enlightened perfect being there would be no need for personal growth – and there would be no ability for you to keep experiencing the miracle of yourself as a being unfolding into the limitlessness of yourself and life.
Your ego’s version of ‘perfect’ truly is completely off target.
Perfect looking people, with lots of money, and tons of accomplishments are not more loved and accepted than others. In fact if these people have not established healthy self-love, they severely run the risk of hooking up with people who are only with them for material, aesthetic, non-authentic and shallow (narcissistic) reasons.
These people do not have the potential of more happiness and connection than you do. In fact as a result of striving so hard to be perfect and thinking this is the only way people will love them, they are prone to receive from others how they really feel about themselves – which is more unworthiness.
These people are also filled with the terror of maintaining themselves as the identity of ‘what they have’ and need to maintain their looks, money and structures otherwise they will be ‘no-one’, because their inner feelings of defectiveness would not be able to be hidden by ‘stuff’ anymore.
That is not freedom, love, connection or living – it is a self-imposed prison of fear, pain and torment.
So throw all of that out the window – and come home to the truth on this.
You would dearly love someone to love you just as much on a bad day as a good day. You would love someone to be there for you when you feel vulnerable, when you haven’t been able to be your best, when you have put on a few extra pounds, and when you start seeing the wrinkles in the mirror. You want someone to salute the divinity in you – to love you for your good intentions, for your heart, for your soul.
There is no way you want to ‘earn’ the inferior love of someone ‘loving you’ for your car, clothes, hair style, how much money you earn or how knowledgeable you are!
Similarly you certainly do not want to be in a relationship with someone who needs you to be exactly how they think you should be, and will brutally discard you if you aren’t.
Think about this deeply…
How often did the narcissist devalue or discard you over some trivial point which the narcissist deemed as you not living up to one of his or her unrealistic (and often insane) expectations?
More times than you can probably remember…
Be honest now.
Did you (or do you) ever devalue and discard yourself over some of your own unrealistic expectations?
Are you getting a clearer picture here?
Releasing Shame and Coming Home To Yourself
Do you understand that you need to release your shame and come home to loving and accepting yourself without conditions?
Which means no conditions of who you have been, what you have done, what you have experienced, what has happened in your life, what your childhood was like, what weight you are, how many wrinkles you have, what money you do or don’t have etc., because none of these things have anything to do with whether or not you are worthy of belonging or being loved.
This is the true meaning of unconditional love –and it has to start with YOU.
There is only one thing that creates you of being worthy of being loved.
It entails the letting go of your pain and shame, so that what is left behind is your intrinsic True Self which naturally cannot know anything other than being love and is infinitely worth loving.
The truth of Who You Really Are is – your Inner Being adores you with no conditions.
Your Inner Being (the Real You) sees you as Source / God / Life sees you.
The Real You emerges when you strip off and release the pain, false premises and insane illusions of yourself, life and what ‘expectations’ being loved is supposed to have.
When you know yourself as worthy of being loved and deserving of true connection – then you will experience it.
Why? Because you already have it, and therefore you are already living and knowing what it genuinely feels like.
It always had to first be real within yourself.
For those of you who want to heal past the abuse you experienced, and who haven’t as yet started healing with my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program, truly the results of NARP consistently produces these results for people world-wide.
These healing results include – dissolving of the pain of abuse, the healing of shame, the creating of a deep connection within self, and the escaping of the horrible cycles of abuse and not feeling worthy of real love.
If you know you are stuck in the shame and pain of how your life has currently turned out, and what the narcissistic did to you – I can’t recommend NARP enough.
I look forward to your comments about this article.
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