While the following post from the blog Don’t Lose Hope https://sexaddictionpartners.wordpress.com/2023/03/04/what-is-toxic-shame/ was directed to those harmed by a partner’s sexual addiction, it applies to all those suffering from toxic shame, therefore, all abuse victims.
“…Toxic shame is the feeling that you’re worthless at your core – so you deserve to be rejected, mistreated and ignored, despised and punished by the people in your life. These are damaging, erroneous beliefs.
Shame develops in response to being abused and unloved, especially by the people who are close to you.
Toxic shame often takes the following forms:
1. Feeling bad (utterly shameful) about something terrible that was done to you.
2. Feeling bad (utterly shameful) about choices and actions that belong to someone else. Here, the shame is “guilt by association” – even where the choices and behaviours have nothing at all to do with you.
3. Feeling stigmatized, or experiencing some form of prejudice, where you feel judged and less than other people. Here, the shame generally relates to feelings of inadequacy related to something beyond your control.
4. Experiencing shame in response to the way someone else sees and judges you.
5. Experiencing shame because you have different outlooks and values from someone else.
6. Feeling awful (and wrong) because you have set and/ or enforced appropriate and healthy boundaries – boundaries which another individual isn’t happy with (usually because they want to control you and the situation).
7. Feeling ashamed of having and expressing emotions, and especially intense and/ or negative emotions.
8. Feeling ashamed of having and expressing legitimate needs, and asking for those needs to be met.
How to Cope with Toxic Shame
Self-compassion is the key to getting free of toxic shame. It is making the choice to show compassion to yourself in situations where you feel like a failure, or inadequate, or where you hurt, or are suffering, or are struggling, or weak. It is making every effort to be kind to yourself, and being gentle, understanding and patient with yourself.
Something to Think About
“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourself.” – Pema Chodron
Could you start to show this compassion to yourself?”
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