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Coping with shame, how are sufferers going with getting past this?

Discussion in 'Core Beliefs / Cognitive Distortions' started by mumstheword, Oct 12, 2017 at 5:36 AM.

  1. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

    I struggle with this a lot. I've made great strides lately, what with discovering and immersing myself in this site, but it's very deep.
    I'm a c-PTSD sufferer.
    Childhood abuse and neglect. Lots blocked out from early childhood, but plenty of compounding trauma, abusive treatment, violence and life-threatening neglect has me struggling to overcome stigma, trauma-brain and demoralizing brainwashing from my abusers.

    One was my mother,
    multiple men who used my body as a sperm recepticle when I was too young and already had it conditioned into me that I was worthless, and and the other main one was my 21 year narcissistic crimy ex.

    So lots of years of drilling into me I'm worthless and only good as a house slave or a sex slave-type non-person; a thing to serve others needs only.

    I do care about myself and I know I'm a kind, talented, intelligent, caring, likable person, but deep down, I feel soooooo much shame and lack of value, because of nearly 4 decades of really bad treatment.

    How do others get past feeling so dehumanized and demoralized from being victimized and used badly by others?
    Cyberluddite, jael and EveHarrington like this.
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  3. Tornadic Thoughts

    Tornadic Thoughts I'm a VIP

    It's something that still creeps up on me and has to be managed moment by moment as it comes about.

    I can be having the best day and someone can jokingly say in response to something, "Well, shame on you.", and boom!! My thoughts go right back to thinking I'm a piece of shit not worthy of anything good in life.

    Some days I can redirect that thought process without a second thought, other days, especially if I haven't had sufficient sleep, if I've been eating crap food/beverages that my body can't healthily work with, if I'm already questioning myself and engaging in some harsh negative self-talk, etc., etc. then it becomes harder to find my way back out.

    My breath and nature help to ground me and my self-talk has to take over from there to talk and guide me back out of that mindset.
    Cyberluddite and mumstheword like this.
  4. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

    Brilliant response. Thank you so much for responding Tornadic Thoughts :)
    That sounds a lot like me, except you might be further down the track than I.

    Last night my partner just asked me to keep my voice down when we were talking out the back, so the neighbors can't hear and I got so triggered and flooded with shame. He was very lovely and kind and understanding though.

    I don't always berate myself, I can just recognise what's happening (just recently) name it, explain what's happening (to my partner, for instance) and mindfully choose compassion for myself; but sometimes, my emotional responses and my slavish fawny reactions can make me judge myself harshly, as some kind of people-pleasing damaged doormat, and be apologizing for that, in a vicious circle if you get what I mean.

    Manipulaters love that kind of thing, so easy to exploit, luckily I don't allow anyone in my life like that anymore, but catching a hold of the self-depreciating backwards-justifying shame after a lifetime of being encouraged to think poorly of myself, is hard work.

    Eating disorder, body dysmorphia and weight gain have contributed greatly to this vicious circle self-shaming. I Also am not coping with a host of homemaking activities, that compound on my self-described and remind me constantly how not-up-to-scratch I am.

    I am getting a better grip on the eating habits and body image disgust and shame,, but like you say, constant vigilance and pulling up of self, to change the thinking patterns that lead to that kind of emotional state and subsequent set of behaviours is required.
  5. jael

    jael Member

    I'm in the same boat and after 1/100 of the trauma you experienced @mumstheword . What's that say about me. I would laugh if it wasn't so sad. I too go right to fawning if I feel I've done something wrong or threatened.

    T wanted me to write our five positives about myself last week. He saw I was struggling and was kind enough to give me a first one. After another ten minutes he took pity on me and said we would figure out the next four together at the next session. This is just not something I can do on my own yet.
    Cyberluddite and mumstheword like this.
  6. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

    I had to take some time to formulate my response to you jael, because I felt that you were perhaps being unfair to yourself and it upset me a bit.

    To say you've only been through 1/100 of what I have sounds to me like you might be minimizing your own trauma.

    I have had the same kind of response though, to reading about what others here have been through and I think, perhaps, that that kind of response is quite common.

    I certainly understand and relate to that kind of reaction though, in response to self in-relation-to-others and self in-respect-of-others.

    I also felt sad when you said you couldn't think of anything good about yourself. I bet if I knew you I could point out lots of good qualities, that you possess.

    I remember feeling that way. I was 15 and in an adolescent psych unit. It was group therapy and first we had to write a list of things we liked about ourselves. I wrote "I like my fore arms and the length of my thighs" .Strange, but I have pretty small fore arms and longish thighs for my size, I had to write something!

    Then it came time for us to compile lists about each other. I was the last person to get a list, and I remember I was dying inside, thinking, there will be nothing they can write.

    I was soooo surprised when I ended up with the biggest list and that people actually thought I had any redeeming features.

    I bet, if I knew you, I could write a list, like my fellow group members wrote about me, and you would be astounded at how others saw you. I am absolutely certain that you have looooooaaaaaads of positive qualities and you are just not giving yourself enough credit.

    As for fawning, yes, I've only recently become aware of the term and that it's a trauma-survival reaction. I say we need to go easy on ourselves about it, because the reason we are like that, is because others were so hard on us.
    Also, it might show something positive about us; that we are social people, we care about others, we are co-operative by nature, we are serviceful, we are contributors, even after horrendous trauma that some would fall in a heap from, we are kind to others by nature.

    Now all we have to do is direct that kindness to ourselves, as we are needing it more than ever and it was a lack of such that got us here.
  7. jael

    jael Member

    I'm sorry that I upset you. I was only trying to relate. This concept of self validation is new to me and it feels ridiculous and very uncomfortable. Which, I'm sure is something that many here can relate to.
    mumstheword likes this.
  8. mumstheword

    mumstheword Active Member

    Oh no, please don't worry about the upset thing. I am just overly empathetic and i couldn't bare the thought of you minimizing your suffering on my account.
    It's nothing really.
    It's PTSD that upsets me and I can overly identify with others who are suffering similarly to me.

    I didn't want you to feel bad when I shared that, but I see how you would.
    I'm sorry also!

    Yes, validating yourself and what you have suffered is important, I believe.

    You matter, your feelings matter and being kind and considerate to you starts the process of healing and forgiving self for being a victim

    It seems silly that we have to forgive ourselves for what others have done to us, but it does seem necessary, from my POV.

    Take care and please practice as much kindness to yourself as you can muster.
    jael likes this.
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