Shame Spirals


I don't know what my problem is. Today T and I spoke about how close the part who holds the shame is; it doesn't seem to take much for it to take over. We spoke about a memory from when I was 6-7ish--my good friend was bitten by a dog while we were racing each other in the yard--I blamed myself, my parents weren't available to help me deal with the self-blame, and I ended up spiralling into hating myself for needing their help when my friend was the one who was injured. My T affirmed that it's normal for little kids to blame themselves, but she also said it is concerning that I didn't just feel bad about the action but instead went to "I am bad." She was encouraging compassion and mentioned multiple times how close the shame part seems to be.

I don't know where it all came from, but I am ashamed of it.
I think I've always had this shame hole, but I'm pretty sure I've made it worse over the years. I've encouraged it by engaging with it.

This amount of shame would make sense if I had been severely abused, but I wasn't.
Is it possible to be naturally inclined towards shame? I think that might be my problem.

When I try to sit with the question of "why is it there" I just feel ashamed of being weak. And being weak = not being lovable, even though I was loved. Then I just feel fked up.

I don't know.


First of all, I agree with the above. And I also want to add that many many many women grew up in cultures which rewarded shame spirals. Even if you weren’t being brainwashed by some crappy religion (not saying they all are) the effects of the dominant culture seep in. And then there’s the generational stuff where if your mom grew up with humility shoved down her throat it gets into you.

To reiterate— I do believe you were abused and traumatized by that abuse. Then on top of that there is plenty of societal pressure rampantly pushing women to deny their agency and take responsibility for others’ problems. So yes to both is what I say, and sometimes facing the cultural shame is an empowering way to help yourself and others without having to focus on hard personal sh*t.

Also, being a man does not make one immune to these pressures, just hits different for many of them, in my opinion, and they are probably likely to be subjected to other bad influences—but I probably didn’t need to say that.


Yes I don't think shame is gender-specific, at all. The expectations put on men by others and themselves, and the unspoken or spoken requirement not to share or to feel and to succeed or solve is worse than for women, IMHO. And less resources or peer acceptance to feel or express emotions other than being angry or horny. I say that, because I was raised more like a boy emotionally (+/or was inclined, or it was required/ I was reinforced for bravery and not crying- I did 3 times as a child publically with my family that I remember my whole childhood, (apart from when the dogs were put down) ), yet also not like a tomboy physically exactly by any means, and my mom and dad had an egalitarian marriage for their day (not common). I relate wayyy better to men.

I think shame is a human response when we feel 'we are bad', not the situation or choice or action/ inaction or circumstance.
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while it is true that in some cases boys and girls are socielized differently i don't believe this has much effect of how boys and girls react to abuse other then reinforcing societal standers (not crying, or oversharing, or what have you.) but inside is all the same stuff. and we vacellate you know. a lot of times i am emotionless and stoic (what i "should" be) and then it bursts out of me like i'm a child.

i was beaten when ever i expressed any type of real emotions so i learned that emotions were bad-but i still had them. so they all went inwerd into this, like, toxic black pit of hell and sludge. and the self talk and shame and negetiviety is still as strong as it ever was. because kids? blame them selfs. for every thing because kids don't have developed enough empethy so they think a lot of things are their fault, right?

so it's up to adults around them when they see this happening to reinforce that it is not there fault and things. but if that doesn't happen (in the case of abuse, and you were abused @ninja -a dog bite is pretty serious and your parents should have been there for you.) the toxic pit grows and grows and grows. when we do not have people in our lifes to teach us and we draw the blame back to our selfs because that is what we know how to do.

and some people will turn it outwered which they blame every one else instead of them selfs. having emotions isn't weak and needing things isn't weak. being ashamed of things isn't weak. and i know that is hard to hear of because i still think the same things. it was literally hammered into me. if you are not strong, you are weak and you are worth less.

but it's all abusive bullshit. weakness is-for the most part-not a real thing. it does exist. but it exists in a very limited fashion. most human beings that you meet are not going to be weak-they're just going to be human. the real weak people are the ones who abuse others and who have no abilety of changing their behavhier. those people are weak. you are just a person.