The Toxic Shame thread (the cause of SA for most) - Page 11 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #201 of 634 (permalink) Old 07-12-2011, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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I just want to say that I have went back to my 3rd post of this thread (it is titled “The healing of our Toxic Shame”) and I have revised it because of a mistake I made.

The mistake I made was that I had randomly written ideas in that post about how to heal toxic shame, instead of putting together some specific, orderly steps to follow. I didn’t notice this until “RawrJessiRawr” made a post in which she caused me to realize the mistake I made (thank you RawrJessiRawr!). Although she didn’t directly point out my mistake, it was her post in which she mentioned her probems of “getting the mirroring eyes of others” of which I realized that I did not put together my post in the correct fashion.

The best way to heal one's toxic shame is to do it in the proper steps. It’s best this way because each step builds upon the previous step. I will admit my revision made the post a very long one, but it is obviously important that I include the necessary information to help heal toxic shame. So that’s why it is a long post. I ask that everyone read that post again, especially the revised part of it (the revised part is the first four paragraphs beneath the blue highlighted paragraphs).

I apologize for my mistake, but, as John Bradshaw says, making mistakes is human and it is how we learn, and nobody on earth is perfect. I have once again proven to myself that I am the same as anyone else – perfectly imperfect!


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"Shyness can be a serious problem when it is rooted in toxic shame." - John Bradshaw, toxic shame expert

Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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post #202 of 634 (permalink) Old 07-13-2011, 01:09 AM
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This is absolutely true and something I have known for a very long time but never been able to put in accurate words or explain it coherently. People that don't feel completely rotten about their very existence have a hard time understanding it, but once you find someone that is willing to help you it is inexplicable. Whether it's a parent, sibling, friend, significant other, or therapist, I agree that we need other people to look at us and help us see that we are not horrible, we are not defective, we are just hurting and we need help.

I have not been healed yet, I had no idea there were steps (or that it had a name,) but I did find someone who I felt could help me and I have been so happy to know her and have her around me. It's hard, and it gets harder, but she makes me want to hope.
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post #203 of 634 (permalink) Old 07-19-2011, 06:54 PM
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Hello Folks,

during the last two days I have read everything concerning the topic "toxic shame" on this board (mostly this thread), sucked up all this information I could get with high interest and just registered because it all sounds so true for me. Finally, I have to chance to get to know the REAL cause of social anxiety / avoidant behaviour, after years of struggling. The toxic shame thing really makes much sense for me, at least in my case! (now take this smiley not as being frightened, but as positively surprised, glad etc. )
So for a start, a big THANK YOU to Lifetimer as well as others who have contributed to this thread, from my side, as I have the feeling those realizations could really be very important stuff concerning the healing of our socializing fears.

Just for some short story about myself: I'm 23 years old now, have always been painfully shy around people and someday, I guess 5 years ago or so, found about the term "social phobia" on the internet. Only 2 years ago, I found about "Avoidant Personality Disorder", which seemed to hit the nail -- all that avoidant behaviour was ME, the medical descriptions fit, though I bet that no single person that knew me had the slightest idea what was going on inside me, because I am a true master in playing a happy person, even when I'm not.

I did go for therapy (CBT) for several months once but stopped because I had the feeling that I couldn't proceed and that the practitioner couldn't really understand what the core of my problem was. At the same time I was sometimes very uncomfortable during the sessions and had the feeling that I just wouldn't know what to say (because of the toxic shame, as I know now!) .

In the meanwhile, I found a very powerful self help tool for releasing bad emotions: EFT, standing for Emotional Freedom Techniques. I suggest to anyone here trying it out because it doesn't cost a penny and is extremely simple to do (see, for example http://www.eftuniverse.com/) It may look really weird and one couldn't think that tapping certain points of the body could help releasing emotions, but please people, give it a try, it could really change your life.

I am positive about the idea that armed with all the knowledge about toxic shame, plus the powerful tool of EFT, healing our social anxiety / AvPD or whatever is really realistic in a relatively short amount of time. Interestingly enough, just googling "toxic shame eft" led to an article of a practitioner who just did this approach -- he even cites John Bradshaw:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Shame---Th...ers&id=3725819

Just wanted to share that with you, let me know what you think (and NO I'm not the author of the article in the link). I think I'll get on of the books from Bradshaw and start right in.

Greetings,
RiotPredictor
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post #204 of 634 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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RiotPredictor,

For your first ever post here in this forum, it is a great one!

I’m glad you are fortunate enough to have found out about the condition of toxic shame while in your 20’s, instead of in your 30’s or 40’s as some of us have had to do. This gives you a chance to get your life going in a positive direction without wasting a lot of years. Of course, no mattter what age one is, it is vitally important to learn about toxic shame and the steps in healing it. Because, if you don’t, then 5 yrs from now … 10 yrs from now … if you don’t do something about your TS, then you will be exactly the same as you are now.

RiotPredictor, the link you provided to the Ezine article about toxic shame is one of the best additions to this thread. The author of the article seems to be on the same wavelength as me, in regards to realizing the seriousness of toxic shame. The article appears to be geared towards how EFT practioners can apply their craft to help heal people with toxic shame, but I think the information is useful for anyone. I do admit I personally have some skepticism about the EFT technique, but that is only because it just seems too easy to get over emotional problems by just tapping certain points of the body. HOWEVER, I must stress that I have not tried it and don’t know one way or the other if it works or not. There seems to be people that believe EFT helps them, and so I think it is worth it to give it a try.

Apart from what was written about the EFT technique (of which I have no experience in), it is actually the rest of the article that really has impressed me! The article gives general ideas that are meant to show EFT practioners how they can help people with toxic shame, but I think a lot of the information is helpful for the average individual who is working to heal his/her OWN shame. The points below with the astericks are just a few of the many things that stood out to me from the article. After each point, I've included my personal comment of it in italics.

* The article's author said: “Shame has played a significant part in my life thus far and despite having shifted metaphorical tons of it, it is something that I remain passionate and vigilant about as it still trips me up and shuts me down from time to time.” All of what he said is what I could have said about myself.
I still get tripped up every once in a while (hey, I'm not perfect!), and so I try to stay vigilant of it.

* “When I first read this book (Healing The Shame That Binds You) it touched me deeply; it felt that finally someone understood my internal world and life experience - through the lens of shame. He (the author John Bradshaw) articulated with one hundred percent accuracy the difficulties in my day-to-day activities that others seemed to perform with ease and comfort - like walking into a room full of people, going on a date or even asking a friend for a favour (all of which could be torture for shame based people.)” This is also a very accurate statement of how I felt after reading John Bradshaw’s book. It was an “ah-ha!” moment in my life of what was wrong with me.

* "Unless you deal with it (toxic shame), it will deal with you.” Very true.

* As an EFT practicioner (of which the article author is), he says, “Clients don't usually come to us saying ‘I'd like to work on shame’. Instead they ask us to help them with the symptoms of shame without necessarily attributing those symptoms to shame as the cause. These symptoms could literally be anything, ranging from being depressed, being unable to get ahead in their careers or nail biting.” That is what I have said many times, in that most problems – including SA – are just symptoms of toxic shame and not the actual problem.

* "Although popular belief has it that we cannot love and support others unless we love and support ourselves, in my experience and from a shaming perspective this is simply not true; the only redemption for a person with toxic shame, the very thing that justifies their existence on the planet and the only way they can reasonably expect other to tolerate them is by offering service to others and to make other's needs more important than their own." - Very good point by the author. I used to also think that other people's needs were more important than my own.

* “Shame is mostly caused by unhealthy thinking.” This is basically what I have said in this thread, in that our thinking is messed up and we need to have it corrected.

* "Shame based people remind me of the anorexic: standing in front of a mirror with barely enough flesh on their bones to survive yet they still see a fat person - driving the compulsion to lose more weight. I believe that deep shame is at least as dangerous is any other life threatening disease or condition and maybe even more so because we often do not recognize how the shame dynamic contracts their worlds around them until it seems that there is no way out.” It has always been my belief that TS is just as serious as any other disease or condition, just as the article said. I think I even previously posted somewhere of comparing TS to being no different than a physical sickness.

I like how he talks in his article about the subjects of “Absolutes”, “Being Able To Tell The Future”, “Humor” (of how to go about looking at yourself and life in a different perspective, of which he give examples), “The Tree Metaphor”, “Forgiveness”, “Imagination”, and “Risks”. I think all of these subjects in the article can be especially helpful as a tool for healing TS (as well as the other areas of the article).

For those here who are committed to healing your toxic shame and it’s symptom of SA, you must go to the link provided by RiotPredictor and read the article. Use the tools in that article to help heal yourself – as well as the tools here in this thread, and of course get the books I have recommended in this thread (the 2 books by John Bradshaw … the 1 book by Dr. Robert Glover … and the 1 book by Louise L. Hay).

Here below is the link to that toxic shame article provided by RiotPredictor (please see his post, #203, for the link to the EFT techniques – if you are interested in EFT) :

http://ezinearticles.com/?Shame---Th...ers&id=3725819


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"Shyness can be a serious problem when it is rooted in toxic shame." - John Bradshaw, toxic shame expert

Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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post #205 of 634 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:46 AM
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Hello Lifetimer,

thanks very much for your reply!
I appreciate your effort and your well-written posts with clear instructions how to overcome SA and think that thread should really be sticky. I'm glad that I could contribute something with finding the ezine Article and hope that many people will read it and give the powerful tool EFT a try (more to EFT below).

Seeing SA/AvPD as symptom of a deeper problem (namely TS) is so obvious, but I never ever have seen it this way the last years. What I sometimes thought was "well, I simply need to get more self-esteem", so I was thinking the root cause of SA is a lack of self-esteem. It maybe even is, but it was too generous and I wouldn't know what to do. Why do I have low self-esteem at all? So I guess there is another link in the chain as well (one could also make feedback arrows from SA/AvPD, Low Self-Esteem to the previous links, that is the evil thing):

Toxic Shame --> Low Self-Esteem --> SA/AvPD

After having some knowledge of Toxic Shame and being around my parents the last days, I came to the conclusion that my father (already >60 yrs old) also lives under that condition. He is a typical "nice guy", avoids all types of conflicts, is often very shy, doesn't seem to have an OWN personality with interests and opinions, has no friends (only those people he knows through my mother), is unable to show much feelings (particularly aggression!) and just seems to be helpless in social situations and whenever I'm talking to him I have this strange feeling that he is ashamed and doesn't show his true self. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my father, but I think he is constantly hiding something and he was just not a very good role model during my childhood. His hiding behaviour has definitely influenced me in some way, it seems I'm just a 40yrs younger copy of him. I just never learned what it meant to be a real MAN!

Dr. Robert Glovers Book "No More Mr. Nice Guy!" should arrive tomorrow, I am very curious what he writes about Toxic Shame and I'm positive it will help.

Concerning your doubts about EFT, I think it's quite natural (and good) to view this technique with scepticism, particularly if one was raised up in a culture with western medicine. Only a naive fool would believe that immediately without questioning it, as the concepts of "energy" and meridians simply don't exist and are not proven. And to resolve bad emotions and even severe depressions and phobias just with your own fingertips sounds to good to be true. However, it doesn't hurt to try it out and be open about it, after all for the effectiveness of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is also no prove, but still lots of people visit practitioners of acupuncture with great success (at least here in middle Europe where I live) -- I simply gave EFT a try because it 1) doesn't cost a penny and 2) is fast, so even if the healing impact is absolutely zero, you haven't lost much.
I'm convinced about the effectiveness of EFT by now, since I almost always can use it successfully for physical pain, be it headache, stomachache, a cold, cough etc. Since I know about EFT, I've never had the need to swallow meds or see a doctor again.

I just couldn't manage to treat my SA/AvPD with it by now, because I wouldn't know what to tap on exactly. There were no traumatic events I could remember that caused my anxiety, there was just from early childhood on that evil belief that I'm no good, that I'm a failure, all others are better and so on, and with that wrong perception, my beliefs were confirmed more and more. A vicious circle! But now, as I know about Toxic Shame, which really hits the nail, I think it is a great chance to succeed!

The first resource that opened my eyes about the relationship between shame and SA/AvPD was a free ebook called "Feeling Bad About Yourself ..... And What You Can Do About It", by Marian Mills. She doesn't use the term "toxic shame" (she calls it "long-term shame") but I think she has some good points and describes actually exactly the condition we are talking about. There is also an EFT introduction included. You can get it here for free:
http://www.eft4joy.co.uk/feeling_bad_ebook.htm

(I hope this doesn't count as advertising as it is absolutely free -- if this is a problem on this board, I apologize in advance!)

Best regards,
RiotPredictor
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post #206 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-07-2011, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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RiotPredictor, you have once again provided some great information! Thanks for posting the link to the free ebook about shame. I downloaded my copy and was really impressed by it. I think the author did just about as good a job as John Bradshaw did in "Healing The Shame That Binds You". There are parts of the ebook that may have explained certain subjects even better than Bradshaw, in my opinion. Below is my review of the ebook. However, keep in mind that I am not a professional "review writer", and thus I can only do it the best way I can.

But first, a heads up for everybody. As RiotPredictor mentioned in his post, the author - Marian Mills - does not mention the term "toxic shame". Instead, she calls it "long-term shame". However, the book is definitely about toxic shame, even though, for whatever reason, she doesn't mention that specific term.

The author talks about what shame is and its symptoms. She does a really good job in explaining the common causes of shame. The most common way we get toxic shame is when we are children. We tend to acquire it through our parents (though, there are other ways to acquire shame as the author mentions). I like her explanation of how children acquire shame.

In the ebook the author (Marian Mills) talks about:

* The defenses we use against shame... meaning, the coping strategies that people use to stop themselves from feeling shame. Things such as: Withdrawal (preferring to be alone rather than with other people), Perfectionism, Rage, Showing Off or Playing The Clown, etc.

* The problems caused by shame... such as the Fear of Rejection, the People-Pleaser Personality, Self-Sabotage, Self Abuse, Self Neglect (ignoring our own needs), Compulsive or Addictive Out of Control Behaviors, etc.

* Understanding and becoming aware of shame (which is something I have talked about in this thread) and understanding feeling better is a gradual process (I also talked of this in this thread).

* Of why you need to notice the reasons for your feelings, and that it could possibly even come from several sources. And she makes an important point when she says: "Do not be alarmed if you cannot yet see the reason for feeling so shamed; it might be that it happened very early in your life. That does not mean it cannot be healed - it can."

She says, "Understanding the causes of shame will hopefully have helped to ease the desperation of the questioning (of why we are feeling bad and have shame). When we do not feel safe, we continue to bury our feelings in an effort to protect ourselves. This can manifest as depression - literally depressing the bad feelings of shame. Or it can be experienced as anxiety or panic - an indicator that there is deep inner conflict."

* She gives ways to take action to help release painful shame.

* She talks about how you cannot expect to leap from pain to joy in one bound. It's a gradual process. There is a section that refers to an "Emotional Vibration Scale" that gives ideas of how to take things in manageable steps and set reasonable targets for yourself as you move forward.

* Near the end of the ebook she gives some metaphor stories which can help you learn insightful things about yourself and think of yourself & things in a different way.

Below in italics are some of the "sound bytes" I pulled from the ebook ("sound bytes" is just a phrase; there are no sounds from the ebook. lol). These are some of the many worthwhile points in the book.

> Shame is not that you have done something wrong. Shame is that you are something wrong.

> Shame is detrimental to health; many chronic conditions are caused by or cause shame, resulting in a cycle that perpetuates the condition.

> Shame is also the emotional issue that is often the most painful and difficult to accept. For most people, shame is that which dare not speak its name - it gets buried, disguised, disowned, rejected.

> Our beliefs create our inner rule book which we consult all the time to guide our choices. Not all the rules in this rule book were put there by us; parents, teachers, peers, media all get to write in our rule book as we are growing up. It is only later that we may start to consider whether or not we want some of these rules, especially the ones that are getting in our way and making us feel bad unnecessarily.

> It is very important to understand that the symptoms are not the problem; the problem is really in all those buried uncomfortable feelings which are still energetically affecting our body. The symptoms actually have an important function. They either:
-- bring out attention to the fact that something needs attention, or
-- provide protection from the seemingly overwhelming and threatening buried feelings.

> People who feel really bad about themselves find it difficult to learn that they are valuable and good people who are worth love and respect, and pushing their uncomfortable feelings out of awareness perpetuates that bad feeling cycle.

> Joy, self-love, passion, enthusiasm, energy, health and well-being - these are what we find ourselves experiencing naturally when we heal shame.

Obviously everything I written above is not meant to be a substitute for reading the ebook. I just copied some of the statements here because I think they are truthful and interesting.

I recommend everyone click the link to get your copy of this free ebook (edit: the original link has changed. I have put below a new link to the ebook). The book includes a lot of EFT techniques to use in conjunction with healing shame. I personally don't have any experience in using EFT, but it can't hurt in trying it. HOWEVER, if for some reason you don't care to try it, then please do not ignore the rest of the book. The information about shame in and of itself is valuable, so please do not ignore that part. Below is the link:

http://www.marianmills.co.uk/wp-cont...6-May-2013.pdf


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"Shyness can be a serious problem when it is rooted in toxic shame." - John Bradshaw, toxic shame expert

Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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post #207 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-08-2011, 11:34 PM
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Hey Lifetimer! I've got toxic shame and I literally healed it overnight!

I had a bland boring personality, emotionally numb, hiding all my thoughts, feelings, bodily functions, severe social anxiety, severe blushing, embarrassed easily around girls, shy with most people, panic attacks around people, arrogance when I felt confident, blunt and fleeting emotions like a sociopath which didn't allow me to form any connections with anyone or enjoy anything like music. But one night I was about to send a letter to someone, and realized I would embarrass myself from what I wrote and then thought about how I hurt that person and realized I embarrassed them... I felt empathetic for the first time and understood what I did to the person (I humiliated them and then I experienced the embarrassment they must have felt) Then I felt guilty and ashamed for my actions and suddenly those feelings burst through and I lost control over my emotions and burst into tears and cried for about 15 minutes straight. Now normally strong emotions would feel overwhelming, especially crying and so I hadn't cried since I was around 12, which meant over 10 years. But once I cried I felt totally different and when I woke up the next morning my brain/mind was actually processing the world and people differently, as if more deeply and thoroughly. 100% of my social anxiety had disappeared. I didn't feel afraid of talking or expressing myself to anyone. I could see exactly what social anxiety was (a state in which the mind will retreat from the world and paint the outside world in potential threat) and how it made me behave and how people without social anxiety are nowhere near as rejecting or critical as I made them out to be and my reaction to different types of rejection was more wide range and appropriate.... people with toxic shame will tend to react to ANY rejection as if they were about to experience ego death. So now I could see differently and clearly. I was far more aware of my own feelings and needs and cognitions than ever before and I knew how to engage with the social world as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I became empathetic and interested to interact with others. A whole new personality had emerged that had zero shame. But unfortunately I slipped back into my old personality state a few weeks later.


You should post how to overcome toxic shame in the anxiety techniqes thread that I made because it is a sticky and wont disappear into the forum.
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post #208 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jimity View Post
Hey Lifetimer! I've got toxic shame and I literally healed it overnight!

I had a bland boring personality, emotionally numb, hiding all my thoughts, feelings, bodily functions, severe social anxiety, severe blushing, embarrassed easily around girls, shy with most people, panic attacks around people, arrogance when I felt confident, blunt and fleeting emotions like a sociopath which didn't allow me to form any connections with anyone or enjoy anything like music. But one night I was about to send a letter to someone, and realized I would embarrass myself from what I wrote and then thought about how I hurt that person and realized I embarrassed them... I felt empathetic for the first time and understood what I did to the person (I humiliated them and then I experienced the embarrassment they must have felt) Then I felt guilty and ashamed for my actions and suddenly those feelings burst through and I lost control over my emotions and burst into tears and cried for about 15 minutes straight. Now normally strong emotions would feel overwhelming, especially crying and so I hadn't cried since I was around 12, which meant over 10 years. But once I cried I felt totally different and when I woke up the next morning my brain/mind was actually processing the world and people differently, as if more deeply and thoroughly. 100% of my social anxiety had disappeared. I didn't feel afraid of talking or expressing myself to anyone. I could see exactly what social anxiety was (a state in which the mind will retreat from the world and paint the outside world in potential threat) and how it made me behave and how people without social anxiety are nowhere near as rejecting or critical as I made them out to be and my reaction to different types of rejection was more wide range and appropriate.... people with toxic shame will tend to react to ANY rejection as if they were about to experience ego death. So now I could see differently and clearly. I was far more aware of my own feelings and needs and cognitions than ever before and I knew how to engage with the social world as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I became empathetic and interested to interact with others. A whole new personality had emerged that had zero shame. But unfortunately I slipped back into my old personality state a few weeks later.
Wow jimity ... that was very interesting of what happened to you! Good post. It was too bad it was just a temporary "healing" and not permanent. There is a difference between getting better temporarily versus that of actually being healed. And, so, even though you were much better for a few weeks, it obviously was just a temporary thing... because you reverted back to your old self a few weeks later.


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Originally Posted by jimity View Post
You should post how to overcome toxic shame in the anxiety techniqes thread that I made because it is a sticky and wont disappear into the forum.
That's a good idea. However, I prefer not to post specific techniques there (of overcoming TS) because everyone first needs to have an understanding of what toxic shame is and how & why it is affecting them. For that reason I will make a post there about how others can find out more info about toxic shame ... such as through this thread.

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Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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post #209 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 12:49 PM
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I fully support this thread and I thank all of the contributors for spreading really good knowledge. You have no idea how helpful you are. =) All good things to you!

10,000 steps a day! Go outside, experience living, be active, smile at the sun, be happy! Cheers.
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post #210 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jimity View Post
Hey Lifetimer! I've got toxic shame and I literally healed it overnight!

I had a bland boring personality, emotionally numb, hiding all my thoughts, feelings, bodily functions, severe social anxiety, severe blushing, embarrassed easily around girls, shy with most people, panic attacks around people, arrogance when I felt confident, blunt and fleeting emotions like a sociopath which didn't allow me to form any connections with anyone or enjoy anything like music. But one night I was about to send a letter to someone, and realized I would embarrass myself from what I wrote and then thought about how I hurt that person and realized I embarrassed them... I felt empathetic for the first time and understood what I did to the person (I humiliated them and then I experienced the embarrassment they must have felt) Then I felt guilty and ashamed for my actions and suddenly those feelings burst through and I lost control over my emotions and burst into tears and cried for about 15 minutes straight. Now normally strong emotions would feel overwhelming, especially crying and so I hadn't cried since I was around 12, which meant over 10 years. But once I cried I felt totally different and when I woke up the next morning my brain/mind was actually processing the world and people differently, as if more deeply and thoroughly. 100% of my social anxiety had disappeared. I didn't feel afraid of talking or expressing myself to anyone. I could see exactly what social anxiety was (a state in which the mind will retreat from the world and paint the outside world in potential threat) and how it made me behave and how people without social anxiety are nowhere near as rejecting or critical as I made them out to be and my reaction to different types of rejection was more wide range and appropriate.... people with toxic shame will tend to react to ANY rejection as if they were about to experience ego death. So now I could see differently and clearly. I was far more aware of my own feelings and needs and cognitions than ever before and I knew how to engage with the social world as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I became empathetic and interested to interact with others. A whole new personality had emerged that had zero shame. But unfortunately I slipped back into my old personality state a few weeks later.


You should post how to overcome toxic shame in the anxiety techniqes thread that I made because it is a sticky and wont disappear into the forum.
I wonder what the letter was about?. Can you explain in more detail why you where thinking you are humiliating other people?

I've had myself a temporary relief from anxiety/toxic shame a couple of years ago. I think it all came down with noticing the acceptance of others. It was like I did have to "show' myself in a couple of situations and I felt the acceptance from others while doing it. But it only lasted a couple of weeks..
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post #211 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 12:03 AM
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I wonder what the letter was about?. Can you explain in more detail why you where thinking you are humiliating other people?

I've had myself a temporary relief from anxiety/toxic shame a couple of years ago. I think it all came down with noticing the acceptance of others. It was like I did have to "show' myself in a couple of situations and I felt the acceptance from others while doing it. But it only lasted a couple of weeks..

The letter is too private for me to tell you. I humiliated someone without realizing it. That's all. My temporary cure was more like being on some kind of wonderful drug that enhanced my perception greatly....
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post #212 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-20-2011, 06:58 AM
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Hey,

I always feel rage and anger when i think of my parents past verbal abuse, what surely caused my toxic shame. Will taking revenge on them now (several years later) remove the toxic shame? Will i get rid of my toxic shame and thus S.A. and low self esteem related to it if i smash my dads face and yell 'THIS IS MY REVENGE FOR YOUR MEAN ABUSE YOU SICK IDIOT!!!' ?

I really have difficulty thinking of my fathers abuse. It's the only think that makes me feel depressed, in rage, almost crying, in anger, ready to call him up and out of nowhere say i'm gonna smash his face to pieces when he comes home.

Please just be truly honest me, and don't say 'No' simply out of empathy of not smashins my dads face. He surely deserves. What he did to me and other siblings was like getting smashed in the face 24/7, what what makes me even more angry is that he acts as he never did something wrong, and he is a 'good loving father who wants all the best'
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post #213 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-21-2011, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hey,

I always feel rage and anger when i think of my parents past verbal abuse, what surely caused my toxic shame. Will taking revenge on them now (several years later) remove the toxic shame? Will i get rid of my toxic shame and thus S.A. and low self esteem related to it if i smash my dads face and yell 'THIS IS MY REVENGE FOR YOUR MEAN ABUSE YOU SICK IDIOT!!!' ?

I really have difficulty thinking of my fathers abuse. It's the only think that makes me feel depressed, in rage, almost crying, in anger, ready to call him up and out of nowhere say i'm gonna smash his face to pieces when he comes home.

Please just be truly honest me, and don't say 'No' simply out of empathy of not smashins my dads face. He surely deserves. What he did to me and other siblings was like getting smashed in the face 24/7, what what makes me even more angry is that he acts as he never did something wrong, and he is a 'good loving father who wants all the best'
TrickyTrick,

Go back and read post #2 of this thread in which I wrote:

As a child, parents can shame you through their - the parents - repeated words or actions of making you feel you are not quite smart enough, or attractive enough, or that you can't do things for yourself, etc. Or maybe they, for whatever reason, are indifferent towards you and rarely hug you or show affection towards you. Often, negative actions and messages towards victims of toxic shame were communicated overtly by parents who had no concern for the child’s welfare. Some were communicated indirectly by caring parents who themselves were too young, overwhelmed, or distracted to provide a nurturing environment for their child. At times, these messages were communicated by circumstances that were beyond anyone’s control. It is important to know that many times our parents can be wounded souls themselves.

The above is from a passage of one of the toxic shame books I've read (I can't remember if it was specifically from John Bradshaw or someone else). I know it is hard to have sympathy towards someone that may have treated you very badly, but as the last sentence in the above passage says, "It is important to know that many times our parents can be wounded souls themselves". If your father is treating you badly, then he must be hurting inside and maybe has toxic shame himself. If he is that abusive, then he needs help.

Earlier in this thread I talked of one of the books John Bradshaw has written called: “Bradshaw On: The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem”. This book is particularly good for those that have acquired toxic shame because of their parents or other family members. I think it can help you and give you ideas of what to do. I also suggest that you consider seeing a therapist if you feel it to be necessary (as a result of the abuse).

And because of all that I have written in this post, I do not think physically assaulting your father or anyone that has brought toxic shame upon you will solve any problems. They need help with their TS just as much as you do. All I can do is recommend for you to read the book and to get help (if needed) from a therapist or a social services counselor, especially if he is still abusing you in any way.


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post #214 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-21-2011, 11:41 PM
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Hey,

I always feel rage and anger when i think of my parents past verbal abuse, what surely caused my toxic shame. Will taking revenge on them now (several years later) remove the toxic shame? Will i get rid of my toxic shame and thus S.A. and low self esteem related to it if i smash my dads face and yell 'THIS IS MY REVENGE FOR YOUR MEAN ABUSE YOU SICK IDIOT!!!' ?

I really have difficulty thinking of my fathers abuse. It's the only think that makes me feel depressed, in rage, almost crying, in anger, ready to call him up and out of nowhere say i'm gonna smash his face to pieces when he comes home.

Please just be truly honest me, and don't say 'No' simply out of empathy of not smashins my dads face. He surely deserves. What he did to me and other siblings was like getting smashed in the face 24/7, what what makes me even more angry is that he acts as he never did something wrong, and he is a 'good loving father who wants all the best'
You know what I found helpful when dealing with a-holes who abuse me. I get a picture of them and just stare at it for a while and it helps my mind see them as the people with the problems and then my anger and revenge-wanting will die down and I will realize I need to just distance myself from them.
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post #215 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-21-2011, 11:59 PM
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Oh my god... I was reading the original post and I nearly started to cry. I've never heard of Toxic Shame before now. In fact I looked it up on Wikipedia just now and looked at the subtypes for shame, and I can tell you right now that I've experienced all of them in some way... and on a regular basis. In fact, I feel bad for saying that I have toxic shame, which is a form of secret shame. That's when my eyes started to water...

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post #216 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 03:19 AM
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From what you have said, OP, toxic shame is just another name for low self esteem. Thank you for trying to help but I think most people with social anxiety disorder recognise that they have low self esteem already.

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post #217 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-22-2011, 05:03 AM
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I struggle with Identifying a cause for my SA.

The OP talks about finding a cause, but unlike many users here :
-my parents are not divorced
-my parents don't fight
-my parents don't verbally or physically abuse me.
-my parents do not have SAD
-my parents do not "have a favourite child" and ignore me
-i wasn't bullied for all my school life.

My SA just developed from; well the impression that I got that my personality, likes and dislikes contrast with my Caribbean upbringing.

I tell someone I listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers ...they ask what is that ?

I go to a book fair, and I am the only kid my age there.
I go to watch some phisolophical workshop and I am the only kid there.
For so many of the things I was interest in while growing up, I could not find friends to come with me.

On the contrary, try as I might, I still don't dance very well, and don't really enjoy the big club, dance party scene, that is like the corner stone of our culture.
I wasn't too anxious to go clubbing, I was just never that interested in Clubbing, even today.

So I began to feel like, nothing I was interested in was "cool enough."

Imagine how it feels to hear day in and day out that "Caribbean people have got rhythm" "we are great dancers" and we love our Reggae, dancehall etc. The Caribbean man is supposed to enjoy this music, and be able to sweep a girl off his feet, with his suppleness on the dance floor.

Whereas, I only have a passing interest in these things.
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post #218 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 09:26 PM
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I struggle with Identifying a cause for my SA.

The OP talks about finding a cause, but unlike many users here :
-my parents are not divorced
-my parents don't fight
-my parents don't verbally or physically abuse me.
-my parents do not have SAD
-my parents do not "have a favourite child" and ignore me
-i wasn't bullied for all my school life.

My SA just developed from; well the impression that I got that my personality, likes and dislikes contrast with my Caribbean upbringing.
I'll rephrase what the OP is saying in a way that might make more sense to many of you.

Society in general and the culture we were raised in has taught us to be extremely critical of ourselves. We have been told from birth what is expected of us, what we should aspire to be, what we should like and dislike, how we should worship, how we should think, what we should find attractive and unattractive in a mate, what is and is not acceptable, etc.
What separates those with SA and everyone else is that somehwere along the way that "social programming" screwed us up in the head. As a result we have learned to be extremely aware of every flaw, every mistake, every shortcoming, every failure, etc. For some reason we can not explain we seem to care what other people think of us, and no matter how much we tell ourselves that we don't care we know deep down inside that we do. Others seeing us positively makes us happy. We crave acceptance and understanding from a world that has taught us to be individual yet expects us to conform, tells us to be creative but to stay within the norms, and expect us to find ourselves while at the same time bombarding us with messages of what THEY think we should be.
In the end we just end up confused and unsure of who we are, what we are, why we are here, what we want, what we think, how to act, how to speak, how to do anything. We are expected to learn from our mistakes, but at the same time we are also expected not to make ANY mistakes.
In the end it's just easier to close ourselves off, to push away the rest of the world and simply exist within our own little bubbles. Unfortunately the damage has already been done. Though no one else can judge us or criticize us in our own little worlds, we have already been hardwired from birth to judge ourselves, and in doing so we have become our own worst enemies.

Embarrassment, shame, and guilt are used to regulate the social activities of individuals and to guide their behavior towards the ideals and morality of the majority.
Fact is all of us have the issues we do because we fear being ridiculed and judged by others. We fear that because we've been taught to fear that. None of us were born fearing what others thought of us, we didn't care. We were also not born with negative opinions of ourselves OR concerns for social norms. Society taught us to fear judgment by others. It taught us to judge ourselves instead of excepting ourselves for who and what we are, our lives for how they are, and it did so by telling us over and over again that who we are isn't good enough.
Every name we got called, every time we got rejected, ever weird look we got, every time we were laughed at, every time we put our foot in our mouths and were mocked for it... it all added up over time to make us the way we are.
Yes everyone deals with this to some extent, but it really seems to have screwed some of us up far more than others, and I'm betting there isn't a single person on this forum who couldn't provide a list of what they think is wrong with them... and I'm also willing to bet that we feel the way we do because of some comment or some event (or series of comments or events) in our past.

Other people did this to us through their interactions with us (or lack there of). Shame was the weapon they used.

The challenge we each face is finding a way to become unaffected by how others see us, our perception of how others see us, and how we see ourselves. We need to learn to accept ourselves and who we are and tell anyone else who thinks they know better than us to go **** themselves.
It's a hard thing to do. I understand it, I know what the problem is, I know what caused it, I know what damage has been done, and I know what it will take to overcome it... yet I am still unable to do this. You would think that knowing as much as I do about this that it would be easier, and in a way it sort of is, but still it's not enough to make it go away. This isn't something you can just think your way out of, believe me I've tried. It's simply going to take time and a lot of luck... oh yeah and medication helps (if it's the right one, or combination).

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post #219 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-24-2011, 08:05 AM
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I think my social anxiety comes from something else.

I have a lot of confidence, in regards to myself and in how others view me. I know I'm likeable and I know that I can get most people to like me if I try. If I put in the effort, I can make some good friendships. It doesn't come easily to me, though, because socializing is very tiring to me. So I'm not always able to expend the energy needed. It's always an uphill battle even when it's going well. And even then, I feel like my understanding of social stuff is limited. I have a basic understanding, but I don't understand all of the little nuances.

I'll admit that I do have some feelings of worthlessness in regards to having ADHD, but that is more from going undiagnosed for a long time and it is more in relation to the academic world, not everyday life. I've never felt very smart, even though I have a high IQ. I always feel as if I am underachieving, which is pretty common apparently among ADHDers. Recently, though, I've begun to understand some of my strengths and weaknesses and it's given me more confidence even in that realm.

I think the real problem for me is my energy levels and my inability at times to tolerate social situations at certain times.
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post #220 of 634 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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From what you have said, OP, toxic shame is just another name for low self esteem. Thank you for trying to help but I think most people with social anxiety disorder recognise that they have low self esteem already.
I agree with you that low self-esteem is closely linked to toxic shame. That is obvious. However, you are incorrect when you say “toxic shame is just another name for low self esteem”. Toxic shame is simply much more than that. It’s kind of like saying, “The flu is just another name for a cold.” There is a big difference. Toxic Shame is low self-esteem taken to the extreme. Toxic shame becomes a “soul-murdering condition” as John Bradshaw calls it. Shame can get to the point that it is transformed into an identity, of which it then becomes toxic and dehumanizing. So, realize toxic shame is much more than a simple case of “low self-esteem”. Read John Bradshaw’s book for a better understanding.

So, essentially, for whatever the reason or source may be, a person starts out with low self-esteem and it leads to him or her having full blown shame.

Another thing you said was: Thank you for trying to help but I think most people with social anxiety disorder recognise that they have low self esteem already”. Okay, my question to you is: What have "most people" done about it? What have you done about it? As I said, toxic shame is low self-esteem taken to the extreme. Rather than everyone here just recognising they have low self-esteem (it is actually toxic shame for most here), there is MUCH more that needs to be done than just “recognising” it. That is why I created this thread!

If you want, you can continue being satisfied recognising you have a problem. That is your choice. However, if you want to heal yourself of your TS & SA as I have, then I suggest you get the books I have recommended and also follow the advice throughout this thread.

Edit: I apologize for appearing a bit snippy, but I get frustrated when people “can’t see the forest for the trees” and they try to dismiss this all important subject. I fully 100% believe this is the most important thread in this forum – maybe the most important thread you will ever come across anywhere – and it needs to be taken dead-on seriously.


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Visit this thread link to find out the cause of SA for most of us and what to do about it: http://bit.ly/UeWprg
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