great thread and information you gave to us. I appreciate your work.
I discovered I have toxic shame a few months ago, knowing that social anxiety is not the core problem and just a symptom. How long did it take for you to heal your toxic shame? Or to ask differently: How long do you think it might take to heal toxic shame with your healing plan? Of course in case you do everything on a daily basis.
I already bought all of these books and downloaded the other things (the ebook and articles). I am planning to start tomorrow by first reading the book from John Bradshaw Healing the Shame That Binds You.
I am very excited and glad to see you have chosen to take action to begin healing your toxic shame (and its symptom of SA). Surprisingly - and sadly - only a small number of people that have looked at this thread have taken any action whatsoever to heal their shame. The vast majority of people don't even try to heal their shame & SA but instead just continue complaining about their SA as they go from thread to thread here at the forum. This is really tragic to me. But, as I said, I am very happy you have chosen to take action to do something about your shame and SA!
Now, in regards to the time it takes to heal one's toxic shame: I believe the time it takes to heal toxic shame is up to the individual. I think the problem with people that read my thread is that they don't want to do the work and they especially seem to not want to stick with it long enough. Most people have had toxic shame and SA for most of their life, but they don't realize, that because of that reason (of having it all their life), that it will take a lot of time
before they can greatly get better. They expect to get better in a few days or 2 - 3 weeks, but it doesn't work that way. This is because they need to change the person who they are, and in a way, to become another person. THAT is why it takes a lot of time!
How much time? As with any type of healing, it depends on the person. It also depends on how much work the person puts in each day (such as the repetition of studying, as well as the other healing steps to take, which also includes practicing interacting with others). It really is a gradual process in which you slowly feel yourself getting better and better. So, be sure to understand that healing toxic shame is a process
involving time – it’s not an overnight thing. We’ve been living with toxic shame/SA for years, and that’s why it won’t be magically erased in a day. I am being sincere when I say that I really can't say for sure how long it will take for each individual to heal their shame and therefore I really do hate to give a timetable for how long it will take to heal one's shame. And, the reason is because there can be SO many factors for each individual that can affect how long it takes for a person to heal their shame. Things such as:
1. How severe is that person's toxic shame?
2. How dedicated is that person to healing his / her shame?
3. How much time & work & effort will that person put into heal their shame?
4. Will that person make an absolute commitment
to put in the work to heal their shame?
5. And finally, just as with any other physical or psychological ailment, each person is different and we heal at a different pace.
But, having said all the above, I will go against my better judgment and offer an estimate of the time it could take. I would estimate that the entire process of healing one’s toxic shame and SA could be anywhere between 1 – 3 years. Again, I must stress the 5 elements I mentioned above in regards to the actual time it takes for a person to heal his or her toxic shame!
ALSO, as I mention in detail in one of the paragraphs below, there is no exact instant that you say "Wow, I've just now healed my toxic shame!". It happens very gradually
. That is yet another reason why it is so hard for me to pinpoint an exact time it takes to heal your shame. And also one more thing: each person may have a different definition from another person of when they consider themself to be "completely healed". And this is yet another
reason why it is hard for me to give an specific time of when a person will heal his or her toxic shame. Because, the fact is we are not all carbon copies of each other.
In the above paragraph I mentioned that I estimate that it could take from 1 - 3 years to heal. After reading that statement, you may have said to yourself: "Are you telling me it could possibly take 3 YEARS?!". And my answer to you would be: SO WHAT if it takes 3 years? The fact is that you are going to be somewhere 3 years from now anyways (barring you get hit by a truck or some other major disaster). Thus, isn't it better for you to spend that time healing your TS? Just think back to what you were doing 3 years ago. Didn't that time fly by? I'm sure there is someone out there that feels the time has gone by slow, but I'm willing to bet that most people understand - as I do - how fast time flies by. So, don't live in regret 1, 2, or 3 years from now wishing you had began taking action "way back then" to heal your shame & SA. Believe me, it is worth it to spend whatever amount of time it takes to rid yourself of the soul-murdering condition of toxic shame.
As for myself, it's kind of a long story in regards to how long it took me to improve significantly. About the same time I found out I had toxic shame, I was working on an online business for a year & a half and I was distracted by that (however, the business failed). Also, during that same time, I was laid off from my job and was out of work for about the same time period. Since my workplace was where I was around people the most, this meant I didn't have many opportunities to practice my healing around people for that year & a half time period (because I had no job anymore). And this slowed down my healing. I would guess I spent about 80% of that time period working on my online business and 20% of that time studying about toxic shame. So, periodically during that year & a half time period, I DID at least have some time to study and read about toxic shame and what to do about it -- such as those steps I've talked about in post #152 of my thread. But, still, at some point we need to have human contact to help us get better
Eventually, I found a job and began to put into practice around my co-workers the things I learned. I would say at that point it took about 3 months to make a nice amount of improvement. Keep in mind that I had put in a fair amount of studying for over a year before I was able to begin to practice what I learned (because I was out of work for so long). I know I said I only spent about 20% of the time studying about toxic shame and reading books about it over that year & a half time period, but that still adds up to a fair amount of time... considering it was a year and a half. Anyway, those first 3 months practicing what I learned with my co-workers & receiving their mirroring eyes was just the beginning. I gradually improved from that point on. As I said earlier, it really is a process – a very gradual process
. As you begin to heal from your toxic shame, the lines can become a bit blurred as you gradually
go from having
toxic shame - to that of healing
your toxic shame. At that point you will begin to wonder if you are 100% toxic shame free, or if any uncomfort level you are now feeling is that of lacking confidence in your social skills and life experience (lacking social skills and life experience is, I believe, common with toxic shame people). IF it is just a case of lacking confidence and feeling uncomfortable in these areas, then that has nothing to do with still having toxic shame. You can be 100% free of your toxic shame but still lack confidence in these areas. Getting rid of toxic shame doesn’t mean you will be confident in those areas of your life that you have very little experience in. Of course the way to gain confidence with your social skills is to of course practice being social around people. I do think that as your toxic shame begins to heal, then it becomes easier to be social around others. That is how it worked out for me.
I mentioned earlier that when I first began to study about toxic shame, I was sidetracked with an online business for about a year and a half, but I still spent about 20% of that time reading books about toxic shame and learning what I could about it. After that year and a half “distraction period” was over, I would guess beginning at that point it took me anywhere between 1 year to a year & a half in order to very significantly (if not completely) improve from my TS. Again, it was all a very gradual
process, so it really is hard to pin-point an exact specific time in which I gotten better. I’m not saying I’m absolutely perfect – because I feel I can always improve even more and get even stronger in various areas of my life (I think that applies to everyone, regardless if a person has TS or not) - but what I am saying is that SA & toxic shame are no longer issues with me.
NewHabits, I hope I have answered your questions. Or, if nothing else, reading my long post will make it easy for you to fall asleep. LOL.