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rape

How do you write about something that people are afraid to see? How to you expose an undermining, but insidious practice? How do you change peoples’ minds? How does a civilization heal from the wounds of abuse?

“As evidenced in growing news reports and statistics gathered on college campuses, sexual violence among young adults is increasing. A 2014 report from The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault asserts that one in five college students experience sexual assault during their college career. While it seems that many survivors of college attacks are speaking out, ACLU numbers indicate that an estimated 95% of on-campus rapes go unreported. Attacks on campus not only impact the attacked, but reach their communities, their friends and their family members directly.  Social pressures, shame, fear of discipline, and ambiguity about what happened may keep the attacked from seeking assistance to heal, thus prolonging the experience, inflaming the symptoms, and potentially compromising healing.” sourced from Trust Yourself Hypnosis 

This is happening in your community.  What do you know about it?  What do you want to know about it?

Tami Boehle-Satterfield has challenged herself in 2016 to post week about the unpopular topic of abuse. Learn more about Tami at attentiontoliving.com

station
Saturn has ruled the August sky and that is a bit unusual. Maybe when there is such drama as the Perseid meteor shower, it is reasonable to expect a serious planet, like Saturn, to step into the spot light. It might be a bit like the over-serious parent who hovers over the activities of a child’s birthday party with the sentiment of, “that is enough, somebody is going to put an eye out!”

Seriously, serious qualities have there place and sometimes a good proctor is exactly what life needs. Like when it comes time to pay the bills, change the batteries in the fire detectors, or manage the consumption of medicine. But sometimes seriousness can take itself too seriously, for too long. This month you may have been running into that, either thinking to seriously yourself or running into someone else who is. There may have been times this month where you wanted to say (or someone said to you), “Seriously, lighten up. Nobody put an eye out!”

We have a supermoon this week. That means the moon appears very close to earth. From the perspective of our work, that may mean a magnification or illumination of these very old and serious patterns. Think about the good old days and recall some of the trouble you got into. It was serious business. It may have caused you some grief. If you think about it, you might even see that this idea about responsible (with a capital R and said in a very serious voice followed by the words, “young lady or man”) is one you have carried with you all the way up to today. The good news, and isn’t it nice that there is always good news in a two sided coin, is that this is a good week for wrapping up some of that old, serious shame. It might be that whatever it is you did way back then is worthy of reconciliation and forgiveness.

This week, notice what you are feeling and then notice the shadow of judgment over your right shoulder. It might be that your past shame is casting a shadow of doubt across the confidence of your future or that it is causing you to be a shadow of yourself. It might be time to lighten up a bit, after all it may just be that no body did put an eye out. It might be time to forgive.

If you would like to discuss this, visit attentiontoliving.com and schedule an appointment today!

shame

ShameWorking with shame is one of the most important emotions to process in therapy. So many presenting problems have an additional underlying layer of shame and this is often why clients still struggle with issues even after they seem to be reconciled. As we address the issue, it’s important to differentiate between guilt and shame. When clients feel guilt, they grapple with something they have done and feel remorse about it. They can often work through this by taking responsibility or doing something proactive. They can apologize or make amends in a variety of ways, and this allows them to achieve a satisfying degree of self-forgiveness and healing. However, feeling shame is not about what you’ve done, it’s about who you believe you are as a person. As you can imagine, this is much harder to reconcile when you feel fundamentally damaged, broken, incompetent or bad. This shame-based mindset profoundly influences all of our thoughts, feelings and behavioral choices. All human beings are vulnerable to feeling shame, but this may be even more complicated for men.

Much has been written about the acculturation of boys and the powerful messages they get about what it means to be “a successful man.” Some of these messages include: always be emotionally strong; handle challenges alone and don’t ask for help; avoid being vulnerable; always exude confidence; be clever and know how to solve problems; be responsible for everything; and self-worth is contingent upon your job and how much money you make. Although these messages are inherently unfair to boys and men, when they “fall short” in any of these arenas, it can be very shame inducing. Part of the challenge is rooted in the fact that the messages that create anxiety, self-doubt, depression, anger, grief and shame are the very same messages that evoke bravado and prevent boys and men from seeking the support and help they need in therapy.

When men live with shame, it breaks the bond that makes attachment, intimacy, and closeness in relationships possible. Shame may be masked by grief or anger, and as those emotional layers are peeled away, there is an opportunity to address the deeper shame dynamic that prevents true healing. The problem is really a systemic one. We must move in the direction of normalizing vulnerability in boys, including the right to cry, ask for help, feel fear, seek and give appropriate physical affection, and not have all the answers. Boys need to be supported in pursuing the things they love, letting go of gender-biases about what’s “appropriate” for them to enjoy doing. As adolescents and adults, they need to be encouraged to seek out therapy when they grapple with trauma, abuse, neglect or other painful experiences. Boys and men need to be given the communication skills that will enable them to freely express themselves, strengthening their emotional IQ’s. If we, as a society, can commit to providing these skills and supports throughout childhood, it would go a long way in ending the seeds of shame that get planted in childhood and then take root in adulthood.