Humiliation & Shame
Something happened tonight in the online power column work training; my body literally froze and it was difficult to voice my thoughts and hold the conversation - I realised that shame and humiliation were a large part of my childhood which I thought I had learnt, in fact I had been taught - the memories have only just surfaced this evening. When I think about what happened it makes me feel sick to my stomach – how did I ever survive that, it wasn’t just behaving badly, it was cruel, vindictive, abusive, physically, emotionally and spiritually, I would even liken it to a kind of torture.
= In public
= In private
And the fallout of feeling shame and shameful as a consequence, the fallout of fear, the fallout of despair. The fallout of a confused, sad, abandoned child, who was isolated and lonely, desperate to please, to appease, to just feel accepted and loved, and to feel that she was ok and doing the right thing. To not be held responsible and accountable for the one adult who should have been in her corner, unconditionally.
There is a huge difference to how I feel with just changing that one thought/word of 'learnt' to 'taught'.
I’m now not sure where that leaves me as it has been the basis of my whole life, and it has made me afraid to stand out and be as I should be. I have always felt out of the loop, an impostor in life. I have had to play a part to be accepted, to not show the true ugliness of who I thought I was, or what I was taught. A fear of what people might find behind the façade and not be liked. I retreated and believed what people said, didn’t stand up for myself, instead I would turn myself inside out trying to make the impossible requests possible, to the point where I completely broke down.
The whole premise of my life has been based around these thoughts and feelings, of not being good enough, smart enough, showing the realness of me in case I was found wanting. It sounds as if I am doing the poor me’s, which I again have been taught is a failing – Has my interpretation of this been wrong all along?
This belief has created a ripple effect through both my personal relationships – yes, I do deserve better than I have got, and my professional life – always being driven to do better, be better, stay on longer, be the best, prove them wrong, give all of myself and more as I was scared they would find out that I wasn’t what they thought. I should have spoken up for myself but didn’t as I was afraid of the fallout, and feeling shamed and humiliated, and once again abandoned.
I thought that I didn’t deserve success, or money, or nice things, and I know I don’t put myself first ,I have traded my femininity into A sexual, I don’t feel attractive, in fact very much the opposite, I don’t like myself very much at all in how I look, I am careful with showing my emotions to myself too – so I try to fade into the background, I am afraid of being judged and found wanting. I withdraw, lose my voice and go quiet around people with strong opinions.
I have worked hard on my self worth and confidence, and pushed and pushed myself through fear with both people and situations, too scared to stay still in case, just in case. Having spent the first half of my life apologising to people for any perceived upsets, constantly people pleasing, adapting myself to what I think others want from me, only to find that once I stopped striving things are falling into place. So what if I don’t have the latest… well, that’s what I am telling myself, but maybe I deserve the latest…. How do you measure worth, is it in what you do or who you are, what you have got, who you can be – where do you start to find your authentic self and get comfortable with it?
Where do I start to find the real me, what do I deserve, and how will I know if I don’t get it – how do people treat me? What do people expect from me? All these questions to try to find answers to.
I am enough just the way I am, I am brave, I am resilient, perhaps I can teach myself these things to replace what I was originally taught as a child? And that it is ‘ok’ to be vulnerable because what I have forgotten is that the little child is now all grown up and can show herself kindness and compassion from her true adult self. A little loving kindness towards herself can go a long long way. I can be fiercely in that child’s corner, that is what I have learnt tonight.