Shame Spiral

Photo by Waldemar Nowak on

The truth is I am at a point in this story where I have stalled.  I know what happens next.  I know what I need to say but I am feeling the shame spiral reliving the stories.  So let’s talk about shame for a minute.  I have lived with intense shame my whole life and I have lived with guilt that was shameful all of my teen years into present day. 

Shame had been the defining point in a lot of the decisions I made.  Shame defined me for a long time. It’s one of those things that creeps along in the background, always ready to spring.  It’s vigilant for those moments where you’re uncertain and falter a little and then it runs forward laughing screaming, and berating, “I told you you couldn’t do it.  You never should have even tried. Sit back down and keep your mouth shut you idiot.”

So what I’ve done over the last few days was try to reconcile that this is simply part of the story.  That certain parts of the story will add to it but they don’t mean that IS the story.  I think we all feel these moments of shame and I am working through how to make sense of mine.  Typing out my story has helped me see these things in a different light, but I still feel shame in how I interpreted some of those events.  I guess the shame has coupled with regret on some level, because we all see at some point that we are responsible for our own bullshit.

When you spend years telling a story in a certain way and the narrative changes your world gets a little rocked.  Sudden realization of what really happened is jarring because you still can’t do anything about what happened, but you now know that things may have been different.  And even that is challenging because you can’t change that either. 

Shame is a universal emotion.  How we deal with it is unique.  I am choosing to share that I am feeling shame right now and I am also choosing to pause.  I don’t want to let my emotions dictate what happens next.  And that is a new way to look at my history with shame.  Small steps we can all remember when we find ourselves in a shame spiral.    

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