Hello everyone! The topic of this week’s post is one that we all can relate to. At some point, we have all felt shame and it’s not a fun place to be. Mary Ann Griffith is the author of this week’s post. She shows us that shame is beyond just an emotion and can even become part of our identity. There is a lot of great information in this post, can’t wait to see what she has for us in Part Two! Here is what Mary Ann has to say:

When I sat down to write today, my intention was to write about the universal feeling of shame. Shame is something that all of us feel and most of us want to get rid of. However, I realized as I was about to begin that most of my shame could be healed if I could forgive the people or circumstances that caused the shame. So it doesn’t seem right to simply address shame without also looking at how to minimize its effect on our lives. For that reason, this blog will be a two part series beginning with Shame.

How am I defining Shame? Shame is more than an emotion. It’s a belief about oneself that affects the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. It is a belief that attacks our identity with messages that say “You are worthless”, “You will never change” or “Something is seriously wrong with you”, just to name a few. These beliefs have a way of weaving themselves into the fabric of our internal world.

There are lots of reasons why we feel shame, like family dynamics, abuse, traumatic events and feelings or needs that are denied. These reasons lead us to a myriad of self-protecting behaviors. Can you see yourself in the reactions below?

Shame can cause us to develop patterns of relating that lead to
  1. Avoiding
  2. Getting Angry/Attacking the person that caused the shame feeling
  3. Withdrawing
All of these reactions have nuances. They can look like non-involvement, not making eye contact, rage, over controlling situations or people, workaholism, addictive behaviors or emotional withdrawal.

The Good News is there is healing from Shame. We need to be reminded that God never intended for us to live in Shame. If you are longing to be set free from the power that Shame has on your life, there is a way out. The counselors at Heritage are here for you and your families. We are willing to walk alongside of you, as you heal from the damage that Shame has taken on your life and identity.

By: Mary Ann Griffith, MAC,LCPC