This is another post inspired by Byron Brown’ book Soul Without Shame. Ever since starting to read about it I have been connecting the dots on so many things, on how John Bradshaw years ago connected addiction and disconnection with the inner child to toxic shame, pointing out how often addicts came from religious or other overly controlled and controlling households where certain feelings and expressions meet with hostility, rejection and shame becoming ‘shame bound’. Shame bound feelings explains a state where you cannot have a feeling such as sadness or anger without also feeling ashamed for the pure fact of having it, you then have a lot of feelings locked up inside that you exist in a deeply problematic relationship with.
Shame becomes internalised in this state of being and feelings can only be had under her cover of night. If we have a lot of anger over stuff that happened to us we swallow it down since it would be shameful to express it and then we become the super nice do good people pleaser who jumps through hoops by day but becomes on fire at night or when drunk with blind reactions or rages. We then wake up and feel ashamed about the shadow energies that came alive in us when we took the risk to shut the judge up with some form of numbing.
Recovery opens us to a cacophony of feelings bound in shame that we can no longer suppress, we try extra hard to work on our recovery and ‘become good’ but the fact is that our self judged ‘bad’ isn’t really bad at all, its just repressed life energy now bound in shame and fear and we no longer have the liberation of the ‘numb’ to at least let us blow off some steam. Now we not only have to feel but we need to feel what is real for us in a body that is slowly waking up or becoming less numb. How will we allow this when the judge that is on our case exists inside us an energy of self suppresssion?
I cant clearly articulate any kind of process or formula here of the ‘way out’ as so many of us find our own ways out of toxic shame. We all have our own unique battle with the forces of judgement and self judgement we have internalised but what may help some of us most particularly on a somatic/emotional level is the recognition of how shame and self rejection of our needs, wants, desire, meaning and feeling may manifest on a bodily level. We can engage in a process of self monitoring towards what happens in our body when we try to meet certain standards. and react to inner and outer judgements and shame.
Late last week I also began to read the book Power Over Panic in which the author draws attention towards perfectionism, control, the need to impress others or live to certain ideal standards that are not realistic and panic attacks. Apparently a panic attack can only happen when there is resistance on one level to an emotional truth which we are attempting to suppress or deny. Such information interested me since I have suffered from a host of weird body symptoms and manifestations of anxiety ever since my marriage ended just under 13 years ago Slowly while reading this book I was connecting the dots, dots which are becoming even more connected now reading Byron Brown’s book on shame and the inner critic.
The chapter I am currently reading speaks about developing a process in which we become attentive to what goes on in our body as we talk to ourselves in certain ways. I have noticed in myself that a state of contraction comes with feelings of fear and shame and with inner voices saying things around me are out of control or not perfect enough. I have noticed too how a deeply compassionate loving attitude in which I put my focus on my heart and the opening healing breath actually allows my being and consciousness to expand and the result may be tears of relief and release following often by feelings of joy, peace and happiness. I am noticing more and more how my own consciousness can both contract and expand as I judge not only myself but others as well. It is enlightening to me and so I wanted to share my own insights around how I am noticing judgement impacts and affects my body, for we live in such a judging culture that is externally focused in this day and age, is it therefore any wonder that anxiety conditions are so prevalent. I am sure it is in no way a new insight, but it is one that I am coming to understand and become aware of more and more lately.