Shame

All posts in the Shame category

Kinda Preachy?

Published April 3, 2018 by Nan Mykel

While continuing my discard trip through ages of hoarding the written word, I’m about to discard the following, but cheating and saving it here:

The majority of people are born with one head, two arms and two legs. They have two eyes, two ears, one nose and mouth.  But there across-the-board similarities appear to stop. (Of course they stopped with the first sentence in some who have had to struggle from birth with physical differences).

Inside, however, great differences can and do exist. Our nighttime dreams are unique to us, as are our combination of innate temperaments, our perceptions, intellectual potential, educational and family environments, and our genes. (Scientists have even identified a gene for “happiness.”)

It is natural to assume that most of us are as alike inside as outside. We begin to feel different soon after exposure to other children, however.  Temperamental differences are one example. With age, some children learn to hide their unique differences; differences which appear unique to themselves; differences which are viewed negatively by others.

Become aware of your feelings as you read the following: cross-eyed, epileptic, club-footed, hare-lipped, retarded, crippled, senile, pock-marked, abused, victim, bow-legged, leper, old nag, brain-damaged, psychotic, neurotic… I wonder if the feelings differ if you’re inside one of these categories or outside.  Probably not, because we soak up society’s perception of us. You think, therefore I am.

Eric Berne developed the concept of life scripting, in which people assume the scripts and characteristics that others expect from them, early in life. Some people start out physically and mentally healthy, but along the way are shamed into dis-ease.*

When we feel diminished, we are diminished. When we feel shame, we are shamed. The carpet of our life rolls out until the ragged end unless we can somehow intercept its path.

*Of course, our parents play a big role in this

 

 

MY AUTHOR’S NOTE

Published June 8, 2017 by Nan Mykel

I look in the mirror and see a strangely content woman losing her femininity to the neutering of old age.  I’m not sure why I cover the gray. Perhaps I want to be seen as someone still to be reckoned with–but was I ever? The antidepressant is helping not only to keep me centered but also to bank the fires of desire.

If I were still sexually desirable would I so easily reject my sexuality? Well, yes, I suppose. I began rejecting sexuality even while still married, although then it was the experience of being valued only for sex that I could not tolerate, since it echoed my feelings that I had nothing to offer another person except sex. I never integrated sexuality into my self. I can think, create, listen well, empathize, write, draw, analyze, and have a sense of humor, but  still struggle with the belief that I have little to offer a partner.  And with that limitation the experience of romance and intimacy is not available  to me.

There are many lessons already learned and incorporated. I am not sarcastic, I am not bitter. I do not “bad mouth” others. I no longer play Pitiful Pearl and Wooden Leg games. And since becoming an adult I have never used any power advantage to hurt others.

And I am not special, although I still struggle with this. During many  years of  “keeping the secret” and believing that I had wielded great magnetic power destructively, I did feel special–especially destructive, especially wicked, especially confused in the head. I still feel different from others. It’s a weird mix of feelings, debased and inflated, and is a flip-flop many survivors have come to know well.

Like many others, I am haunted not only by my father but by my response to him. Problems with perspective and judgment have always dogged my steps, in addition to the fallout of feeling shame. Although I rationally know better, in my eternal reality I stole my father from my mother. I am the other woman in her life. I am his partner in crime. 

So at this point in time and probably until the end of my time, I am a survivor but not a victim….Instead of trying to change in an effort to be acceptable to others, I have come to embrace myself, with all my limitations and strengths. (At least that’s what I’m aiming for). As someone once said, “I’m not okay,  you’re not okay, and that’s okay.”

 

FREEING SHAME

Published February 12, 2017 by Nan Mykel

sadgirlDavis speaks of survivors who feel ashamed of their sexual feelings. Many times “survivors feel their bodies betrayed them when they were children: they responded sexually to abuse. This is one of the deepest pockets of shame many survivors carry”  (Davis, 1991, 203).

More devastating than the inability to ward off the abuser  is the perception that one cannot trust oneself. In my case it was an accurate perception. My body follows me through life; my father does not. (p. 200)

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