Is Thanksgiving and Christmas pushing old buttons like …
Embarrassment, Hurt, Shame, or Guilt?
Happy Thanksgiving, or is it? For years I was grateful I had a really small family. Why? Because I kept hearing from friends that family reunions aren’t always like a Norman Rockwell painting.
We hope it will be all love and happiness and joyful reminiscing and catching up on new times, but all too often forgotten triggers are pushed and old wounds get raw, and spoil what should be a grand old time.
Have you ever found yourself dreading or feeling ashamed even when you’ve done nothing wrong?
One of my clients called today with a shaming issue that many of you might also know, all too well – the rush of warm blood to the neck and face that makes you want to run and hide. She wanted this embarrassing reaction to stop. She didn’t care that I thought blushing was cute, or that I believed it is a natural physiological reaction. She didn’t care that she inherited this tendancy from her father, who also blushed.
To her, it was a mortifying incident, 25 on of a scale of 10, and it was making her want to avoid the dreaded family gathering. This was causing her such great distress and anxiety because everyone was going to tease her about it. Well meaning teasing or not, it was utterly humiliating to her. She felt exposed and more than vulnerable.
Using BodyTalk we tracked it to a tangled brillo pad of old buried emotions. Too bad buried emotions never die. It wasn’t anger or sadness … An old deep shame had a way of sneaking up into any situation in which she could possibly be exposed or judged as being “less than” or “not good enough”. Does this feel or sound familiar?
She called me to move beyond some of these buttons and trigger points, so she could get to NEUTRAL and could show up in a different way and finally enjoy her family reunions!
What did we find out?
What is this energy of shame?
In my understanding with BodyTalk and NLP the energy of shame is best understood by contrasting it with guilt. Similar but different:
Guilt occurs when you believe you have violated your own standards. When you act against what you believe is right, you are likely to feel the twinge of guilt, this sets up a chian reaction of chemicals that lock into your neurology. Like acid etchings on glass. Unfortunately it grows like a pathology and like a magnet pulls on to other pangs of guilt or twinges and accumulates them like a bag of marbles or a string of dirty pearls. Carl Jung called this a gestalt.
Very few people can do what they believe “is wrong” without feeling guilty. Feeling guilty for violating your standards is important, it can serve as a valuable course corrector, but when it gets distorted it rears its head at inappropriate times it runs its own program and becomes pathological (takes on a life of its own). In BodyTalk we deal with this program by erasing the distortion or viral meme and allow all new occurrences to be realized in a new energy of understanding. I also use Timeline Therapy to preserve the learnings and allow you to perceive the old situation or significant emotional event from a different perspective, and the energy is diffused and transmuted, easily and effortlessly.
Shame, although similar, occurs when you believe you have violated someone else’s standards. As a result of not measuring up to the other’s standards, you feel less than, unworthy, embarrassed or humiliated. With chronic shame comes a constant fear of judgment, a distorted belief that others are continually concluding that you are bad. This also collects as a gestalt.
Where/Why/How/When … does shame begin and get so deep and tangled?
Shame begins in childhood when your sense of Self is developing.
During childhood, you needed to compare who you were and what you did with what your parents and caregivers were teaching you. This is the only way to develop competence and confidence.
If you didn’t have an external standard to compare yourself to, you’d have no idea when you got something right. In fact, our entire learning and socialization process is crated this way.
For example, when we were learning to zip our zipper, brush our teeth, tie our shoes, ride a bike, skip … we were bound to make mistakes, trip up or fall. When we did, our parent or teacher corrected us. Through the process of trial and error and correction we eventually learned to zip our zipper, brush our teeth, tie shoes, etc. in the way it was demonstrated, or as close to it as we could.
The problem is many parents, teachers and caregivers were emotionally immature, impatient and insensitive, and had their own baggage. They didn’t mentor with love, they didn’t even know how. They didn’t amend what you are doing while preserving the integrity of who you are as a person.
They may have corrected with annoyance and harsh judgment, not the act of shoe tying, but about the person learning to tie those shoes – you.
Have you ever overheard or repeated these words: Can’t you get it right? What’s your problem? Oh, I don’t have time for this! Do I have to do everything myself? Idiot, what kind of dolt can’t tie his shoes? Baby can’t ride a bike, ha ha!
Kids are natural learners; which means they do lots of trial and error. Along the way, when you are criticized and judged for unavoidable mistakes, you develop a feeling that you, as a person, do not measure up to the standard in your home, school, or peer group.
Did you ever hear: Aunt Agnes just gave you a gift. You need to say thank you! That’s really inconsiderate and I don’t raise selfish children! Be a good boy/girl.
My personal favourite: You got a B on your report card. What are you, stupid? You’re so lazy, you never try hard enough! Can’t you do anything right! You’re such a loser and you always will be.
How about: You are so clumsy! Look at you, where are your manners! Chew with your mouth closed, you belong in a barn! You’re a slob. Messy Jessy.
I’m sure you have some old echoes rattling around in your brain too. When the necessary corrections for natural mistakes are laden with judgment, you begin to cultivate the idea that you are shameful as a person, even though that’s not true. And it wasn’t their intent.
Worse, (and this one comes up often in a session), there are times when a baby is simply not wanted. Parents may have not planned for or desired a baby. An older sibling may not have wanted the newcomer around. Parents with a girl may have wanted a boy or vice-versa.
In these cases, you were set up for shame from the day you were born. Your very existence was wrong according to someone you depended on. And when they raised you, you got the message either covertly or overtly! Through their hidden subconscious messages in the morphogenetic field, or more overtly by actual actions and words. Some people’s parents and older siblings make it all too clear.
My parent’s favourites: You were a mistake. (Ya, in the years prior to birth control who wasn’t? Yet this one hurt growing up) I wish you were never born. Why did you have to come along and ruin everything? When you were born, your father didn’t want you. You ruined my life. I sacrificed everything for you, and for what?
What are your demonic echoes? How much longer will you allow them to be triggering stuff at your reunions?
As a child you had no way to protect yourself from these messages because your own individual value system had not yet been formed. You were dependent upon others opinions to know whether you were good or bad, but they need not run your life anylonger. They need not cause you allergic reactions, pain, fear, anxiety any more.
Is something missing in someone who experiences irrational shame?
That’s a hard one to learn if you’ve never had any, or they have never been honoured. Emotional boundaries are the “property lines” that separate your identity from others. When you are not clear on the property lines, you cannot separate the opinions and actions of others from your emotional opinion of yourself. Like having your own room, your space.
In short, you don’t know what belongs to you versus what belongs to others. I don’t just mean physical stuff, that also goes for thoughts, beliefs, opinions, judgements, limiting decisions, and more. If it’s someone elses stuff it is therefore not your concern.
If you were shamed as a child, then someone was trespassing on you emotionally (or physically). Rather than help you develop a solid, individual sense of yourself, they forced their own beliefs into your psyche, before you had a chance to understand the real difference between you and them. That is why I teach all my clients to learn the sway test. It helps you listen to your own soul, your truth and integrity. Ask: “Is this mine?” Do you feel light or heavy?
My workshop “Dare to Be You” lets you remove yourself from the way they saw you. You didn’t have a choice then because you did not have emotional boundaries. You were not capable of saying, “These are your issues, your beliefs, and not mine. This has nothing to do with me. But now you can!
Why does shame persist?
Shame persists because we become chemically and psychologically attached to the messages we received early in life, for better or worse they become part of our unconscious blue print.
Even though you did not agree to adopt others’ beliefs about you, you did. Now, those beliefs manifest in spontaneous feelings low self-worth and self-doubt aka ‘shame’, which perpetuates ‘guilt’. which perpetuates, you guessed it ‘embarrassment’ and anger, and reactive behaviour and on and on.
Emotional aspects of the psyche, both good and bad, seek expression. Therefore, when presented with any opportunity to interpret a situation as personally shameful and confirm what you learned about yourself, this aspect of your subconscious will rise to the surface, like it or not. Triggered!
It’s as if a negative part of you – now subconscious – were seeking to find where it fits in this world and latches onto any opportunity it can to be proven and perceived, again, and again and again in a negative light. Or maybe it just wants to be recognized and let go and set free? Now isn’t that an interesting point of view.
Personal to-do list for eliminating and eradicating old triggers:
Overcoming deep unconscious triggers is a process that usually requires an informed outside perspective – (hint ME) – a person who sees the inherent good in you and can guide you to reinterpret your world without judgement. Using BodyTalk, EFT, Hypnosis and more I help you untangle from this web. Helping you find your real truth, your own personal integrity.
Even so, a lot can be done on your own. Here is a partial list of what you need to start noticing:
1. Your boundaries. You need to learn, deep in your core, that other people’s opinions of you are merely their opinions. They are not TRUTHS. You can choose to learn from them or you can discard them, your choice. What is that saying “what others think of you, is none of your business”. Use EFT to clean up and establish these boundaries.
2. Stop assuming that others reflect or agree with your own low view of yourself, stop assuming from the get-go that they do not think highly of you. This is enormous! They are not in your head, they do not see your insecurities inside of you, they have a whole different perspective of you. They only see into their own heads their own lack of confidence.
3. Realize that these reactions you feel are related to your past. They continue to manifest in the present because you are allowing the shame to replay, even though this allowing is subconscious. My BodyTalk/EFT/NLP program is the best resource that I know of in the world to help you identify how these programs form and what you can do to let them go. For you to See and recognize this blueprint in action is most difficult because it is ingrained, just a part of us, we need the energy of an impartial person to expose it to ourselves.
4. Focus on your competence, your skills. You have gifts. Keep developing them. Self-confidence is related to competence. We never know that we are confident until we look back and see that we accomplished something anyway. So use fear to realize that you are stepping into unknown territory, some thing new. When you focus on your talents, you allow them to grow, along with your self-esteem.
5. Get help. Confide in someone who can help you. Yes, like me. Insert winky-face here! If you continue to hide from and suppress or bury your triggers, they will continue to haunt you, getting bigger and more raw at each family encounter. Only by releasing them can you clear these wounded emotions from your psyche. This is counter-intuitive for many of us, but it is the only sure way to heal.
Oh yes, so how did my client do after our session? She is in total neutral; a space of no reaction. She is actually looking forward to turkey and games with her crowd this year! They may not recognise her!!!
Call me, together we can help you move beyond some of these buttons and trigger points, of shame, guilt, embarrassment, fear, avoidance that are ruining your get-togethers. Until you get to neutral the universe can’t show up in a different way and neither will your family reunions! Tired of the same old same old?
Call Jess to reduce your stress! 705-241-8680 if you’d like help applying this article to your life. email@example.com