Toxic Shame

Toxic Shame....

Shame is toxic, it is used by parents, by governments, by society, by schools and teachers as a way to control. If we behave badly, we are shamed for it, not only that but we are so conditioned to shame that when we do something "wrong" we shame ourselves without even knowing it.

The way we look at a drug addict and condemn them is shaming. The fact someone who suffers addiction will hide the use from their parents, and be dishonest about it is because of shame. Because their parents and society's reaction to the behaviour, is one that is shaming.

This very shaming perpetuates the behaviour, its actually a major cause for the behaviour. Throwing more petrol on the fire so to speak. But unconsciously we think it will result in the person stopping the behaviour, so we use it subtly in an attempt to control them.

If we watch closely, we will see how riddled with shame we are and how much it is used to manipulate. Its such a strange emotion. I wouldn't even call it an emotion, I would call it an underpinning of our identity structure. Shame based personality.

Shame locks itself into the body like a screaming and crying child, ashamed of who he is, ashamed for existing, stuck, frozen in a cell. We carry this with us everywhere frozen inside, hurt and alone.

Imagine for a moment, that everybody knew your deepest darkest secrets, that everybody could hear every thought that ran through your head, all the judgment, all the dirty disgusting thoughts, all the hatred, how much shame you would feel. This shame is there already within your system, imagining this doesn't create shame, it conjure's up the shame that is already within you.

Imagine now, it wasn't shameful to be you, to have all your dysfunctional behaviours? that you didn't need to feel shame for your addictions, or your lack of perfection, or all your unspiritual and unloving thoughts.

The body holds this so deeply and it has its roots through our whole system, we become scared to be ourselves, scared to be open and honest, scared of facing ourselves, of embracing ourselves, because we are ashamed of ourselves. We hide.... Even from ourselves.

Shame is a core driver of addictions, and a core driver of so many of the things we do that are apparently....Shameful.

What would it be like, if having an addiction wasn't something to be ashamed of? Can you even imagine that? its so radical to even think about. Even in 12 step groups where its so accepted to have history of addictions the word "anonymous" already implies that its shameful. Why would we have to be anonymous if there is no shame around it?

We have to work with the body, thats where all of this is stored. Layer upon layer of pain, fear, trauma and shame has to be unlocked, and felt. If we truly want freedom, we have to even face the deepest darkest most shameful parts of ourselves.

Very few are willing to go to these depths within themselves, to travel into these pitch black rooms and corners covered in cobwebs, filled with screaming ghosts to shine the light of awareness on even the most condemned and painful parts, but this is how we truly heal.


Matt Nettleton

Senior NRAM Facilitator and Trainer

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