Thought for the Week

Timothy D. Stein, MFT, CSAT
September 30, 2013

We have enough to deal with in life.  We don’t need to carry other people’s shame as well.

When people who were significant to us as children behaved shamefully, either directly to us or indirectly (such as not protecting a child from abusive situations), we often absorbed their shame and carried it.  How do you know if this has happened to you?  In your current day-to-day interactions and activities, when your own shame is triggered, you experience it as embarrassment.  However, when something triggers shame you have been carrying from others, you experience it as feeling “less than” or “worthless.”  You already have plenty in your own life to manage without trying to manage the shame you are carrying from others, shame that is not yours to start with.

Do I tend to feel embarrassed or do I tend to feel less than?  What would change in my life if I did the deep trauma work to let go of the shame I have been carrying from others?