Friday, October 2, 2009


I have been thinking a lot about shame lately. It seems to be popping up. That roller coaster ride again. Things can be going along smoothly and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, I feel that shame.
I found an online retreat this week given by a priest and it was about confronting the shame that many of us suffer from. I posted about it on my Catholic blog because I was blown away by something the priest had said in his 2nd talk. He said that each one of us needs to thank God for ourselves. That we each need to say - Thank you, Lord, for ME.  I had certainly never even thought of that.
Then yesterday I decided to open up that meditation book I have used off and on for years (Daybreak, Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Maureen Brady). And what was the subject for October 1? Shame. Of course.
Maureen wrote about how she reacted to traumatic events in her childhood with shame and fear. And that she protected herself by "silence, stuffing my feelings and keeping out of the way."
Uh huh. I do that.
In another section on shame, the meditation for July 11, Ms. Brady wrote about how she took on the abuser's shame. She felt bad about herself when she was unsuccessful. She turned to perfectionism.
Yup. Me, too.
I have been feeling that shame lately. Whenever I think someone doesn't like what I have done or said, or any time I am not feeling good about myself, shame rears its ugly head.
I am still struggling with the fact that my father and I are not speaking and my stepmother is very upset with me. Makes me think I am doing something wrong, though I know I am not. But see, I am not being a good little girl. I can almost hear the words, Shame on you.
In the intro to October 1st's entry, Ms. Brady wrote: "I am filled with truth at the center where I once held shame."
Well, I certainly know what the truth is. Whether other people see it or not has nothing to do with me. It is their failing, their blindness, their refusal to see.
And so, once again, I know I need to let go of the shame. It does not belong to me. I do not need to hold onto it. I can let it go.
I can let go and hold onto truth. My inner truth.
And Jesus, who is Truth with a capital T. I will hold onto Him, too.


Just Be Real said...

Dear one, I am so sorry that you continue to struggle with shame issues. I completely understand as I am just learning about the shame I experience. I pray that this load will become easier for you dear. Blessings.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Thank you Colleen for this faith filled post. You are a treasure and yes our Savior Jesus Christ has borne our shame, we can give it too him when we are ready. I am so grateful to be on this journey with such a faith filled woman and that God helped me find you.

Mary333 said...

I read your posts and I nod my head, yes, me too. Dealing with after effects of abuse is very hard, I was angry with the Lord all my teenage years. Shame still rears its ugly head in my life. I still have trouble dealing with very angry people, I can feel myself cringe inside. Bless you, Colleen. I went to Adoration last night and prayed for your continual healing.

HeartfeltHeartLook said...

So well said Colleen. Especially the end of your post. Praying for you often!

Colleen said...

JBR, thank you. I am afraid this shame issue may go on for a life time. But it is less and less often.

Vicki, thank you! I have found a home in Jesus. I pray that others do too. I appreciate your support and visits!

Mary, thank you for praying for me! I am going to Adoration tonight so I will pray for you too!

Heartfelt, thank you so much and I will pray for you too!

sarah said...

Once again, thank you Colleen for your honest and true sharing. I need this. I relate too much to all that you wrote here. :{

Patricia Singleton said...

The more you become aware of and face down your shame, the less it appears. Will it ever completely leave, I don't know. I am not there yet. Sometimes it seems to be such a big part of who I am and other times I know it isn't who I really am. Sharing halfs the load. Thanks for sharing.

Colleen said...

Sarah, you are welcome. I think that is why this blogging world is so good for us. We get to write our feelings and what is going on in our lives which is therapeutic in itself, and then we also find we are not alone. God bless.

Colleen said...

Patricia, Amen to everything you said! I especially like that sharing halfs the load. Yes, it does!

April_optimist said...

Wise post. And just think of the power you'll gain as you let go of the shame!

Colleen said...

April, thank you. You are right about gaining power. It is good to have some back! But then I keep handing it over again! AGH! That roller coaster ride! :)

Marj aka Thriver said...

I have that meditations book. I'm going to have to get it out again; I haven't used it for a while. I love this: "I am filled with truth at the center where I once held shame." What a wonderful thing to remember.

I'm glad you are remembering that the shame doesn't belong to you. But, it does sneak in now and again, doesn't it? It's like the sticky goo that somebody wiped on you as if you were a dish rag. I did an anger exercise once that was very helpful: I got a Nerf ball and pretended it was the icky, gooey shame. I threw it at the wall and shouted, "This is YOUR shame, not mine! I don't want it. You take it back!" It was powerful! Blessings to you.

Colleen said...

Marj, I love that line, too. I get the book out for awhile and then put it back and then get it out again! It is like shame and fear and anger - they all sneak back in again. Thanks for the nerf ball idea. Blessings.