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Shadowrider

Shadowrider

Student
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
178
I wonder how you guys cope with extreme shame?

I have recognized my feelings of shame are quite irrational. My brain forces me to remember one or another scene - anything that happened lately, or many years ago -, to see how ridiculous, inadequate, stupid and gross I was. And this affirms "no wonder people are so disgusted of you!" - and I hope they don't even remember me because I don't want anyone to puke just because they think of me. Sometimes this leads to my experiencing intense suicidal thoughts and fantasies about doing it in a violent way.

I do know these feelings and thoughts are not rational at all.
Of course I did bad things, of course I didn't have the chance to learn how to behave myself, of course my social skills vary from "nonexisting" to "extremely poor". Of course I am just starting to get some idea on how to function in real-life.

I don't think there exists a single person who has never behaved inappropriately in their whole life.

But for me, it's like no matter how hard I try, the best I can achieve is being just plain ridiculous and pathetic. And everyone has reasons to laugh at me.

This is why sometimes I cannot understand myself. Why am I still alive? I should have done the deed a long, long time ago.

This constant shame - sometimes it suddenly strikes in, when I am actually feeling not so bad or even okay - and suddenly, a memory about something shameful comes up from the back of my mind. And I want to die. No, the right way to express is: I want to fucking die and fucking disappear from the face of the planet.

Anyone else? How do you cope with feeling ashamed of things you said or did many, many years ago - things you would never do or say again today?
 
WornOutLife

WornOutLife

マット
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
7,335
The only thing that helps me to get over my past shame and mistakes is thinking of a better future.
It's over. I can't change what I did and was through but...I can make better decisions from now on.

Hope you can feel better soon.

Hugs and love,

Matt
 
hotelbeneathground

hotelbeneathground

zzz
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Messages
1,881
I have no idea how those of us who have flashbacks (& nightmares about shit from the past) are supposed to deal with them. Guess we have to accept the fact we'll never get rid of them till we die
 
western_heart

western_heart

Advanced darkness
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
65
The most effective thing I can do is to identify and avoid triggers. This doesn't work for a lot of things but there are entire years of my life that I avoid thinking about. I used to write a lot and I don't risk reading anything from the past anymore. My brain has gotten better at shutting out bad memories over the years, unconsciously.

Ketamine has helped me accept some of the most traumatic memories and reprocess them so I no longer feel shame. Psychedelics have helped to a lesser extent.

Therapy has not helped me much, even when I can open up to someone it's hard enough to get any real support. I remember one time I was vaguely talking about dealing with shame, really struggling to provide any examples (they were on my mind but so difficult to express). My therapist at the time had no general coping advice and pressed me to share painful things, which only made me feel worse and think twice before being vulnerable again.

None of this helps with all the random intrusive feelings of shame that can come out of nowhere.
 
Bagger

Bagger

Stressful
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Messages
293
Shadowrider said:
I have recognized my feelings of shame are quite irrational. My brain forces me to remember one or another scene - anything that happened lately, or many years ago -, to see how ridiculous, inadequate, stupid and gross I was. And this affirms "no wonder people are so disgusted of you!" - and I hope they don't even remember me because I don't want anyone to puke just because they think of me. Sometimes this leads to my experiencing intense suicidal thoughts and fantasies about doing it in a violent way.

Holly molly man, this is me, minus last violent part. And u described it in such exact way. Bravo, im speechless. I've never seen any post here to which one i can relate more. Wow. Man, i will be thinking about this post i'm writing right now for like a week. (Analyzing every word. And, paradoxically it will improve my English skills. Other side of one's coin haha. But i totally relate and i feel the same shit. It's a fucking nightmare in a day to day life.
 
Shadowrider

Shadowrider

Student
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
178
WornOutLife said:
The only thing that helps me to get over my past shame and mistakes is thinking of a better future.
It's over. I can't change what I did and was through but...I can make better decisions from now on.

Hope you can feel better soon.

Hugs and love,

Matt
Yes, this is - or this _would be_ - the most rational thing to do. One cannot change the past, this is true - but one can learn from one's mistakes.
This is why this shame seems to be so strange: I know I would never behave like that again, I think I am able to learn how to do it better. Yet I feel disgusting - for things that happened many years ago, things I am unsure others remember or know about.
Thank you for your kind & supporting words! Your answer has already made a difference.
hotelbeneathground said:
I have no idea how those of us who have flashbacks (& nightmares about shit from the past) are supposed to deal with them. Guess we have to accept the fact we'll never get rid of them till we die.

They say this is a sure sign of being traumatized. I read a traumatized brain works in a different way than a "normal" (I mean non-traumatized) one does. I read something in the direction of that our brain forces us to recall a certain event - or certain events - over and over again because it attempts to give us a chance to deal with it, to process it or anything like this. Maybe we should learn how to use this opportunity? I would love to know how. If this theory about the traumatized brain is true, it seems like I have to grow up to the level of my very own traumatized brain (*self-ironical laughter in the background*)

FuneralCry said:
It is hard as we simply cannot control our thoughts, our minds like to torture us. Even if we try to move on from the past we can never forget anything. I guess we have to find distractions and coping mechanisms but that is easier said than done.

Yes this is exactly what I am talking about.
Forgetting seems to be impossible - I guess we should make peace with the past happenings so that they don't have the chance - or the power - to torture us any more.
I keep finding distractions all the time, how about you?
western_heart said:
The most effective thing I can do is to identify and avoid triggers. This doesn't work for a lot of things but there are entire years of my life that I avoid thinking about. I used to write a lot and I don't risk reading anything from the past anymore. My brain has gotten better at shutting out bad memories over the years, unconsciously.

Ketamine has helped me accept some of the most traumatic memories and reprocess them so I no longer feel shame. Psychedelics have helped to a lesser extent.

Therapy has not helped me much, even when I can open up to someone it's hard enough to get any real support. I remember one time I was vaguely talking about dealing with shame, really struggling to provide any examples (they were on my mind but so difficult to express). My therapist at the time had no general coping advice and pressed me to share painful things, which only made me feel worse and think twice before being vulnerable again.

None of this helps with all the random intrusive feelings of shame that can come out of nowhere.
Yes, I think identifying triggers is a really important thing. Maybe this is the very first step towards being able to move on from any traumatic experience.
Avoiding triggers is important too - as long as you haven't gained enough strength and access to your own inner resources that give you a better coping. But - at least this is my own experience - developing a stubborn system of avoidance coping is not the real solution. I don't know how about you - I have to avoid so many things (if I don't want to end up being self-dangerous and desperately wanting to die) that it made my life practically impossible to live. I think I could be labelled for AvPD.
Yeah! I can very much relate to how you feel about your own writings. And, I am similarly experienced at shutting out certain things.

Thank you for sharing your experiences about ketamin and psychoactive stuff! I have never tried any of them, so this info is useful. Thanx!

I am unsure if I have the right to criticize your therapist, but I think a competent psychologist or shrink has enough empathy to see when and how to confront the patient/client with painful things. Tearing up wounds WITHOUT giving the client any tools to cope is a big no-no (let me repeat I am not a mental health professional, so my opinion is just a dilettant one!) No wonder you are having trust issues.

Yeah! This is the very same I feel, practically every day. These feelings can come out of nowhere, totally spontaneously. I am not glad you feel the same, but very glad because you were brave enough to share your thoughts - and thus, contributed to me feeling less pathetic. Thank you.
Bagger said:
Holly molly man, this is me, minus last violent part. And u described it in such exact way. Bravo, im speechless. I've never seen any post here to which one i can relate more. Wow. Man, i will be thinking about this post i'm writing right now for like a week. (Analyzing every word. And, paradoxically it will improve my English skills. Other side of one's coin haha. But i totally relate and i feel the same shit. It's a fucking nightmare in a day to day life.
Thank you for your affirming words! Also, it's very good to know my post helped you feeling less separated. At least it did help me with feeling less alone and stupid. (Yes, frequenting an international forum is guaranteed to help you with improving your - already good - English skills.)

I hope I managed to answer everyone who was kind enough to answer my thread! Also, I hope I didn't hurt anyone.
 
hotelbeneathground

hotelbeneathground

zzz
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Messages
1,881
Shadowrider said:
I read something in the direction of that our brain forces us to recall a certain event - or certain events - over and over again because it attempts to give us a chance to deal with it, to process it or anything like this. Maybe we should learn how to use this opportunity? I would love to know how.
Yeah, I'd like to know how too... How do I process/put a positive spin on the fact that my own father raped & beat me as a toddler & young boy & my mother let it happen?
 
Shadowrider

Shadowrider

Student
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
178
hotelbeneathground said:
Yeah, I'd like to know how too... How do I process/put a positive spin on the fact that my own father raped & beat me as a toddler & young boy & my mother let it happen?

Now I really don't know what to say. This is beyond words. I honestly say my imagination is too poor to picture how it feels living with these memories.
Your father should have been arrested for this. Also your mother, being a passive helper/enabler to this crime. This should have been reported to the authorities.
If I say "I am very sorry this happened to you", it sounds like empty words now. If only I could say anything sensible.
:(
 
hotelbeneathground

hotelbeneathground

zzz
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Messages
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Shadowrider said:
Now I really don't know what to say. This is beyond words. I honestly say my imagination is too poor to picture how it feels living with these memories.
Your father should have been arrested for this. Also your mother, being a passive helper/enabler to this crime. This should have been reported to the authorities.
If I say "I am very sorry this happened to you", it sounds like empty words now. If only I could say anything sensible.
:(
Well, at least they're dead. I'm 40, they had me when they were pretty old & they both drank themselves to death.
 
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Weary Soul

Weary Soul

Soon I will be free
Joined
Nov 13, 2019
Messages
1,063
Oh wow, I used to be this way and it is such a horrible feeling.

Over the many years I have lived [and ok - no calling me a crypt keeper look alike : )], I have learned that feeling bad about mistakes I have made is one thing (aka guilt), but shame? Shame is when I take that guilt to a whole new level and crucify myself for being human.

Like you said, everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and nothing to be ashamed about.

Sadly shame-based learning is often a tool used by parents in order to control or modify a child's behavior as they are growing up. I cannot tell you how many times my parents said to me, "Shame on you," or my mother got that prune-face silent look indicating that she was ashamed of me for not being perfect.

The definition of shame is: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness for wrong or foolish behavior.

Despite a child's young age, they do feel these incredibly painful feelings, and that is why shame-based punishment is such an effective tool. And the horrible part is that young children will believe in, and internalize, their care givers teachings. Ultimately how that caregiver treats them (either positively or negatively) becomes an intrinsic part of their psyche. No child should ever be made to feel that they are shameful.

While my parents used shame-based learning to try to control me (among many other negative tactics), as an adult I refuse to allow their abusive teachings to control me and feel shame in who I am anymore. Life is hard enough without carrying on the burden of their nasty negativity.

So every time that feeling used to came up, I would stomp it right back down. It took awhile but got easier over time.

I am human and I will make mistakes, some hurtful and embarrassing ones - that does not define who I am, what defines who I am is how I deal with those mistakes.

Ask yourself this. If you saw a young child going through what you go through with respect to shame, what would you do? Personally, I would hug that child and tell them to never, ever feel ashamed of who they are.

So this may sound weird, but hug your inner child who was very likely controlled from a young age using shame-based tactics. Also, protect your young inner self who has (understandably), internalized other's nasty means of trying to controlling you.

You get to decide who controls you and how that control is manifested. No one else - please, do not let other's control you.

Much love and understanding to you! It is not an easy learned behavior to break.

<3
 
FuneralCry

FuneralCry

Living dead girl
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Sep 24, 2020
Messages
1,806
Shadowrider said:
Yes this is exactly what I am talking about.
Forgetting seems to be impossible - I guess we should make peace with the past happenings so that they don't have the chance - or the power - to torture us any more.
I keep finding distractions all the time, how about you?
I try to distract myself, I guess its the only thing you can do. If only we could erase memories, then life would be more bearable.
 
Broken Buzz

Broken Buzz

Space Ranger
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Messages
50
I have PTSD from an abusive relationship and multiple traumatic incidents that trigger specific flashbacks and memories. I've never had any kind of therapy to deal with it, partially because I was trained in CBT and never found it particularly useful, and I'm sceptical of some of the research behind EMDR. I genuinely believe that the only reason I've lasted this long and am still alive is because of the work I've done to consciously erase and destabilise multiple traumatic memories.

Some of the methods I use to do that come from my work treating nightmares and research into false memories, some come from more esoteric practices such as meditation and memory training that are skills I've cultivated over many years - I'm probably in a better position to tamper with my own memory than many here, so this isn't generally applicable advice, just my own observations.

Having said all of that, there are two memories that I cannot for the life of me forget, they are very traumatic and I revisit them every single day in flashbacks. Yet I have made the conscious decision never to forget them. Why the hell would I do that? Those two specific memories form a huge part of who I am today and give me the fire and anger that powers my fights, without those two memories I feel as though I'd be incredibly vulnerable again, blind, naive, forever a victim.

Those two memories bring me great shame. I committed no crime but failed to protect someone I love eternally. Whenever I'm haunted by those deeply shameful memories and can fight back the tears long enough for sensible thought to sprout, I remind myself that my greatest reason to fight to live, in spite of everything I've gone through, is to ensure the lives destroyed that day, at the hands of a fucking psychopath, were not lost in vain.

Sorry for not being particularly helpful.
 
Shadowrider

Shadowrider

Student
Joined
Jan 26, 2021
Messages
178
Weary Soul said:
Oh wow, I used to be this way and it is such a horrible feeling.

Over the many years I have lived [and ok - no calling me a crypt keeper look alike : )], I have learned that feeling bad about mistakes I have made is one thing (aka guilt), but shame? Shame is when I take that guilt to a whole new level and crucify myself for being human.

Like you said, everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn and nothing to be ashamed about.

Sadly shame-based learning is often a tool used by parents in order to control or modify a child's behavior as they are growing up. I cannot tell you how many times my parents said to me, "Shame on you," or my mother got that prune-face silent look indicating that she was ashamed of me for not being perfect.

The definition of shame is: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness for wrong or foolish behavior.

Despite a child's young age, they do feel these incredibly painful feelings, and that is why shame-based punishment is such an effective tool. And the horrible part is that young children will believe in, and internalize, their care givers teachings. Ultimately how that caregiver treats them (either positively or negatively) becomes an intrinsic part of their psyche. No child should ever be made to feel that they are shameful.

While my parents used shame-based learning to try to control me (among many other negative tactics), as an adult I refuse to allow their abusive teachings to control me and feel shame in who I am anymore. Life is hard enough without carrying on the burden of their nasty negativity.

So every time that feeling used to came up, I would stomp it right back down. It took awhile but got easier over time.

I am human and I will make mistakes, some hurtful and embarrassing ones - that does not define who I am, what defines who I am is how I deal with those mistakes.

Ask yourself this. If you saw a young child going through what you go through with respect to shame, what would you do? Personally, I would hug that child and tell them to never, ever feel ashamed of who they are.

So this may sound weird, but hug your inner child who was very likely controlled from a young age using shame-based tactics. Also, protect your young inner self who has (understandably), internalized other's nasty means of trying to controlling you.

You get to decide who controls you and how that control is manifested. No one else - please, do not let other's control you.

Much love and understanding to you! It is not an easy learned behavior to break.

<3

Be easy, nobody is going to call you a crypt keeper or anything like this :)

I agree one has to distinct between the normal feelings of guilt - when you recognize you actually did something bad; this is a healthy feeling and it can be used in a positive way. It can help you with learning what behaviour is acceptable and what is unacceptable. But, it is not the same as this generalized feeling of shame - like, when you identify yourself with one single bad thing you did, and blame yourself for being human.

Yeah! I think someone who never makes any mistakes never learns a thing.

Shame-based punishing might be "comfortable" for the adults I think: a well-trained and ashamed child will not dare to do anything bad. But such kids will obey out of fear, and not because they have an actual understanding of what the right thing is. The kid might not even comprehend why (s)he got punished, the only thing they get is "I am bad, they are mad at me".
This feeling will not go away later if you had to get used to it in the first years of your life.

This is something I have been thinking about a lot: life is hard enough as it is, even without carrying the burden of memories and consequences of systematic child abuse.

I find your thoughts about defining yourself very constructive and sensible! This should be the best attitude to follow.

Oh yes. If I saw any child feel ashamed, I would not treat them like I was treated.

This seems to be a very good idea! An inner baby-sitter for the inner child, yeah.

Sorry for giving such a short answer - you have given much food for thought and I am still in the middle of processing. Thank you so much!
 
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W

whywere

Enlightened
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Jun 26, 2020
Messages
1,059
Well being 65 years young, only mention this because I have had A LOT of experience in feeling ashamed in a lot of situations. Like @WornOutLife , Matts said, that is 100% spot on, I can never change the past, try and glean from it what went right and wrong and go forward. I always think that I have made a lot of "learning experiences" (1st time mistakes), but I try my hardest to learn/adapt and move on to a brighter day and future. Lots of hugs and smiles to you, as you ARE family here to me and I want the best for you. Walter
 

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