You’re probably already more of an expert than you know, at least on the feelings and effects of shame-based anxiety – having likely used many efforts in wrestling with, hiding, denying and coping with them. Even if you don’t realize it.
The tiniest seed of self-doubt – the smallest implication that you might be flawed – can grow and grow into a whole neurosis over time that could ruin your life. With incredibly destructive consequences.
These are things you’ll probably be far more willing to notice in other people – those little moments where a sly dig or put-down makes you feel like shit. But make no mistake – when you’re feeling shamed, you’ll be doing some of these too. And therein lies the rub – those annoying people? They come from a place of shame too.
The fear of being flawed and not good enough isn’t something that people are readily able to admit to themselves. Most people never make that breakthrough, for others it can take a lifetime.
Here are four good reasons why shame creates strong feelings of denial:
Shame drains energy. Lethargy, apathy, tiredness, not wanting to get up in the morning, headaches, migraines – anxiety, fear and worry take up lots of energy! It doesn’t just stop there – keeping emotional conflicts pushed deep down can result in digestion issues, eating disorders, addictions, skin disorders and many more ailments. I’ll even show you how shame caused Crohn’s disease.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember seeing an ad in the Metro newspaper on a train, which I never forgot. It showed something which stuck in my head, like it had some unconscious cosmic significance.
Or maybe it just scared the shit out of me.
That feeling where it feels like everything is scratching away at you, life becomes a constant firefight, and you long to just “unwind”. What would that even take, these days? The idea seems ever-elusive, because you’re overwhelmed.
I do my fair share of criticising others. Its almost too easy, there’s no shortage of morons about. It feels good, often even fun, and I know people whose whole personalities revolve around being critical. But its all because of feelings of shame, and I’ll prove why.
Isn’t defensiveness one of the most frustrating traits to deal with? When you know you’re right – but despite making sound, reasonable, logical and compelling arguments, you get a bunch of irrational, angry nonsense back instead! Once you understand where it comes from, you might look at it in a different way. See how many of these traits you can relate to.
Shame is great at protecting you from situations which threaten to expose those murky scary feelings. Being late for appointments, not making eye contact with people, not wanting to go to social events, losing your ability to “be yourself” when around new people. It genuinely terrifies me how powerful, and life-crippling this effect is!