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JessiesMom

Shame and Self-loathing in St Paul

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So, my depression seems to be more or less under control at the moment, but I discovered something that I had never really realized - at the core of me that I never even acknowledge is a pool of shame and self-loathing. My son accidently let it loose with a comment that he did not mean to be hurtful - but it set me realing. I don't know what to do with tje knowledge that I cannot find a way to love myself and I think that I am disgusting. Ugh

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I'm really struggling with this too at the moment. Moreso in public places where I fear being looked down upon. I have about 30 pounds to lose but I dress well and people would say I'm attractive.

I hold myself to high standards so I'm my own worst enemy in a way...I used to be very fit and have an edgy style. Now I'm more the average style and averagely a bit overweight. I guess my ego doesn't like it. Style used to be my thing and I don't really have it now.

I just buy simple clothes now I guess because I can't wear the kind of things I used to. I focus a lot on this but I'm sure it goes deeper than that, I guess I feel ashamed of who I am as a person too. .or my role in life. I dread being asked what I do because I haven't worked in a while and my confidence is low. 

I don't know if these things are relevant to you but I think most women identify a lot with how they look. 

Can you tell us any more about what your feelings of shame are related to?

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It is amazing to me how difficult this is to talk about or explain. Somehow I feel like if I am honest (even with those close to me) about these things, I am terrified that the response would be something like, "Wow, you're right. You are disgusting." It is generally body shame - although I am generally happy with my body - there is some underlying shame associated with the natural working of my body. I was bullied quite a bit in late elementary school and I think that there is some deep seeded shame of being noticed - which ties back into my uncomfortableness with complements.

I distinctly remember my mother telling me once that a dress that I liked did not suit, because the color emphasised my acne. My mother never really talked to me about the "facts of life," and so when my first menses arrived - it was a bit of a shock. She also commented on a shirt that I was wearing at one of my kid's birthday parties. It was Sunday and she asked me, "Did you wear that to church or did you not go to church today?" There is, of course, not a good way to answer that question. I responded that I had not gone to church that day, but that I did sometimes wear that shirt to church. She said that I should think about whether I was calling men into sin because of what I was wearing. From that day forward, that purple shirt that I love has become me "calling men into sin" shirt. In general, I feel that I always for a message that there was something unacceptable about me - and, unfortunatly, I integrated that message into my thinking.

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So, this line of thought has set me to wondering about the differences between shame and guilt - and also the connections between the two. A friend of mine opined that guilt originates internally, but shame originates externally. For example, he indicated that he could shame me for taking a nap yesterday and that I might feel guilt because of it. I am not certain that he is correct. I think that guilt is feeling badly for something that you have done (or failed to do) and shame is feeling badly about something that you are (or aren't). For example, I can feel guilty that I took a nap yesterday and that feeling of guilt can cause me to feel shame about the fact that I am lazy.

The problem with this pattern of thinking is that it ties action or inaction to something intrinsic about your - and that is often the case. I might take a nap because I did not sleep well the night before. Or perhaps I have a headache that a nap will help chase away. Taking a nap might mean that I am lazy, but it could also mean that I am tired, or that my depression is getting the best of me.

Thoughts?

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Yep, I find it difficult to talk about the things I hide or am ashamed of and I find the whole thing difficult to understand also.

I don't feel ashamed of myself when I am by myself or in certain places or situations, but I do feel ashamed of myself in others. It's not so much what I feel but my thoughts about what others are feeling. ..Which is weird because if I think I'm ok, why should I be worried about what others think? Why should I let fear of their judgement stop me from living my life to the full. It's stupid and it's wrong but these feelings of shame are strong. 

And it's not reality,  the standards I'm holding myself against are my own so who is the real bad guy here?!??

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I think shame can get passed on from parent (or others) to child. I also think that there is guilt for doing something wrong and then there is unhealthy guilt that can cause us to feel bad about ourselves in a way that isn't true or realistic. I had to do a lot of work with a therapist on learning to let go of the shame and accept myself. It was worth it. A book that really helped me is called A Gift To Myself. It is a workbook that helps with healing the child within.

BW

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On 5/16/2019 at 10:09 AM, JessiesMom said:

So, my depression seems to be more or less under control at the moment, but I discovered something that I had never really realized - at the core of me that I never even acknowledge is a pool of shame and self-loathing. My son accidently let it loose with a comment that he did not mean to be hurtful - but it set me realing. I don't know what to do with tje knowledge that I cannot find a way to love myself and I think that I am disgusting. Ugh

I'm sorry to hear it. I also suffer from periods of self-loathing, and it's a complex issue to approach. Have you tried Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy? It may not make things perfect, but it could help you look at yourself in a more positive, loving way, which is important because at the end of the day, you're worth it.

As for your mom, what she said about your shirt was very upsetting, and not true. It's not up to you to stop others from thinking the wrong things. That's their responsibility. Focus on feeling better and being happy with how you dress.

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