Notes on Shame

Shame is the deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you. You feel exposed and humiliated.

You are disgraced because you acted less than human, [or]  were treated as if you were less than human…

You feel worthless: of little or no value to those whose opinions  matter to you.

Someone who has been on the short end of a divorce – the spouse who wanted to stay in the marriage… despite all evidence to the contrary, if you are the forsaken person, you are sure there is something very wrong with you. You are worthless. It doesn’t matter that divorce is commonplace and you are (probably) not shamed by neighbors or fellow church members. You…heap the shame on yourself.

Verbally battered men and women are filled with shame. They have been told that they are wretched and, once they get worn down, they believe it. They feel compelled to endure the abuse in silence because it is shameful to reveal that someone who is supposed to love them now berates them.

Any rejection, neglect, or demeaning words by someone who is supposed to love you, such as a partner or a spouse, brings shame.

We can be bold in the face of shame because shame can be removed… shame is tackled best in the context of a relationship. Granted, going public with your shame is something you try to avoid, but being open about it, at least with someone who is a wise encourager, is part of the way out of shame… do not allow shame to intimidate you into silence.

– from “Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness & Rejection” by E. Welch

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