Shame

I don’t know why I thought of this as I was doing the washing up, but I did. So I thought I’d write about it – it explains some stuff, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels/has felt this way.

Shamethe painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous,etc., done by oneself or another. (dictionary.com)

Shame: A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. (Google definition)

When I was in a relationship with the ex I knew it wasn’t “right” – the way he treated me, the way we argued, the way I was scared… But I didn’t admit that to anyone – not even myself.

And I’ve only come to realise today that it was because I was ashamed. Ashamed that I was so weak to let someone treat me like that. Ashamed that I couldn’t make the relationship work. Ashamed that I was so stupid to let him control me.

I felt so much shame that I hid all the pain. Even to this day, most people don’t know what went on. I think only one person knows everything, and other people know bits. I have never told my parents about any of it – all they know is that we used to argue a lot.

I think the feeling of shame is something that affects some people more than others. I hate the feeling of being judged, and that’s part of it. I didn’t want people to know what was happening because they would judge me and my actions. I’m not a good liar, but apparently I’m pretty good at pretending, which is slightly different. A lie is just a lie, but pretending is living a lie.

And the more you pretend, and live a lie, the more you start to believe it. And then one day it all blows up in your face (like when the ex split up with me) and then you have to face the reality; and see that the perfect story you made up was nothing like the truth at all.

It’s the same with depression: you don’t want to admit it. You hide it as much as you can – you appear to be completely fine (even though really you’re falling apart). This one I’ve kind of got over though – I am more honest about how I feel and I have accepted that this is an illness, and it’s not my fault* and quite a few of my friends/family know that I am not “well”.

Another example of my actions being affected by what others think is the fact that I’m still at uni. I didn’t want to take a year out. Part of that is because I knew I would be judged. I knew people would think things about me, and I didn’t want that. I thought my family would be disappointed, and that I would be seen as a failure. This is not true, but it’s how my mind works. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have taken time out, even though it would mean dealing with the shame, but mostly I am glad that I stuck it out because if I had gone home I might have felt even worse! (And definitely wouldn’t be getting my CBT!)

I guess people don’t like showing their flaws. They don’t like showing that they are not perfect. That’s what I love about WordPress though – here I can be myself. Recovery is a long process that I’m only just beginning, but I think this issue of shame, of fear of what other people will think, is another thing I need to deal with in time.

*sometimes I don’t believe this though

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16 thoughts on “Shame

  1. Juliet says:

    I once read something about a therapist who said, “I’ve never met perpetrators that feel ashamed. It’s always the victims, and they are the ones who shouldn’t feel ashamed.”
    It’s just “wrong” that we are feeling this way. We really shouldn’t. Anyway.
    You’ll get there. You’re brave xoxo

  2. simplybluey says:

    I know that shame all too well and sadly it does not belong to us, the victims, but it is like an albatross around our neck. You are brave and strong and you are moving in a positive direction so there is no need or place for shame now.xxx

  3. My Mental Stream says:

    Hugs Ellie. I felt ashamed when I had to retake a year at university. When I said I had been there for four years everyone assumed I had a masters. I lied and said I took a year out, but eventually told the truth. It is something you accept. I am so proud of you for saying what you have said here. Well done xx

  4. keelyellenmarie says:

    First, go watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

    Second:

    I know that shame all too well. I was in a silly, high-drama high school relationship, that became a rocky-but-bearable college relationship, and eventually mutated into a flat out abusive relationship… and I even got engaged to the guy! I knew, in the last year or two that if any of my friends knew how he really treated me when we were alone, they’d be begging me to leave him. I was ashamed that I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I’m honestly still kicking myself over not leaving him sooner? I KNEW life could be better, I KNEW I didn’t have to stay… why couldn’t I make myself go?

    And the truth is, I wasn’t strong enough yet. I’m a little ashamed of that, but I’m trying to focus on the fact that eventually, I got strong enough. After a six-year descent into hell, I walked out. That’s something.

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