About Winning Over Shame

I have survived

I have been though what feels, sometimes, like an incomprehensible number of tragedies and circumstances. It all started when I was very young. Experiences that branded me with shame. On this blog I’m going to explore both that past and how, bit by bit, I have overcome that toxic shame. Please join me on this journey

Some days, it feels like what I have survived (and, even more, surpassed) is an incomprehensible series of abuses. Starting very young, before the age of 5, I internalized the belief that I not only made terrible mistakes; I was a terrible mistake. I knew there was something terribly wrong with me. After all, surely my parents were perfect.

During those early years, I experienced the death of our puppies, which I was sure was my fault, and discovering my father in a botched suicide attempt. Fear and insecurity marred me. I could not trust the world, and especially my parents, to keep me safe.

Later, after my parents separated, my father abducted my younger sister and me. What followed was sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse, not only by my father but also by the group of adults he frequently left us with.

To survive, I decided I would initiate sexual behavior with this group of adults. It was so much better than believing I was helpless and at their mercy.

I developed bipolar disorder and CPTSD.

I muddled along until, at 21, my best friend abruptly ended our friendship. After several months, I ended up in a mental hospital because of severe self-injuring. I ended up meeting my now ex-husband and going on disability.

That relationship lasted a painful 12 years. Despite, or perhaps because, of my early abuse, my relationship came to mirror my childhood. In the end, I found myself in an open marriage and a member of a swing group.

I tried and failed to find purpose and meaning in the years that followed. I tried several careers, none of which I could make last.

Finally, I collapsed under the weight of unimportance. A summer in hospital partial programs (where I had gone to prove there was no point in my staying alive) ending with me going back on disability and starting online college.

I was fortunate to be invited to a long term, productive support group that lasted for several years. I also found a wonderful therapist I worked with for 14.5 years.

I pushed and pushed to get beyond the terrible shame I felt. I still often felt fundamentally flawed.

Gradually, however, my internal reality began to match the outside that so many people respected and even loved.

In this blog I explore that past, my present showdowns with shame, and all the things that still exist because of 40+ years of dysfunction.

I have not only learned to live with those memories and beliefs; I have largely healed the holes in my psyche.

I have moved above and beyond. Even while shame finds new ways to pop up, I find new ways to put it back down.

I pray my journey can shine a light for others.

I pray we can all find a way to live…Winning Over Shame.