“What makes the wound of shame so destructive? To experience such shame, particularly during our childhood and adolescent years, prevents us from developing a strong sense of self.” - Alan Downs in “The Velvet Rage”
It’s amazing the power that shame has on our lives. It comes from many different sources: sexual orientation, lack of interest in sports (for boys), being a tomboy (for girls), poor school performance, poor choices in life or unsatisfactory careers, just to name a few. Shame can be devastating and crippling, especially when it becomes a dark secret in your life.
Often parents don’t recognize it in children, and neither do friends and family. It can look like anger, depression, isolation and withdrawal. Most of us have experienced shame.
Sadly, many in marginalized communities, including the LGBT community, who have experienced much shame during their lives, actually impose shame on other members of their own community. It’s very sad and disappointing since we should be much more accepting, loving and tolerant because of our own experiences with shame. Just as we’re developing an authentic sense of self, someone subjects us to shaming.
I wonder how we can change . . .?