Search
  • Firefly Therapy ATX Team

When Shame Shows Up


by Jenna Opperman, LMSW


If I feel in any way vulnerable, other people's silence can feel like punishment. Yesterday, I had trouble breathing, concentrating, engaging in anything. This was my go-to response in childhood. The feelings of abandonment manifest as acute physical pain in my chest, and then I essentially go numb. 


Yesterday morning and afternoon I spent in this state. I distracted myself mostly by watching movies and napping. Nowadays, I have the ability to observe myself and can usually talk myself through it. I knew that I'd have to get myself together enough to socialize later in the day, so I pulled myself out of bed around 4pm and took a shower.

While soaping up, I thought about Brené Brown's research on wholeheartedness. I realized I was responding to feeling hurt by spiraling into shame. And shame is the one place where I always abandon myself. I lose my ability to speak, to show up, to open up, to be present. The shame tells me that I don't deserve to be heard or seen. It tells me that other people's needs are more important than mine. In particular, it flashes the neon message, "You are not worthy." 


And I know I am worthy, so snapping out my perverse kind of self-imposed muteness was necessary. I decided to open up and extend myself in as many meaningful ways as I could. If my bids to connect weren't met, so be it. I could still be generous. I could still act with love. 


It worked pretty well. My brain was racing most of the night, my chest was tight, and I felt like I was on the verge of tears (especially when I saw a litter of kittens), but I showed up everywhere I went. And I was met with kindness. I gave and received hugs. I laughed a little. I even helped my daughter's boyfriend knock over a tray of food while we were both going in for a hug at a fancy restaurant.


I rang in the new year with people who deeply love me. It is seriously hard to be any more blessed than that. 


https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare


18 views

To help us recommend the counselor that will

be the best fit to help you,

please fill out the brief questionnaire below,

and we will contact you within 24 hours.

Contact

2525 Wallingwood Drive, Suite 301

Austin, TX 78746

​​

Tel: (512) 809-8488

info@fireflytherapyaustin.com

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© Firefly Therapy Austin