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Siblings From Hell: Shame & Guilt

No, I’m not talking about Cinderella’s evil step-sisters or those creepy twins from The Shining. I’m talking about these sneaky little mofo’s that show up in life right when times are already hard.

How do they show up?

Shame = I am wrong | I should be something/someone different | who I am is not ok

Guilt = I did something wrong | I should have done something different | this thing I did is not ok

Technical definitions:

Guilt = the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime

Shame = a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior

Shame & guilt are tricks of the ego.  They have a wonderful way of making you think whatever has occurred is about you and your role when sometimes, it just isn’t. The function of both guilt & shame is to get you to correct a behavior or something about yourself to stay connected to a preferred grouping or relationship. But what if there’s nothing for you to correct? What if you’ve done everything you could have done but things just didn’t pan out the way you hoped?  Welp, now you’re here so let’s talk about that! I originally intended this entry to be about the trials & tribulations of dealing with guilt & shame BUT . I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to give you 7 ways to combat these jerks and keep it moving!

  1. Talk about it! Tell someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Sometimes when you say it aloud you realize how ridiculous it really is.
  2. Forgive yourself! Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It’s about acknowledging whatever happened but making the conscious choice not to allow that thing to impede your growth or healing. Forgive yourself. When you know better, you do better.
  3. Listen to other narratives! Go to a support group or participate in one online. See the stories of other angel parents, their thoughts and feelings. I guarantee you will hear their guilt or shame and come up with at least one reason to combat that (even if it’s just in your head). Practice that and then apply it to yourself.
  4. Decide to move forward! I know it’s way easier said than done to just move on. Having said that, at some point, you have to make a choice to move forward with your life to open yourself to new experiences. If you don’t, you’ll stay stuck and nobody wants that.
  5. De-center yourself! You won’t hear me say this often but in this case, shame & guilt are very, very much ego related. If you recognize that your loss is usually much bigger than what you may or may not have done and that people aren’t necessarily looking at you as the cause, you may be able to move away from these negative thoughts much quicker. Remove your ego. Always remember, what others think of you is none of your business.
  6. See a therapist! I won’t go on too long about this because many of my other posts are riddled with this suggestion. Just do yourself a favor, find a good one and cop a squat on their couch or chair.
  7. Let it Burn! Get a piece of paper (or a few), write down everything you feel guilty for/ashamed of regarding your loss, then burn that mofo! *Safety first so make sure you’re not at risk of setting anything else on fire. Make sure humans, pets, etc. are safe from the flames* 

I feel better =) how about you?!

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