If we don’t take ownership over our emotions, they own us.
The feeling of not being enough was introduced to me by a man I had once given my heart to. It’s a feeling I never want anyone close to me to ever feel.
It’s a false emotion that is empty of truth and causes severe damage. It comes from a place of personal shame that the one who is projecting it wants to escape. They’re unable to cope with it so they shame you by using whatever they can to make you feel not good enough.
I only found out too late that the person I had had a relationship with suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
His ability to feel guilt is flawed. Instead of guilt, he feels shame and his shame causes him to shame others and this results in his abusive behavior. He is unable to separate himself from his behavior which deepens his shame and the abuse.
If you suspect this in your partner, walk away. The violence it can trigger can be extreme.
What is the difference between shame and guilt? Guilt is felt objectively. We feel guilty because we recognize that our actions were wrong. They go against the person we would like ourselves to be and so we apologize. We recognize that we could have behaved differently.
Shame is a different type of emotion. It’s felt subjectively. We take our offending action as a sign that we are bad and we take it personally. There is no objective room for change to occur and an inability to separate who we are from our behavior.
How do you know you are being shamed? Shame triggers trauma and leaves you feeling hijacked. You start to disappear from your own life. There is also an intense feeling of confusion. You become withdrawn and extremely self-conscious.
He shamed me by rejecting the person I was and instead started to project his own inadequacies into me. If he was suddenly unhappy with his own life, he would shame me. Now, looking back and being far removed from that life, I see that his shaming me was an expression of his own inability to deal with his own personal shame and it had absolutely nothing to do with me.
When we shame someone it corrodes the part of them that believes that they can do better. It’s like pushing them into a dark hole that is difficult to get out of – where they feel flawed and unworthy of connection.
It’s enough that we live in a culture of not enough. Let’s not bring it home or to each other. Instead, let’s actively protect each other’s self-worth.
We are in this world together.
Let’s be delicate with one another.
Inspired by Men, Women & Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough by Brené Brown