Speak to Shame
A few days ago I was sitting with a victim of sex abuse who had recently told her "story" in a large group setting. She explained to me that in that moment, and ever since, she had felt deep shame. My response to her was, "speak to the shame." Her response was, "how?" Here is what I suggested: First, shame is actually an emotion and was not meant to be a state of "being." At the time you were molested, you felt shame. Because there was no place to process it or release it, the emotion got trapped and morphed into a sense of identity. It isn't. You felt shame. You aren't shame. If you will "speak" to the shame saying, 'you are an emotion, I am not shame', you move the emotion into the proper category. Use your power of agreement and don't agree with shame as identity. Agree that it is an unprocessed emotion. Second, take a look at what is producing the shame. In other words, to what is the shame attached? Is the shame about your body responding? About "allowing" it to happen? About what you said or did that "caused" it? Or that it happened at all? Speak the truth to that attachment. An example: if you discover that you feel shame because you ended up molested because you asked for a hug, speak the truth that a child should be able to ask for a hug and NOT be molested. The shame that someone took advantage of a child's legitimate need belongs to the other person. Free the shame up from what keeps it grounded in you. Third, process the shame. Because you have identified and spoken truth to the reason you felt shame, it no longer has such a core root hold. Allow yourself to acknowledge you felt shame, and state it no longer has a basis; because it belongs elsewhere, you can release it. You may even feel some shame in the moment, however, because it has been acknowledged, shifted and experienced, it will complete if you allow it. I recognize that this a, b, c isn't simple or foolproof. I hesitate to even provide a step process. Because, no matter what skill or step anyone proposes to you, it only works if you are ultimately willing to mak the shift. Sometimes people are reluctant to let go of things and shift. If you find yourself in that position, ask, "What does holding on to _____ do for me? Do I hide behind it so I don't have to_____. Only you can ultimately speak to shame and release yourself.