Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Toxic Shame is Self Blame

Toxic shame is the result of childhood abuse in the most important formative years, between the ages of 0 to 7. Toxic shame is the residue of neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. Toxic shame is what comes in place of love, trust, security, peace and contentment. Toxic shame is, in effect, a child and later adult blaming herself.

Toxic shame never goes away. It fills the holes left behind from unmet childhood developmental needs. The little human takes all the blame from the abusive adult, primary caregiver especially.

A child cannot bare to know that its caretakers are abusive or wrong in anyway, because their brains and psyche's aren't formed yet.  Instead of seeing things clearly a child's mind automatically takes the blame for every bad thing done to it and subconsciously HATES HIMSELF FOR IT. So, the child not only hurts from the abuse itself and lack of needs being met, but the child also takes on the shame of the caretakers and blames themselves for everything. This is very hard on the mind, however, it's better than crashing the harddrive. This process allows the child to mature, while repressing the truth of what's really happening to a later date, when, hopefully, the adult can handle it better. The truth, that is.

This toxic shame is like a green gunk haze over the lives of the survivor / adult. It colors everything in a negative light. You see yourself in some present-day situations as if there was something horribly wrong with you, because you're triggered back to this place of toxic shame. You feel like you're to blame, it's all your fault, and like you're supposed to fix everything, control everything...

You do anything to rid yourself of the pain of toxic shame, seek external sources of approval, relationship addiction, toxic relationships, drugs, drinking, gambling, obsessions and the like.

But there is nothing that fills the gap. The only thing that heals toxic shame is recognizing it, facing the truth, grieving your losses and meeting yourself with loving compassion. You have to show the child inside your heart the truth once and for all.

You can be healed from toxic shame. You can feel better in all areas of your life; don't settle for less. Get the help and healing you need.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Releasing Shame: Shame Falls Off in Stages

Shame falls off in stages, like literal skin being shed. It reminds me of the coating on an m&m that starts cracking when you become aware of it. Become aware of shame by being mindful of your own body, thoughts, feelings, impulses. Start to categorize every impulse and feeling like this:

- sad
- angry
- happy
- content
- peaceful
- disturbed
- awkward
- comfortable

Then start tracking the negative emotion you feel. Then start looking at that negative emotion, the patterns of when you feel that way. As you know yourself, you begin to see your shame emerge.

Start dealing with little shame first, and the spiral will lead you to bigger shame. Just keep digging. Get all that toxic shit out. Face it, feel it, express it. Get to the truth.

The shame holds lies and is perpetuated by lies that you're not good enough. Shame is a feeling that occurs when you're feeling less than who you really are. Shame is caused by lies. Any time you feel it, you can know that the core belief underneath is a lie.

The shame protects you when you're young to bond with abusive caretakers, however, it kills all relationships for you as an adult and renders you powerless and weak to exploitation by other abusers. 

When you do release the shame, and see it for what it is--lies, stupid, ignorant lies.  That is the best feeling in the world!!! You will know it when it falls off, you will feel like you've been reborn. It falls off in stages, like literal skin being shed. 

It's like no other high I've ever felt. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Narcissists Lead You With Your Own Shame

The narc appeals to the false self, but cuts you at the true self. They can only get a wounded person, a person with a wounded, shame-covered true self. If you want to get free, you have to build your self esteem by removing the layers of shame from your true self.
The narcissist will lead you around by the neck using your own shame as a muzzle. If you want to be free of your bond with narcissists, then deal with your own shame. Then the narcs have no way to get power over you. Process your own weak spots, that is, shame, so you can be protected from exploitation. 

When you are ashamed of who you are as a person, you create a false self. Your true self goes into hiding because of a feeling called shame. A false self rises up to cover the shame core. This is not real shame, but toxic shame which is born of childhood abuse (emotional, sexual, physical, psychological).

The false self is the part of you that is fooled by the narcissist. The false self, the ego, so to speak... the part of you that compares yourself to others. The part of you that's always on the lookout to get love or mourn for love that's gone... the part of you that thinks it's nothing without external validation... people pleaser, that's the only part of you that can be fooled into a narcissistic traps.
That part of you exists because of shame. Shame that you are no good inside. This is a lie that is embedded into children who are neglected and abused. Instead of love and getting your needs met as a child, you were left with shame, pain and anguish.

True narcissists have so much of the false self, they can't go near it. Others who are codependent have a false self that's easier to dismantle.

Shame is what you have to face at the core.

You have to keep returning to it again and again. Thinking about it, embracing it, writing about it, doing art, processing it, talk therapy, reading books, just massaging that bullshit right out of your system until in your eyes you see it as a speck on a giant earth from outer space. Until it no longer phases you.

Break off the shame by

1. Noticing it.
2. Embracing it.
3. Separating yourself from it.
4. Positive Self Talk
5. Self Compassion/ Empathy

Friday, March 11, 2016

Breaking Free from the Narcissist

Dear Jenna, 

I've been in a relationship with a person who has NPD. At first I didn't know about NPD or if he had it but I observed him and figured it out. He was never there for me, not even the time when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. The problem is I'm emotionally attached to him and I'm an empath. He has just taken advantage of me in various ways and I've always given in. I want to break free but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. He is still a mystery to me even after 2.5 years and I'm aware that he has cheated on me either by flirting with other women or by not letting me in completely in his life. His words never equal his actions but my addiction to him is like me being addicted to cigarettes. Want to leave but cannot. I'm in pain, Jenna. Please help.

I was there. You MUST get out. It can literally kill you. I had a heart attack due to all the abuse, etc... Take little steps each day, become aware, use your empathy on yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You CAN get out. It's not easy. There is pain you must face, lies you must untangle. I'd say about 1 year of excruciating emotional pain is necessary as you discover the truth about why you're truly attached to someone who is abusing you.

The reason you love the narcissist is because you have yet to face some truths in your life. There are other people (parents maybe?) whom you have yet to realize were abusive to you and are potentially still abusing you. You love a narcissist when you are split from yourself. This split is akin to DID where you have multiple personalities and amnesia walls. These amnesia walls hide the truth from you because it's unbearable pain. In order to break free of this addiction to the narcissist, you must break down the amnesia walls and integrate your personality. You must face every lie, and face the truth no matter how painful.

This truth for me was that people in my life I thought loved me, in reality were stabbing me in the back and keeping me in a prison.

This narcissist addiction is in your life for a reason as a pointer to your healing. It is a call to come out of the fog and face the truth. I recommend reading Alice Miller's books and also to brace yourself to handle some deep secrets about who really loves you and who is stabbing you in the back.

Our current relationships are a repeat of our childhood patterns. You are not in love with the narc. You are trying to get your parent(s) to love you and projecting that loyalty onto the narc.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flattery + Invalidation = Manipulation + Control

It is possible for someone to BUILD YOU UP, yet invalidate your existence at the same time. This occurs when someone you trust, someone you turn to for inner security tells you,

"You're wonderful, you shouldn't feel that way"

"When I was your age I felt like this... or this... or this..."

"You're crazy!!! You've got the world at your fingertips!!! How could you be depressed???"

"You have such a beautiful smile, why are you frowning?"

"You have everything you want and need. Why are you sad?"

"He meant well, he didn't mean to hurt you. You shouldn't feel that way."

"You are successful and life is good to you, so you shouldn't feel angry towards your father."

"You are right. You have a bad dad, however, he is your father, you should go see him even though he makes you feel uncomfortable."

"Look how beautiful you are!!! Why are you feeling depressed and lonely?"

"You just don't want anybody in your life. That's why you're still single. If you wanted someone, you could be with anybody you want."

All of these covert manipulative tactics of an abusive person who is invalidating the truth, the existence of the victim. The victim feels built up on one hand, yet as though their feelings are invalid on the other. This is a double-bind, and the substance of a "trauma bond" with "intermittent reinforcement." Any time your feelings are invalid, YOU ARE INVALID. You must disagree and stand up to anyone who tries to tell you that how you feel in the moment is wrong. THEY ARE WRONG.

You need people who are strong enough to stand with you no matter what feelings manifest. You need people around you who give you freedom to be who you are without trying to change you so they feel more comfortable... and who are not trying to make a winner out of you so they can get the credit.


Subtle Invalidation Tactics

Invalidation is damaging to the soul of the one being invalidated. Abused individuals are conditioned from childhood to believe that their own thoughts and feelings are wrong, bad and shameful. Invalidation is a tool used by psychological abusers like narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths in order to keep their victims off-balance.

Some people who grew up in an environment of invalidation will invalidate others unintentionally. Not everyone who invalidates is abusive, but every time one is invalidated, it is harmful and hurtful. It's crucial that you learn the subtle signs of invalidation, because it's not always obvious.

Watch out for these signs of subtle invalidation:

1. Withdrawing, ignoring, silent treatment. You can be invalidated by someone who never utters a word. If someone ignores what you are saying, this is a subtle form of invalidation, meant to send a message to you (albeit subconsciously) that you are less than, invalid and worthy of being ignored. Don't stand for it! Make your voice heard or move-on.

2. Sighing. If someone sighs or otherwise shows sign of disapproval whenever you express your feelings about anything, this is a form of invalidation. Your feelings are your feelings are your feelings, they are not wrong or right, they just are. If anyone insinuates with a disapproving sigh whenever you express a feeling--regardless of who it is about or what... then you are being invalidated. You need to reaffirm your right to feel as you feel, set a boundary, make it clear to yourself and to the invalidating other that you have the right to feel how you do.

3. Changing the subject. If someone changes the subject whenever you express how you feel about something, this is a form of invalidation. It is their way of saying, "What you feel is worth ignoring." and "Something else is more important than how you feel" and "You are invisible." It is your job to steer the conversation back to your own feelings, stand up, speak up, set boundaries and only spend time in the presence of people who respect you.

4. Minimizing your feelings. If you tell someone how you feel about a person, place, thing or situation, and that person minimizes whatever you feel by telling you it's not that bad or anything that implies that how you feel is not accurate, or too much, or that you're too sensitive, then you're being invalidated. No one has the right to do this to you! Stand up for yourself and feel confident in expressing your full-range of emotions. Surround yourself with people who respect how you feel and who are willing to listen to you without trying to change you.

Feelings are not debatable. 


One of the big wake-up calls I had was about the concept of INVALIDATION. I never understood it before, but I found, as I started coming out of "the fog" in my early 40s--I found that I was being severely invalidated by my own self and others. This invalidation caused a bulk of my emotional pain. I was not on my own side, and I didn't realize that people I thought loved me were actually invalidating me all around.

Invalidation is the process of telling someone that how they're feeling is NOT OKAY. Invalidation is psychological abuse. Our feelings are our feelings are our feelings. Feelings are neither good or bad, right or wrong. When you do not support how a loved-one feels, you are putting toxic shame on them and causing them to feel shame for being who they are.

As a child I felt shame for my feelings. I was shamed for having feelings and needs. I was told not to cry, or I would be given something to cry about. I was told that I was wrong to be afraid of a train that was coming towards our car as my step-father sped up to cross the tracks before it hit us. I was yelled at for screaming when I saw a fire on the stove in the kitchen. Everywhere I turned, I was made to feel bad for how I felt. This means, I was made to feel toxic shame for who I was.

What you feel is what you are. No feelings are bad. If you feel uncomfortable, that is okay. No one should be telling you it is not okay to feel exactly how you feel at any given moment.

As a child, when you are invalidated, it has disastrous consequences. It causes you to feel shame for being, for feeling and for existing. This bad feeling causes you to lose touch with your true self, your own intuition and guiding force, because you are taught that your truth is wrong and something to hide in shame. Invalidation literally keeps you from yourself, from your truth. It makes you abandon yourself in every sense of the word and build a FALSE SELF to please those around you. You lose track of who you are.

The only alternative to being invalidated is confusion, extreme pain and addiction to soothe the inner-ache.

Invalidation happens in mini-increments every day according to how healthy you are. If you are healthy, you can CATCH INVALIDATION and correct it for your own benefit. If someone tells you, or implies that how you feel is not good, then you must stand up for your true feelings and have a voice and set boundaries.

Invalidation is a primary tool of the narcissist to keep their victims off balance and second guessing themselves. An invalidated person who has been conditioned to invalidate themselves is a perfect victim as they are easily controlled, manipulated and exploited. The invalidated person has no idea who they are!!! They don't know how they feel because they disconnected from their true feelings as children.

Validating yourself in adulthood through the healing process is essential for healing. A healthy person is a validated person. You need help to feel validated. A therapist is the best source, but you can also find validation in other ways, such as this group, YouTube Videos, articles, books, etc... You need gobs of validation to heal, and you need to learn to correct invalidation that comes your way.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of invalidation, I urge you to learn more about it. I have articles about invalidation on this blog.

INVALIDATION is the cause of perpetual rewounding. There is so much I could say... but that's all the time I have. Reach for your healing, every step is a masterpiece. heart emoticon Jenna
Great info on invalidation: