By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT
When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that comes and goes, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful. Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction. We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves. We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves. We all have our own specific triggers or tender points that produce feelings of shame. The intensity of our experience varies, too, depending upon our prior life experiences, cultural beliefs, personality, and the activating event.
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Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT
Author of Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You
Ebooks: 10 Steps to Self-Esteem, Spiritual Transformation in the Twelve Steps and How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and Codependency’s Best Daily Reflections
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