Shame. We teach our girls to be ashamed. By constantly bombarding them with pictures of skinny models, wearing beautiful clothes and looking like plastic due to botox and other medical procedures, for vanity. We as a society promote beauty, as the main criteria for our girls to strive for. We then shame them further by saying, ‘don’t wear that, or cover yourself up.’ Shouldn’t we be teaching our girls confidence and authenticity. Not superficial vanity. We shame our girls into striving for perfection, yet when she doesn’t believe she measures up to the perfect image society has stipulated for her, she learns to accept shame and grows ashamed of herself.

This shame that we as a society teach, is the perfect breeding ground for abuse and will be used as a weapon against her, so that if she dare to venture away from the grip of her abuser, the conditioning she has accepted from the shame she carries within, will enable further punishment, from the abuser, and again off herself. She pays the  price for the shame we have taught her, she pays twice. Once, from her abuser, twice, from herself. Maybe a third layer of shame is added, should her family shun her too! Is it any suprise why she stays!

She’s ashamed of herself, of what she has allowed. She is ashamed of her life, each passing year adds to her backpack full of shame. She’s ashamed because she doesn’t believe she is enough. She’s ashamed because the magazines all show happy, skinny, well dressed, and perfect. She feels sad, chubby, ugly, unkempt, and totally imperfect.
She is ashamed because she prayed, hoped and wished for her lover to stop hitting, to stop verbally calling names, to stop threatening her safety, to see sense in his behaviour. She is ashamed because she said no, only to be told she has no right to say no? She lost her rights the day she married! She lost her human rights the day she bared her soul! She is ashamed because she wasted so much love and hope, for a broken rainbow that didn’t want to be fixed. She’s ashamed because she was conned, hoodwinked, by the big bad wolf. She’s ashamed to admit the things he did to her. She’s ashamed because she believed his promises, that always failed to materialise. She’s ashamed to admit, she cowers as he shouts and screams at her. She’s ashamed to ask for help. She’s ashamed to tell you she was raped. She’s ashamed that she believed in redemption. She’s been consumed by shame, and now she has to face further shaming, off her community.

‘She brought it on herself…..she must of asked for that bruise, nobody lashes out without provocation!….she’s pathetic for staying and deserves everything she gets……don’t bother telling me, it’s all bullshit, she’s knows what he’s doing and can leave at any time  I don’t feel sorry for her at all, it’s her own fault…..she’s got sour grapes at being dumped again……she’s bitter at the relationship ending…..all couples fight…..serves her right for answering him back……Another man hater…..She’s lying….All women need to be put in their place….’

Shame is that feeling that she is defective or not enough, that what or who she is, is wrong. That uncomfortable, underlying fear of being left behind, excluded, or abandoned. Unlike guilt, shame does not immediately feel better by acknowledging it. In fact acknowledging it can seem to confirm shame, then denial steps in, so shame and denial are rarely far apart. Denial of the event, adds to the shame that is accumulated. When shame is internalized, the actions between two people in a relationship, are driven in some way to avoid abandonment, or to speed up abandonment. This being the core wound that binds the two opposites into the dysfunctional bond and is used as the motivation for manipulation. The possibility of a relationship ending is almost intolerable for the one trying to avoid abandonment. (Jail, if they have left physical marks). The ones trying to speed up abandonment, (seeking out conflict and drama – narcissistic abuse) to begin the cycle again. When you look at the two opposite viewpoints in domestic abuse, you begin to recognise that shame is the driving factor, for both parties.

The truth is the perpetrator, is ashamed of himself. Ashamed that he isn’t good enough, but rather than face his own emotional wound, like a man. Instead, he projects it onto the person who he is attached to. Therefore, he is free from any blame and can continue to avoid any responsibility or accountability for his own, rejected internal shame.

Internalised shame is widely distributed in our culture! Isn’t it time we changed this? Isn’t it time we celebrated our daughters and embraced their flaws and imperfections, helping them to discover and embrace themselves, without the need for shame!

2 thoughts on “Shame

  1. Never can too much be written about the power of shame in our culture. I was heartened in Australia to see there is now a commercial helping express the need for girls and women to love themselves for their exact size and body shape. Its so toxic and so pervasive. Collective culture and parents, schools religions also set girls and women up for later abuse by devaluing them. I was ridiculed for my tall lanky body and bucked teeth as a youngster. Excellent subject for a post.


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