Brene Brown tells us that we all have shame, “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.” Courage on the other hand is derived by willingness to be vulnerable and real. Not popular in many settings especially when fear and the attempt to manage it are contained through control.
I grew up with a single mom who got pregnant in her teens, who was shamed and rejected and carried the mark of her shame into parenting. This led to a childhood that included thirteen terrifying moves where I learned great navigating and coping skills. I learned how to disconnect, bury my pain, anger and fear, so I could start again in a new locations.
I remember being a fourteen-year-old girl that easily looked eighteen; occasionally drug along to bars with my mom. Even though I was still a child, I developed quite the self-sufficient mask to camouflage my irregular upbringing and cover up my fear and shame. I formulated what I thought was the answer to my need for love by learning to please, keep quiet, not rock the boat, and all manner of “good girl” control. I had little idea that I had less control of my inner world than I perceived. I had no idea that many of my responses were due to feeling out of control.
Hollywood and Love
In my early twenties, finally hitting bottom in Hollywood with an eating disorder, total desperation and no sense of myself, I encountered a collision with God that saved me from suicide, instantly healed me of the dreadful cycle of binging and purging and uncontrollable obsession with food that I had struggled with for six years.
I ran smack dab into Unconditional Love. The problem was I also moved right into a fear based culture that continued to reinforce performing, striving, working to be acceptable, earning love and covering up shame.
Sadly, church culture continued my cycle of shame with the popular weapons of control, silencing, and enforcing compliance, all within “talk” of love but propagating fear and groupthink. Although I genuinely found God and was carried through widowhood into new discoveries about myself, I was right in the middle of the familiar dynamics I learned in childhood. I thrived for a time as a successful little striver, but eventually the house of cards tumbled.
The struggle for worth, competition, and the politics of others clamoring to be seen, accepted and winner of top turf, instigated the necessary bad guy, good guy standoff. Boom the shaming and shunning began.
Overnight I experienced the loss of the community I had healed with after the death of my husband, reminiscent of the separation of my family of origin. My children lost the father figures they looked up to. This was a devastating blow that caused all of the pieces to come tumbling out and my systems to be irreparably broken. This led me on a long, painful, wonderful journey to my true self.
Fear is the fuel that drives shame. Shunning could be considered shaming. It’s actually heartbreaking to think a culture based on the love would reinforce and propagate fear. The question: How could the people who follow Love know so little about it has existed throughout the ages?
A religious mindset is what fueled the Crusades, crucified Jesus, has been known for bombing abortion clinics, bashing gays and sending airplanes of innocent people into buildings, all in the name of religion and the love of God. The truth is religion and love, are not companions.
Before you go crazy about that statement understand that my definition of religion is not the same as faith, but rather an ego and fear driven system of performance and control. In reality, a faith-based relationship with God cannot be defined by a set of values, adherence to outer rules, performance, or any quality. In fact when my son was removed from the team captain position in basketball, it was based on the fact that someone could measure the students faith level and determine suitability. What? Really?
I often wondered what it was that we actually did? When the rules consistently change, it reinforces adaptive behavior that weaves and bobs to avoid the smite of rejection.
Oh Shit! That’s what we did! We broke the unspoken oath, the silent code, the one that says, “Never challenge the system, comply, and stay silent and controlled!
Through the years as I stumbled into greater "shame resilience" I have come to realize the importance and absolute freedom in telling my story. I have come to understand the absolute necessity of speaking up instead of silently banishing myself, or adhering to a system of shame. We are only as sick as out secrets.
For years I felt conflicted, and incongruent, struggling with the feeling of polarity, opposites within myself that I could not reconcile, a religious system that was terribly harmful with my belief and faith in Christ. Like so many I know who ran out under the cover of night to seek counseling and healing in a culture that disapproved, I discovered the necessity of separating myself from what became an abusive environment, so I could heal. I continued on in healing and growing in my personal relationship with God, realizing that it was and is my responsibility alone to define my relationship with God.
This began the ferocious learning curve of pulling my head out of the sand, years of seeking what I had not found locked in an exclusive culture. I studied, I read, I trained and I encountered God in new and life altering measures. I reclaimed my smarts, my power and my own inherent God beauty and God identity that I had allowed to be measured, judged and tossed to the curb.
I've come to understand that it’s through my own vulnerability that I reconcile myself. I don’t have to fix the religiosity that confounds and often makes me ill. It has always existed and always will. It exists within me or I wouldn’t have been drawn to it. Pride exists within all of us. I no longer need to be accepted. What I need is to love myself and be myself. In that, God and I have never been on a better path, or in more agreement about me. If you didn't read my previous post, "I'm In Recovery!" you might want to check it out here http://moxieme.com/im-in-recovery/
Need to get untamed and unshamed? Contact me about coaching! Kimber@moxieme.com