The Cupcake incident – a personal story of Shame and Guilt

'Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong shame is the feeling of being something wrong.' Marilyn J. Sorensen 

Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong – Marilyn J. Sorensen

If something bad happens, do you normally think it is your fault and search for what you did wrong?

Many survivors of child abuse automatically blame themselves for anything bad, and feel guilty and ashamed most of the time – especially about anything related to their immediate family.

Can you remember how old you were when you first felt this way?

Where do our feelings of guilt and shame come from?

Darlene, a survivor of multiple types of child abuse, explains one of the things that gave her the core belief that bad things were always her fault, and that the abuse was her fault.

The Cupcake incident – How Shame and Guilt get misapplied to the Self

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“It’s my fault. It’s always my fault” – Self-blame

Do you feel at fault all the time? Do you feel like everything bad that happens is somehow your fault? If you were abused, do you blame yourself for the abuse?

A difficult childhood or childhood abuse commonly cause a person to believe everything is their fault. This core belief, or pattern of thinking, affects ordinary, everyday life, often causing shame, excessive or inappropriate guilt, low self esteem and of course depression.

Have you ever thought about where this of belief might come from?

Read an example here about Darlene’s adventures in the snow, and finally coming to realize that maybe not everything is her fault.

Recognizing the Origin of Self Blame – Adventures in the snow (emergingfrombroken.com)

What is Omnipotence?

Does everything feel like it's Your Fault? "there was a time when a family friend had a premature baby and another friend was sick with Leukemia... My wish was that they would both get better, they both died... I felt guilty and responsible. I thought they had died because I had been greedy asking for two wishes to come true,I genuinely believed it was my fault. " " A therapist in hospital said I believe I have 'an omnipotent power', the ability to control everything, fix everything, make everything better and she was absolutely correct. Everything is somehow my fault, my responsibility. " Katharine Wealthall, Little Steps.

Does everything feel like it’s Your Fault?
“there was a time when a family friend had a premature baby and another friend was sick with Leukemia… My wish was that they would both get better, they both died… I felt guilty and responsible. I thought they had died because I had been greedy asking for two wishes to come true,I genuinely believed it was my fault. “
” A therapist in hospital said I believe I have ‘an omnipotent power’, the ability to control everything, fix everything, make everything better and she was absolutely correct. Everything is somehow my fault, my responsibility. ” Katharine Wealthall, Little Steps

If you are still struggling, consider this: if everything really is your fault, then you must have the power to cause every bad (or good) thing that happens. Do you really believe you have the power to control the whole world, for instance to force nature to create particular weather, or to force otherwise people to commit crimes that they do not choose to commit?

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Visit the website http://traumadissociation.com

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PTSD is not a mark of shame

PTSD, however, is not a mark of shame… no matter whether if comes from childhood sexual abuse, rape, war, motor vehicle accident or anything else.

Time to pass the shame and guilt of abuse back onto the abusers (military vets – if you were mistreated and abused by the VA or military, it’s time to pass that back too).

War Wounds.

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Over-Responsibility and Self-Blame

 The powerlessness of trauma had left me without a sense of autonomy. For too long I had mindlessly enacted the relational templates of my upbringing, unable to choose when to say yes and when to say no, and enmeshed in a destructive morass of compulsive care-giving alongside chronic self-neglect. I said yes to everyone else, andno to myself. Other people mattered; I did not. And so, breakdown.

Carolyn Spring, Boundaries

Responsibility and Overresponsibility

Responsibility and blame can be tricky for people who have experienced traumatic experiences, especially in childhood. A neglected child may grow up having to take responsibility for caring for themselves, and possibly other siblings or a parent. The basic emotional and practical needs include regular food, clean clothing, medical care, being shown how to manage their own emotions and being comforted when hurt or sad. Adults responsibilities are pushed onto a neglected child; instead of being gradually learning small responsibilities in an age-appropriate way. Accepting responsibility for too many things can then become automatic, and saying “no” to things becomes very difficult.

Self-blame

Many children (and adults) who have been abused also feel a lot of self-blame, and shame. An abuser (or abusers) may compound the effect of abuse with statements blaming their victim, such as “it was your fault”, “you made me do it”. Others who are told about or become aware of the abuse may struggle to accept it, and engage in “victim-blaming“. The only person responsible for the abuse (or another poor behavior) is the person who carried it out.

Trauma victims commonly blame themselves. Blaming oneself for the shame of being a victim is recognized by trauma specialists as a defense against the extreme powerlessness we feel in the wake of a traumatic event. Self-blame continues the illusion of control shock destroys, but prevents us from the necessary working through of the traumatic feelings and memories to heal and recover.”
Sandra Lee Dennis

Posttraumatic stress disorder’s diagnostic criteria also recognizes that trauma can cause distorted thinking (cognitive distortions) which result in inappropriate self-blame. Working towards facing the self-blame means facing the very painful reality of being totally powerless during the time of the trauma(s). But it is often recognized that challenging and working through feelings of inappropriate self-blame allow survivors of trauma to heal.

Self-blame, denial, avoidance and the desire to be “normal”

This is a great article about the messages from a childhood of abuse – self-blame, denial, amnesia and trying to act “normal” figure out what “normal” actually is.

All mixed in with a bit of humor…

Seeking "normality"

Seeking “normality”

http://www.pods-online.org.uk/multiplaparts.pdf