June 4, 2022 at 2:25 pm #401839
You are welcome. “I think it’s not going to be an issue for me to read the theory about toxic shame” – reading something in an academic sense/ in theory- will do nothing for you.
You have to read a bit, then practice that bit, and in so doing, bringing your 2-dimentional/ academic- theoretical understanding of things into the 3rd realm (3-D) of practical application and understanding.
“How did you handle your shame..?” – bit by bit, moving from the 2-D understanding to the 3-D understanding, it makes ALL the difference, bit by bit.
anitaJune 4, 2022 at 3:00 pm #401840
You said it well, everything goes “bit by bit”. There is no immediate relief, but a possibility through constant practise in practical application to feel better in my own skin. Unfortunately there is nothing that falls from the sky except maybe rain or snow. I am rethinking to get professional help again, but this time I will search for somebody, who is specialized in BPD. I will directly tell the expert that my issues seem to fit BPD and from there I will see how it goes.
Anita, thank you for listening and exchanging some inputs with me. I wish you a nice weekend.
SeshaJune 4, 2022 at 3:05 pm #401841
You are very welcome. You stated the truth so well in your recent post: nothing falls from the sky except for rain or snow. Thank you and I wish you a nice weekend as well!
anitaJune 6, 2022 at 12:45 pm #401888
I wanted to add to the topic of Toxic Shame which you clearly suffer from. In your original post Feb 28, you wrote: “I got very anxious and paranoid of how other students, professors and even people outside of the university perceived me”. In your second post, you shared about having been in counseling: “I felt more and more uncomfortable in the session. I felt especially ashamed how odd I was”. In your third post, you wrote: “It feels like nobody can handle my oddity”.
Fast forward 7 pages to June 3, you wrote regarding the trainer you were infatuated with: “I felt more and more uncomfortable in my own skin. I was constantly scared that others would notice that I developed a crush on him. I feared that others would judge me and call me names”- this fear that others will think of you as odd and unacceptable is strong.
Toxic shame is about imagining that people who see us or hear us (or touch us, etc.) are thinking terrible things about us. This imagining fills us with what you referred to as “suffocating feeling”, and we suffer a lot, and shut down, and withdraw from people. Toxic shame keeps us from connecting with other people and it keeps us disconnected from ourselves. It also causes us to unfairly judge and/ or shame others. When filled with toxic shame we reject ourselves and we reject others.
Brene Brown is an American research professor known in particular for her research on shame, famous for her appearances on TED Talks. If you haven’t heard of her or if you didn’t listen to her TEDx talks (or if you listened but gave up), you might want to listen to her, giving her talks another chance.
Here are a few of her quotes on shame: “Nothing silences us more effectively than shame”, “We can’t use shame to change ourselves”, on authenticity: “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are”, “Authenticity is .. about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let ourselves be seen”.
On belonging: “Belonging starts with self acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self acceptance
About courage: “Courage start with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”, “The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time”,
“you get (courage) by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging” (quotes from succeed feed. com).
anitaJune 6, 2022 at 2:18 pm #401890
Thank you for your post. It is very thoughtful of you.
I agree with your analysis. Toxic shame does let me “suffer a lot, and shut down, and withdraw from people”. It makes it hard to connect with people and I do disconnect from myself. Because I reject myself, I automatically reject others. How I perceive others are often a mirror of how I perceive myself.
Today I am tired from taking mutiple rounds of mental roller coasters. I will watch the TED Talk from Brene Brown tomorrow and come back to your post.
SeshaJune 6, 2022 at 2:30 pm #401891
You are welcome and thank you for caring to post kindly in response to my post. I hope that you rest from these multiple un-fun (!) rounds of mental roller coasters and come back to your thread tomorrow rested.
anitaJune 8, 2022 at 3:01 pm #401959
Unfortunately I have difficulties to calm down my mind. The past few days I was constantly at the screen to distract myself from my uncomfortable thoughts. But logically that doesn’t help. In the contrary it makes me more tired and depressed. I did research some therapists, but I hesistate to contact any of them. Because I think that they can’t really help me. At the end it’s always a question of how to cope those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings by myself. Probably in the sessions they will ask the same questions like what do I want, how can they help me ect. And if I’m feeling so depressed, I will probably talk badly about myself and spiral down till I reach a point again, where I can’t barely continue my everyday life. I don’t want that to happen again. At the moment I’m really trying to keep up with my life. It’s so horrible that because of seeing that guy, my whole healing progress from more than two months is overrolled with shame and other negative feelings. It literary paralyzed me. I can truly say that is not because of a heartache. It’s really the feeling that others will judge me, reject me, get angry at me and hurt me. I can always give my reasons why I fear those reactions of others like I experienced it as a child with children, parents, teachers, adults and even as an adult with other adults. But that doesn’t count. The way how I can handle it and behave even with those feelings is the only important thing to live in society. I feel really frustrated, hopeless and lonely.
I watched the TED Talk from Brene Brown. She gave a very good presentation.
And I also want to thank you for the quotes. Especially the quote about belonging “Belonging starts with self acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self acceptance” resonates with me. That is also a big issue that I am working on the past four years. I often feel like I don’t belong anywhere and that I don’t know where home is. It’s a inner conflict that comes up from time to time.
Tomorrow is another day. I push again on the refresh button and will see. I hope you are doing better than I do recently. Have a good day.
SeshaJune 8, 2022 at 3:44 pm #401961
You are welcome, glad you watched the TED talk and got something out of it.
“It’s so horrible that because of seeing that guy, my whole healing progress for more than two months is overruled with shame… Tomorrow is another day. I push again on the refresh button” –
it is not too long ago, that I realized how I used to make progress, then something happened and all the progress was gone. I then started again, made progress and the same thing happened, over and over again. This is why I repeat every day, first thing each morning: “I build today on yesterday’s progress; I build tomorrow on today’s progress”.
Healing has to be continuous, otherwise, you start every day from scratch, from zero… and the next day (or the next month)- back to zero. (It reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day, the main character is stuck in the same day, never moving on to the day AFTER).
anitaJune 19, 2022 at 2:15 pm #402724
I hope you’re doing well.
I was away a while from this forum to calm myself down from this situation with that guy. It helped to endure the days to calm down those suffocating feelings. You said that this repetitive loop has a similarity with the movie Groundhog Day. That’s a nice one. I watched that movie a long time ago and it is a really good one. I like it a lot. Yes… Healing will be a life time project.
Unfortunately I took that suffocating feeling to my work and people were irritated by me. I acted weird and felt very uncomfortable. I could feel how some people feel uncomfortable with me and took distance with me. The managers had the feeling that I don’t enjoy the work. That is not really true. I just don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I did my work, but I tried to limit the interactions with others if possible and tried my best to ignore my uncomfortable feeling. The others didn’t take my attitude very well. But really… It didn’t go well. I cried a lot and tried to contact somebody to get a relief from that unbearable feeling not to be ok. I called my father and I was really ugly towards him. Then I called my mother, but she didn’t understand me. I also tried to call my little sister, because at that state I just felt really worthless and I just wanted to hurt myself. But luckily she didn’t pick up. Finally I could reach a friend and she could calm me down a bit. She accepted me as how I am and tried to discuss how I perceive others. Like she said I can’t read the mind of others and I didn’t hurt anybody on purpose. Even if I felt understood, deep down I just drag myself more and more down. The past days was hard again. I think I’m going to quit that job. I am against avoiding but I really can’t cope it.
Last week I started therapy with the online plattform betterhelp. They found a therapist very quickly for me and also had a first online session with her. She was very friendly, but my feeling tells me that she will probably not be able to help me to solve those deep down rooted suffocating feeling. Especially because I am not sure if RTT (rapid transformation therapy) will help. I didn’t find any scientific evidence that it will really help. So the therapy form is questionable. I have to say that I really trying my best to move forward, but I feel very hopeless to ever feel stable enough to not get triggered by human interactions. I know that my self esteem is the problem.
Is there any direction or advice you can give?
SeshaJune 19, 2022 at 2:31 pm #402727
I will read and reply to you in about 2 hours from now.
anitaJune 19, 2022 at 5:13 pm #402738
“Unfortunately I took that suffocating feeling to my work” -I was wondering more about the suffocating feelings:
I think, and correct me if I am wrong, that your suffocating feelings are not feelings in your chest that involve hyperventilation, breathing fast and shallow and as a result, lacking oxygen, is it?
The Joy of Wellness/ Feelings of Suffocation: causes and treatments addresses suffocation feelings of the primarily anxiety kind.
I think that your suffocating feelings have more to do with shame (and the anxiety involved in shame). From a different website- blake psychology. com/ how to escape the suffocation grip of shame:
“Do you know shame? For me, shame is the most painful of all the emotions. Its message is, ‘You are not ok, there is something wrong with you’. And when it bubbles up, I try to run! How do you react, when you feel shame? Shame nearly suffocated me as a teenager when I got the message from my peers that I was not ok because of the shape of my body. I was too tall. Thinking back, it is still palpable to me how that kind of toxic shame felt in my body: the knot in my throat, a heaviness wrapped around my whole body like a lead blanket, and such deep desperation because there was nothing I could do about my height. There was no way for me to become ok, I was stuck and doomed. I was not ok, and would always be not ok.” – does this sound exactly like what you feel? If so, you might want to read more from this website.
I never heard of Rapid Transformation Therapy until you mentioned it. Wikipedia has an entry on it.
I am looking forward to your clarification regarding your suffocating feelings, if you’re okay clarifying it for me.
anitaJune 20, 2022 at 3:35 am #402764
Thank you for your answer. It calms me down a bit that I am not alone with my problem and that you are willing to listen to my suffering. Therefore I am ok to clarify those suffocating feeling.
That suffocating feeling is not physical. I don’t experience hyperventilation, breathing fast and shallow and as a result, lacking oxygen. It’s more mentally. I feel that my thoughts are restless, I feel overwhelmed, sad, angry and I also feel paralyzed.
The little text part from that website sounds like how I feel. I read the article from this website. Self-acceptance and self-love are the key solutions for the issue with shame. It’s really difficult to get to the point, where I don’t get shaken by external circumstances. It really worries me to go back to university if I can’t be stable.
SeshaJune 20, 2022 at 10:34 am #402770
You are very welcome. You shared today that your suffocating feelings (I’ll refer to them today as SF) are not physical, such as involving hyperventilation, breathing fast and shallow and lacking oxygen. Your experience of your SF is more mental: restless thoughts, feeling overwhelmed, sad, angry, paralyzed, shaken by external circumstances.
I want to learn something new today about your SF by going through your 8-page thread. You introduced your SF in the first 3-sentence-paragraph of your original post about 4 months ago: “I feel like I lost every meaning and purpose in life. My head is filled with racing thoughts of self-blame, shame and worry. Also feelings of loneliness and worthlessness suffocate me”.
Although everyone experiences racing thoughts, self-blame, etc., sometimes- your experience of these things is particularly INTENSE.
On March 3, you wrote about your parents: “They feel overwhelmed every time when I get emotional… they can’t bear my emotions”.
In that sentence, I now believe, you introduced the origin of your SF, how they came about: “They feel overwhelmed every time when I get emotional… they can’t bear my emotions” => you feel overwhelmed every time when you get emotional… you can’t bear your emotions.
Next, => “I am somebody very negative and unbearable… Those intense emotions are scary and terrible for others too”.
Your parents expressed feeling overwhelmed by your emotions=> you feel overwhelmed by your emotions=> you formed the core-belief that you are very negative and unbearable, and that OTHER PEOPLE feel overwhelmed by you and feel SCARED AND TERRIBLE to be around you.
I often say that a parent or parents are like a mirror to the child, what the child sees in that mirror, she believes it to be who she really is. What the mirror showed you was an image of yourself that is … like a monster: scary and terrible for others to be around.
“people feel suffocated by me and are searching the distance.. nobody can handle my oddity“, you wrote, still on March 3. Your SF suffocate you and they suffocate other people. At some point, you wrote: “(I am) uncomfortable in my own skin… so tense and nervous around people” – because you believe you are some sort of a monster, you believe that other people notice the monster and are affected by it too, so you are uncomfortable in your own skin and around people.
There are lots of people who feel uncomfortable around people (social anxiety)… but your discomfort is.. again: particularly intense. At this point I think of a monster suffocating you, a monster that lives inside you= an extreme form of a negative self-image.
You wrote someplace: “I want to find a way to become free from my suffocating self” – free from the monster, the monster that terrorizes you when you are alone by yourself (“the tendency during the time I am alone, those suffocating feelings haunt me“) and even more so, when you are around other people.
You wrote: “When those suffocating feelings appear, I can feel how my head feels tense almost like a headache… I can’t think clearly. Everything and everyone don’t matter to me anymore” – it’s like the SF which I now think of as a monster, takes possession of your brain. As it takes possession, your brain hurts, and after it possesses you, it feels like nothing matters.
“I can feel how scared and paralyzed I am while having those suffocating feelings. I feel like I don’t have any joy and energy to do anything” – the monster having possessed your brain paralyzes you and drains the joy and energy out of you.
* My goodness, it just occurred to me that the “intense moaning” you repeatedly mentioned in regard to your behavior (ex. “those intense moaning is not tolerable“) fit the image of a moaning monster.
On May 2, you described who you are when you are not suffocated by your SF/ monster: “I can be calm… I can also be funny, daring and adventurous… I reach out for new people and new experiences to discover… open minded to other perspectives and world views… deeply cares for people who I trust and feel connected with… empathic and understandable person… adaptable, humble and self-determined“.
Let’s look at what the monster did most recently, as you described yesterday, June 19 (I think of “that suffocating feeling” as the monster) : “Unfortunately I took that suffocating feeling to my work”: you took the monster to work.
How did you react/ feel working with the monster: “I acted weird and felt very uncomfortable… I just don’t feel comfortable in my own skin”.
How did people react/ feel working with a monster co-worker?: “people were irritated by me… some people feel uncomfortable with me and took distance with me. The managers had the feeling that I don’t enjoy the work… The others didn’t take my attitude very well”-
the monster didn’t break anything or anyone… It only irritated people perhaps, made them feel uncomfortable so they distanced themselves from the monster and went about their workday as usual.. no big deal. Except that for the person who is IMAGINING that she is a monster it feels terrible, as if the monster broke everything in sight and took people hostage.
At the end of your post yesterday, you asked me: “Is there any direction or advice you can give?” – question is how do you get rid of a monster WHO DOES NOT EXIST? I placed this in big print because it frustrates me: the monster does not exist!
My advice is that you confront the monster (your extreme and exaggerated negative self-image) and dissolve it. What you will find when it dissolves- is a funny, daring, empathetic, understanding, caring young woman with… somewhat of a negative self-image, a self image like that of so many millions of young women, one you can work on and improve. As it is right now (and has been for a long time), your extremely negative self-image is too much to work with, it needs to become less and less extreme, it needs to weaken. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) come to mind.
anitaJune 20, 2022 at 1:36 pm #402777
Again thank you for your time and patience to help me with my issues. I don’t take it for granted.
You brought it to the point. The suffocating monster represent my negative self-image. I have a very poor self-image and I really want to change it.
You are right that in work I didn’t break anything or anyone. But it feels like I offended the others. It feels like everything is my fault and that because I am so weird that people are taking distance from me or even act strange towards me. It feels like I am not allowed to come back if I am like this and need to hide away till I am ok again. So yes… I don’t think good of myself.
I will confront the “monster”. I just don’t know how to weaken it yet. Two weeks ago I bought a CBT journal book to work on myself. But I can see and feel that I need help from others. I will continue to take care of myself and see if the methode of my therapist is going to help me or not.
I really want to be free again in my mind. I want to feel home again. But it needs a lot of time, effort and patience.
SeshaJune 20, 2022 at 6:29 pm #402843
You are welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation.
“I will confront the ‘monster’. I just don’t knowhow to weaken it yet” –
– interestingly, I googled and found “7 Ways To Deal With The ‘Inner Monster’ When It Tries To Take Over (thought catalog. com): #”0: Yes we must start at zero- … The monster energy that possesses me, and probably you too sometimes, does NOT like it that we are talking about it. Because when we are willing to face it, it begins to lose power… #1- Discovering the monster- … That is what happens when we discover it; It‘s rendered a LOT less powerful, even comic…”
Reads good so far, I didn’t read most of it but I like what I did read.