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Relieving Yourself Of Shame, Blame, And Guilt

P.S.: This post is not for the sociopathic narcissist!

When someone confronts you about something they think you have done. Do you react with feelings of shame, blame, and/or guilt? It has been easy for me to do this. I have been brought up with a strict Christian background and my mother’s reaction to my misbehavior was to withdraw her love. She didn’t have to shame me, blame me, or make me feel guilty as it was all wrapped up into one.

Recently I was reading in Christian literature and I found out once you have asked God to forgive you and you have accepted His forgiveness, you no longer have to feel shame. In fact, if this doesn’t happen, you have not really accepted His forgiveness. In fact, you should no longer feel unhappy if it is not necessary. This does not relieve you of making amends if needed.

There are plenty of people out there waiting to attack good souls and to make the good souls feel bad in order to avoid feeling bad themselves. It could be the work of the Devil according to Christian beliefs. Initially, you might feel shame about how bad a person you might be to do something like this. Guilt comes when you accept blame and realize how doing such behavior might reflect on you as a person. Now you will have to do something about it to make amends and this releases the other person from feeling bad themselves and accepting responsibility for their retaliatory behavior. It usually takes the focus off them.

Once when I was working as a student in a clinic, my female supervisor took me aside and told me that the staff had been noticing that I smelled bad. Well, I washed and dry cleaned all my clothes and never went to work without taking a bath or shower. Still, she was taking me aside and telling me I smelled bad. I was feeling worse and worse in my position as a student in the clinic. If they stopped me from coming, I couldn’t keep my trainee position and that would go on my record.

Well, some way on my own, I figured out that it was my perfume. I liked that kind of perfume or I wouldn’t have been wearing it. Needless to say, this freaked me out from ever wearing any perfume. It wasn’t my fault, it had never been my fault. I had never had this happen to me before. I didn’t realize that such a thing could happen, but my body chemistry acted adversely with the chemistry of my perfume. Still, maybe my supervisor or someone on the staff could have figured that out too. I don’t think that I ever got an apology from my supervisor or the staff.

Sometimes the policy is jump first; think later. How much shame, blame, and guilt did I go through in that situation? Even if you are guilty and you are going to confess it and make amends, how much do feelings of shame, blame, and guilt interfere? Do you resist doing this and spend sleepless nights dealing with the potential self-righteous feelings of others and your already depressing feelings of shame, blame, and guilt. Do you plan to make reasonable amends, and would like to eventually feel better about yourself and feel good enough so that you will not be trapped back into your addiction so that you will momentarily feel better, but realize in the long run you will be in a worse position and you will have dug an even deeper hole for yourself.

Confrontation can be a delicate thing to do even if you are right. Many people may just jump out and do it because they feel righteous especially if they are rule-following, Bible-thumping hypocrites as they miss some of the less obvious Christ-like behaviors that would be more appropriate. Again I may repeat, but when my children were small, no older than 4,2, and 1, I got them ready for church and brought them to the church by myself, I was worn out when I got there. At least one of us had to change our clothes once before we left home. When I got there and was getting the littlest ones out of car seats, I had to watch other cars pulling into parking spaces so that they didn’t run over the little ones once I got them out. We sat in the back of the church (no nursery) and the oldest took off for the altar and I was helpless but eventually, I got them under control, not as much as I would have liked, but I had no help.

Once the church was over and it was time for Sunday school. a very well-dressed older woman came into the bathroom and let me have it citing how it would not have happened when her children were little and bragged about how her children turned to be professionals and well-recognized in their fields. Then soon another woman came into the bathroom and joined in. I went home crushed and decided to quit going to church. Then the second woman called and apologized. Did I initially feel shamed, blamed, and guilty? Now, don’t you think someone should have helped me in church? It would have been the Christian thing to do. Also, several times when the oldest had misbehaved in church, I would manage somehow to take him out onto the church steps and spank him.

Finally, sometimes it is better to think about something you have done and are feeling guilty to think about how you handled it considering the circumstances and either store it away as an experience or lay it to rest and go on feeling relieved of shame, blame, and guilty for the moment. P.S.: feeling shame, blame, and or guilt can keep you from laying something to rest and going on in a new direction. For me, God forgiving my sins means I can go on from here and lay matters to rest so I can do something about them if I need to without unnecessary shame, blame, and guilt getting in the way.

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