Dissecting the Shame
Last week, we discussed “The Changing Seasons Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, which can be found here. This week, we will be dissecting “The Shame Aspect: Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”. One thing about shame is that when it creeps in, it can do a lot of destruction.
Trauma itself can produce a lot of shame because of its symptoms. Depending on what symptom you are trying to control, it can leave you feeling isolated, and wanting to self protect for fear that someone will not empathize with you for your condition. I harbored shame for three reasons: the swinging/aggressive impulse that it caused, the good memory that God had blessed me with had been had been significantly damaged, and last, the physical condition that the trauma left my body in.
Shame of Lost Memory
I took for granted the memory that I was blessed with. It just had always been there. The ability to memorize telephone numbers, social security numbers, birthdays, and spelling bee words all came easy until the trauma. Even names of people became a blur. When you go from having all this, to trying to remember if something happened a week ago, or three weeks ago, because of the time aspect of trauma, it can do a number on you. Even now, my brain hasn’t fully recovered. Sometimes, I am standing with friends and talking, and for the life of me, I just can’t seem to remember their name. At this point, I will try to tell myself to relax, and then not to overthink it, and the name will come to me. I feel so blessed that God has recovered what he has.
Shame of Aggression
The second part of shame that has taken me a long time to talk about is the aggression. When the aggression hits, it leaves you with the impression of wanting to hit something. Since trauma gets stored in your body, the only way for this aggression to improve, is to get it out. I do this at home by doing a kickboxing style type of move to release the anger from my body. Also, if you don’t go to therapy where it’s safe to talk about the trauma, it just remains stored in your body. Unfortunately, this symptom of aggression from trauma stemmed from seeing my mother abused when I was a kid. I didn’t know it was traumatic until the trauma of my ex-husband’s behavior in the home right before my divorce, coupled with the fact that my daughter was eleven years old at the time. He was planning on leaving the home, and this brought my childhood surface of trauma to the forefront. I was also eleven when my dad left the home. His exit was also traumatic for me. It involved coming home, and then almost everything you own being gone from the house, including him.
Shame of Physical Burnout
The last part of shame from trauma that I dealt with is the physical aspect. I was in a compromised state. Since my ex-husband wasn’t paying the proper amount of money, I figured that I had to go back to work to make ends meet. I got a job that came with a high price: toxicity. From start to finish of working there, it mirrored the emotionally abusive marriage I had just left. I should have quit halfway through when my body started falling apart, but I didn’t. It was nine months of Sodom and Gomorrah, and everything in between there. I was in such a jacked up state, that I couldn’t think straight. At one point, I probably should have been hospitalized because of physical exhaustion, thyroid crisis, and adrenal gland crisis. I also suffered with chronic fatigue on a daily basis. It took a good almost three years before my body starting responding to the thyroid medication again. More shame crept in because during these three years I was more concerned with living up to everyone else’s expectations than living with reality of my situation. It was also at this point that I should have filed for disability, but I didn’t.
Hope from God
What does God tell us about shame of any kind when we are dealing with it? Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7. I hope that this discussion on shame has been a source of healing and encouragement.