Guilt is about a perception of wrongdoing. Shame is about loss.

I have spent a lot of time with shame and that’s what I think as a result of all of that time we have spent together. I found that on an atlas of emotions, too. (Shame: embarrassment over sadness about a loss.) Shame is from wanting something you aren’t allowed to have. That’s my opinion.

The shame spiral is my mind providing the reasons I am not allowed to have it, and urging me to try harder to control the impulse to get what I am not allowed to have.

When grief is not seen or supported, you end up with shame I think. If someone dies and everyone knows that you have experienced loss, you don’t feel ashamed. You are allowed to want that person to still be alive.

But what about I want my mom to play with me, but she’s sick? I want a cuddle and a story, but she’s depressed? What about I want her to kiss my cut, but she gets mad at me for interrupting her?

What about, even, my mom grew up with abuse and neglect and she feels no one can want her, but she’s my mom, so I want her. I don’t just need her, as a kind of machine who attends to my needs. She fills my whole body with joy, and that has been denied her—that feeling of connection that fills you with joy—and so she rejects me. She rejects everything about herself that was rejected—her needs, her vulnerability, and also her feeling of warmth at being loved.

Loss makes us angry. Anger is a part of grief. I feel like hurting myself in moments of shame, because I think I know what has caused me to experience loss—my own badness—and I have an instinctive need to punish the cause of my loss.

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