Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about Shame once again, this time we hit even closer to home, with shame of your behavior and what happened to you.
Shame is powerful in keeping victims silent and punishing themselves, so we talk about it to reduce its influence and hopefully free everyone we can from it.
It is hard enough to speak about what happened without the shame. What happened is most of the times a dark story, if told in all its details… unlike the society friendly short version we often tell.
The words often come by hard enough, as we tell what hurt us … or is hurting us. There are many good reasons why there seems to be a huge hurdle to overcome to just be able to speak about it.
The shame is really an unnecessary addition to it- - which is why we go now after this factor, that makes it harder than needed.
First we talk about the shame of your behavior, first an overview - then 'why did I let it happen?' and then about the shame about what happened to you, first the shame of defeat and then of what others have.
Shame of your behavior - Overview
There is no easy way to get into this very sensitive topic; the shame of what you did. I try to tread as careful as I can, as I know this is a topic of deep hurt for so many people.
Especially people who fear not being believed will often deny having done anything wrong, out of fear of punishment, loss of all favor and/or people saying they deserve what happened to them.
They might be in complete denial of it happening. But we focus now on the shame of what you did, be it because you were told to do so, you feel you had to or you thought you should.
Now the reason of these three is not a good way to categorize them. The more important thing is: Where you in power? Were you free to do what you want to do?
People underestimate the incredible power manipulators can have… they can convince you that the action was your idea, even though you can’t even truly explain WHAT you are doing.
And others don’t even care enough to make you think it was your idea, they just make you obey, if you want to or not. Just sometimes being unable to disobey.
You might have many questions why you behaved this or that way.
One of the question is, why did I just let this happen? If you were a child, the answer is pretty simple: You couldn’t think of it and depending on your opponent, it wasn’t even an option.
I try to address a few as far I am aware of them. Please contact me, if you feel like I missed one or didn’t do it fully. Which will likely happen. There are just so many.
Shame of your behavior - Why did I let this happen? - Adult
It is hard to explain to those who are not involved, how people stay in abusive relationships and how they let abuse from maybe even a weaker partner happen.
In general, the power of psychology is greatly underestimated.
It is rarely shown in our media, that a person can control and terrify a room, without looking like he could harm them or being extremely buffed or having weapons of any sort. It might also just be hard to pull off.
Some people are just capable of controlling a whole room, with scientist still trying to figure out the exact formula. Or just read one of the thousands help books or article who supposedly give this knowledge.
But to simplify it: You need to be able to read them - be able to know what they think, before they do and then stir it in the direction you want. This is why gas lighting is so important.
I plan to get into great detail about manipulation techniques, but that would derail this episode and go beyond it. So I try to summarize it: You were basically manipulated.
First, you were convinced that you do things wrong all the time, it starts little. This leads you to a state of constant uncertainty, confusion and doubting yourself. You are always the one to blame.
Second, you get showered with love, this way binding them to you even more and more punishing in case you do something ‘wrong again’.
This is to make you feel bad for thinking bad about them. You don’t ‘deserve them’.
Third, any signs you are drifting away or developing independent thought, get instantly killed off. They know you plan to go away, before you do yourself. As they constantly look out for it, unlike you.
And there we have it, the perfect trap, disguised as a relationship. By it’s nature this relationship will keep escalating in its extremity until one of the two leaves, for one reason or another.
With luck they get bored and just completely destroy your character before going to a new target, though that rarely happens. Why with luck? This relationship type can end up lethal.
You basically entered a battlefield without weapons and armor and no idea you entering one, while your opponent came well prepared. This is a one sided fight and by its nature completely unfair.
This should also answer the question on why you did what you were told… you were manipulated into doing so. And those methods are so effective for a good reason, otherwise they wouldn’t be used.
On a side note: Most important signs you are in such a relationship: Isolation from friends or family, ignoring your own needs, feeling you need to justify everything and feeling not save and secure with your partner.
Because as much as they can imitate, true warmth isn’t one of those things.
Shame about what happened to you - Shame of defeat
Then there is the other feeling of shame, the shame of what happened to you. Especially if the event leads to your life being completely shattered and you are left with the remains of them.
This is the feeling of defeat. You feel like you lost. Someone has beaten you, be it literally, emotionally or any other way shape or form. It might make you feel like a failure.
There is absolutely no reason for that. You are not the one who should feel shame for being wronged and someone doing sometimes unspeakable things.
Imagine seeing a handicapped person in a wheelchair get beaten up and kicked out of his wheelchair, would you think he should feel ashamed for it happening to him?
Or do you think the people who did that to him should feel very ashamed of themselves? That they acted shameful and shaming the victim is the shameful act?
I know it is hard to go against these voices in your head, who tell you otherwise, but there is no reason to feel ashamed. It wasn’t your fault. Sometimes the most important person to forgive you, is yourself.
While I do recommend trying to learn how it happened, to avoid it in the future - I see no reason to blame someone for letting it happen. Try to learn as much as you can from it, so you get something in return.
Pain and life is the best teacher in life… but also the most brutal and unforgiving. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it is an achievement to survive such a lesson at all.
Shame about what happened to you - What others have
The one thing is what happened to you, but the other thing is what the others have. What increases the feeling of shame of your own fate, is to see what others have, what you could have had…
Ever felt like watching another person living a normal life situation and felt like watching it through a screen, feeling like you two live on different planets? And it is not like you wish that person anything bad.
You just wish you had a different life? A more normal life? It is one of the hardest pills to swallow, especially if you see those faces slowly fall a bit once you hint what your life looks like at the moment.
There is a feeling of everyone running and you falling behind, while everyone just passes you and the others get more and more out of reach. Especially if it all happened after leaving school.
First, there is no reason to feel ashamed, yes I know, easier said then done. But life isn’t a competition, its a long road. And every step you walk on that road is your life. Everyone walks their own road.
Second, it isn’t a race. There is no reward at the end of it. As much our time is limited on this planet, it is important what we do, not how fast. Do what you want to do. At your own pace.
Third, live your own life. You will never be happy if you live the life of another person. Might it be their thought of a perfect career or what partner one should pick. You will have to life with your choices - not them.
Fourth, you get there. I know that the process of healing always takes too long. There is always SO much to do. But take your time. You get there - when you get there. There is no way of speeding it up.
So take a sit, drink a cup of tea (or whatever you like) and try make the best of it. We can’t change what happened or happens, but we can change how we deal with it.
Fifth, you determine where the road lead. You might not had a choice in where the road had taken you in the past, but it is your choices that determine where your path will take you. As far as one can.
My dog is very old, I think I might have already mentioned it. Recently I discovered him in my bed. He is not allowed there and hasn’t been there in all his life - over 10 years. For a dog his size that is around 100 years.
I couldn’t believe my eyes and ordered him out, I wouldn’t even have noticed, if it wasn’t for his fur color being a strong contrast to my bedclothes.
As I was telling others about it, I look to the side and he is back there!
I ordered him out again despite his sad puppy eyes, but realized, if a dog suddenly behaves like this, something is wrong. Then I saw he was having issues getting up from his dog bed.
But when we walked he was still jumping and running around like a young foal. So of course I get him a orthopedic bed, as any would, if their dogs need it. And voila. No more trouble getting up and down the bed.
Though occasionally he lies half on the bed, half on the floor… the logic of that eludes me, but whatever makes him happy. That is the most important thing of them all.
That was it for todays episode and most likely the last episode for Shame for now, as I now get into territory that cuts into others topics too much. Also I think the same topic three times in a row is enough.
Nevertheless I hope it helped you and as usual, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.