Monday, January 20, 2014


I've been training at the Dad's office for a month or so and then two weeks ago my brother went into the hospital near me for a surgery so I have been with him at least once a day.  Today is a gorgeous sunny day in the mid fifties and I am home and able to work on my own projects.  But, this newfound freedom leaves me a little lost as to what to do first....

I've been doing a lot of reading on shame.  I started teaching a class on making moral decisions at the jail.  I had no training so I went to the internet to look for some teaching ideas.  The only thing I found was a class which was very expensive to take.  Instead, I looked at some of the references that were used in writing that book/class and read them.

One of the books I am reading is John Bradshaw's Healing the Shame that Binds You.  It is a fascinating book that left me feeling.....ashamed.  No kidding, I started feeling dark and depressed realizing all of the ways that I had shamed my children without even realizing it.  Especially when he mentions not once or twice but many many many times that toxic shame is the root cause of all addictions. 

There is good news though.  There are things that can turn the boat around so to speak.  And, twelve step programs are one of the best tools used in healing the shame that binds us.  Awareness of the shame that we've carried from one generation to the next is another.  It is a fascinating book that I have to take in small pieces.  I was wondering if any of you had any thoughts on shame or had done any reading on the subject.

I'm going to turn 50 in May.  It is a big milestone.  One that I am going to try and greet a bit healthier than I am right now.  This afternoon I will go to Weight Watchers for the first time since my kids were little.  I need accountability. 

My oldest daughter graduated from college in December with two degrees.  She is applying for graduate school in the fall but in the time being she is a veterinary assistant at a small animal clinic near her apartment.  My youngest daughter is in nursing school.  She is going into the hospitals this semester for the first time.  She is very excited.  And the is he?  I only know that he has maintained a job for a year.  He bought a $500.00 car that actually runs.  He seems clear.  But, he is in God's hands and I try not to know too much or I get in the way. 

Oh my, this life seems to be running by so fast.  I'm learning some pretty important lessons and much of the time it feels as if it's a day late and a dollar short.  Hopefully I will use these lessons in a way that will be of service to others.  In the mean time I'm praying for all of you facing life in the midst of addiction.


Annette said...

Well I don't know that I am brave enough to read that book. Just reading what you wrote here got me teary....and I am in a relatively good place right now! LOL I know that any shame I spewed out, and I did....but I know that it came from dark places of my own shame that I carried/carry. Which makes me think of the phrase "hurt people hurt people." Its not an excuse....but its a cycle that so many of us find ourselves stuck in...until we find our way out. Ugh. I wish we could skip that part....the part where we hurt others until we have our awakening and we learn new ways. I know that so much good comes from those experiences and lessons...but I wish there was another way. But I also know that God has a plan and out of the rubble can come breathtaking beauty.
Congratulations to your girls!! And your son....all are big accomplishments.

Terri said...

I so relate to everything that you wrote here. I think about the things that I did that caused shame for all my kids. In retrospect I realize that I just repeated patterns that I learned in my parental home. I work on it daily with my adult daughter that stays in our home a lot, my grandchildren and my spouse. I too am turning 50 this year, in two weeks actually. I have started working out and watching my diet. I want to be fit at 50 not just physically but emotionally as well. Good luck in achieving what you want in this new year, a milestone year.


notmyboy said...

My parents, mom especially, was the queen of shame. I learned to be shame-filled at her knee...although she tried her best with what she knew to do, so I don't blame her. She was just always comparing us (mainly just my sister and me...not my brother) to her friends' children. It stung to never measure up. My dad, on the other hand, used another tactic. He would shame us by not allowing us our feelings. He would constantly tell us we don't really feel XYZ, even when we tried to profess that we did. "Dad, I'm really scared" (him) "No, you aren't really scared. You are just being a baby." sigh
I really tried hard to not raise my children in shame, but I clearly did, as my son is a heroin addict. I feel tremendous shame knowing once and for all that I really was at the root of his addiction. I think in our mother's heart we all know this is true, despite what al-anon says to the contrary.

FYI, John Bradshaw has a six part talk on youtube called Healing the Shame the Binds You. It's worth a listen for anyone who hasn't read his book.

Maria said...

I believe this May be the first time I have commented even though I have been reading your blog for a while. Shame, perhaps our generation can relate to this more so than our youth. I just turned 51 last week. In a sense maybe shame kept society in check. We as youths would never have done what people are so carefree about today. Miley Cyrus dancing on TV. Naked texts and the list is never ending. Yet shame kept us from confessing the dark secrets of abuse that many suffered whether physical or mental. We suffered from our parents hands at times but I'm sure in some cases this treatment was passed from the previous generation. We as parents of addicts may feel the shame which comes with raising such a child. Perhaps we take the blame because we were taught to accept responsibility. But ultimately and especially as our addicts get older, we must understand that they are choosing and we are no longer to blame. I found the following saying in my church paper and have placed it on my fridge...I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.

Hattie Heaton said...

Wow so many great comments. It is an interesting subject but one that I have to carefully take in. I can as most of us codepents do become the martyr. I can also overthink it, dwell on it and go into dark places grieving lost opportunities. But, I really read it to learn to identify my negative behaviors so that I can do it differently. Annette hurt people do hurt I've started to confront my issues and it is no fun! But, even the awareness of the shame that is so deeply embedded from generations past is good to unearth and discard. I'm starting on the recovery part of the book so I will post the "happies" that I learn as I read on! Thanks so much everyone. I loved hearing from each of you. And, notmyboy, thanks for the heads up of John Bradshaw on Youtube. Maria thanks for stopping by. You guys help me so much!!