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Monday, February 8, 2010

Spirituality: Toxic Shame

Toxic shame, the shame that binds you, is experienced as the all-pervasive sense that I am flawed and defective as a human being. Toxic shame is no longer an emotion that signals our limits, it is a state of being a core identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a sense of failing and falling short as a human being. Toxic shame is a rupture of the self with the self.

Toxic shame is so excruciating because it is the painful exposure of the believed failure of the self to the self. In toxic shame the self becomes an object of its own contempt, an object that can't be trusted. One therefore experiences oneself as untrustworthy. Toxic shame is experienced as inner torment, a sickness of the soul. If I'm an object that can't be trusted, then I'm not in me. Toxic shame is paradoxical and self-generating.

John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You.

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