Shamed for Life?




And what does that word do to you may I ask?

Does it conjure up thoughts and then feelings about a time or event in your life that at some point if even not now causes  a shame response?

I know that shame is not necessarily a bad thing. Shame, or the knowledge of the consequence of it can serve its purpose I suppose when one is weighing whether or not their actions could be shameful in someone’s eyes? But whose eyes count? Is it something that we carry with us in adulthood from events that happened while still maturing? I have no real answers to any these. Especially would I never condone that what I am feeling or writing about how I feel or think is the best for anyone else.  I don’t. I don’t because I come from a different history, I have different beliefs and thoughts on things than anyone else. Just as you do. We may be like-minded in many ways BUT WE STILL ARE INDIVIDUAlS with individual outlooks.

Shame is something that will cause you to have to pay for excess baggage. Its expensive. It’s a cost to you as a person that is likely to cause extreme hardship if allowed to continue to fester. Shame comes in many forms, comes from many things, and is insidious if left alone. Especially the shame that you had no say in. Shame that was being played out like a maestro orchestrates an orchestra.

I know Shame well. And shame knows me well. I am going to add a frame of reference to this post I rarely do. My past. Or should I say my childhood. I’ve spoken about it in simplistic terms, the good out of the bad because 99.9% of my time that is just how I see my childhood, the good from the bad. There were both. Just as there is in every one of us. For the purpose of this post, and for my own journey I hope that you’ll either bear with me or you’ll relate. Or both. Now you have options.


This quote from the Preface of Lent may seem surprising to those people who are accustomed to thinking of Lent solely as a time of penance: “Each year, you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed”.

Lent is certainly a period marked by seriousness, but, contrary to certain stereotypes, it is also a time of joy

We become aware of our sinfulness, our shames, however, not by remaining fixated on ourselves, but by contemplating the love of Spirit revealed by the Son in the Spirit. The readings for Mass during Lent certainly denounce sin but at the same time proclaim the divine mercy which is always ready to forgive

For those who do not know I am a recovering Irish Catholic. I mean no disrespect or offense to those who are practicing Catholics. Its my own personal spiritual choice based on personal history that made no sense to me to continue being under the direction of a church that protects physical abuse. Priests who have obviously disobeyed their vow and promise to God. My abuse, albeit not by a man of the clergy, but by one who should have been an even more trusted, a member of our close-knit family. My paternal grandfather. I was barely 8 yrs old.

Suffice it to say that I find no purpose in regurgitating up the details to be read here. I shall be no part of allowing anyone to “Float their boat” by reading a post that is intended to help, not hurt. The only thing needed to be known is this was my start to Shame. Something that I did not have control over, yet all the same I own the shame of it.

Growing up, and then out of an alcoholic home where parents had their heads in some other game than parenting. Seeing violence, arguing, and drunks at any time was my fear. I could not and would not let my friends see it. I would protect them from it just as hard as I tried to protect my baby brother of 4 yrs from it. I could not. This was beyond my control and led me to believe that this was also my shame. I vowed to never as an adult allow events and other people to have power over my life, the shame of others would never be mine again. I could master my culpability in life, but own no one else’s.

Its taken me 50 plus years to realize that the shame causes guilt of the hidden kind and that I don’t have control and never will. That as long as I let what ever happens around me to engulf me spiritually I make it my own. AS long as I allow my own children who are adults now to have me accept their shame and guilt I am keeping them from owning what maybe they need to heal. It’s not of any

Spending some time on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent reading and praying I asked Spirit to help me quiet the chatter in my mind, and to still my heart so that I may be closer. What can I do to bring my mind more open to Spirit, and what my heart needs to let go of all old pains? What is keeping me from that complete openness that I no longer need childish things? Letting go of guilt’s and shame whether I own them or they belong to some one else is not helping my quest.

I need to let them all go, take down the screen that maybe helped me keep a guard up around my heart. Hanging on to shame is hanging to resentments. It’s akin to hanging on to an old lover who abuses your right to be happy. I can see ever so clearly now that what I believed was my baggage was a way for me to remain a victim, to hang on to events that are past whether years ago or yesterday only keep a screen of falseness up between myself and the spirit of contentment  in my life.

Taking responsibility for events not in my power were bricks put up through the years with mortar that has been crumbling. I had no idea why, only I knew there was this hole in my heart where I placed all shame. Shame has been keeping me from a lot of things.I did not feel worthy despite all the teachings I was forgiven. I had no idea I also had to forgive myself.

I need to let it all go. I’ve hung on too much, too long as it is. So long that there is actual fear of the idea of being without this coat of hidden shame. This is what happens when you own something too long that never belonged to you in the first place. Yet I stumble, I look over my shoulder, I run the other way, and shame wants to follow. I will have to master this letting go.

Letting go of shame. It does not sound like much. It may not even be what is thought of as the typical fasting for Lent. Yet it feels so right in my heart, and my mind knows how much I need to let it all go.

I am praying that This Reason For The Season of Lent also includes my giving up my shame. Letting it all go to something far more powerful than myself. I will cleanse all my resentments away, all the shame will leave my heart. Not just for the several weeks until Easter Sunday, but for always. My heart will no longer be a buzz with painful shame, and my mind’s self chatter of times gone will be free to be open to just today. Just this moment. Living in splendor with a whole heart, with a mind that can relish the now, and a spirituality that is quiet and free.

Good bye Old Shame, its been real.



28 thoughts on “Shamed for Life?

  1. Oh my sweet friend; I just today saw this….I pray that God’s uplifting healing has washed away every trace of shame, and helped you to know in your lovely heart of hearts that you did NOTHING to bring this on….that you did NOT deserve the hurt, harm, and shameful actions of those who should have protected you. God’s peace and love be with you all ways…..

    • Yoy found this when you found it for the reasons we may not always know or understand. The reasons are less important. The messgae to me is that you found this when I most needed to hear your the words you just shared with. Would they have spoken to me in the same way over a month ag? I wonder.

      Today your words washed or helped wash a cleansing over me that I’d not experienced until just now. I could speak the words, I knew what I was supposed to feel, but the feeling was too difficult in a heart that had grown numb. Today the feelings of shame are washing around and over me, washing away the bad and leaving only the good. Tears washing the shame out of my soul leaving room for even more love for others.

      How absoultely enlightening! And lightening the load it does. Thanks katie girl for sharing with me. A sister of the soul for sure. Love you lady friend, you are the best!

      • I spent two years (2004-2006) working as the Safe Environment Coordinator for my parish(and the region) here in the Phoenix area. The diocese now requires every priest, employee, volunteer to be trained in all the warrning signs of abuse, including how to tell if someone is grooming someone for future abuse.Multiple folks (priests, youth ministers, and other just regular not-associated-with the-church people have gone to prison).

        I trained over 1,500 people and trainers. We unearthed a lot of stuff, including reporting to the authorities both abuse and grooming behavior. There was resistance by some of the volunteers, as they said the priests were the problem, not them. I regularly explained that if there are enough eyes and ears, the climate for grooming and abuse no longer exists—or is greatly reduced. Never again do I want to hear ‘i didn’t think it could be true–he/she looks like such a nice person….[yeh]….or “i thought it looked odd, but i didn’t know where to turn or who to tell”—{now they do}……No more shamed children….continue to toss those crappy burdens overboard….they are not and never were yours…..Your victory comes in not letting them limit or define you now. You are free of them because the Prince of Peace stands beside you, Hand on your shoulder, His eyes filled with love, protection, and strength. Love you.

        • Praising God for the woman you are tonight and always. You Kate are my hero. I know that is not why you told me yet I feel compelled to tell you just how much I love you for your passion and fire. I can feel it through your typed words.

          This history that included me, which I refuse to call mine, I refuse to own any of it, is what inspired me to become a foster mom, the when our girls were older enough to leave home I trained and was sworn in by three counties as a CASA. I’m driven for the same reasons you are. Not one more child is going to go through not having a voice of their own just because they are a child. No way!
          My CASA Business card’s say; “Through The Eyes of a Child”.
          I will be their voices when need be. Along side raising my children, three foster daughters and having input in my grand children’s lives being a CASA is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

          I could write [talk] for hours but this is not the best platform. I’m just so thankful to God always for bringing me angels like you disguised as loving woman friend.

          Never change an ounce of who you are – I love you for being the most honest delight ever,
          God Bless Katie!

  2. Very touching post LB….you know I’d spare you of all your years of suffering with shame etc from what your monsterous Grandfather did to you if only I could get this magic wand to work. Alas, you are left to do all of the hard work and find your way out from the maze of bewilderment your Little Girl Self endured. I’m sending you a very large warm hug right now and hoping that it may help just a wee bit~ Be well and whole my Twin…as you are cherished and held in high esteem by many. You ARE so worthy just as you are…who you are!

    • You bring tears to these blue eyes. In a good and tender way. Thank you my twin. I have finally found you and along side of one another our long lost connection is healing salve on open wounds.
      You are my twin for good reasons. I love you more than I can express on a blog comment. But know that I feel your warm hug and healing vibes wash over me.

  3. This was a very meaningful post, and I enjoyed reading your reflections on shame. I think that ultimately, shame is a very internal emotion having to do with the relationship between a person and himself or herself… more than with anyone else. And it is true, that no matter how terrible, we have to let these things go, and find strength and beauty and meaning in our own lives. I do not belong to your religion, but I think that there are certain aspects of all religions that are universal. And part of that universal message is for us to step outside of our own very personal trials and interests, and appreciate the world for what it is… far beyond us. In that perspective, we can see a priest that failed as another human being who has a lot of work to do, and we can have empathy and love both for the cat hunting a mouse or a bird, and for the mouth or bird that is just trying to make a living, or provide food for its youngsters. It is that perspective that allows us a certain amount of freedom and joy too. And I think it’s a wonderful thing that you are giving up shame for lent. I couldn’t think of anything better. And I wish you great joy and freedom, and love.

    • Thank you kind and thoughtful friend~ There is no goodness that can come from holding on to hurts and damage from the past. Hanging on to such things as resentments, anger and pain from passed inflictions causes no one but the holder any due. Its pointless.And its damaging to the soul even further.

      I think that there is sometimes a belief that hanging on to such emotions feels good. That there is a so called right to own those actions in response to being hurt, mad, sad, etc..”This happened to me by so and so and I am allowed to feel/express this, anyway I want because of it.” ….kind a thing.
      My wish for those in such a place to be able to see why this is not necessary as part of the healing, or even for forgiveness. That looking beyond the “Why me lord?” is such a powerful way to clear your heart and quiet your mind.

      It is looking beyond our own noses and hearts to see the other side, the side that allows others their dues,their reasons, their rights. Even when they do not coincide with my own.

      • It did! I think we all have something in our life that makes us feel this way. I know I did and it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I realized, FULLY, that I had no reason to feel that way. Part of me always knew, but sometimes it takes a while to go the whole way.

        • It pleases me to know this did touch you. I love knowing that women of your generation are getting it sooner than say mine. Its such a waste of a lifetime to spend it in shame, it shadows so much of who we really are.
          I am so happy and grateful to know you let yours go.

          • It did, very much so. You are right, it shadows so much of who we really are. I am glad to know you let yours go too! The best things can only happen when you choose to live in the present and not the past. Nothing could be more of a waste of time. YOUR time.

  4. Provocative article, Baroness. Your pain touches my heart. It is one thing to get past the shame, yet victims always suffer … we take it to the grave. My thoughts are with you.

    Blessings – Maxi

  5. Wonderful reflection on this season of sacrifice. How much richer will your life be without that shame? I reckon we’ll find out very soon… blessed be, Great Lady. Well written.

    • I’m touched Julie that you took the time to read my post, and even more so that you commented. I pray that nothing was hurtful, but instead touched a place in everyone’s heart that reads this.

      Have a wonderful weekend and keep us in touch with how you and your son are donig.

  6. Wow, Toni, thank you so much for sharing such a personal aspect of your life, I know how difficult it can be to share something so personal and devastating, but I also know how helpful it can be to talk about it. I am so sorry for what you went through…. I went through something similar(not a family member though) when I was 12 years old. It has affected me since then, still to this day at 35 years old. Feelings of anger, shame, fear, and insecurities are just a few of the impacts from that experience. We certainly are kindred souls in many ways aren’t we sweet lady? Sending prayers of healing and positive vibes your way. Thank you for this post… You know my email if you ever need to talk or vent!
    Hugs, 🙂

    • My dear Karen,
      I was hoping to touch but not harm someone like you. We are such kindred souls and I love to connect when a spark in friendship like this happens. You are so incredibly kind to offer your ears, er.. eyes to me. And I believe you may have a long time pen pal.

      What those people who harmed us don’t know is that when we speak about it out loud we take the power back. I refuse to allow that person in my life to hold any more piece of me. I had to work on letting it all go and writing helps. But what helps even more so in connecting with people who have also been harmed. WE are not the damaged goods that those people attempted to create. Nope! The joke will be on them in the end.

      Have a wonderful weekend dear friend. My email is always open to you as well. That means so much to me~

    • Thanks so much AlyssTG for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment. I cannot thank you enough nor tell you how much it means to have support like yours.

      If this touched because of a personal experience I am sorry. I believe that all of us who have been harmed in ways we should not have been can master the control back. And that is just what I am intending on doing by giving up this stupid shame.
      Please do come back~

  7. MiLady, One of the greatest tragedies in the world is that abusing adults can convince children that they are the ones at fault. Not only is this cruel and a lie, but a child often carries that guilt and shame around for decades afterwards. You have, and so did I. One thing, though — I don’t know how horrible your experience was, or what you need to do to forgive the bastards. All I know is that one of the important lessons I’ve learned these past few months involves my releasing past events which cannot be changed, and no longer carrying the event itself with me. It’s a hard thing to do, but once you conquer the shame, letting the event itself go will become easier, and will leave you open to a new love of your child self, and yourself now. You’ve started on that path — I’m very happy for you!

You are most welcome to share your thoughts, comments, and/or complaints here. Know though complaints are only handled on the 2nd Tuesday of the week.~ The Management

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