Toxic Shame – What It Is And How To Get Rid Of It
I’m about to show you how to get rid of toxic shame that’s probably responsible for your excessive shyness and social anxiety. Why probably? Well, because not everyone’s anxiety stems from toxic shame.
However, after reading this article, you’ll see why it’s very likely that toxic shame actually is behind your social anxiety.
So, let’s get started…
What Is Toxic Shame?
Toxic shame is a belief about yourself that you’re not good enough. It’s a belief that you’re inherently bad, defective, different, unworthy, or unlovable.
It’s a deeply held core belief that you’re bad and flawed.
Unlike normal healthy shame that keeps you within healthy boundaries, toxic shame takes over your identity. You become someone who is ashamed of who you are and it usually happens on a subconscious level. So even if you think that you’ve got nothing to be ashamed about and that toxic shame hasn’t impacted your life, it could be that it’s very much present in your subconscious.
We usually experience toxic shame whenever there’s a chance that the part of us that we feel inadequate about is in danger of being exposed and we feel in danger of being rejected and humiliated by others.
That’s why toxic shame causes you to go into hiding.
You start hiding your emotions, your feelings, and your thoughts. You don’t want other people to find out what you’re thinking because you’re ashamed that it’s inappropriate and would result in you getting rejected.
The biggest problem is that you can feel shame inside for something that everyone else thinks is normal.
For example, when you have strong feelings for someone you like, you may feel shame and embarrassment, especially when you try to let that person know about your feelings.
Everyone else knows that it’s normal to have feelings for other people and this fact causes no concern for them.
However, people who are afflicted by toxic shame find it hard to accept that fact as real. Consciously they know that it’s all right to have feelings of affection, but subconsciously they feel shame inside and they don’t know why.
As you can see, toxic shame isn’t really logical and makes you feel embarrassed for things that other people find “normal”.
This “illogical” embarrassment causes you to experience the symptoms that are better known as the symptoms of social anxiety.
They are exactly the same because social anxiety has roots in toxic shame.
Toxic Shame Symptoms
People afflicted with toxic shame usually have social anxiety or at least a very severe case of shyness that very closely borders on social phobia.
Blushing, looking down or away from eye-contact, feeling hot, not being able to speak or think, are just a few toxic shame symptoms that we can easily identify as the social anxiety symptoms.
And there’s another very close connection between social anxiety and toxic shame. They both cause the same kind of defensive behaviors.
They make you avoid social situations and events where there’s a chance you’ll get embarrassed or ashamed. When you have to do something that could result in you being socially rejected, you try to come up with an excuse for not doing it.
And when there’s no way you could avoid that situation, you try to escape it as soon as possible.
I still remember very well what happened to me a few years ago when I had to make a presentation in front of a large audience and I still suffered from social anxiety.
My boss made me attend a workshop where everyone had to make a presentation at the end. I was so nervous that my hands got cold and clammy while my face got completely pale.
I waited for everyone else to finish their presentation before doing mine because deep inside I hoped that the workshop organizer wouldn’t notice that I haven’t yet made my presentation.
I was terrified of getting embarrassed in front of that huge audience.
However, I wasn’t the only one.
There was a guy that was so nervous that he had to leave. Before he was supposed to do his presentation he went to the toilet and never came back. He escaped the situation completely.
And that’s what social anxiety and toxic shame do to you. They make you want to avoid socially “dangerous” situations. And when that’s not possible, they make you want to escape it.
Now the good news is that toxic shame can be treated and I’m about to show you how.
Healing Toxic Shame
So how do you get rid of toxic shame?
The healing process begins with the basic understanding of toxic shame and what it does to you. It helps you realize that you are not a worthless person that needs to feel ashamed. It helps you realize that you are just a person that became afflicted with that crippling condition called toxic shame.
Once you realize that you are not your toxic shame, you can slowly detach it from your personality and you become free to develop your identity your own way.
You find it easier to believe that you’re just as worthy as anyone else and that no other person on this planet is intrinsically better or worse than you are.
We are all equal.
This allows you to proceed with the next step, which is accepting yourself for who you are.
You basically need to accept your feelings, your thoughts, your needs and wants, your sexuality and everything else about yourself that you feel ashamed for.
You need to choose to love yourself in spite of all your problems because this is the greatest enemy of toxic shame.
Every day remind yourself that you love and you deeply and completely accept yourself.
This whole process will slowly melt your toxic shame away.
However, if you want to do it faster, you will probably have to go deeper and uncover the shaming events that caused you to become an ashamed and embarrassed person.
You will have to work on neutralizing the negative emotions that you have about these events. In order to do that you will probably have to learn a bit about neuro-linguistic programming or emotional freedom techniques.
However, this article and the podcast I made for you should help you get started and you should experience some relief pretty soon. Just remember to keep reminding yourself that you love yourself and that you deeply and completely accept yourself.