This chapter on shame is the beginning of a dramatic shift in your focus, where your attention will be directed inward to the invisible effects of what you’ve experienced: shame, powerlessness, emotional numbing, and isolation. Because the effects of abuse are confusing and non-intuitive, you will have help to assess the damage of the relational pain you’ve experienced, and then guided in exercises that will help you heal. All within community. Shame is a master emotion; it overwhelms, directs, and transforms all other emotions, thoughts, and experiences, much like a computer virus. It poisons and filters the very thoughts and feelings that are needed to remove it.
Therefore, the next twenty pages mark the peak of the mountain you’ve been climbing in your recovery. Once you crest this hill, you will have the most difficult part of your work behind you. Your trauma has shamed and stigmatized; your group will bear witness to and affirm what you’ve experienced. It will be different this time. Your dignity will be restored as you reject the lies you’ve believed about yourself, God, and others, and replace them with God’s truth. Unearthing shame will reveal the best of you.
Here’s to a shame-free you!
Steve and Celestia
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before—more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.