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Shame and Embarrassment

Old 08-30-2010, 06:49 PM
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Shame and Embarrassment

In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?
Thinking about this one. I remember as a child, my Mom bought me some really slick corduroy jeans for either Christmas or my birthday. They didn't fit, they were very very much too small.

I felt embarrassment and shame, that she didn't know what size I wore. Not for ME, for HER.

I was five or younger.

I've always cringed at others doing shameful or embarrassing things.

I really don't understand why.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:13 AM
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I used to feel a lot of shame/embarrassment for my wifes drunkenness. Felt it was some how a reflection on me, like how come he doesn't control her better. Or how come he is with such a loser, he must be a loser too.

We had her company Christmas party at our house one year. I was relieved, because every year before it was a no holds barred drunkfest, and I was usually not invited, party pooper that I was. Now I could keep an eye on her! Be careful what you wish for.

It was beyond awful. There were 20-30 people there, mostly her co-workers, but I still knew most of them. She was on the front porch with a group, pounding wine, her kryptonite.

It was only around 9pm, 2 hours into the party, when I noticed a commotion on the porch. One of her co-workers boyfriends came walking in the front door with my passed out wife over his shoulder and took her up stairs and threw her in bed. Glad he was there, he was young and stout, I'd have never gotten her up there.

So now, there I am, hosting HER Christmas party. Nice. I felt intense shame for her/me. I remember thinking, how will she be able to face all those people on Monday morn?

Another time stands out in my memory. We lived on the MAIN drag through the historic district of town, the high rent district. To get through town, you had to drive past our house, and we knew a LOT of people because our house was kind of cool.

I had just gotten to town and was driving past on my way to get LMC from daycare, and there on the front porch steps, lays my wife, head down, feet pointing up the steps, passed out, during the evening rush hour traffic.

Luckily, by this time, I was beginning to believe that her behavior was on her. But I still feel some shame when I think back on some of this stuff. Wonder why?

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:29 AM
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Or how come he is with such a loser, he must be a loser too.
Yeah, I can relate to that one also. AH sitting in the front of the house passed out drunk, with the neighborhood kids walking past. I must be a loser too, for putting up with it and allowing it around my child.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:24 AM
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In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?
The ones I've enabled.

Another one of my bottom line answers, after sleeping on it.

When I've been embarrassed by others and not enabled, it's because I've personalized it and accepted at least a part of their reality as my own.

A couple of months ago, my husband celebrated his 50th bday. It was a large gathering and my daughter was trying her best to not be socially awkward. When I saw her falter a few times, I felt a momentary embarrassment then let it go. She accepts her social awkwardness and tries hard to work through it. I had to flip a switch inside my head, turn the mirror around, and respect/accept her individuality and efforts.

I ended up feeling shame towards myself, realizing I had been judging her.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:30 PM
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This one was HUGE HUGE HUGE for me, as I was raised in the "what will the neighbors think" mentality. My mother's primary concern was what other people thought. It was the driving force in all decisions and thoughts.

It took me a long time to understand that, and longer still to break the cycle. I had to make conscious choices to NOT care what other people thought and to do what I thought was right for me and my children in a given situation. At first it was incredibly scary and difficult to do -and now, thankfully, it's just how I think. Today I can honestly say that I don't really care what other people think. That's on them, not on me.

It only took me about 20 years to get that...
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CatsPajamas View Post
This one was HUGE HUGE HUGE for me, as I was raised in the "what will the neighbors think" mentality. My mother's primary concern was what other people thought. It was the driving force in all decisions and thoughts.

It took me a long time to understand that, and longer still to break the cycle. I had to make conscious choices to NOT care what other people thought and to do what I thought was right for me and my children in a given situation. At first it was incredibly scary and difficult to do -and now, thankfully, it's just how I think. Today I can honestly say that I don't really care what other people think. That's on them, not on me.

It only took me about 20 years to get that...
If I'm not mistaken, YOU helped me get "that". :ghug3

Wasn't it your sig line that said "What other people think of me is none of my business". Pretty sure.

And I finally "got it".

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:00 AM
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I too was almost force-fed the "what will the neighbors think", line of thought. My late XAH also put on a face that was not his real one, keeping up the facade was a hard job at times. RABF can't hide his alcoholism or what a jerk he can be, as he has done some wacky things publicly, but I kept trying to put that monkey back in his cage anyway.

I could not tell anyone of the abusive and hurtful language, or any of his drunken antics because I felt ashamed to be involved and very afraid. For 20 years I have hidden it, thru shame, now I choose not to tell family or others as he is sober, in recovery and it is done and over for me. I dealt with it when we reconciled, and that is it...unless he relapses and then he is gone, out of my life for good....in which case, it doesn't matter anyway.

God bless
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:12 AM
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I'm not sure that I felt shame, perhaps I did because I didn't think anyone noticed and that was a form of denial for me.

Today, I feel something, again not sure it is shame, because I only share selectively with those who I know will understand. I am blessed to have SR and some wonderful recovery friends who support me and know every wrinkle of my story...and love me just the same.

Shame? Maybe just a bad taste for all I have been through and maybe a sadness that with all the addiction in the world, so few really know what it means to the addict and to those of us who love them.

I am at peace with myself today, and at peace with my life and my choices. That's enough for me today, I can live well knowing what I know and grateful for the gifts of recovery that brought me to this good place.

Hugs
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:33 PM
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Coyote,

Yes that was my signature line for a long time. It's funny, I've been thinking about changing it back to that, even before your comments.

Maybe it's a sign that it's time!

Cats
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Old 09-04-2010, 12:42 PM
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Shame.....oh yes.....dealing with shame has been difficult for me. Owning a business in a small-ish, elitist-type community where everyone knows everyone or at least knows someone who knows everyone........it's been tough to overcome the shame. In fact, if I'm truly honest with myself....I'm still working on it. I'm still feeling a residual of responsibility for my son's addiction. It's not logical--and I know the three c's....but there's a bit of it still there tugging at me.

I am a work in progress.
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:25 PM
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I am embarrassed regarding thee actions of other people and take that on frequently: I can't watch game shows on TV, not just because they are rubbish, but because I am embarrassed for the participants, to the point that I have to leave the room. I'm not sure about this; it doesn't ruin my day, but it's a kind of sense of superiority that's not very attractive (I can see what a fool you're being made to look, even if you can't).

shame is different for me, I don't often feel shame regarding the actions of others. with stbx AH I was ashamed for people to know what our life was really like because I was ashamed that I put up with it. I worked hard to present him in a positive light to friends and family, because I was ashamed that I thought so little of myself that I was willing to accept this relationship as the best I could get. I knew that was my motivation for the shame at the time, I just didn't know what to do about it.
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Old 09-18-2010, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
I know the three c's....but there's a bit of it still there tugging at me.

I am a work in progress.
I totally agree with this one with me also....
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