9 thoughts on “A Brief Guide to Unprocessed Childhood Toxic Shame

  • September 4, 2018 at 12:21 am

    So good Darius. Ripe for manipulation and control which leads to people pleasing and becoming a “doormat”. If I do more then I will be loved more. Approval equated to love or my belief that love had to be earned. Unable to say no or having needs met in case I upset somebody [usually mother]. Taken me a long time to untangle myself from other people’s carried shame. Never my fault but I can recover and heal.

  • September 5, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Isn’t this what old school Asian parents did? Shamed their children, withheld praise and belittled, thinking the kids would grow up to be better individuals somehow? I’m Asian and I still feel and remember I wanted to get far away as possible from my mother. I excelled in school ie honors, awards, scholarships and my mother never seemed pleased enough. Not that I was trying to please her, but…. My hair was too straight, so I curled it, then it was too curly. Damned if I did, damned if I didn’t. I have long distanced myself from her toxicity.

  • September 6, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    The death of my father led to complicated grief which I am in therapy to work through. I am lucky because my psychiatrist who treats me for anxiety is also my therapist. He is helping me to review and more accurately see my childhood and family of origin. I am a victim of emotional abuse and emotional incest. This has resulted in toxic shame, chronic guilt, chronic anxiety, low self esteem, etc. facing this reality is painful but necessary to heal. Thank you for the helpful information.

  • September 18, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Your articles on CEN in my in-box really caught my attention, I had never heard of such a thing. Since then I’ve began to discover some things about myself from you, I don’t know yet if I’m grateful or not.
    Now this shame thing. If you would have asked me yesterday what made me feel shame I would have answered “nothing”. Except the weird things about me I could never explain, like being mortified by getting a headache at a party and having people asking me if I was feeling any better. Or. Like when shit hit the fan I would adjust the fan, the fan being me, always. And erasing myself, I do that. I did that, lots of times. Chronic Shame, I would have never guessed.

  • September 20, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    People (like Stanton Peele) often criticize Gabor Mate for saying that early trauma can wire people for the use of substances and other addictions by saying that not everyone with substance abuse issues had a traumatic childhood. People tend to ignore that trauma my be subtle or overt. For example: a child who is shamed directly or indirectly on an ongoing basis, has surely experienced trauma over and over and may find that substances temporarily alleviate bad feelings or create good feelings they didn’t develop the coping skills to create. I suppose that is one reason why addiction is sometimes referred to as a shame-based dilemma. (I don’t personally view addiction as a disease but that’s just me.)

  • September 24, 2018 at 12:13 am

    I find it interesting that all of these ‘symptoms’ of trauma occur, whereas from a point of view of someone who has not gone through the trauma, it can appear very irrational to, for example, blame oneself for abuse inflicted upon them by someone in a position of trust and power over them. From the outside perspective we can stand looking in, like at someone trapped in a cage of their own making. We can see the door is open, but they can’t find it. “Right there!” we say, “You are not to blame! release yourself of this burden!” But an inside perspective is that the door is not really open, or that the open door cannot be trusted. Still they cling to the bars of their cage without wanting to.

    All of these symptoms are beliefs that are held onto and distorted. It is not who they are. People feeling these hangovers from abuse equate themselves more severely with their personality than people who have not, and yet, they are the ones most able to release themselves from the personhood into which they have been crammed. It is most uncomfortable for them compared to others. They have more pain the more they associate with this ‘personality’ – the memories, the feelings of tragedy. They are the ones who want more than anyone, to release this personhood and become who they really are. We must approach the sufferers of PTSD and so on not with the mindset of fixing them like a broken bicycle that hurts to ride, but with the mindset of throwing the bicycle out and choosing to walk in the Sun instead. The bicycle only brings pain and is not who you are, it is something you have adopted to get around in life. But it has come to the end of it’s usefulness. This is not to say that they should “just move on!”, not by any stretch. But to disassociate the idea that those events are who they truly are.

  • November 13, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Even for commenting on this great article I had to conquer my ‘toxic shame’: who wants to hear? Others have already said what I might have to say, my English isn’t good enough, how dare I even think that I was emotionally neglected?
    It’s a pity that Darius Cikanavicius’ book isn’t available in my country’s libraries (ordering it is above my financial means).

  • January 21, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    I am the poster child for this illness…character/rage disordered mother, absentee father, and fear of the mother kept everyone away, leaving my adolescence ripe for her sick ways…..I’m 55 now, and have NEVER gotten over this, even with extensive therapy…..its a sad, disorganized, confusing life….

  • May 12, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    It’s a never-ending battle…


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