Shame of the toxic type can be one of the most damaging of human emotions. The inner critic (the voice in our head) has the power to convince you that all the critical thoughts you have about yourself is right — for example, the critic that says “you’re not good enough”, “I knew you’d get it wrong”, “you failure”,“you’ll never really belong anywhere…” This type of shame can cause us to withdraw from others and shut down our feelings. It can also lead to being self destructive leading to anxiety, depression and addiction etc to numb the painful emotions that toxic shame brings.
It is so important that we learn ways to deal with toxic shame and to build healthy ways of overcoming and challenging it. Overcoming shame means acknowledging firstly that it is there.
In counselling, you begin to share your experiences within a safe and trusted environment. A professional counsellor is trained to listen in a nonjudgmental way. By offering an empathic & understanding response, counselling helps you to learn that you aren’t perfect, you are all too human and despite regrets, mistakes and life challenges – you are still a person of worth.
Learning to have more self compassion and practising self care (being kind to you) along with experiencing empathy from others gives you a different perspective that challenges the idea of the shame you are carrying, that it is not healthy shame.
Talking about your feelings can help you to understand the how and why, you feel the way you do. With the support of counselling you gain insight into the insecurities, fears and doubts you have (that we all have) this helps you to manage toxic shame without it defining who you are and no longer masking how you truly feel.