I’ve experienced a lot in my life as have most by my age.  I’ve been referred to as “brave”, “strong”, and highly “resilient,” none of which would most likely be attributed to me had I not experiences where most people believe I should not have come out completely sane.  I do not see myself as special, but I do know that I needed help learning to value myself so I sought out assistance.  It may not seem amazing to most who read this, but below are some items that I had no idea were messages attributed to ‘shame.’  This was an incredible turning point in how I now view myself and the effects of what I have lived through on forming my personality.  Without God I would not be who I am because I’m most certain these messages would negatively effect the personality, i.e. contribute to negative behaviors, for most people.


CONTROL:  “It is important to be in control of your behavior and your interactions with others as much as possible.  Bad things will invariably happen if you lose control.”

PERFECTION:  “It is important to always be ‘right’ and always do the ‘right’ thing.”

NO TALK:  “Keep shameful experiences, behavior, and feelings a secret.  Never talk about them openly.”

DENIAL:  “It is important not to acknowledge feelings and needs-especially ones that make you more vulnerable or make you appear as though you have lost control.”

DISQUALIFICATIONS:  “When things don’t go as planned or expected, someone must be blamed.  If you can’t blame others you must blame yourself.”

UNRELIABILITY:  “Never expect things to go the way you want them to.  Be prepared for the unpredictable.  “Don’t expect constancy.  You can never feel secure in relationships.”

INCOMPLETENESS:  “Don’t even try to bring personal transactions or interactions to completion or resolution.  It just won’t happen.””

Adapted from: Fossum & Mason, Facing Shame, 1986.