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Don’t Carry Shame into The New Year

By Caileigh Smith, MC, LAC

Have you ever sent the wrong text message to the exact wrong person? I have. In fact, I did it recently. I sent a message about a person TO THAT person—the horror! The consequence? Well, besides being cut from that person’s Christmas card list, I suffered a complete and utter shame attack.

In Facing Codependence, Pia Mellody describes a shame attack as feeling “as though your body is getting smaller. You may blush, want to disappear, run away, or crawl under your chair. It seems that everyone is looking at you. Feeling nauseated, dizzy, or spacey is also common” (p.103). I can vouch for this: I curled up in the fetal position and wanted the ground to swallow me up. Not dramatic at all…

Mellody explains that a shame attack occurs when we encounter “carried shame.” Carried shame is induced into us from various types of traumas and abuses experienced in childhood. It diminishes our ability to experience self-worth and value and causes us to feel perpetually less than other people.

This carried shame forms the basis for the first symptom of codependence: “difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem…and is…the heart of codependence. And this is why codependence is called a shame-based disease” (Mellody, p.105 ).

Therefore, it is my New Year’s resolution to never send a text message to the wrong person ever again and avoid shame attacks from here on out.

OK, I’m joking.

My New Year’s resolution is to get better at practicing what I preach as a therapist. I want to continue to actively work on my carried shame that is at the core of my codependence.

So, I have made the decision and taken the necessary steps to continue with my recovery and progress made during my week at The Survivors I Workshop at The Rio Retreat Center, so that the next time I send the wrong text I can say “oops, my bad” instead of “I’m bad, take me now oh, Text Gods.”

Facing Childhood Trauma to Overcome Shame

The Survivors I: Healing Childhood Trauma Workshop is based on The Meadows Senior Fellow Pia Mellody’s pioneering work in her book, Facing Codependence. It is an essential component of The Meadows inpatient treatment program and is also open to interested individuals as a stand-alone workshop.

In a safe supportive environment, Survivors I explores the origins that fuel self-defeating behaviors such as addictions, trauma, mood disorders, and troubling relationships. The primary focus of this workshop is processing and releasing the negative messages and emotions that were rooted in painful experiences from the past allowing the freedom to embody your authentic self. For more information, or to register, call 866-244-4949 or email us.

Contact The Rio Retreat Center

Intensive Workshops • Facilitating Healing • Empowering Emotional Growth

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