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I think that many oldsters who have put our AA "booze cure" to severe but successful tests still find they often lack emotional sobriety. Perhaps they will be the spearhead for the next major development in AA -- the development of much more real maturity and balance (which is to say, humility) in our relations with ourselves, with our fellows, and with God. From The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety by Bill Wilson
If you love it enough, anything will talk to you. --George Washington Carver-- Even the common articles made for daily use become endowed with beauty when they are loved. --Soetsu Yanagi-- The value of personal relationships is that they create intimacy and intimacy creates understanding and understanding creates love. --Anais Nin--
The addict’s Second Addiction SHAME Once a person takes on a shame-based identity, it is as if they have a second and difficult addiction. Long term recovery requires recovery from shame: A going from “I am not enough” to “I am enough” Shame can grow into negative entitlement
Negative Entitlement Where we amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality
Negative Entitlement Undermines: Family Intimacy Community Spiritual Principles Self-esteem, but not self-confidence
Shame, on a basic level, is a refusal to believe in the decency of humanity-mine or ours Shame prefers the shadows over the light; for in the light our imperfections are exposed and our need for others is exposed.
Etiology Of Shame Often starts when a person’s thoughts, feelings or physical being are being treated like an object or a thing Can start when person has their powerlessness regularly held in front of them so that they can’t escape the feeling Or when a person experiences events that they are not developmentally ready to experience and can’t incorporate into their being
“Shame is an inner sense of being completely diminished or insufficient as a person. It is the self judging the self. A moment of shame may be humiliation so painful or an indignity so profound that one feels one has been robbed of her or his dignity or exposed as basically inadequate, bad, or worthy of rejection. ” --M. Fossum & M. Mason. Facing Shame--
The Mechanics of Shame • Message given internalized • Guilt not listened to, transformed to shame • Skills lacking, plus inability to ask for help • Behaviors and thoughts become reinforcers • Relationships are sought out that reinforce shame • What’s internalized is now more unconscious than conscious • shame messages are now Core beliefs • Success now needs to be sabotaged • Two primary ways of relating to others: see self as victim or transfer shame onto others
Rules That Govern Shame-Bound Systems Merle Fossum and Marilyn J. Mason’s book: Facing Shame: Families in Recovery 1. Be in control of all behavior and interactions. 2. Perfection: always be “right. ” Do the “right” thing. 3. If something doesn't happen as you planned, blame someone (yourself or someone else). 4. Deny feelings, especially the negative and vulnerable ones like anxiety, fear, loneliness, grief, rejection, neediness and caring. 5. Unreliability: don't expect reliability and consistency in relationships. 6. Incompleteness: don't complete transactions. 7. No talk rule: don't talk openly about disrespectful, shameful, or compulsive behavior. 8. When disrespectful, shameful, abusive or compulsive behavior occurs, use disqualification or denial to reframe or disguise it.
Additional Rules That Are Found Within Shame Bound System • If there is pain, then someone must pay • You are not allowed to emotionally grow past the shame without leaving the family or being seen by family as a traitor
Layers of Emotional Responses One Encounters When Confronting The Shame-Based Personality If one pushes to go past manipulation, anger is met, for shame-based personalities feel like their basic needs are being thwarted. Beneath their anger at being stopped is a sense of…. © Craig Nakken 2008
Blame Within Relationships Blame and shame are the same. Blame is just about who is going to get struck with the shame. Blame is a covert statement of “I’m a failure” A failure to take responsibility “I’m not a part”
Recognizable Characteristics of the Shame-Bound System A mixture of control and chaos The personally blaming and disqualifying messages members give each other • Verbal and nonverbal statements of shame • The failure to complete transactions The therapists’ subjective sense of mystification or missing pieces Exaggerated affective responses disproportionate to the event From Facing Shame by Merle Fossum & Marilyn Mason
PAIN ABOUT ONE’S ACTIONS GUILT ONESELF SHAME Guilt is not optional. We are all guilty. Shame is optional.
“Guilt is developmentally more mature, though painful; it is the feeling of regret one has about behavior that has violated a personal value. ” --Fossum & Mason--
Transformation of Shame Into Guilt Care of Self Honesty Admission of Mistakes Care of Others + Return to Relationship/s = Guilt and Insights
TRAGEDY CRISIS PROBLEMS Sensations What is different about above this line that makes more attractive to addicts? ISSUES SITUATION INCIDENT DILEMMA We will have all of these, healthy Families are better at keeping Incidents, situations and issues as Incidents, situations and issues and not Turning them immediately into problems or crises.
Situations Dilemmas Issues Problems Emotions Signal Danger Defense: • Mechanisms • Systems • Reactiveness • Blaming • Isolation • Etc. Principles and Value System • Solutions • Seeking out others for: • Knowledge • Connections