On Shame

I’m sitting at a cafe and doing research now.  I have eaten lunch, a good one, and am post-food-babied.  I ate intuitively, and well.  And I have the post-meal itis and “full” feeling.  I’m learning to accept it.  Not to “suck in”.  It’s a natural phenomenon that happens after a meal!  But my subconscious is all “shouldn’t you be ashamed?”

Honestly, I’ve realized that when I feel shame, when I feel like I’ve fucked up, when I feel unsafe (be it physically, emotionally, whatever), when I feel anxious, when I feel like my sense of safety/control are threatened, I self-sabotage by grasping on to whatever form of control I feel that I have, and my default is food.

I’ve been coping by restricting.

Example: family stresses – first thing I do innately is to eat less.  Whoa.  I watched myself do this on my birthday this past Sunday, and I was shocked!  I actually was able to catch myself in the habit, re-assess my perception of the threat and my state of safety, re-ground, and eat.  Eat for me.  I no longer am going the be the brunt of my own self-punishment when fear hits.  I am learning to cope better.  Better yet – I’m learning to not interpret such outside things as stressful/threats!  (this is taking practice, and it takes me widening my window of stress-tolerance.)

***(I keep opening this to edit as new insight comes)***

I’ve realized that my tendency to eat less is also when I’m doing things like working at a job where I feel like I can’t fully relax or be myself – I would tend to pack things like big salads with bulk and little nutrition (using unflavoured protein powder to sustain me)…woah.

shit…this self-help work is SUCHWORK #TheWork (nahmean)


I’ve done some research on shame.

Brene Brown’s TedTalk on it is awesome.

I’ve been listening to Sounds True Self-Acceptance Summit videos.  Today I listened to the one on Shame, and some key take-away points hit me:

  • Eating Disorder sufferers tend to be shy and timid, brought up in families that are strict and streamlined.
  • ED sufferers tend to self-harm and internalize the emotion of shame when they are scolded, especially relating to the shy timid nature
  • feeling like there’s no safe space to experience and to feel
  • Shame is actually felt in the body in form of a somatic response where the sympathetic nervous system engages and you go into a form of stress response
  • Shame has a tendency to initiate a reaction in the body to hide-away and escape
  • punishment for actions, repercussions
  • Shame tends to cause a “freezing” or a stagnant state of paralysis
  • covert and overt shamers (ones who voice their feelings of shame, and others who express it via other emotions)
  • Those are a few.


I feel shame often.

“Too much salt?”

“Too much speaking with ‘I’?”

“Too long to eat?”

“Too long in the bathroom?”

“Not pretty enough?  Skin picking too much?”

“Not enough time in the sun to combat the skin picking?”

“Not working hard enough?”

All these thoughts are pretty automatic in regards to negative appraisal with my self-talk.  I’m really learning to observe the rubbish, and to let it go.  To accept it, and choose to believe otherwise.  It’s a weird feeling, like looking down at my thoughts from an above vantage point, and saying, “That’s not me.  I choose to believe differently.”

When I was in India learning yoga, I remember a teacher expressing it as if you were called by a wrong name, and you had the interpretation of utter non-reactive expression that “that’s not my name.”

No judgement, no reaction, no ego.  Simply the “hey man, not my name.” kind of talk.

This was cool.  I’m using that same tone, after first using the mean automatic tone…but in retrospect I’m catching myself, and reframing the way I would prefer to self-talk.  That’s cool.

Anyone experience shame this way?
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