The Shame & Humiliation of Adopted Child's Life
Beware of the first sentence/exercise in the next paragraph, for Adopted Children, this can ruin your day, attitude or trip us down that black hole of our adopted child childhood.....
Quick! Think of the most embarrassing experience of your life. Or a time when you were drastically humiliated and ridiculed by someone. How do you feel remembering these events? Could you call forth the feelings or did you numb out quickly? Did you feel anguish looking back or could you toss the event off with laughter? The amount of emotional pain that you felt is related to stuck energy around old feelings of shame. Talk about an unsolved mystery! How does this emotion of shame get such a hold on you?
- Sexual feelings and actions.
- Impulsive aggressive behavior that is against public standards.
- Issues around bathroom functions, body odors and cleanliness.
- Failure of a task or doing poorly when performing before an audience.
- Humiliation and ridicule by peers.
- Class, social status or racial inequality--being looked down upon by others.
- Being different or one's parents being different from others--clothes, body size, or physical differences.
- Doing something or saying something that might hurt another person's feelings.
Acknowledging and Releasing the Belief of I Am Bad
- Bring the shame to a conscious level by recognizing where it is located in the body.
- Feel the feelings. Describe the hurt, sadness, revenge and embarrassment to break into numbed feelings. Own the previously hidden feelings.
- Give the feelings verbal labels.
- Describe the original experience that caused the shame.
- Discuss the negative energy of the person who caused the humiliation or rejection, etc. Explore this person's reasons for cruelty as related to his own shame.
- Determine if any of the other person's shame was internalized. Help the child to understand that it is not their shame but someone else. Ask him to release it by visualizing throwing away the other person's shame.
- Ask for the global belief (I am unworthy/bad/ unlovable.) that defines the secret self.
- Make specific attributions (I did something wrong based on my limited understanding at the time.)
- Find which negative emotions are substituted to keep from feeling bad.
- Find the poor coping behaviors used to keep the global belief away.
- Discuss the public exposure of failure. Admitting one's faults reduces anxiety. Confession of "one's discretions" in an atmosphere of safety reduces shame.
- Use laughter and pleasant emotions to reduce the tension. The research shows that individuals have less hostility if an irrelevant, pleasant experience happens at the same time when recalling a traumatic event. Terrifying situations may be defused more easily with humor. Laughter is an indicator of good self esteem--that you feel good enough to laugh about the unpleasant situation.
- Make a metaphor of the shame giving it color, form, shape or an image.
- Using visualization of the metaphor, ask the client to start to move the shame energy around. Have the child imagine dissipating and releasing the shame.
- Ask for a new global belief to replace the "I am bad."
- Ask the child how he will be different in the future with this new belief. Ask him to imagine seeing himself acting differently in a situation of threat.