Kathy McClenehan

23 July 2018

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It is happening again. Those words in anger and frustration that tumble out of my mouth before I realize it, leaving those around me with jaws dropped .


I immediately feel shame.


I recognize I am in shame because of how my body responds; tight stomach, chest tight, wanting to run, lowered head, and tears. My defense response it to blame-shift and rationalize. Old tapes (messages in my head) begin to run “I am a failure”, “You blew it”, “You ruined everything”.


Shame messages are powerful.


I do not want to stay here. Take a deep breath. What do I know.


Ask myself questions, get curious. Why did I react that way? Was the target of my reaction really the issue? What is really going on under the surface? Has there been something building in me? Have I been hurt in any way? How have I hurt others?


I need empathy. Empathy is one of the antidotes to shame. My shame says don’t talk to anyone but lonely and isolated is not the place to stay. Who can I talk to?  I know who they are, those safe non-judgmental friends who I can be honest with not matter what I expose about myself. The friends who are honest with me because they know me.


I want to address what happened. What do I need to own? Do I go back to the person and talk about the hurt I have caused? Do I need to risk and talk about how I have been hurt? I do not do well with letting this go unaddressed.


I need self-compassion. Ugh, that is the hardest part for me. Speaking to myself like I would speak to someone I love. I find that my belief in a God who loves me perfectly helps me do with more truth than I feel. I do notice that the volume of the old messages is lower. (Victory over shame!!) This part I will keep working on in the days ahead.


Honestly, I hate that this situation happened but I see growth. Growth does not look like the total disappearance of my ugly places. Growth for me comes in the form of knowing that my broken, beautiful, lovable self makes mistakes, can hurt others and be hurt. Although my wish is that I would never let my anger or frustration flow out again, I can look back and see that the power of this place in my life is loosing its hold.


That is GROWTH!!!!!

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