Shaming is Shamefool

Many of us have dealt with shame throughout our lives. I certainly have struggled with immense shame – from my earliest memory at 5 years of age through to suffering extreme shame for 25 years with a combination of eating disorders.

Essentially the anorexic feels shame at never achieving impossible perfection; the bulimic feels shame at the out-of-control binging and purging; the overeater feels ashamed at simply being fat; and the disordered eater feels ashamed at being unable to control those urges. Together, they constantly attack self-esteem and promote self-doubt, which is the perfect breeding ground for shame.

When feeling intense shame we want to hide, omit facts or blatantly lie. We think this will minimize the shame but it actually makes it worse. When we hide we maintain our secrets and continue to think that we can’t tell anyone because if they knew they would feel the same disgust for me that I feel for myself.

In actual fact, to find freedom we must talk about that which shames us as honestly as possible. To heal we must reveal our hearts, our thoughts and our behaviours openly to people we trust.

Despite believing that others would think my eating disorder was shameful, disgusting, weird, crazy, embarrassing and sorrowful, I began to release my shame by accepting it and being open about it. I worked out how my shame could be nourishing to me, instead of punishing to me.

When we allow ourselves to be known, especially at our worst, we experience true acceptance. Shame is grounded in the belief that if we are fully known we will not be accepted. Yet only by being fully known and accepted will we defeat our shame.

I’m not ashamed anymore of my eating disorder, it’s made me who I am today and for that I am very proud. I no longer shame myself, nor let others shame me.

We live in a society where shaming is prominent and given without care or true understanding. We feel our own inherent shame – we do not need more handed out by others! So be aware before you shame yourself – or others.

“Shaming happens when one person judges another person in a negative fashion. Because at least two people are involved in the process, each has a role to play in making shame happen. First, one person has to communicate a judgmental message to the other person which says in some fashion that they have failed to meet an important social standard. Then, the person receiving the message needs to accept the judgment of the sending person. In this sense, shame is a message or a communication. If the person receiving a shame message accepts that message, he or she will feel ashamed. If he or she rejects the message, however, the feeling of shame may be avoided.”

It’s important to realize the nature of shaming and choose not to accept these negative cruel messages. Understand that the fact that they are shaming and blaming you is their issue, so it’s important to make sure you are not taking on their unloving behaviour and words personally.

Learn to find compassion for yourself and others, and let go of your false beliefs about yourself that cause the feeling of shame. Secondly, learn to feel your authentic feelings, rather than cover them up with anger or shame. When you learn to nurture yourself by being present with caring and compassion for your own feelings, you will no longer have a need to protect against these feelings with blame or shame.

Susannah McAlwey

Sensitive. Sanguine. Sincere.

I miraculously healed myself from a 25 year chronic combined anorexic/ bulimic/ binge eating disorder, despite numerous medical professionals telling me I would “never” recover!

My 25 years of hell was beyond a nightmare with infinite hospitalisations, almost dying from a potassium deficiency, lying to everyone I loved, feeling constant shame and guilt, not being truly connected to anyone, feeling misunderstood by everyone, avoiding any social situation around food, being unable to keep a job or relationship, despising myself every minute of every day, and not living the life I was meant to live – in supposedly some of the best years of my life.

I can tell you infinite stories of my addiction, as well as my road to recovery. I can tell you how I cured myself 100% with no lingering symptoms, and I can help you do the same!

I call myself “The Nourishment Coach” because I believe eating disorders, disordered eating, body image concerns and obsessions with food and weight stem from issues well beyond food and eating. I believe they can be cured by true self nourishment.