Toxic Shame. Prevention is better than the cure (part 2)


Children can be quite aggressive. This aggression is an inbuilt human condition, which may be called upon in later life, for example, to defend oneself. It is important for the parent not to feel threatened by their child’s aggressive impulses.  This does not mean that they are encouraging aggression, but are neutralising it by allowing it in their role as parents. In the same way the child should be allowed to experience and express ordinary feelings such as jealousy, rage, sexuality, defiance and so on. If the parents have been allowed these feelings when they were children, then they will accept them from their own children. This will allow their children to internalise them. If they are forbidden they foster toxic shame. It is normal to be jealous if appropriate[1], it is normal to feel rage if the occasion demands it[2], sexual feelings, too, are normal.[3] 

Another way of looking at it is that the child must learn the good and the shadow side of being human. Otherwise, to prevent core shame the child will split off the good, and conceal the bad or shadow. This will prevent the child from having a holistic view of himself. He will be shamed by the shadow or the bad side. He will only love the good side, and so will not really love himself. We must love our whole self, the good and the shadow. Otherwise we are not truly human, and, as I said previously, core shame dehumanises.

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