Shame is burning and enters your soul

Shame is discussed at length in this book. If you become shame based from the behaviour of a shamed parent, you will be burned by criticism and take everything personally. When I was about thirteen I began to feel its burning touch. At that age I had no idea what shame was as I entered early adolescence, but the discomfort was distressing. It manifested itself in a painful way one summer when I was going to the Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking area) in West Cork in the late 1950s. I sat beside a Christian Brother on the train, who happened to be going to that Gaeltacht. We became friends for over forty years, but on that first meeting he kindly enquired about my father’s job. When I heard that unexpected question I could feel my face burning. I absolutely refused to tell him about the shameful job my father had. My whole system was seized with toxic shame and fear. I shrank at the idea that he would judge me by my father’s job. I was defined by shame. My father was storekeeper in the local colliery!
My counsellor challenged me to find a creative way to deal with my shame, and I now realise that creativity is a powerful way to highlight and heal shame. This can take the form of art, writing, poetry or whatever type of creativity suits you. I found poetry was most appropriate for me. When my counsellor made the challenge I immediately saw a huge orb filling the room and almost overwhelming me. I left that evening with that image in my mind and so powerful was the urge to describe it, that I pulled in my car and wrote a poem. It only took a few minutes, but you will be at your most creative when you are in distress. The following is what flowed from me –

Monstrous Orb,
Devouring me.
Begotten of Evil,
Crimson of the Darkness,
Invader of my soul,
Distilling shame into my heart
For Long years.
How I loathe you,
Hate your taste on my Being
Detest your fiery kiss,
Abhor the foulness of your breath.
Thief of my youth,
Destroyer of my trust,
Murderer of my passion,
Killer of my young love.
Insidiously silky serpent,
Soft petalled deceiver
In your sly invasion.
By my hatred of your fiery embrace,
I cast you forth into the darkness,
From whence you came
That time of innocence

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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