Orgasm

Submitted by Galileo on
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I'm recovering from an orgasm. I can't say it was necessarily a bad thing, just intense. I'm not addicted to it anymore, so I view it as more of an occassional event, which occurs under many different kinds of circumstances. Sometimes it accompanies profound learning experiences. I find that I am able to handle lot's of different aspects of experience at once, more ably now. The truth is, which I'm happy to share, that life and consciousness are constantly in motion, it's the natural state of things to go with the flow and move on...Peace, Galileo

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Withdrawl symptoms

One aspect of the fall-out from this type of peak exprience for me is a feeling of shame. There is a lot of research on shame at this time, I'm finding both scientific articles and artist projects dealing with the subject. It seems that shame is a tool of social control, it is a psychological state that occurs in the aftermath of extreme behavior. It is also part of the psychic shadow that gets passed unconsciously from one generation to the next. We all have to battle the shadow each in our own way.

Since becoming interested here in the neurochemical pathways that can become habit, I started searching for a method to alter those pathways. I found something called "pathwork," which is a powerful tool of the imagination, helping one to locate complexes and emtional patterns resulting from trauma, and heal them using creative visualizations.

In order to understand and heal my inner psychic dynamic, I have been practicing a visualization called "inner kingdom." I can't say I am very good at it, my inner vision produces some very blury details at times, and there is often a confusion in me about what I am creating from a kind of wish fulfillment from the lower self, vs. what comes to me as information from the higher self. But since I am very interested in learning this skill, and also have a job that allows my mind to wander, I keep visiting this place of my imaginaion. The idea is to adopt a cultural hero myth, it could be the Egyptian story of Osiris, Isis, Horus and Set. Or it could be The Lord of the Rings, or even Harry Potter, according to your own taste. I have been imagining a medieval court in which I am the ruler. I spend time going around my great hall to see what symbols are decorating the various doors to rooms such as the armory, library, the room where my mage lives, my lover's room, the treasury, and the rooms of the god and goddess. I've also gone out into the courtyard and climbed the ladder to the watchtower to see what was going on out in the village and beyond. All this is very hazy at times, but I don't mind just hanging out there until things become clearer.

Recently, after having experienced a couple of social events in the great hall, I went out to the courtyard, climbed the ladder to the watchtower and had a look out over my land. To my surprise I saw an unfamiliar warrior on horseback there. I dispatched two guards to find out what he wanted, and they returned with the news that he was disputing a boundary, and that he had reason to believe that some portion of my land belonged to him. My first reaction was to wonder if I should invite him to dinner to discuss this, but then immediately realized, that no, of course there is no dispute, this man is trespassing. And I had him escourted to the free lands beyond my village. Then I mounted my own horse and rode out to the houses and farms at the periphery of the village and asked the villagers how they felt about what had happened. They said that it often happens that a man will pass through who wishes dispute the boundary. It happened so often they found it safer to acquiesce and allow him passage. I told them they wouldn't have to worry about that anymore.

Recently, in a dream, I sensed a negative presence that was encouraging me to have an orgasm. I realized what was happening and gathered my strength and resisted. I think that some of my practice with visualization aided me in focusing my consciousness in the dream state.

I have felt the persistance of this presence while in my waking state. Whether it is actually a spirit entity, or an aspect of the shadow of my family, I still felt I had to meet the challenge as a psychic warrior. I don't want to create emnity with the shadow, I want to shed light on it, see what is really there.

Which brings me back to shame again and its social connection with sexuality and pleasure. I am very concerned now about believing that orgasm, when used correctly and consciously, is a positive force for healing and growth.

Well, I can think of

one obvious constructive use for orgasm. You still can't make babies with your neocortex Smile

For me, it's been good for practicing being nice anyway even when I feel like an asshole Blum 3

That thing called shame

[quote=Galileo]One aspect of the fall-out from this type of peak exprience for me is a feeling of shame. There is a lot of research on shame at this time, I'm finding both scientific articles and artist projects dealing with the subject.[/quote]

I was just re-reading an article today from 2004 that I hadn't read since, the subject matter of which was shame, so now that you are talking about shame it seems appropriate to share it here (excuse the marketing in the article):

That Haunting Feeling That There's Something Wrong With You
by Bill Harris, Director

In this issue I'm going back to something very fundamental. This isn't about meditation, or high spiritual states, or controlling your internal state, It's much more basic, but if you don't deal with it, it can ruin your life, it make any spiritual work you do very unfulfilling. In some cases, it can make your life a living hell. This is a very sneaky issue, and because of its nature many people try very hard to cover it up.

I'm talking about shame.

I could get metaphysical about this and note that shame is a third chakra issue, and talk about how, if not healed, it can pollute further growth in many ways, and so on and so forth. I could also talk about where shame happens in the developmental spiral. But I don't want this to be metaphysical or scholarly. I want this information to be very real-world, practical, and accessible.

What is shame? Shame is, quite simply, the feeling that there is something wrong with you. In more extreme cases, it is the feeling that there is something TERRIBLY, IRREVOCABLY, DEEPLY, FUNDAMENTALLY, wrong with you. You feel broken, and there's nothing that can be done. Nothing works. Anyone who likes you or sees value in you just isn't looking closely enough to really see the "real" you.

And, the last thing you'd ever want would be for anyone to see past the facade and notice that you are broken, that there is something deeply wrong with you. So, you create all kinds of ways to hide, to cover up what you're afraid others will notice. You could use humor, or your intelligence, or your ability to perform in the world. You could hide behind being fat, or behind being a drug addict or an alcoholic. You could hide by creating a fantasy world where you act as if you're better than other people, or you try to control others. Perhaps you imagine that people don't like you (or do like you), when they may not be paying much attention to you either way. You could try to cope by being macho, or by being pitiful. There are scores of ways a person suffering from shame could attempt to cope. All the emotional dysfunctions we see in Centerpointe participants--anger, sadness, anxiety, substance abuse, fear, depression, powerlessness, relationship problems, and many others--can be shame-based.

A person suffering from shame may function well in the world, or their shame may keep them from being functional in many situations. Sometimes shame is layered beneath many defense mechanisms, and the outer appearance is one of "I'm fine. Nothing bothers me." Other times, it is so close to the surface the slightest thing can send the person into tears, anger, depression, or some other reaction. Sometimes the person knows they are ashamed, and sometimes they have so successfully hidden the feeling they don't even know they have it. (I know this was true for me.)

If a person is suffering from shame, they may go from one personal growth approach to another, but nothing seems to work. This is because shame is very fundamental, and until it is handled, any growth built on top of it is like building a house on shifting sand.

A shame-based person spends a lot of time focusing on avoiding potential danger. As I've said many times, your brain will take what you focus on and find a way to make it happen in reality. To focus on avoiding danger you have to make internal representations of danger, and your brain then thinks it is supposed to create or attract danger--or cause you to interpret what isn't dangerous as if it is. For this reason, shame is a vicious circle, where avoiding danger leads to more danger, which leads to more attempts to avoid it, on and on.

Where does shame come from? It comes from abuse, from trauma suffered when you are too small to have any filters to tell you why it is happening and what it really means. If the people who are supposed to love you and care for you hurt you, neglect you, criticize you--or worse--the obvious conclusion, from a child's point of view, is that there must be something wrong with you. Otherwise, why would these big, powerful, God-like people who have every reason to care about you treat you with so much anger, contempt, or neglect?

Sometimes this trauma is inadvertent, coming from the death of a loved one, or situations the parents could not cope with themselves. Sometimes it comes from the fact that the parents were treated the same way when they were young, and it's all they know. But finding someone to blame isn't the point, and it isn't productive. If trauma happened, the resourceful thing to do is to deal with it now, get rid of it, and move on.

From this trauma, the child draws two conclusions. One is that the world is dangerous, and as a result they have to be on the alert for danger, as I've already described. Second, the child concludes that there must be something deeply wrong with them, at the very core, and that to survive, they must NEVER let anyone know that this defect exists. To accomplish this, elaborate armoring, physically, emotionally, and spiritually--an elaborate facade--is created.

A person living with shame generally exists in one of two ways: they create so much self-armoring that they don't feel much of anything, no one can get through to them on an emotional level, and life becomes a process of toughing it out. Or, they fail to create effective armoring, and go through life easily triggered by people and events around them (what I have called a low threshold) or emotionally collapsing whenever the going gets the slightest bit tough. Dealing with shame becomes the central point of such a person's life.

What makes it difficult to deal with shame is that the sufferer wants so much to hide it. It is nearly impossible to ask for help, since this means revealing to someone else that you are totally broken.

Here's a fact about shame few people understand, and which puts this problem in a completely different perspective. Almost every person I meet, whether in my personal life or in my role as a teacher and helper, under their facade thinks there is something wrong with them. Each person has developed their own act designed, in part, to dance through life without revealing this awful secret. They don't realize that the people they're trying to fake out are doing the same to them, too--and that the relationships they create seem so unfulfilling because they are relationships between two facades. At the same time, the real, hurting individual is trapped underneath, crying for intimacy and understanding.

At the beginning of Centerpointe retreats, we look at each other, a room full of strangers. The group looks like any group of people you might see on the street or in a mall. Most seem pretty together, a few seem shy and scared, a few seem obviously in difficulty. But overall, a pretty average, normal group.

What isn't "normal" about these people, though, is the fact that they want to do something to improve their lives, and they've taken a fairly daring step: to come to a retreat, sit down in the middle of a group of total strangers, and trust what I've told them about the improvements they'll experience.

We use some very strong Holosync at the retreats, and we ask people to participate in some processes designed to create a deeper awareness of certain aspects of yourself you may not have previously examined--or may think you have, but really haven't. But nothing at a Centerpointe retreat is confrontational, and everything is designed to create a feeling of deep safety and bonding to the rest of the group and an increased awareness of who you are and how you create your reality.

As people open up (and some do more than others), I notice that, almost without exception, each person has some amount of this internal feeling of shame--the idea that there is something wrong with them, and they must not allow others to see it. In the retreat environment, however, the feeling of trust in the staff and in the other participants sneaks up on you. Before you know it, you actually feel safe enough to allow others a peek inside at who you really are. Usually, one brave soul breaks the ice by sharing something about him or herself. Often this is something they really are ashamed about, often something they've been hiding for decades.

At one retreat, a man shared how he had been a wild teenager who said a lot of nasty things to his mother (which reminded me a lot of my own teenage years). Then, his mother died, and for forty years he has felt that there was something really, really unforgivable about a boy who did such a thing. Others instantly saw a fairly normal teenage boy who had loved his mother. Though they could understand his feeling of regret that his mother had died while he was going through his wild and uncouth years, they also saw that this did not make him a fundamentally bad person.

This man's sharing of such a deep and dark secret, only to find that the others not only did not reject him, but actually felt closer to him, not only was healing for him, it was healing for those who witnessed it. To one degree or another, many people began to see that perhaps the dark secret they've carried for so long might not mean what they thought it meant.

There is a lot more that happens at a retreat--I only offer this as as isolated incident that relates to the topic of shame. But when people look at each other once again at the end of a retreat, they realize that these people who looked so ordinary in the beginning were each carrying a complex history of meanings, hurts, fears, and aspirations. They also realize that this applies to all the people they meet each day.

The person you're facing at the grocery store, or at work, or in your family, very likely has their own complex internal history and feelings. Just like the people at the retreat, they are doing the best they know how (which often isn't very functional, unfortunately) as they try to deal with internal feelings they think they can never let anyone see. Often they aren't even aware of these feelings on a conscious level.

Does knowing this allow you to feel more compassion for them? Does knowing it allow you to feel more compassion for yourself?

I hope that knowing that you're not the only one with the nagging feeling that there's something wrong with you helps you to begin to let go of that feeling.

Shame, as I said, is the feeling that something is wrong with you. But the reality is that something was DONE to you (on purpose or inadvertently--it doesn't matter). No matter what the appearance, it is NOT true that something is wrong with you. You may be acting in extremely dysfunctional ways as a result of past trauma, but that does not mean there is something wrong with you. It just means that as a result of some early significant negative emotional experiences you have developed a way of creating your reality that sometimes creates some lousy results.

You need to take your "creating" off auto-pilot and learn how to do it consciously and intentionally.

This is exactly why people use Holosync. Holosync increases your conscious awareness, so you can see what you're doing to yourself. It allows you to see that there really isn't anything wrong with you. At the same time, it dramatically increases your threshold for what you can handle before sliding into the dysfunctional feelings and behaviors you may use to cope with shame. The second tool we use is the support materials and personal support we provide, especially my online courses and Centerpointe retreats. This information shows you, step-by-step, how you are creating your current results, inside and out, and how you can learn to create the results you want.

The most important thing to remember is that you don't have to believe that feeling that something is wrong with you. Feelings, especially bad ones, don't mean that there is something wrong with you (they also don't mean there is something wrong with someone else, but that's another article). I suggest that you STOP believing such feelings. You do not have to live with shame and all its debilitating symptoms. Centerpointe programs are very powerful ways to end shame, and I encourage you to either get involved, or get more involved, and to stay involved. And, take advantage of our support.

No matter who you are, or what your past or current situation, you can be happy, peaceful, and successful in the world, if you know how to do it. If I can do it, anyone can.

Be well.

Bill

[If you found this article helpful, please send a copy of this issue to a friend!]

Galileo wrote:I'm recovering

[quote=Galileo]I'm recovering from an orgasm. I can't say it was necessarily a bad thing, just intense. I'm not addicted to it anymore, so I view it as more of an occassional event, which occurs under many different kinds of circumstances. [/quote]
I was wondering on which basis do you say that you are not addicted to orgasm anymore? :)
My (very limited) understanding from reading this forum is that it takes years to get rid of that addiction - at least for men (like me).
Thanks.
:)

Thanks for your interesting

Thanks for your interesting post, Galileo. I've been reading Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own", so let me speak in that vein. It strikes me that you and I have the luxury of having a room of one's own, something so many women have not had in ages past, and the question arises of what we will do with this indipendence - particularly, what one should do when a man comes knocking at the door of this room (or castle) as they are wont to do.

You're exploring your consciousness in fine and commanding style, as usual. The fact that there was a knight disputing a boundary is fascinating, and I was interested at your reaction - first the desire to invite him in, then discerning he was a trespasser. Given the history of the type of intense and manipulative men you say you've been drawn to, it would seem that sending him back would be a wise choice. Yet when you first described him, I felt excited: yes, part of an old story that still captivates however cliche - that there will one day be a man worthy of sharing your wealth. I hoped, at first, that that was he. For I know you are deserving of such a man. And I find it also likely that such a man of quality will one day stand at your boundary and reckon with you over its validity, tho hopefully in a less immature, controlling, and exploitive way than others have. Will you be able to identify that man as such, seeing the boundaries put up? Protection is necessary but can also be blinding. Decked out as you are in your domain with your many rooms, one with a lover, there is a self-sufficiency that is wholesome and healthy but which can also prove illusory, for one has all that one needs to avoid any true confrontation of the self - ie, what the self is is purely self-determined and therefore a little flat. This also brings me to the question of the lover that you have in your castle. Does he simply wait there in that room for you? You are in your domain, you have power, luxury, and boundaries, and you are maintaining them. My question is how you might let someone in from the outside, what signals and characteristics in a man now would be worthy of being let into the castle?

The interesting question in all this for me, at least, is to acknowledge that while boundaries are certainly important (especially as women, with everyone from the nearest guy to the nearest soul waiting to be reborn inside us), and independence from historical slavery has been hard-won; and with this new freedom of self-definition, we have more control over our destiny - still, still, the part that we love to share with another is that which we do not completely know. We are larger than our concepts of ourselves. Our souls expand beyond lifetimes, are rich in experiences and yearnings we can only be partially conscious of. That is why a good lover is so good - because he can surprise us into getting to know parts of ourselves that we had become unconscious or forgetful of, but which are nevertheless our self. And that is lovely, to remember a part of oneself. The beloved defines us only insofar as he is able to remind us of the mystery of ourselves. At least, this is a train of thought I would like to follow: the notion that the more in control we think we are of who we are, the less open we are to love; and that loving requires a fine balance of willpower, discernment, negotiation, manifestation, yes - but also a trusting in the not knowing, or a knowing that if any love is to flower, it is because it is something larger than the ego, and that this love that could be experienced may just have a design to it, an actual geometry, the magnificence of which we can sense but which will always be a little blurry and obscure, because it is our task to make it manifest.

Just another (predictable) plug for equilibrium :-)

I think a sense of wholeness and balance helps us see how groundless any feelings of shame (or any judgments of/defensiveness toward others, for that matter) are. For me this is the biggest intersection between orgasm and shame.

There's nothing shameful about orgasm(!), but it *can* throw one onto a temporary roller coaster that exaggerates all kinds of random thoughts and beliefs. (Muddies clarity)

That being said, sometimes a roller coaster ride is just what's needed to show us which groundless fears we need to let go of next. Wishing you fruitful explorations.

Mars, it *is* easier for some to escape the orgasm cycle (almost completely), if they haven't had their foot on the accelerator for as long. Wink

Disharmony

Mitsiky,
I recognized paranoia and despair too, and shrugged them off as not real. I'm still holding the idea that there is a way to use orgasm (besides for making babies), that's not so destabilizing. Not sure if this is possible, but I'm not sure yet that it's not.

cosy,
Thank you for the article, I will look up the programs mentioned. I really apprciate your stories and look forward to reading more.

Mars,
I didn't think orgasms were a problem until I landed on this site after an abrupt break-up with my porn/alcohol/cocaine-addicted ex-boyfriend at the end of May this year. I started questioning the causes of the roller coaster ride I had been on, and decided to give up orgasm. I gave it up for a month or two, and then had a spontaneous orgasm while fantasizing. Now, six months later, the same thing happened again as I was drifting off to sleep.

I know I'm not addicted because I'm not interested in having another one, for a while at least. :)

hotspring,
I forgot to mention to you how influential your comment to me was regarding the man who wanted to have sex right away. Your advice really resonated...

I think that the Inner Kingdom pathworking is about exploring and nurturing one's own psyche. Characters who dwell within my realm, within my borders are different aspects of my own personality. But characters who are from other lands, represent outside influences that I need to learn to negotiate with in a healthy way. The lover who dwells within my house, is an aspect of myself. The warrior from another kingdom who challenges my boundary in such a fashion--is someone who needs to learn respect. I teach the aspects of myself that permit such breaches how to respect themselves when I make the kind of reparation I made in that pathworking session. I do welcome a man to visit me in my world if he observes the protocols.

There is the fantasy of the mysterious knight who will come to the rescue, which is very appealing, but any knights that serve me, are really energies of my own making. I need to cultivate these in my own personality before I can be in an equal partnership with anyone else.

Virginia Woolf rocks!

Marnia,
Good advice, to look on disharmony as necessary in the process of self-discovery and growth. I won't criticize myself for failing.

Another article on shame

[quote=Galileo]cosy,
Thank you for the article, I will look up the programs mentioned. I really apprciate your stories and look forward to reading more.[/quote]

You're welcome Galileo. Interestingly, I received an article on shame today in my e-mail inbox, from a mailing list:

November 2008: Comfort Zone ONLINE
Coping Corner:
Highly Sensitive People and Shame

I have written about shame before, but I find I am still fascinated by it, so here I go again. Shame is an emotion, like fear or grief. Like them, it is painful--perhaps the most painful feeling there is, given that it is registered in the brain like strong physical pain.

Emotions are known by the facial expression and bodily movements each creates, which are universal and even visible in animals. Anyone familiar with dogs knows they feel shame. Shame can be seen in you when you want to hide, disappear, or even say you want to die, as if you are a thoroughly bad person. You hang your head or hunch down, sagging your shoulders. You can’t look anyone in the eye. Why? You believe you are rotten to the core. No one should want to be around you.

HSPs and a Social Emotion

Shame is a social emotion, like shyness, guilt, or pride. You cannot have it without others being around, or at least around in your imagination. Shame seems to serve to keep us in good standing within a group, punishing us brutally for the slightest imagined wrong doing. After childhood, usually no one has to make us ashamed. We do it to ourselves. That was important as we evolved, because we used to live in groups and entirely depended on them for our survival. We could not afford to be thrown out for bad behavior.

Guilt is milder in that you feel you have done something bad, not that you are bad. It may seem that you can fix it or hope to be forgiven. Even if not, guilt does not have that sense of finality. Which you feel depends on the situation--most of us feel shame, not guilt, if we vomit in public for example.

I am convinced that HSPs are more shame-prone than others. Partly this is true because we feel all emotions more intensely. Plus having the trait of high sensitivity means we inherited a strategy of being careful, observing before acting. In the case of shame, these emotions help us by keeping us motivated to avoid or hide anything that would turn others against us. Further, we are conscientious anyway, do not want to hurt others, and can see ahead to the long-term consequences of what we do. In short, we come wired to sense better what might evoke shame and inhibit whatever impulse we might have that would lead to it.

Finally, HSPs are more affected by bad parenting, including punishment by shaming, but also we can feel shame for being neglected, left alone too much, or just not being loved. It may not be logical, but it motivates us as children to work harder to get the love and care we need.

How We All Avoid Shame, at All Costs

Because shame is so painful, people rarely feel it, even HSPs. It’s like the joke about the man wearing the whistle. Asked why, he says it keeps away the elephants. If you say, “but there are no elephants around here,” he will tell you, “that’s because of my whistle.” So we rarely feel shame: We have learned to blow the whistle on ourselves long before we could do something that would make us stand out like an elephant.

There are also some classic ways to avoid shame, once we have acted in a way that could bring it on. Sometimes we blame others: “I didn’t do anything wrong--he was wrong.” Or people minimize their role: “I wasn’t really trying” or “that wasn’t really part of my responsibilities.” They claim not to care: “I just don’t give a damn what other people think.” Or they make themselves seem above shame: “That really does not apply to me--I’m beyond all that,” although that may require someone else feeling inferior: “I can’t believe you are so upset by this.”

HSPs can use all of these self-protections, but I think we resort more to avoiding the need for these tactics by not doing anything shameful in the first place. We adapt to what others want. We try to be perfect, make no errors, are always generous. We overachieve so that no one can say we haven’t tried or succeeded.

Alas, this carefulness often leads to very constricted lives. We hardly realize it because at least we are not feeling bad due to shame. We are also not being spontaneous, genuinely warm and loving, or much of anything else. We are not reaching out for what makes us happy, or even remembering what makes us happy. But at least we are not feeling ashamed, until we realize this and then feel ashamed of this too.

When Did It Start for You?

Almost everyone can think back to an early memory when they felt horrible shame. For some it was a mistake during toilet training, or being sent to their room or spanked for the first time, or going to school and being teased for something that no one at home saw as a problem, like crying. For some it was discovering they were different in a way that was not acceptable to the majority: having dark skin, being too tall or short, being poor, or whatever.

Sometimes the event would only evoke guilt in some people, but due to our sensitivity or how others reacted, we felt shame instead. For example, some kids react to being caught stealing with guilt, but sensitive children are more likely to feel deeply ashamed, especially if the parent reacts too strongly.

However it began, I think of the first moment of shame as an initiation into human society. Your capacity to feel the horrible pain of shame has been turned on, like burning yourself for the first time. The pain will make you try your hardest not to feel it again, just as you will try never to burn yourself again.

So Many Reasons to Feel Ashamed

Consider some of the reasons for shame that you may hardly think about anymore, because you are so good at avoiding them. Here’s a partial list:

* Looking different, including dressing wrong or strangely.
* Not conforming, being out of step.
* Being personally rejected as a friend or from a group for your personality or style.
* Being defeated or failing.
* Being “overly” enthusiastic and then being “shot down.”
* Misjudging a situation by being too informal.
* Being “overly” emotional (“don’t be a cry baby; you take things too “personally”).
* Being “too” suggestible (“It’s all in your head” or “why did you listen to him?”)
* Being “too” stressed (“Can’t you just relax?”).
* Looking foolish, awkward, or lacking confidence.
* Lying, stealing, or betraying another.
* Injuring another.
* Not controlling a bodily function or impulse, from failing to use the toilet to not picking your nose.
* Being addicted.
* Being sexually betrayed by a lover or spouse.
* Not trying hard enough, being lazy.
* Not being brave (whatever that meant to those around you).

Quite a list, isn’t it? I’m sure I forgot some, probably the ones that are most automatic or terrifying to me. Each culture can add its own: What’s unmanly, not womanly, ugly, or inexcusable. Compare your culture to that of others and you will see how relative “bad” can be.

What Do You Do About Shame?

Yikes. I don’t know. There is so much advice about how to live life that basically amounts to getting over your fear of shame. Empower yourself. Conquer your fears. Love yourself. Have higher self-esteem. Stop being self-conscious. Get over shyness. And when you can’t do it, guess what? You feel ashamed.

Yet the core problem of shame is not discussed that much. I think a good place to begin overcoming unnecessary shame is to think about it, hard. Uncover it in yourself, free of all of your ways of avoiding it. When did you first feel deep shame? The very first time you remember? Often that is what you still feel most fearful of doing. Think about when you felt it most strongly and who made you feel it. What was most shameful in your family, among your friends, and right now among the people you know?

What emotions seem most shameful to you--being sad or crying, being afraid or anxious, anger, enthusiasm, curiosity? Pride? Being depressed so that you “bring people down”? Or there may be others.

Then consider how you have set up your life to avoid doing these specific things. What parts of you have been turned off? Your animal self? Your funny self? The part of you that knows what makes you happy? The part of you that sets boundaries and says “I’ve had enough of this”?

Another thing to consider is whether you are free of shame when you are alone. If not, try being in nature and thinking about your animal self and its impulses. Think of other animals. When they do what you feel ashamed of, do you find their behavior shameful? Can you accept that you do have instincts, and even if you decide to suppress them, they are not bad?

Talk about the general feeling of shame with others. Often we each feel that only we are truly, truly bad. But if we all feel it, most of us must be wrong.

I could go on and on, but I think it is enough for now simply to make you more conscious of shame and how unreasonable it often is, or conditioned by a culture that wants certain things out of us. As we grow older and wiser, maybe we can give the culture, the groups we live in, and all of those imagined critics from the past most of what they expect from us, but without quite so much sacrifice of our souls.

Narcissism

Thank you, cosy. Since I am focusing on "healing relationships" in my work at this site, I will process this information about shame in the context of my current relationships and how they imitate the patterns of my childhood relationships. It might be true that sexuality and orgasm brings me to a state of emotional instability which calls up childhood schemas that play out in my most intimate relationships, and which serves to answer the question of why I attact a certain type of man into my life: to me it is clear that they are all narcissists. And narcissism, it turns out, is one strategy for dealing with an undercurrent of shame. Which brings me back to the question of why parents pass on the shadow theme of shame to their children--as a perpetuation of unconsciousness, I hope we can help to heal it. In the case of my last boyfriend, it's obvious that the shame in his family came from the mother becoming sexully active at a young age within a Christian community that shamed her for getting pregnant. Shaming sexuality is an outmoded form of social control. And yet, sexuality is a powerful energy that needs to be respected and used correctly. -G

I suggest

the book "Healing The Shame That Binds You" by John Bradshaw. It's the best book I ever read on the subject. In fact, I have my copy here on my desk, underlined and annotated.

His explorations of family dynamics and how shame gets transmitted from one generation to another had a big, big, BIG impact on how I see myself and my own family. I went from resenting my mom and dad for some things they did and say in the past to actually feeling compassion for them. Being shame based sucks. I even traced a sketchy family tree and dissected my parents/grandparents/relatives and boy, everything fits the descriptions SO well. I am extremely grateful for this book.

Other resources I found helpful on the subject (directly related or inferentially related)

- Kazimierz Drabowski Theory of Positive Disintegration
- Anything written by Alice Miller
- Sam Vaknin's "Narcissism Revisited" (Galileo, you may want to really look into this one.. it explains the dynamics of the relationships between narcissists and people who seem inexplicably attracted to them.)
- Anything written by Joseph Campbell

On a side note, I love Reuniting. This thread is great, I really enjoy reading your comments and posts, guys/gals. Keep them coming!

Bradshaw

I went and bought John Bradshaw's book right after an intense sexual experience with my ex-boyfriend about six months ago. I knew I was going through some kind of withdrawl symptom, but I didn't know what was causing it yet, or how to think about it, but I did clearly identify feelings of shame. I wanted to talk to him about it and so I went to his house, only to discover he was hanging out with his best girlfriend who he liked doing cocaine with. I ended up having it out with her, which prompted Kevin to break up with me the next day. I never got to talk to him about my feelings about what had happened. It all just kind of exploded lucky for me, and I was able to step off the "white knuckle ride" which was what he liked to call the experience of being involved with him. Then I found this site, and it all started to make a lot more sense...

I have gone to the Malignant Narcissism site. I learned a lot there, but the man who writes it scares me!

I love Joseph Campbell, and refer to his books a lot. I also study the work of Carl Jung and his lesser known associate Marie-Louise Von Franz, who is really good at dream and fairy tale interpretations.

Thank you for your suggestions, JKasali! -G

Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir, the five freedoms available to functional people (me, say it out loud, ME!)

1) See and hear what I see and hear rather than what I am supposed to see and hear.
2) Think what I think rather than what I am supposed to think.
3) Feel what I feel rather than what I am supposed to feel.
4) Want what I want rather what I am supposed to want.
5) Imagine what I imagine rather than what I am supposed to imagine.

Quoted in Bradshaw's "Creating Love" (or10,000 Ways to Really Fuck Up Your Kids, or did your mom write that book?)

http://www.reuniting.info/node/2813

te amo

A couple of months ago

Galileo wrote me a PM and said she was moving on. I've heard from her once since, when she shared a major insight about some personal growth.

She's doing well and seemed happy. Maybe she'll drop by some time.