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Toxic Shame
by
Leo Booth/John Bradshaw

Abuse creates toxic shame - the feeling of being flawed and diminished and never measuring up. Toxic shame feels much worse than guilt. With guilt, you've done something wrong; but you can repair that - you can do something about it. With toxic shame there's something wrong with you and there's nothing you can do about it; you are inadequate and defective. Toxic shame is the core of the wounded child. This meditation sums up the ways that the wonderful child got wounded. The loss of your I AMness is spiritual bankruptcy. The wonder child is abandoned and all alone.

My Name Is Toxic Shame

I was there at your conception
In the epinephrine of your mother's shame
You felt me in the fluid of your mother's womb
I came upon you before you could speak
Before you understood
Before you had any way of knowing
I came upon you when you were learning to walk
When you were unprotected and exposed
When you were vulnerable and needy
Before you had any boundaries
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I came upon you when you were magical
Before you could know I was there
I severed your soul
I pierced you to the core
I brought you feelings of being flawed and defective
I brought you feelings of distrust, ugliness, stupidity, doubt
worthlessness, inferiority, and unworthiness
I made you feel different
I told you there was something wrong with you
I soiled your Godlikeness
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I existed before conscience
Before guilt
Before morality
I am the master emotion
I am the internal voice that whispers words of condemnation
I am the internal shudder that courses through you without any
mental preparation
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I live in secrecy
In the deep moist banks of darkness
depression and despair
Always I sneak up on you I catch you off guard I come through
the back door
Uninvited unwanted
The first to arrive
I was there at the beginning of time
With Father Adam, Mother Eve
Brother Cain
I was at the Tower of Babel the Slaughter of the Innocents
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I come from "shameless" caretakers, abandonment, ridicule,
abuse, neglect - perfectionistic systems
I am empowered by the shocking intensity of a parent's rage
The cruel remarks of siblings
The jeering humiliation of other children
The awkward reflection in the mirrors
The touch that feels icky and frightening
The slap, the pinch, the jerk that ruptures trust
I am intensified by
A racist, sexist culture
The righteous condemnation of religious bigots
The fears and pressures of schooling
The hypocrisy of politicians
The multigenerational shame of dysfunctional
family systems
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I can transform a woman person, a Jewish person, a black
person, a gay person, an oriental person, a precious child into
A bitch, a kike, a nigger, a bull dyke, a faggot, a chink, a selfish
little bastard
I bring pain that is chronic
A pain that will not go away
I am the hunter that stalks you night and day
Every day everywhere
I have no boundaries
You try to hide from me
But you cannot
Because I live inside of you
I make you feel hopeless
Like there is no way out
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

My pain is so unbearable that you must pass me on to others
through control, perfectionism, contempt, criticism, blame,
envy, judgment, power, and rage
My pain is so intense
You must cover me up with addictions, rigid roles, reenactment,
and unconscious ego defenses.
My pain is so intense
That you must numb out and no longer feel me.
I convinced you that I am gone - that I do not exist -
you experience absence and emptiness.
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

I am the core of co-dependency
I am spiritual bankruptcy
The logic of absurdity
The repetition compulsion
I am crime, violence, incest, rape
I am the voracious hole that fuels all addictions
I am instability and lust
I am Ahaverus the Wandering Jew, Wagner's Flying Dutchman,
Dostoyevski's underground man, Kierkegaard's seducer,
Goethe's Faust
I twist who you are into what you do and have
I murder your soul and you pass me on for generations
MY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME

 


 

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Ego Family
Negative Feelings Shadow
Shame Soul/Being

 

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