Guilt and Shame
These 2 insidious creatures, guilt and shame, seem to accompany pain the longer we travel on that road. I find them detestable in the way they hurt my self and my friends. I want to take a look at this because I think these emotions seriously hinder us and hold us back in so many different ways… AND they don’t belong in our journey even though they seem ever-present!
Guilt and shame are common travel companions with chronic pain. They often hurt and hinder our efforts to heal. Read on for help healing from SI joint pain.
- A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonorable, unworthy, degrading, ect.
- Feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : morbid self-reproach often manifest in marked preoccupation with the moral correctness of one’s behavior responses originating in inner guilt and uncertainty
Yeah, they are dictionary terms, but look at them…. REALLY look at them. Do you see yourself hiding in those definitions? I know I have. Admitting I could see myself in those descriptions makes my stomach churn a bit. Wasn’t it hard enough being in physical pain? Did I have to be in emotional pain and this hard on myself too?!
Just in the last few days I have been involved in several conversations about how much money, time, and “useful” life pain has stolen. We worry about our financial situations, our contribution to society, and our contribution to our families. Mourning our loss of function, our loss of dreams, our ability to move and live. Guiltridden that we have not provided the lives we want to for our family our ourselves. Our view of ourselves is often that of a burden, invisible, unreliable, hopeless wrecks that will be forever trapped by bodies riddled with pain.
Our guilt and shame start to silence our story.
We hide our aching bodies from our family and friends as we push to make the dinner. To show up for work. Keeping up the appearance to be sociable with our peers. We tell ourselves to keep going, keep pushin’. Not stopping until our bodies scream at us, often on fire leaving no choice but to STOP.
We keep hoping for the next cure, the next “fix”. We fall deeper into the hole of guilt because maybe we aren’t trying hard enough when the miracle cure didn’t work for us… maybe it’s me… maybe I didn’t try hard enough….Blame eats away at hope. Guilt and shame creep in and tells us we are broken, unfixable, never going to be out of pain, never going to be the people we thought we would be BEFORE THE PAIN.
The stopping often increases the feelings of guilt and shame and bring words like can’t, should, have to, ought to. As the mental and emotional assault hit, our pain increases. Pain is the warning system of the body and as all those thoughts swirl like a hurricane, you better believe your under threat, and your body is doing its job. Warning you of threat!
Here and now I call all this real, but TOTAL insanity! This is NOT right! It’s not a helpful view of ourselves. All it does is keep us quiet and complacent and keeps us from seeking and GETTING the help we need !!!!
Stop and Consider
Would you ever say to a friend the things you say to yourself about who you are with pain? Bet you wouldn’t? I bet you would be encouraging, kind, generous, that’s who you are! Would you make them push though pain to get something done? Would you judge them for telling the boss they needed a different work station, or a different schedule ? Think about the things you say to yourself when you are not living up to your expectations. Or when your angry that your body is in pain. Would you ever speak to a friend like you speak to yourself? There is no way I would EVER talk to you like I have talked to myself!
I understand the helpless, hopelessness that SIJD and persistent pain brings… I have cried oceans of tears over all I lost and could not do, give, or provide. It’s ok to mourn. Pain has sidelined dreams, and hopes, and relationships… it’s a sad true fact However, you do NOT have to agree to let guilt and shame ride along. There is no shame in this , you did not ask for it.
Recognizing Guilt and Shame
In order to find freedom from guilt and shame and over come its paralysis, we must be aware of it. When we are unable to identify these feelings, they tend to wash over us like a title wave. Part of healing from our physical pain is dealing with theses feelings so they don’t continue to drag us down and increase our suffering!
Emotions have physical sensations too! Remember the last time you had your heart-broken? I do! I felt it in my chest, my heart, my gut. That emotional pain was felt everywhere, I was quiet sure I might die from a broken heart. Guilt and shame can also be felt physically: dry mouth, twitching, heart racing, tunnel vision, a sense of time slowing down. Maybe you have experienced these?
Being able to identify these feelings as they are happening can decrease our suffering, decrease the amount of stress our bodies are under and thereby not add to our existing pains. Recognizing our feelings of guilt and shame are the ways we build resilience, which leads to awareness and gives us an opportunity to make different choices.
Find the freedom from Guilt and Shame
Download this free worksheet to start to untangle some of these ideas on your own journey.
Be grateful for the gifts of friends, family and spouses…. they often have no idea how to help us. It’s not uncommon for them to feel hopeless and trapped too. Each of them reach out in their own way to provide a support for us to lean against. They share of their resources and emotions… it often seems so clumsy to us, but they try. Appreciate the gifts, the phone calls, the attempts to make us feel included – the offers of help… really… when you think about it – we need it, and so do they.
We are valuable to them because of who we are, our very beings… not just because of what we can or can’t do. Yes, even in our worst, most disabled moments – laying on the floor unable to move praying for death as the pain sears even then we are still beautiful, important, and worthy.
Even after the injections, and scans, and treatments that didn’t seem to help we are STILL important. Our lives, and our stories matter. Our health matters, our dreams matter, our wishes matter. WE MATTER.
Our battle is already hard enough – may I encourage you today to let shame and guilt off here and continue your journey without them… I am positive they take up far more space in our suitcases than we need at this point in our journey!
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