If a person has toxic shame, they eventually stop questioning it.
It just becomes part of their world. Their everyday existence.
It becomes part of their subconscious where it starts dictating their behavior.
Toxic shame can have a huge negative impact on your life – and it may even be one of the triggers for social anxiety.
But what is the difference between regular and toxic shame?
To begin with, shame is a natural human emotion. It doesn’t feel great – we all know that. But it actually has a few benefits in the stages of development.
When you are growing up, shame signifies that you have probably done something that isn’t within the norm. It teaches you what is and what is not acceptable in society and helps you to be moral. In addition, it stops you from repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
However, when shame becomes chronic it turns into a bigger problem.
This kind of shame is not connected to something you haven’t done right.
Rather, it is a strongly held belief that you aren’t good enough in one way or another. That you don’t deserve to be loved, that you are inherently flawed or just “worthless.” This is toxic shame in a nutshell.
It isn’t hard to see why this may cause major problems down the line.
But the most important question here is why some people develop toxic shame while others do not.
Usually, the answer is related to the way a person was raised.
We all go through shame and embarrassment while growing up. It is an inseparable part of growing up. Shame can be caused by anyone including family members, school, bullies, strangers, or certain religious systems.
Shame normally doesn’t last long and it disappears as soon as it teaches us a necessary lesson. But in some instances, it persists and that is due to the following reasons:
Children are naturally more sensitive to shame than grownups. And when a child is not given the emotional support it needs in order to succeed, this bitter feeling of shame can become part of her or his subconscious. It makes the child feel as there is something unchangeably wrong with them. And that is toxic shame.
It is crucial to note that people do not normally inflict toxic shame on purpose. This is mostly true for parents. They may be loving parents in each way – but the way they deal with shameful situations can have a lasting painful effect on their children.
Toxic shame and social anxiety
Many people think that toxic shame is the cause of all social anxiety. But there is no sufficient proof of this. There are a number of potential causes for anxiety that do not involve shame.
Toxic shame can contribute to anxiety, however, and it is important to understand how.
The most visible connection here is that shame causes us to go into hiding from others.
Physically, you might avoid going to places where there is potential for embarrassment. Mentally, you do not want others to know what you feel or think because you believe it may be unacceptable or plainly bad.
This, in turn, holds you back from being yourself and expressing your opinions freely. It makes you painfully self-critical.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that such thoughts can turn social events into nightmares.
Toxic shame can make you feel like a complete failure.
But it can be fought off
Toxic shame is an issue and can worsen social anxiety – or even cause it in some cases.
However, you have the power to question and choose to expel toxic shame from your system.
Challenge it and break free from it. After all, life is too short to waste it on worrying what others think of you.
What are your thoughts on toxic shame? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you enjoyed the read.