Toxic Shame

Through intimate experiences God has revealed to me that I have “toxic shame”.

“Toxic shame tells us that we are bad beyond repair, beyond forgiveness, beyond help. Toxic shame often involves feeling shame and guilt for things that are not our fault”. It is shame activated by abuse that stubbornly attaches itself to natural drives and normal feelings. Until these attachments are exposed, understood, and integrated properly into our memory, a person will feel little control over changing those negative shame-based associations.

I often feel shame and guilt based in my childhood experience. Shame is such a familiar feeling that I barely notice it anymore. I carry it around and wear it, feeling dirty for things that are natural or normal.

A part of the brain called the hippocampus integrates memories. Trauma and stress great enough can interrupt memory integration. Kind of like having flashbacks after war. But through mindful awareness those memories can be properly integrated.

In counseling, through many books, and journaling, I’m learning mindful awareness by listening to my internal dialogue, body sensations, and my perceptions of the outside world. I feel like God has prompted me and so I’m slowly digging to remove the shame and believe the truth that I am loved.

I am loved by my God, loved by my husband, loved by my children, loved by my friends. I am exposing the internal dialogues of shame so I can experience life without the nagging feeling that I’m always doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with me.

Freedom my friends. Freedom.

He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
Daniel 2:22

Author: Erica Petrowski

Married for over 15 years and a stay at home mother of 4. I have a bachelor's degree in Interior Design, an associates degree in fine arts and years of experience in customer service. I rededicated my life to Jesus in 2000, & hail from Long Island New York. My Husband and I moved to Arizona in January of 2011.

4 thoughts on “Toxic Shame”

  1. I feel so bad for what you went through and are still having to deal with. Seems like PTSD and I’m sure a lot of people deal with this and don’t know anything about the internal workings of it. I’m glad you were transparent and wrote about this. I hope it prompts many others to check into help available (even if through books) and find healing. You have been very strong. Prayers for you.

  2. I’ve struggled with this as well. Thanks for sharing and shedding light on the lies that many believe and hang onto without knowing it. With the Lord’s help, we will walk in freedom and confidence.

  3. It’s a crazy that when I came to this awareness about myself how freeing it was. The ability to take a hold of these thoughts and allow God to weave in the truth is hard but so worth fighting for!! You are indeed richly and deeply loved ❤️

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