On one side, one can punish themselves, and on the other side, they can be punished by others. And while this is the case, it is often easier to see when one is punished by others.
If one ends up being treated badly by someone, for instance, there is a strong chance that they will be looked upon as the victim. This is primarily because the point of focus is likely to be on what is taking place externally and what is taking place internally can then be overlooked.
The ‘victim’ can then be seen as paying no part in what has taken place and the blame is then going to be placed firmly on the ‘perpetrator’. Now, this is not to say that was has happened externally has no importance; what it does emphasise is the fact that there is often more to this than meets the eye.
If one was to focus on what is taking place externally, they are likely to try to change what is happening around them. In order to do this, they might try to be ‘nicer’ or they may tell someone to treat them better.
They may believe that if they change how they behave, the other person will also change. Yet, when they stand their ground, they are not taking responsibility for the other person’s behaviour.
The Next Stage
While one could change their behaviour in the hope that the other person will change, this might not have any effect on them in the long run. However, this doesn’t mean they will simply walk away, and if they did, there is also the chance that they would end up in the same position.
Standing up and holding their ground might lead to the desired outcome; whereby, the other person changes or they end up walking away. There is also the chance that the other person will change and then as time passes, they may revert to how things were, and if one was to walk away, they might end up in a similar dynamic.
If one ended up attracting another person into their life who is the same or if they were just thinking about the likelihood of attracting someone similar, they might ended up feeling powerless. Their life is going to feel as though it is out of their hands, and it is then going to be normal for them to feel this way.
Another approach would be for them to get in touch with what is taking place within them. This is not to say that one will find the answers in their mind though, as the answers are likely to be in their body.
When one connects to their mind to see what is going on, they may find that this part of them has no idea. Their mind may believe that the problem is ‘out there’ and that they are ‘victims, for instance.
The mind is often seen as the story maker and it likes to see itself as the observer of life. This is why it is important to observe the mind and to see what is taking place in one’s body.
Into The Body
Once they have put their mind to one side, they may begin to get a sense of how they feel, and this may give them the insight they need. During this time, they may start to experience a sense of shame.
This is then likely to mean that they are carrying toxic shame, and as a result of this, it is going to be a challenge for them to feel as though they have worth. And if one feels this way, it is not going to be much of a surprise if they end up around people who don’t respect them.
The kind of people they have in their life and the experiences they have are going to be a reflection of how they feel about themselves. But if one is identified with how they feel, it is not going to be possible for them to realise this.
When it comes to the people who punish others, they are often the ones who have disconnected from their toxic shame, this shows how unbearable this experience is, and the pain they inflict on others is a reflection of how much pain they are in.
One then feels as though they deserve to be punished and this shows they are indentified with how they feel, and being punished by others (or themselves) is going to be what feels comfortable. Other people can then wonder why they are putting up with bad behaviour, for instance, but it might not even stand out to them.
How other people treat them can then be no worse than how they treat themselves, and while this is not a reflection of their true value, it is what they have come to accept. This is going to cause one to sabotage their life, and they can feel as though they are going to be punished even if when they haven’t done anything wrong.
What’s going on?
One can carry toxic shame because of what took place during their childhood years, and this may be the result of some kind of abuse and/or neglect. In the beginning, these would have been experiences that caused one to feel a certain way, to have certain sensations and for certain thoughts to appear (depending on what age these experiences took place), and then as time passed, these aspects would have caused one to create a shame-based identity.
Shame is then not something that comes and goes; it is something that is always there. And all the time their whole being has been permeated by it, it is not going to be possible for them to embrace their true-self and therefore, their inherent worth.
It is going to be important for one to let go of the toxic shame within them and they may have unmet childhood needs to mourn, and as this takes place, it will be possible for them to embrace their true-self. This can take happen through facing their toxic shame until the charge begins to discharge and through crying out the pain that is within them, and this can take place with the assistance of a therapist.
Being around people who affirm their inherent worth will also be important, and this means it will be best for them to avoid people who are shaming. This support can also come from a therapist and/or a support group and from trusted friends and family.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.