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Re: Mortification mair

Posted by noa on May 14, 2003, at 2:45:59

In reply to Mortification, posted by mair on May 13, 2003, at 15:33:42

Don't skip!

Say hello to your amygdala.

Really, I know I harp on that, but it sounds so similar to experiences I have had. Like panic and shame and fear that she will abandon you as being unworthy and unloveable because she is getting to know parts of you that are bad and unloveable? Parts that you spend a lot of energy avoiding any contact with?

I found that learning to tolerate this shame-panic in relatively small doses in the therapist's office began to "inocculate" me in a way until I could begin describing it in words. My therapist is good at working with me on the fine line between gentle exploration and needing to not overwhelm me.

It was very hard work, but worth it. I would not have been able to do it if I weren't going twice weekly. But, btw, that didn't mean that I HAD to deal with it directly in the next session. It was totally played by ear.

Maybe you can bring in your post, or any journal writing you do, to help explain to the therapist what you experience, since I know that verbal language during one of these attacks can be so hard to access.

With me, we started exploring the sensations I was feeling, and the frustration at not being able to find my language, and how this relates both to how my brain works and to early experiences of shame before I had words to describe them, and how automatic it is for me, sometimes to go right into that shame panic attack when I feel certain feelings, and how in my family my feelings weren't tolerated, etc. etc.

Over time, it began to be somewhat less toxic. I guess because I started accepting this part of me as well, part of ME. And learning that I could enter this state of mind and still know that I can come out of it, too. Ie, that other layer of panic kind of got separated out.

I think, though, that this hard work also depended upon my depression being adequately addressed medically.

One book that helped me was "Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders: A Schema-Focused Approach" Jeffrey E. Young. Ignore the "personality disorder" part of the title!! I did. Most of the book was not so useful (like some of the activities/techniques), but the main idea--that we carry around "schema", or deeply rooted core ideas about ourselves that we constantly work to either maintain or avoid, was helpful, and what was especially helpful was the questionnaire in the back that helps you identify possible core beliefs or schema. But it was hard work reading this and thinking about it, I admit.

Also, "Shame: The Power of Caring
by Gershen Kaufman" also had some ideas I found helpful in thinking about the connection between emotions and shame.




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