Toxic shame is primarily focused in significant relationships. If you do not value someone, it’s hard to imagine being shamed by what he says or does. The possibility of toxic shame begins with our source relationships. If our primary care givers are shame based, they will act shameless and pass the toxic shame on to us. There is no way to teach self value if one does not value oneself.
Toxic shame is multi generational. It has passed from one generation to the next. Shame based people find other shame based people and get married. As a couple each carries the shame from his or her own family system. The marriage will be grounded in their shame core. The major outcome of this will be a lack of intimacy. It’s difficult to let someone close to you if you feel defective and flawed as a human being. Shame based couples maintain non-intimacy through poor communication, non-productive circular fighting, games, manipulation, vying for control, withdrawal, blaming and confluence. Confluence is the agreement never to disagree. Confluence creates pseudo intimacy.
When a child is born to the same based parents, the deck is stopped from the beginning. The job of the parents is to model.modelling in please how to be a man and a woman, how to relate intimately to another person, how to acknowledge and express emotions, how to fight fairly, how to have physical, emotional and intellectual boundaries, how to communicate, how to cope and survive life’s unending problems, how to be self disciplined, how to love oneself and another. Shame based parents cannot do any of these. They simply don’t know how.
Children need their parents’ time and attention. Giving one’s time is part of the work of love. It means being there for the child, attending to the child’s needs rather than the parent’s needs. Shame based parents cannot possibly take care of their children’s needs. The child is shamed whenever he or she is needy because the child’s needs clash with the parents needs. The child grows up and becomes an adult. But underneath the mask of adult behaviour there is a child who was neglected. This needy child is insatiable. What that means is that when the child becomes an adult, there is a hole in his soul. He can never get enough as an adult. Adults make what they get to be enough and work harder to get more the next time. An adult child can’t get enough because it’s really a child’s needs that are in question.