Moving from shame and heartache to feelings of joy and love is something we all can do.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been there. Full of shame and doing everything in my power to control myself, my situation, and everyone else around me, slowly destroying every relationship I ever had.
When you hear the words, “I don’t love you” from your mother’s lips, the pain and hurt are excruciating but more than that, is the shame that surrounds it all, making it totally unbearable.
Many women today, like me hide this “secret”. The fact that they don’t have a relationship with their mother they so desire, they don’t admit this in public because of the shame that surrounds this “taboo” subject. If your own mother doesn’t love you, you must be unlovable.
So we keep the secret to ourselves, pretending it’s not real, surrounding the whole thing in shame. Until we see the effects on our marriages, our children, and our friends, the mother-daughter relationship molds everything. Do not underestimate the power and intensity of this relationship.
So why did I feel such shame that drove me to control everything?
Simply because it made me feel that there was something wrong with me — I really believed I was totally worthless.
I believed there had to be something very wrong with me if my own mother didn’t love me and I became addicted to this feeling of shame. It allowed me to feel in control of other people’s feelings — that somehow, if it was my fault, then I could change it. If I let them have their power, it left me feeling helpless over their behavior.
This continued throughout my childhood unknowingly. I learned how to blame everyone and everything else, never accepting any responsibility. It was always their fault — I controlled how they felt.
As a little girl, I developed feelings of low self-worth which continued to grow through my adult life. I had so many feelings that I hid from others and denied to myself, shrouding myself in guilt and shame.
As long as I kept the feelings of shame, I masked other feelings of loneliness, fear, resentment, and sadness, which I couldn’t bear to feel. I would rather feel this pain I was causing myself than the feelings of what was happening in my life. In this way, I felt in control.
As long as I had the control, I would not let go of my belief of total worthlessness.
I would love to share with you some tips on how I healed my shame so you don’t spend your life like I did fighting an internal battle with yourself:
1. Start Nurturing and Putting Yourself First.
Acknowledge your feelings, learn to feel, and be aware of what is happening to you right now so you don’t cover them up with shame and anger.
Start being compassionate towards yourself and you will notice the feelings of control fade, as you no longer need to protect yourself. You are being authentic at last.
2. Let Go of Controlling Others.
Accept that other people’s feelings, thoughts, and words have nothing to do with you. You have no control over whether they are happy or sad, that is only in their control.
This feels immensely freeing and takes a great burden off your shoulders. In this way, you will let go of the false beliefs you hold about yourself — that total worthlessness.
3. Be Honest.
Write all of your feelings down and face them, write down what you are scared of, what you’ve been deceiving yourself with — everything.
Don’t stop writing until every emotion is on paper, then take the papers and burn them. Watch the ashes go up in the sky. You will release yourself of these feelings.
4. Find the Positive.
There is always another way of seeing something. I managed to turn the entire relationship around with my mother to a loving supportive one and I began to see the strength and courage from my situation.
I saw my entire life through “new glasses” once I decided I would look at it in a different way. I felt no shame or regret because these experiences have made me who I am today — and I am proud to be me.
If you’re at this place right now, a place where you know that there’s something better for you, that you’re not living the life you want to live, think about getting some support through this. It’s a sign of courage to reach out and ask for help. Why? Because it’s not easy. It will be a step in life you’ll never regret.
I wish you all of the very best. Moving from shame and heartache to joy and love is the most incredulous experience and no one should have to do this alone.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: How Shame And Control Unknowingly DESTROY Your Relationship (And How To Fix It).