Oliver JR Cooper, shares why we sometimes disconnect from toxic shame and why it’s better to connect with our feelings than avoid them.
Some feelings can be seen as being ‘positive’ and then there are those that can be seen as being ‘negative’. When it comes to how a feeling is perceived, it is likely to depend on the impact that it has on someone’s mood.
If a feeling causes one to feel good, it can be seen in a positive light, while the opposite is also true. Based on this, it could be said that certain feelings serve a purpose while others don’t.
Even though a feeling might not make someone feel good, it can provide them with important information. For example, they could end up feeling guilty, with this feeling potentially letting them know that they have done something wrong and need to make amends. If they didn’t feel this way, they wouldn’t know that they had done something wrong and they may continue to do the same thing.
Rage vs. Toxic Shame
Along with good or bad feelings, there are also feelings that energize and feelings that drain. Rage can allow us to feel strong and powerful, but toxic shame can cause us to feel weak and powerless. The former can be seen as being part of the fight response, while the latter can be seen as being part of the freeze response. By seeing each feeling in this way, it is clear to see why it feels better to experience rage than toxic shame.
Considering this, it makes complete sense as to why someone would experience rage in order to avoid experiencing toxic shame. One will allow them to rise up; the other will cause them to sink right down.
Now, this is not to say that this is something that will consciously take place, as this will most likely be something that takes place automatically. In fact, it could take place so quickly that one is not even aware of their own toxic shame.
The Main Issue
Reacting in this way will stop them from sinking right down, and that can be seen as a good thing. The trouble is that through becoming consumed by rage, it could cause them, and others, a lot of damage.
Their behaviour could harm their relationships, which may end up isolating them from others. Other people will find it hard to relax and to feel safe in their presence.
A Different Outcome
Another way that someone can avoid their own toxic shame is by completely disconnecting from it and projecting it into others. Through disconnecting from it, they will rarely, if ever, come into contact with it.
But, as this toxic shame is still inside them, it will still affect their reality. There will be people ‘out there’ who end up embodying this toxic shame, with these people being seen as worthless and useless, for instance.
As they are unaware of what is going on, it will seem as though they just happen to come into contact with people who are like this. In each situation, they will be the common dominator, yet this won’t stand out.
The defences that they have built up will prevent them from being able to see how their ‘outer world’ is reflecting their inner world. Of course, it won’t just be reflecting what is taking place in their conscious mind; it will also be reflecting what is taking place in their unconscious mind.
The Downside of Intelligence
What can also play a part in their own self-deception is that they can have a well-developed intellect, with this allowing them to rationalise what they are doing. Through having the right evidence and facts, they can label certain people as being less-than-human.
If they were able to take a step back and to reflect on their behaviour, it might soon become clear that they are simply engaging in a more sophisticated form of abuse. They will have their reasons as to why what they are doing is right and acceptable, but that won’t alter what they are actually doing.
What this illustrates is that being ‘intelligent’ doesn’t necessarily mean that someone will be less likely to deceive themselves. Being this way can just make it easier for them to avoid their own inner wounds.
It may seem as though they are not very emotional and are very logical, but how they perceive life and what they believe will still be a consequence of what is taking place at a deeper level that they are unable to acknowledge. They might see their emotional self as being ‘lower’ or ‘inferior’ to their intellect, yet this part of them is defining how they experience life.
The antidote to this is for one to realise how their ‘outer world’ is there to shine the light on what is taking place inside them. This will allow them to see that if they believe that other people are worthless and less-than-human, it is a clear sign that this is how they see themselves.
Not only will taking back their projections allow them to become a more integrated human being and to develop self-love, but it will also allow them to make the world a better place. The reason for this is that they won’t be feeding into the drama of the world.
If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or healer.