Healing the Shame that Binds You Quotes

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Healing the Shame that Binds You Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw
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“To truly be committed to a life of honesty, love and discipline, we must be willing to commit ourselves to reality.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Hell, in my opinion, is never finding your true self and never living your own life or knowing who you are.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Since the earliest period of our life was preverbal, everything depended on emotional interaction. Without someone to reflect our emotions, we had no way of knowing who we were.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“True love heals and affects spiritual growth. If we do not grow because of someone else’s love, it’s generally because it is a counterfeit form of love.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“To be shame-bound means that whenever you feel any feeling, need or drive, you immediately feel ashamed. The dynamic core of your human life is grounded in your feelings, needs and drives. When these are bound by shame, you are shamed to the core.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
tags: shame
“The job of parents is to model. Modeling includes how to be a man or 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; and how to love oneself and another. Shame-based parents cannot do any of these. They simply don’t know how.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“The feeling of righteousness is the core mood alteration among religious addicts. Religious addiction is a massive problem in our society. It may be the most pernicious of all addictions because it’s so hard for a person to break his delusion and denial. How can anything be wrong with loving God and giving your life for good works and service to mankind?”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“The most paradoxical aspect of neurotic shame is that it is the core motivator of the superachieved and the underachieved, the star and the scapegoat, the righteous and the wretched, the powerful and the pathetic.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
tags: shame
“Condemning others as bad or sinful is a way to feel righteous. Such a feeling is a powerful mood alteration and can become highly addictive.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Family secrets can go back for generations. They can be about suicides, homicides, incest, abortions, addictions, public loss of face, financial disaster, etc. All the secrets get acted out. This is the power of toxic shame. The pain and suffering of shame generate automatic and unconscious defenses. Freud called these defenses by various names: denial, idealization of parents, repression of emotions and dissociation from emotions. What is important to note is that we can’t know what we don’t know. Denial, idealization, repression and dissociation are unconscious survival mechanisms. Because they are unconscious, we lose touch with the shame, hurt and pain they cover up. We cannot heal what we cannot feel. So without recovery, our toxic shame gets carried for generations.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“One is free from depression,” writes Alice Miller in The Drama of the Gifted Child, “when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one’s own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Toxically shamed people tend to become more and more stagnant as life goes on. They live in a guarded, secretive and defensive way. They try to be more than human (perfect and controlling) or less than human (losing interest in life or stagnated in some addictive behavior).”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Shame is internalized when one is abandoned. Abandonment is the precise term to describe how one loses one’s authentic self and ceases to exist psychologically.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“If our primary caregivers are shame-based, they will act shameless and pass their toxic shame onto us. There is no way to teach self-value if one does not value oneself. Toxic shame is multigenerational. It is passed from one generation to the next. Shame-based people find other shame-based people and get married. As each member of a couple carries the shame from his or her own family system, their 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 get close to you if you feel defective and flawed as a human being. Shame-based couples maintain nonintimacy through poor communication, nonproductive circular fighting, games, manipulation, vying for control, withdrawal, blaming and confluence. Confluence is the agreement never to disagree. Confluence creates pseudointimacy.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“When emotionally abandoned people describe their childhoods, it is always without feeling. Alice Miller writes, They recount their earliest memories without any sympathy for the child they once were. Very often they show disdain and irony, even derision and cynicism. In general, there is a complete absence of real emotional understanding or serious appreciation of their own childhood vicissitudes and no conception of their true need—beyond the need for achievement. The internalization of the original drama has been so complete that the illusion of a good childhood can be maintained.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“When our instinctual life is shamed, the natural core of our life is bound up. It’s like an acorn going through excruciating agony for becoming an oak, or a flower feeling ashamed for blossoming.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Giving and receiving unconditional love is the most effective and powerful way to personal wholeness and happiness.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“The agony of this chronic stage of being cannot be endured for long. At the deepest level, toxic shame triggers our basic automatic defensive cover-ups. Freud called these automatic cover-ups our primary ego defenses. Once these defenses are in place they function automatically and unconsciously, sending our true and authentic selves into hiding. We develop a false identity out of this basic core. We become master impersonators. We avoid our core agony and pain and over a period of years, we avoid our avoidance.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“THE DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY RULES 1. Control or Chaos. One must be in control of all interactions, feelings and personal behavior at all times—control is the major defense strategy for shame. In the less-than-human shameless marriage, both parents may be cocaine addicts or addicted in other ways. They may be dishonest criminals. The children experience chaos, as well as secrecy rules that guard their family’s behavior. 2. Perfectionism or Anomie. Always be right in everything you do. The perfectionist rule always involves an imposed measurement. The fear and avoidance of the negative is the organizing principle of life. The members live according to an externalized image. No one ever measures up. In the less-than-human family, there are no rules—the children have no structure to guide them.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Our healthy shame is essential as the foundation of our spirituality. By reminding us of our essential limitations, our healthy shame lets us know that we are not God. Our healthy shame points us in the direction of some larger meaning. Our healthy shame is the psychological ground of our humility.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Emotions are a form of energy in motion. They signal us of a loss, a threat or a satiation. Sadness is about losing something we cherish. Anger and fear are signal of actual or impending threats to our well-being. Joy signals that we are fulfilled and satisfied. Whenever a child is shamed through some form of abandonment, feelings of anger, hurt and sadness arise. Since shame-based parents are shame bound in all their emotions, they cannot tolerate their children’s emotions. Therefore, they shame their children’s emotions. When their emotions are shamed, children numb out, so they don’t feel their emotions.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“WHEN GOD IS A DRUG—RELIGIOUS ADDICTION Mood alteration is an ingredient of compulsive/addictive behavior. Addiction has been described as “a pathological relationship to any mood-altering experience that has life-damaging consequences.” Toxic shame has been suggested as the core and fuel of all addiction. Religious addiction is rooted in toxic shame, which can be readily mood-altered through various religious behaviors. One can get feelings of righteousness through any form of worship. One can fast, pray, meditate, serve others, go through sacramental rituals, speak in tongues, be slain by the Holy Spirit, quote the Bible, read Bible passages, or say the name of Yahweh or Jesus. Any of these can be a mood-altering experience. If one is toxically shamed, such an experience can be immensely rewarding. The disciples of any religious system can say we are good and others, those not like us, the sinners, are bad. This can be exhilarating to the souls of toxically shamed people.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Much has been written about codependency. All agree that it is about the loss of selfhood. Codependency is a condition wherein one has no inner life. Happiness is on the outside. Good feelings and self-validation lie on the outside. They can never be generated from within.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“3. Blame. Whenever things don’t turn out as planned, blame yourself or others. Blame is another defensive cover-up for shame. Blame maintains the balance in a dysfunctional system when control has broken down. 4. Denial of the Five Freedoms. The five freedoms, first enunciated by Virginia Satir, describe full personal functionality. Each freedom has to do with a basic human power: the power to perceive, to think and interpret, to feel, to want and choose, and the power to imagine. In shame-based families, the perfectionist rule prohibits the full expression of these powers. It says you shouldn’t perceive, think, feel, desire or imagine the way you do. You should do these the way the perfec-tionistic ideal demands.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“EMOTIONAL ABANDONMENT AND NARCISSISTIC DEPRIVATION Children need mirroring and echoing. These come from their primary caregiver’s eyes. Mirroring means that someone is there for them and reflects who they really are at any given moment of time. In the first three years of our life each of us needed to be admired and taken seriously. We needed to be accepted for the very one we are. Having these mirroring needs met results in what Alice Miller calls our basic narcissistic supplies. These supplies result from good mirroring by a parent with good boundaries. When this is the case, as Miller states in The Drama of the Gifted Child, the following dynamics take place: 1. The child’s aggressive impulses can be neutralized because they do not threaten the parent. 2. The child’s striving for autonomy is not experienced as a threat to the parent.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“Alice Miller writes: There are large numbers of people who suffer from narcissistic disorders, who often had sensitive and caring parents from whom they received much encouragement; yet these people are suffering from severe depressions. They enter analysis in the belief, with which they grew up, that their childhood was happy and protected. More often than not, these narcissistically deprived are talented, gifted, highly successful superachievers who have been praised and admired for their talents and achievements. Anyone looking at them on the outside would believe these people have it made. They appear strong and stable and full of self-assurance. This is not the case. Narcissistically deprived people do well in every undertaking and are admired for their gifts and talents, but they have a deep sense of emptiness and aloneness. Once the drug of grandiosity is taken away, as soon as they are no longer the stars and superachievers, they are plagued by deep feelings of shame and guilt.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“CHIEF COMPONENT The chief component in the family system is the marriage. If the marriage is healthy and functional, the family will be healthy and functional. If the marriage is dysfunctional, then the family will be dysfunctional.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“A person with internalized shame believes he is inherently flawed, inferior and defective.Such a feeling is so painful that defending scripts (or strategies) are developed to cover it up. These scripts are the roots of violence, criminality, war and all forms of addiction. What I’ll mainly describe in the first part of this book is how the affect shame can become the source of self-loathing, hatred of others, cruelty, violence, brutality, prejudice and all forms of destructive addictions. As an internalized identity, toxic shame is one of the major sources of the demonic in human life.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“There is no way you can share your inner self because you are an object of contempt to yourself. When you are contemptible to yourself, you are no longer in you. To feel shame is to feel exposed in a diminished way. When you’re an object to yourself, you turn your eyes inward, watching and scrutinizing every minute detail of behavior. This internal critical observation is excruciating. It generates a tormenting self-consciousness that Kaufman describes as “creating a binding and paralyzing effect upon the self.” This paralyzing internal monitoring causes withdrawal, passivity and inaction. The severed parts of the self are projected in relationships.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You
“DENIAL OF EMOTIONS
Our culture does not handle emotions well. We like folks to be happy and fine. We learn rituals of acting happy and fine at an early age. I can remember many times telling people "I'm fine" when I felt like the world was caving in on me. I often think of Senator Muskie who cried on the campaign trail when running for president. From that moment on he was history. We don't want a president who has emotions. We would rather have one that can act! Emotions are certainly not acceptable in the workplace. True expression of any emotions that are not "positive" are met with disdain.”
John Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You

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