(Part Seven)

 

(Continued From Part Six)

You may have heard it said that it is a good thing that we all feel shame from time to time.  For example, it is good for us to recognize when we make mistakes and to feel some shame when that happens.  The shame becomes a positive thing because it will remind us to not make the same type of mistakes again.  Most people agree that the type of normal shame that most people feel from time to time is a good thing.

There is another type of shame that is recognized by pretty much everyone as being a bad thing.  This type of shame is called toxic shame.  Toxic shame poisons our emotions.  It can make people afraid to expose their true feelings to other people.  While normal people may express emotions such as anger or unhappiness from time to time, people who have toxic shame become a personified version of their shame.  For example, rather than just expressing anger or unhappiness from time to time, they might actually develop the persona of an angry person or develop the persona of an unhappy person.  

It has often been noted that many spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people have a problem with being overly critical of themselves and that they also have a problem with feeling more shame than is constructive in regards to the wrong things that they have done.  But a lot of people have trouble figuring out just what it is that these vulnerable people have to feel so guilty about and what they have to feel so ashamed about.  The spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people are the ones who are often forced by the stronger members of society to become the scapegoats for everything that goes wrong.  And in doing so these vulnerable people often end up helping other people much more than they hurt them (but of course they may not always be happy about the fact that they are always forced to be the scapegoats).

In trying to understand why people who are spiritually and psychologically vulnerable might have trouble breaking free from the toxic shame that they suffer from, it might be useful to consider that the reason they have not been able to break free from their toxic shame might be that the stronger members of society (who have forced them to become scapegoats for everything that goes wrong) might not have allowed them to break free from their shame.  In fact, they may have turned the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person's normal shame into toxic shame by never giving them an even break. 

When a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person works really hard and starts to make progress in their lives there is a good chance that one of the people who has benefitted from the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person being the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong will start to become unhappy.  They will not only be unhappy about what is going on but also something bad might happen in the group that they are in and the blame that would normally have gone to the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person might end up being placed on them.  They will not like taking the blame for the group's problems any more than the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person likes having to take the blame for everything.  But when the person with normal spiritual abilities is forced to take blame that normally would have gone to the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person and they start to get upset and uncomfortable with what is going on, the other people in the group might start to blame the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person for the discomfort that is being experienced by the person with normal spiritual abilities (who is being forced to take the blame that would have normally gone to the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person).  This is the point where the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person's weak spiritual abilities become a problem for them.  If the group recognizes that the blame that usually goes to the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person is instead going to one of the group members who has normal spiritual abilities, the group's love of the person with normal spiritual abilities will make them overturn their decision on who will get the blame for whatever just happened and they will once again direct the blame at the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person.  The spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person does exchange spiritual energy with the other group members but that spiritual energy is not as strong as the spiritual energy exchanged by the other group members.  The group feels more love towards the people with normal spiritual abilities in their group than they feel towards the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person because they exchange more spiritual energy with the people who have normal spiritual abilities.  For this reason the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person may feel that they will end up taking the blame for everything that goes wrong (but not all of the blame is coming from themselves).  Sometimes the group decides to give the blame to people who are spiritually and psychologically vulnerable because the group wants to protect the group members who have normal spiritual abilities from having to take the blame.  The shame felt by the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person becomes toxic because they are never able to get rid of the shame (they cannot control it because it comes into them from the outside).  Even if they try to do the right thing the shame will still come back to them.  Many spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people simply stop trying to do the right thing when they realize that no matter what they do, the group will blame them for everything that goes wrong.  Other spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people keep on trying to do the right thing hoping that someday the group will stop constantly trying to push the blame for everything that happens onto them.

It is natural that there is more competition between members of the same sex than competition between members of the opposite sex.  Early in life, spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people are sometimes taken advantage by members of their own sex who they are competing with and sometimes members of their own sex do unfair things to them that steal their spiritual power and that gives their spiritual power to the person who took advantage of them.  By the time they reach adulthood many spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people experience a feeling of psychological release when they realize that no matter what they do, they will never really be able to (and would never really want to) become close friends with the types of people of their own sex who have been taking advantage of them through the years.  When they become adults and meet people of their own sex with normal spiritual abilities they might feel more confident in dealing with these people than they did when they were younger because they will no longer be thinking of these people as people who are better than them.  It would be silly to admire someone who is constantly trying to take advantage of you.

But while spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people might be able to get over their awe of members of their own sex they often have trouble getting over their awe of members of the opposite sex.  For example, a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man might keep thinking he has a chance of getting romantically involved with certain members of the opposite sex when there is actually no possibility of that happening.  If might be useful to him if he could understand why some of the types of relationships that he tries to develop have no chance of success.  It would be useful to him if every time he met a new woman he could instantly understand the dynamics of what would happen if they got to know each other.  He could save a lot of the spiritual and psychological energy that he is presently wasting on "involvements" that make him look silly and that don't have any chance for success.  If he could do this he might be able to experience the same type of psychological release that he experienced when he reached adulthood and realized that some of the men who he had grown up with and who he had once admired when he was younger were not really the types of people who he wanted to spend time with.

One type of woman who can cause a problem for a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man is a woman who is willing to exchange a certain amount of spiritual energy with him and who lives by the motto "never use love as a selfish tool".  The spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man will not believe that this woman could possibly take advantage of him (doing things such as being nice to him when they are face to face but talking really bad about him to other people behind his back).  He would not believe that she could do this because he knows that she believes that you should never use love as a selfish tool.  He will think that due to the fact that he is exchanging spiritual energy with her, there is at least some love between them.  And for this reason he will not think that she would take advantage of him.  What he doesn't realize is that she often exchanges a lot more spiritual energy with other people than she does with him.  He also does not know that she believes that love does not exist between people who exchange small amounts of spiritual energy with each other.  For this reason she would not feel bad about using the low levels of spiritual energy that she exchanges with him as a selfish tool.

Another type of woman who can create a problem for a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man is a woman who thinks of herself as a giving person and who would not, like the woman discussed above, consider using the low levels of spiritual energy that she exchanges with the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man as a selfish tool.  She might make efforts to try to get the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable man to open up and talk with her more so that he can start to increase the amounts of spiritual energy that he exchanges with her and with other people.  When she sees him start to open up to her she might like the good feelings that she is getting and she might start to imagine that something might happen between them if he continues to increase his levels of spiritual energy.  But there is a good chance that some event will develop in his life that will cause him to once again retreat into his isolation and make him reduce the amount of spiritual energy that he is exchanging with other people.  An example of something that might be a setback to the woman's efforts to help him become spiritually and psychologically stronger would be the example mentioned above where a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person is making progress in the group that they are in and then a person with normal spiritual abilities starts having problems that they did not have before.  When this happens the group will punish the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person for what is happening to the other group member and the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person will once again become sad and discouraged.  The woman who was trying to help him might now feel that there is no chance for him to ever be able to exchange enough spiritual energy with her for them to have any sort of serious relationship.

As spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people learn to better understand their relationships with members of the opposite sex, they should be able to start getting free of situations that drain their spiritual energy and that do not really enrich their lives.  As they learn to understand that people of the opposite sex do not always have the spiritual and psychological skills necessary to help spiritually and psychologically vulnerable people become stronger, they might be able to relax more with people of the opposite sex and stop expecting them to perform spiritual and psychological miracles that are beyond their powers.

(Continued In Part Eight)

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Copyright Don Bergquist 2009