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SHAME …Why do Victims of Abuse Carry the Shame?

Carrying shame with us is possible the single most devastating, caustic thing that can happen. We must find our way out of shame, because it will destroy is by crushing our self esteem and keeping us incapacitated, by self doubt and a feeling if unworthiness.

Shame is an emotion and it is a state of mental trauma. Any type of severe trauma can cause us to carry shame. In turn “shame” itself can cause mental trauma. Most often, a mental state of “shame” was brought on by others who intentionally manipulated and traumatized us into feeling unworthy and shameful.

Shame, according to Wikipedia

Shame is a negative, painful, social emotion that can be seen as resulting “…from comparison of the self’s action with the self’s standards…”.[1] but which may equally stem from comparison of the self’s state of being with the ideal social context’s standard.  Wikipedia

So, shame is made up of…

1. a person’s personal feeling about who they “should be”


2. the person’s feeling about “who they are”

3. When the perception of “who you are” does not meet your standards of “who you should be” then the result is feeling shameful, for not having the ability to be the person that you “should be.”

Who should you be? Where do our concepts of our “perfect selves” come from? Are the reasonable? Do these ideals of who we “should be” come from our own minds? Or were they projected onto us by others?

Also, where does our perception of “who we are” come from? Are we really seeing our true selves?  Are we seeing ourselves through our own eyes ? Or are we seeing ourselves in an untrue way, through the eyes of society? Are we seeing ourselves the way other people say they see us?

Are we perceiving ourselves through the eyes of society and the stigma and misconceptions of society?

Are we still seeing ourselves from the eyes of our abuser? Are we really worthless and stupid?  Are we doomed to never do any better in life than we are doing? Or are we confusing our true potential with the twisted ideas that some abuser fed to us?

The problem with people who have experienced abuse, is that they were manipulated at the deepest levels of their brains.  People who were abused as children were made to feel worthless from a very young age. The natural developmental stages of self conception and identity were damaged.

People that in domestic abuse, were emotionally and mentally damaged. The abuser uses mind manipulation to make the person feel useless and stupid. The narcissists forces a fictitious reality on their victim and this reality changes.

The abuser changes the reality, constantly on order to manipulate the victim. If the victim buys something that the abuser wants at the store, the abuser may hide it. Then they will call the victim stupid for forgetting to buy the item at the store.

This reality manipulation over time, has the effect of confusing the victim about their own sense of reality. After the victim leaves the domestic abuse situation, they still have a feeling of shame and worthlessness. It takes time before the person will be able to see the proper perspective about who they are.

If we have been abused, we do not have the same sense of ease in feeling “normal.” We feel different that other people and often do not feel like we “fit in.” That sense of shame that we experienced during abuse, still looms over us.

Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, described shame affect as consisting of blushing, confusion of mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head… Wikipedia

This quote by Darwin is interesting to me, in that he describes the physical and mental appearance of shame. He describes the physical manifestation of shame to be “downcast eyes, lowered head”..

When I was living in an abusive relationship, I got comments a few times from people, that I looked down when a man entered the room. I was not aware that I did this at the time.

Actually it was one of my hospice patients that first pointed it out to me. She noticed that when a male aide came into the room to assist me, I lowered my head and looked down. I would not make eye contact with him.

As soon as the man left the room, my female patient said to me “Never! Never, look down when you meet a man! You are just as good as them. You are taking in a submissive posture with men and you should not.”

I was very surprised that I had done this and not even been aware of it. After that incident, I tried to be mindful of my body language with men and women, at least just to be aware of what message I was sending. Also to be aware of how I felt about men.

It is amazing that a woman on her death bed was so mindful and caring about me, that she noticed this and “scolded” me about it. It hurt her to see me be submissive to men like that. She was seeing into the future and how that submissiveness was going to harm me.

This lady knew nothing about the fact that I was living in an abusive relationship. It was purely an outside perspective.

Clearly, at that time, I felt afraid of men and my way of protecting myself was to take on the “submissive” posture. I also had a feeling if needing to protect my face from being hit. The downward position of my head, made me feel safer.

Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman had theories about shame as it related to childhood abuse. Her studies were about how a person from childhood abuse sees themselves through the eyes of their abusers.

toxic shame is induced, inside children, by all forms of child abuse. Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe toxic shame. Toxic shame often induces what is known as complex trauma in children who cannot cope with toxic shaming as it occurs and who dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with.[18] Judith Lewis Herman

Abusers tell their victims to feel shame. They shame them by verbally abusing them, mentally torturing them, sexually violating them and / or otherwise physically harming them. There is no physical abuse without mental abuse.

There is no sexual abuse without mental abuse. The damage to a person, goes into their identity, their self esteem and their ability to view themselves in a “normal” way.

What I mean by “normal” is to be able to view yourself on a scale of reality based levels. What you are worth to yourself, and other people should be based on the person that you are. When a victim views themselves through the eyes of the abusers, they will always have a feeling of secret shame.

It is hard to break the brain patterns that were inflicted upon you by your abusers. You are worthy! You are important! You matter! Those are the true things that you need to know and believe!

Your abuser did not want you to know that you were a worthy and special person. They may not even have wanted to know that themselves, because it was easier for them to abuse you if they thought of you as “inhuman” rather than a real person.

You are a real person ! you are just as valuable and worthy of love as anyone ! Over time we can heal from these wounds. The PTSD (post traumatic stress) will never go away entirely. The past history of abuse will never go away. It is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.

Instead of trying to crush it down, push the memories into the deepest recesses of our minds, we need to be ourselves and connect with others who will understand. We need to support and validate each other.

Together we can heal to a point where we can function better. Together we can create a community of support and love, that will uplift each and every one of us. Together we can turn our trauma around and use what we have learned to help others”

Together, we can be the “Wounded Healers!”

30 thoughts on “SHAME …Why do Victims of Abuse Carry the Shame?”

  1. I think it boils down to the fact that our minds want to rationalize the evil. So, we look for a reason that someone would be cruel to us, and the only thing we can comprehend is this idea that if we were somehow wronged, then we might fight back. Only, we are on the receiving end of the evil…and our minds want to explain it, so there must have been a reason right? So, we look for a reason, which ends up being blame, and we lay that blame on ourselves, as if we are the reason that this horrible thing happened. And that blame of our self ends up creating a sense of guilt, and guilt always manifests itself as shame…

    But logically we know it’s not our fault, but there is a disconnect between our minds and our hearts…

    it sucks, in a huge way…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a really great perspective on this topic. Thank you for bringing up these ideas. I agree that we do not want to comprehend that someone is evil and we find it more logical to find a reason for their behavior. But there is no rational reason for abuse. No one deserves to be abused mentally, physically , emotionally or on any other way.
      Thank you

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s beautiful to see your head finally up and showing yourself. I can see your pain in your eyes.
    This is what worked for me till this day. It took me 40 years to transcend my abusers while living with the last on.

    – Forgive yourself; it was not your fault! It can happen to anyone. The feeling of being ashamed does nothing for you, only limits you more. They are the ones who should feel ashamed of all the evil they did to you.

    – Stop listening to your internal dialog it’s corrupted by your abusers. Try this: every time your brain starts repeating the things that hurt you or making you afraid (pattern) immediately focus on something completely different. A word or any letter, in the beginning is quite enough. Imagine or write a word or just a letter and read it letter by letter until your brain is totally focused on that word or letter.

    – As for the feelings: no matter how hellish is your daily life, make a routine to do 3 things a day that really makes you feel good and more in touch with yourself. After a week or two you will feel the difference.

    That lady did a very good job before she left this life, God bless her. No matter how fragile and tired you feel, it is vital that you start taking control of your mind to get your life back, for you and your children.
    DON’T IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH YOUR PAIN. That’s a symptom NOT who you are.

    As for who you are, you know who you are, just read what you write. Look at your actions and see your nature. What makes you happy? What do you like and don’t? F. What other people think, see or want of you, forget them. Focus, your children love you and will understand why you did what.
    I know this comment is as long as a post LOL sorry…

    Oh and Screw Guilt! We are living, which means we’ll get hurt and will be someone’s victim. But we can move on. I am not just talking about myself, there are women, I know about, that survived and one of them even put her own father in prison! We can grow strong! The fact that you left and are still alive to tell about it, tells the world and yourself that you are a fighter and a survivor! You are hurting and doubting yourself, that’s only human. You can do it! CHIN UP!
    Reboot your brain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not that the comment was long. I love the idea of Reboot your brain. I think that you could copy and paste this comment you wrote and you would almost have an entire blog post idea. You could add a little it to it and then post it. I really like what you wrote and I think other people should hear your words. Think about taking what you wrote here and turning it into a blog post.
      Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. It is appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Annie
        Are you feeling better today? Yesterday you said you were having back pain.
        Rebooting our brain it’s a good and vital topic I know, and although it might feel like it’s just some crazy idea on how to reboot our brain, it’s what I’ve used to stop my panic attacks and extreme anxiety.
        I don’t have panic attacks anymore, I don’t have extreme anxiety, and I do control most of my internal dialogue. I’ve spent many hours researching and watching some programs on this matter long before I was diagnosed because I couldn’t live like that anymore.
        What I wrote to you it’s a simple technique to have peace of mind and to react better when we feel being invaded by others or just by our dysfunctional brain.
        The therapy part I would recommend you a good therapist if you can. If you cannot, it’s a long road to understand your emotions and burn their energy so it won’t interfere in your life.
        Like I said it’s what I do and it works, my brain doesn’t control me, I control it. As for bipolar besides, the chemical unbalance, which I try to manage with what I eat, I do the same when crazy fears come out with no reason what so ever.
        I wish you try it at least for 2 weeks. Depending on the trauma the longer we have to do it but it’s so worth it.


  3. Thanks for the very enlightening text. Their are so many who have escaped their “shame” in drugs or perhaps even suicide. A very important topic, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was talking on this very subject today with my therapist. She insists that my bad relationships were not my own fault, that my loved ones chose to do bad things, independent of me, despite me, etc. I told her I must be culpable, beyond the bad choices in partners. There must be some reason, some cue, something I missed, to be mistreated in each relationship. I am not willing to see myself as an angelic innocent victim. I was a participant, surely I must own the guilt, too.
    How does one see oneself, if not as a reflection? How does it make it easier to know intimately one’s good intentions, if the return of such intentions was ultimately not in kind? Would you not come to doubt your own sincerity, if those you loved did so? And so on.
    I have really been struggling with this.


    1. I think that sometimes there are developmental things that are somehow missed or mis-wired with us. When we were growing up, there was some kind of abuse, neglect, trauma or lack of teaching to us about what we should expect from other people. We did not learn what things were ok and what things are not, in relationships.

      We miss the red flags because they are behaviors we grew up with and seem familiar to us, or for some other reason we ignore early signs of being in a bad relationship, that other people would catch.

      Other women either would not have picked the same guys or they would have caught the red flags earlier. They may not have identified the red flags as signs of an abuser, but they would have identified them as behaviors that they were not going to tolerate. It is hard to have a frame of reference when we did not get taught these things when we were growing up.

      If you notice the other women, they will drop someone quickly at the first sign that the guy is not valuing them and prioritizing the relationship. The reason that I write so many post about the Red Flags of abuse, is that I want to create awareness with women that these kinds of guys are out there.

      The narcissistic men seem to know who their best targets are. Unfortunately, they go for us, because we are forgiving and merciful to a fault. Meaning that we go too far, in what we let go.

      It is not that you have done anything wrong at all, to deserve any abuse. You are special and you should be treated so. All men are not bad and some of them are wonderful. We just did not have the early wiring of our brains to be able to tell when someone is not going to be good to us.

      All is not lost. I believe that we can learn now. We should have been brought up with these things but we were not. Now. as adults. we have to learn what we missed growing up.

      You actually are
      the angelic innocent victim” You did nothing to cause or to justify their rage or criticisms. You did not deserve any mistreatment. We can learn the things that the other women know. It will take time, but we can learn how to tell earlier into a relationship that someone is a potential abuser.

      Part of it has to so with reality and normalcy. When we grew up in circumstances that lacked “normalcy” , we do not really know what that is. When some guy says he loves us within the first 2 weeks he meets us and then wants to move in together, other women would consider that unrealistic and that he was not really taking the time to allow the relationship to progress naturally. But I have moved in with guys too soon before and I always believed the nice things they said to me.

      I now can see that when the relationship seems to be moving faster that what other people usually do, then it is too fast. If they want to move in with you and jump ahead really fast into the relationship then something might be wrong.

      Normal healthy relationships progress naturally over time. The friendship must develop first and then you can see if they “have your back”. Actions speak more than words, especially in the beginning of a relationship. These are the things I have learned so far, in addition to the posts I wrote about red flags.
      Please don’t feel like you are at fault with these relationships. You can let go of any guilt or shame you have been carrying. The abusers do not care and it does not affect them either way, how you are feeling now. There is no one to judge you. If anyone tells you that you asked to be abused then they are just retraumatizing you.
      I hope this helps

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Annie. That does place it into a different perspective. I was also until recently practicing a religion that does not allow dating before commitment, and that certainly did not help. You cannot judge a man by his mother!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Women are TAUGHT to be responsible for everyone and everything. It’s always their own fault when something bad happens. By making women responsible for everything the focus is immediately put on the woman and NOT ON THE MAN WHO COMMITTED THE CRIME. No one really talks about HIM. Even now in one rape case on a college campus the woman was asked what she was wearing and why she was at a party at night. Women are not allowed to go out at night and if they do whatever happens to them is their fault. Everything MEN DO TO WOMEN IS THEIR FAULT. That’s what women hating, patriarchal societies are. This is a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes you are right. The courts have no right to bring attention to or to focus on what the woman was wearing when she was raped. If it is ok to rape women, when they are are dressed in a certain way, then where will the line stop? Who is to say what is “too sexy?” And how does someone dressy sexy suddenly cause a man to have no self control over being violent?
      The intention of the woman when she went to the party, whether she wanted to “hook up” with someone or not, has nothing to do with justifying someone raping her!
      Thank you for bringing up those ideas. I really had not thought about rape as it fell into this topic but you are absolutely right that is does. I am sure that women carry shame from being raped, just as they do from being in domestic abuse. Part of the fault of women feeling guilty is that society shames women who are raped.
      This is a terrible thing and does not speak well of our society and culture.
      thank you for you comments

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Women are blamed for everything that happens to them. When I was called for jury duty, a woman had been raped in the bathroom of a building downtown, the FEMALE judge asked everyone whether they knew anyone who had been raped or if they themselves had been raped. Every single person raised their hand. She then went around and asked each person who the person/s were and what their relationship to them was. SHE NEVER ASKED IF ANY OF THE MEN EVER RAPED ANYONE. It was okay for THEM to be on the jury but the legal system was worried that WOMEN MIGHT BE PREJUDICE AGAINT THE RAPIST AND THE OWNERS OF THE BUILDING. I was pretty much hysterical over that. Women ARE TAUGHT TO TAKE THE BLAME ON THEMSELVES ALL THE TIME. It’s always the same, ‘WHAT DID YOU DO TO UPSET HIM OR DESERVE WHAT HAPPENED?” Apparently we are responsible for men’s lack of CONTROL. It’s our fault that they are violent idiots. I am soooo sick of all of this. Everyone talks about the wars going on but no one seems interested in the war going on right in front of them. The war men are perpetrating against US and the children. That war doesn’t even HAVE A NAME.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My biggest shame is that I keep stupidly believing that this time he really will change so I go back. I’ve never believed I deserved the abuse but I did believe I should try harder not to anger him. Maybe I was being a ridged b**** and should just not expect so much from him.

    If I ignore the rant he’ll calm down without hitting me. I am stupid I came back again. He loves me deep down. I can teach him what love is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all fall into this pattern when we are in love with the abuser. They are very charming and affectionate when we first start dating them. Then they jump ahead quickly into the relationship and want more commitment from us than is common for that early stage.
      They get controlling and manipulative. The way that they make us feel that their rage and anger are our fault, is the way they mentally abuse us and manipulate our behavior.
      It is sad, but they do not change. They develop more and more contempt for us as they go along. There are more angry outbursts and they are over more trivial things or things that are completely made up.
      One guy I was with used to hide the pepper shakers from me. He would insist that I had forgotten to buy him pepper. he said I was so stupid because I kept forgetting. I would buy it again. Then a week later he scolded me and said that I still had not had hald a brain enough to buy the pepper that he kept asking me to get.
      After I broke up with him, I was cleaning out the cabinets and I found 7 or 8 pepper shakers hidden all the way in the back of a high shelf, behind lots of stuff.
      He had been hiding them from me and then telling me I was stupid for forgetting the pepper.
      Be careful of these narcissistic men. They will lay all kinds of blame on you, just to make you keep groveling and working harder to please them.
      In healthy relationships, men do not threaten to leave you, just because you so not do something that they asked you to do. They do not withhold love and affection as a punishment. They do not keep a list of all the things you have done wrong. Most of this “wrong” list that they keep bringing up is full of things that are not wrong at all.
      If I was too tired to make him lunch for work, it is not wrong. I simply could not do it.
      If I forgot that he liked his spaghetti sauce thin, that is not wrong either. He could just eat the food the way I made it.
      relationships are not supposed to be run by one of the partners like a tyranny.


  7. That was one of the best pieces on shame I’ve ever seen.

    I have huge amounts of shame, and all the typical therapeutic approaches to healing it, helping me overcome it, have not worked. Affirmations, understanding that I explained the abuse as something I must have deserved rather than face the terror that I’m with crazies–nothing. The shame is persistent.

    I have recently learned, however, about a thinking pattern that helps nurture my shame (so now I can work on letting this maladaptive behavior go). Here’s how it works. I minimize or dismiss things I do well. I do the same things with my positive qualities. “Oh, anyone can do that.” I sort others’ strengths and weaknesses in order to dismiss their weaknesses. I then zero in on their strongest strengths. Next, I compare my weaknesses with their strengths. Not surprisingly, the result is a huge amount of shame. I think I am SO LESS THAN that I need other’s permission to exist, their approval concerning my actions, their guidance–because everything I do is wrong, bad, or stupid.

    Shame sucks.


    1. People are good at things that they have had the background, the support, and the early wiring to be good at. Even the things we learn when we are older, are easier to learn if we were wired properly when we were growing up.

      A lot of the people you are comparing yourself to had parents that helped them to follow the normal development stages and they also had the mental stability to process all of the stages properly, in order for the neurons in their brains to be set up to do these things.

      There are chemicals involved in every process we do. The chemicals in our brains are dominating our feelings and our feelings affect how well we can do things. We have behavioral patterns and they are also linked to the organic connections (neurons and chemicals) in our brains.

      If there is any trauma, abuse, neglect during childhood / teenage hood, we can end up with things that are not wired properly. We also end up with the chemicals sending the wrong signals and we feel depression, anxiety and worthlessness about ourselves.

      Your feelings of not being as good as other people are conditioned behavioral patterns of your brain. Past trauma, abuse or neglect may have caused these patterns. Your inability to things that other people do, may be related to feeling inadequate to do them, feeling depressed, anxiety etc. This is not your fault that you have these chemical, neurological responses to doing things.

      If you feel anxiety about something and someone else does not feel that, then of course they will be able to do that thing, better and more easily than you can. It is not fair to yourself to compare your brain on depression or anxiety with their brain that is functioning perfectly well. It does not mean that you can never learn to do it, but it means that it is much harder for you to do things, than it is for them.

      When we have mental illness issues, it is more fair to us, if we so not compare ourselves directly with people who do not have any mental illness or trauma in their background. I have recently come to believe this is true

      I spent many years wondering why I felt so inadequate to everyone and why I felt so out of place. I had so much trauma in my back ground that I could not keep up with the people that had brains that functioned normally. It was not that I was not as smart, but it was because my brain was and is so traumatized.

      I am learning that we have to be kind to ourselves. In order to be kind to ourselves, we have to understand and feel compassion for the fact that trauma, abuse, neglect, depression, anxiety and any other mental issues, does cause us some disability. We cannot always compete with the other people.

      We can learn to heal and to slowly rewire our brains. But mostly we have to talk to ourselves like we would talk to someone else that we knew was having trouble feeling as good as everyone else. You are as good as everyone else, whether you can do everything they can do or not.

      We all have gifts and are good at things. You might be good at something that those other people suck at. I bet you are better are being compassionate for another human that feels depressed and worthless. The ability to be compassionate is not a gift that a lot of the “normals” have. That makes you better than them at something.

      You are also probably better are being introspective and analyzing things. The “normals” just go with the flow of what everyone else is doing and they do not think for themselves. If you can think for yourself then you are better at that too.

      I think that we are just better at different things than most people are. There is room for us in the world too. The world cannot be ok, of all of the people just follow the crowd and are all good at the same things.

      I hope this helps a little. You are a unique, independent person that can think, care and love. That makes you special and no one is better than you.


    1. You are welcome. I am glad that the words spoke to you. When we have been conditioned over a long period of time to think and feel a certain way, it can be difficult to disentangle our own thoughts from the person / people who put their thoughts into our heads. I guess it is a kind of brainwashing. I just realized that now. The gaslighting and the mental abuse, brainwashing the victim into believing things about themselves that are not reality.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment,


      1. Quite true Annie.

        As you said in one of your earlier comments, your words are putting out clear views, it is perfectly creating an awareness. I see it as the first step in solving a problem.
        However i could not find a solution to such issues, or a solution that fits me.

        It is a two sided problem from my experience. I had experiences as an abuser and a victim. Towards certain people i had felt the victim feel, towards few other people i had felt the abuser feel. I feel that an abuser and a victim are two extremes. Both are similar, but the direction differs. Just a thought, or my opinion. My focus is to prevent myself being a victim as well as an abuser.

        Eventhough this particular post discusses about abusers and victims, i focus on the core.
        I see that a person’s opinion/thought is affected by another person’s opinion/thought.

        So, How could it be prevented seeing/valuing ourselves through the eyes of others ?

        I’m sure there is way, but couldn’t figure it out.
        I’m asking this, because there are many times, where irrespective of harsh words of others, i had stayed cool, unaffected and returned back the punch if needed. But most of the times, i’ve been broke by words of others. Similarly, many times i had not used my powers over others, but there are considerable times where i could not prevent myself throwing my powers on others.



  8. I have found that there are many people who think highly of us and that see the good things and the possibilities in us. On the other hand there are far less people that say cruel things to us. There are only a few people that say “self esteem” lowering things
    If we were brought up with abuse and neglect, especially surrounded by people that make us feel bad about ourselves, then we grew up with that being familiar.

    People who grew up with encouraging families tend to surround themselves with people who treat them that way. People who grew up surrounded by soul sucking people, tend to allow themselves to tolerate more of that , than other people would even put up with. If we can remove ourselves from as many toxic kinds of people as possible then it would help.

    But the fact that there are more people that see your good traits than there are people that lower your self esteem, is an important point. Why do we hold onto the negative things people say about us? Why do we let our minds obsess over the things that people say that are negative? I think that we have become used to that feeling as familiar.

    We need to look at what good qualities that we know we have and that other people see in us. The negative things can be worked on.
    It is best to stay away from anyone that you find makes you feel victimized or in your case, make you feel like you might fall into the role of abuser.

    The chances are that anyone who is making you feel that way, probably comes from an abusive background and they are sensitive to any kind of aggressiveness or voice raising at all. They also take attacks to their self esteem, criticisms, very painfully to heart. There is no need to be injured or to injure others. In injuring other people, you will only create more pain for yourself. Acting out in anger will never help you to feel good or to heal from past abuse.

    People from abusive , traumatic back grounds, need to be careful choosing to be together . Unless you are able to be patient and use an even tone of voice all the time, it would be better to be with someone who is not triggered and injured by that. Sometimes if more than one partner has said the same comment to you about your behavior then it might be a pattern that is conditioned into you.

    Individual therapy is good, if you are able to find the right therapist. It is sometimes better to work on your anger issues, if they are getting in the way to the point where you feel like you are falling into an abusive role. You can heal and you are doing the right thing to be reading about these things and trying to understand yourself. Psychological injuries can be very painful, as you know and I am sure you do not want to continue on either side of that game.

    Thank you for connecting,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For many who were abused, you could repeat this positive message a hundred times and the shame is still there. Merely wishing it away doesn’t erase the years of negative messages from that parent, spouse or other who heaped it on daily.


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