Toxic shame is often caused by abusive, parentalizing parents. They ignore their child’s needs, feelings & wants to make their child believe she is only alive to take care of her parents’ emotional needs or provide that precious narcissistic supply. She believes she has no right to wants, needs or emotions, & because she does have them, she often grows up with toxic shame that affects all areas of her life.
However, this is not the only way a person can have a root of toxic shame. One way is when a dysfunctional person puts their shame on you.
This happens by projection. Projection is when someone knows they are a certain way, yet blame you for being exactly that way while denying they are that way. Narcissists are notorious projectionists. They love to put their insecurities & flaws onto others, so they can get angry about them without accepting any personal responsibility. As an example, one of my sisters in-law once told my husband I look down on their family. She screamed at my husband about that during a phone call one day in I think it was 2002. He was baffled as was I, since the thought of being better than them never occurred to me. In fact, my husband & I agreed that it was the other way around- they look down on me. That is projection.
Shame can be projected as well. Narcissists are full of shame. (Although they act extremely confident, it is just a show. They are extremely insecure inside, which is why they act so confident. They are trying to convince themselves & other people that they are as good, talented, beautiful, etc. as they claim to be.) Projection is among their favorite coping skills. To deal with this shame they feel, they will do their best to put it on their victim, so they don’t have to deal with it.
My mother did this a great deal. When her abuse was at its peak when I was 17-19, she would scream at me, & tell me I made her act that way. If I would just act right, she wouldn’t have to practice “tough love” on me. All my life, if I was angry or even simply frustrated, she would accuse me of having “that Bailey temper” & shame me for having such a bad temper when the truth is she was the one with the wicked temper, not me. Sometimes to this day, she still tries to shame me, even things beyond my control, such as if I get sick or injured.
Actions like that were her trying to put the shame she felt inside on me.
Can you relate, Dear Reader? Did you experience your narcissistic mother trying to make you carry her shame?
If so, refuse to carry her shame any longer! It’s not your place to carry her shame, to feel ashamed because of things that were beyond your control.
Make a decision that you will NOT carry her shame a moment longer. If it helps, imagine taking a sack of some sort to your mother & laying it at her feet then walking away. Sometimes visuals like that can help.
Ask God to show you ways you’re carrying her shame & how to stop it. With me, I noticed that when I discussed things with my mother, I always phrased things from my perspective. “I felt she was abusive when she…” “I got thrown into a wall by my mother.” God showed me that I was carrying the blame & all of the responsibility for her actions, including her shame when it all belonged squarely on her shoulders.
I hope this helps you to be free of carrying around that toxic shame that isn’t yours to carry! You deserve so much better than that!