The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Shame Spiral Of An Outcast

I was abused as a child growing up which gave me a shame based personality. Add to that I was shy and I had a hard time relating to others. I couldn’t look others in the eye. When I found drugs and alcohol my shame and fear would be released only to return the next day because of my wrong behavior when I was using. It’s the cycle of shame. It became so intense that I had a psychotic break with reality during a shame spiral. My paranoia and psychoses is based on shame. Because of the wrongs done to me I was awkward and this would not only cause me to act different but would cause me to sin. I was different. I was contaminated by sin’s shame. I was an outcast and a nothing. Christ came for the outcasts as he became nothing and took on the shame of the outcasts. In Him I have acceptance and value, and forgiveness when I confess. In fact I’ve recently wrote down my entire life story and read into a friend. I’ve come to see that my behaviors and mental illness are rooted in fear and shame. God’s love and acceptance is what is bringing me healing. I’ve decided to love and accept that part of me that was hurting. I’m turning my whole self over to god past present and future. God promises to work all things good and bad together for my good. I surrender and trust God. I’m more at peace with my faith in God for my past. Having faith in God brings me into union with Christ as I have eternal significance and worth. The fruits of the Spirit are love joy peace faith patience kindness goodness and self control. The purpose of my past was to transform me into the likeness and image of Christ. This happens when I let go and trust God or have faith in God.

I Am Accepted and Have Worth In Christ

I am nobody special in the worldly sense of the term. But in dying to self and coming to faith in Christ I have eternal significance. I am special to God. His love is a holy love. Holy means to be set apart (special). I don’t earn my worth but it is a gift of God received by faith. My sense of belonging and sense that I count comes from being a child of God. The ego is nothing. The paradox is that we are set apart and special because we are united to all. We are light in a dark world. What the world considers special God doesn’t. What God considers special the world doesn’t. When I’m nobody I’m somebody. When I’m somebody I’m nobody. We become nobody so that Christ will be glorified in us - our true self. In and of myself I’m nothing so that Christ can reign in my heart. I’m covered and infused in God’s righteousness. Therefore, I have intrinsic worth because I’m in Christ. Everything I have; family, friends, possessions, health, all comes from my heavenly Father (Job 1:21). Knowing this, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I am “fearfully and wonderfully” made (Psalm 139:14). In Christ, I have my true identity, apart from Him, I am nothing (John 15:5).

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I’ve gone from nothing to royalty. From rejected to accepted.

Here’s a paper on shame, paranoia, and self-compassion

Background: High levels of shame are frequently reported in individuals with experiences of paranoia, and recent literature suggests that shame is an important factor in the development of paranoia following stressful life events. Psychological therapies that involve the development of self-compassion are designed to address high levels of shame, and emerging evidence suggests promise for the effectiveness of these interventions for individuals with paranoia.

It’s also in my “Treating Psychoses” book that I got a few days ago. It has what I’m talking about with shame and psychoses paranoia or persecutory delusions in a section called Compassion Focused Approaches.

Compassion focused approaches are most effective when working with delusions associated with critical auditory hallucinations, which are in turn linked to shame and an underlying schema of self-blame. Such exercises are also pertinent in persecutory delusions where, in the face of constant perceived threat and hypervigilance, they promote self-soothing. They are viable in the face of the delusional system with the negative underlying core belief such as “I am a bad or unlovable person”. Compassionate self statements can be reinforced by compassionate imagery, compassionate letter writing to the self, or a compassion box containing items that nurture the self, such as key photographs, poems, music, and so on. page 117

Christ was an outcast in the world’s view of things. He emptied Himself and became nothing as He took on the shame of His people. When we die to self we are united to Christ through faith. We are nobody in the worldly sense of the term. Christ came for the shamed outcasts of the world. In Christ we have eternal significance as we die to self. It’s intrinsic and not based on worldly views of fame and success. We become “nothing” so that Christ can be made much of. Paradoxically when we find our value and worth in Christ through faith we are liberated to do much for Christ. We have intrinsic worth in Christ. It’s not based on worldly things outside ourselves (Power, fame, money, success). We live to glorify the name of Christ. In Christ we find our value and acceptance as we become a child of God. Our sense of belonging and sense that we count comes from being a child of God. We no longer try to earn or prove our worth. It’s a gift from God. We will have compassion on the sick just like Christ did. Jesus is for bringing healing to the outcast.

A good book on this by a neuro psychologist and an M.Div (Reformed) is by Ed. Welch.

Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for thirty years and is the best-selling author of many books including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.

If Jesus made Himself nothing in the world’s eyes, I want to do the same. I want to fully embrace being nothing before the world. In dying to self I have eternal significance in Christ. I am accepted and loved as being a child of God. I am eternal in value. I have intrinsic worth in Christ. The honor before God outweighs whatever shame I experience before creatures. My worth is not based on worldly things outside myself (Worldly views of Power, fame, money, success).

To go into more detail on how we empty the self (die to self) and find our sense of dignity and identity in being a child of God I recommend the Christian Psychologist Richard Beck:

I think the self has to die. That’s what the bible seems to think. There must be a letting go, a surrendering, an emptying of the self. All efforts to define the self by acts of justification, the accumulation of evidence and data that the self is significant, have to be renounced. ~~ Richard Beck

As Arthur McGill succinctly notes, “The way of Jesus is the way of self-expenditure.” And as Paul describes in Philippians 2, this freedom to give our lives away is made possible only through the act of kenosis, of self-emptying and letting go so that our identities might be eccentrically grounded in Christ and the Father. If we receive everything - even our very lives - as a gift then we have nothing to cling to or protect. Following the example of Jesus, we become “nothing”. In a sense, we “die” - and thus we no longer have fear of dispossession, loss, diminishment, or expenditure in the face of death. ~~ Richard Beck, “The Slavery of Death”, page 77

Thus, the paradox of the cross: we must die - by losing and letting go - in order to find life, in order to experience resurrection - Beck, page 80

As Thurman describes it, the eccentric identity - “the ground of personal dignity…a profound sense of personal worth” that comes to us when we receive our identities as children of God - immunizes the self from “churning fear”. Anxiety is replaced by a state of relaxation. And this relaxation - grounded in the fact that the “individual now feels that he counts, that he belongs” - inoculates the ego from fear. This relaxation or peace comes from the “awareness of being a child of God,” which stabilizes the ego and "results in a new courage, fearlessness, and power. ~~ Richard Beck "The Slavery of Death

It was the religious leaders that Jesus got angry at. People like Trump fall into this category along with all social Darwinists who don’t believe in helping the sick. Jesus had compassion on the sick outcasts of society. Those that were shame based. The poor.

Just got me a copy of this from the psychiatrist Peter Breggin. It agrees with the conclusions I’ve come to based on my experience with improper self hatred that causes shame spirals causing my psychoses.

When emotionally wounded people withdraw into themselves and into those intensely personal, fragmented, nightmarish worlds we call “schizophrenia,” “mania”, or “psychoses”, they are usually suffering from overwhelming shame reactions. Unbearably burned by inflictions of shame, as described in chapter 10, they no longer dare to be with people. By telling these distressed people they have “biochemical imbalances,” “genetic disorders,” psychiatry not only misleads them, it worsens their stigmatization, humiliation, and feelings of exclusion. They are not suffering from biochemical imbalances; they are suffering from unbearable humiliation. As a psychiatrist and therapist, some of my most poignant, moving experiences have involved sharing the feelings of people who are undergoing overwhelming psychotic experiences with hallucinations and delusions. When these individuals have trusted me enough to allow me into their emotional world, what they have shared with me is the experience of drowning in shame. I have sat with them while their faces physically swelled as if bursting and turned blood red with humiliation. page 172

Being in the grip of shame is a horrific state, filled with conflicting emotions of extreme pride and humiliation. When we compensate for extreme shame by acting superior, grandiose, and invulnerable like a superhero, we become psychiatrically diagnosed as manic and bipolar. We are really trying to make up for how insignificant and powerless we feel. If we express our feelings of suspicion and distrust others will label or diagnose us paranoid. We are really trying to figure out what is going on that makes us feel so intimidated. Young people who become overwhelmed by extreme humiliation end up diagnosed schizophrenic because they withdraw deeply into themselves and begin to live in a world so private that it becomes a walking nightmare. They are really trying to escape from a world that has imposed abject humiliation upon them. page 171