Updated: 7 days ago
Hello everyone! This blog is a week late because I caught none other than a summer cold over the 4th of July holiday. That wasn't a fun way to spend the 4th but it gave me time to think and time to do some healing believe it or not. I will write a blog about said healing in the coming weeks. For now, I want to deal with trauma and shame. I'm going to get into what they are and what they are not supposed to be. This is another one of those blogs that might step on toes or hurt feelings because many times both truth and love are painful. No matter, the truth must be told. Let us begin.
The title of this blog is a dead giveaway; there was no other way to say it and get people's
attention. However, what I want to do first is describe what trauma and shame are so we are all on the same page.
Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association ( APA) as: an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Abuse is another example of a trauma. Trauma can be related to people, events or both. The emotional response to trauma is negative because of the circumstances and would be expected for any human. However, trauma is harmful if not properly processed for healing. Trauma can have long lasting effects depending on the type as well as how the person experiencing trauma deals with and processes their pain.
Shame, on the the hand, is defined by Merriam Webster as: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Shame too can be negative and harmful if not dealt with in healthy way. Shame and trauma can be connected because of the kind of trauma as well as how the person feels they handled their traumatic experience. Many abuse victims have shame and that shame is tied to trauma – a trauma not of their own doing. Trauma and shame are a deadly cocktail if not dealt with in a safe environment with safe people. Unprocessed trauma and shame bring on even more of themselves (as well as victim mentality) because we humans will act on our negative self image (a product of shame) and do a lot of self-sabotage in the process (believe me, I know). Shame can also stand on its own – for example you feel shame because you cheated on a test you didn't study for because you were taught that cheating is wrong.
Now that I have briefly described what trauma and shame are, how they an work together or stand alone, and the damage they cause; let's delve into why they aren't and can't be your "badges of honor” nor your call to “martyrdom” (pain and suffering). Warning: my next words will upset some of you, I promise. I ask that you remain open and examine your own hearts.
I see so much “martyrdom” and what I like to call “badge comparing” on social media these
days. Please don't misunderstand me, I want victims of crimes and abuse to have justice and they deserve justice. I want their stories told so evil can be held accountable. What I don't want is for them to do is get stuck in a victim mindset; carrying their trauma and pain around like it is a gift instead of a destructive force that can cripple them or even kill them. Many of our “martyrs” and those carrying their shame and trauma badges around have lost themselves. They don't know who they are anymore, if they ever did know. Ladies and gents, these false “badges of honor” will only destroy you.
Allow me to drop some serious truths about what your badge carrying, your “martyrdom”, and your “badge comparing” are doing to you:
1) These aren't badges first of all, they are balls with chains you are dragging from place to place and person to person – shattering and demolishing good things and people as you go.
2) They will kill you (literally and figuratively), destroy you, steal every good thing and
person from you, and further victimize you.
3) They will hijack your identity if they haven't already. They will define you by your trauma
and pain and not by who Jesus made you to be. You will not know at all who you are or
who you are supposed to be.
4) They will push good, loving people away who can actually love you and help you heal.
Is this what you want? Read that list again. Aren't you tired of dragging your ball and chain around everywhere you go? Do you really want a Trauma and Shame badge or button to carry around with you for the rest of
your life? Do you really want to live as a victim the rest of your life? What could you possibly be getting from these things that is so good? Is the attention and the audience for your misery healing or fulfilling you? I see no good attention, no healing, and an audience who cares nothing for you and only wants to be entertained by your agony. I don't give out these “awards” nor do I entertain attention to them; to do so would be cutting you off from Truth which cuts you off from Love. I implore you to take your trauma, pain, and shame to the feet of the King! And guess what? He already knows anyway. He already knows you and loves you. He is not afraid of the frightening things you carry on your own. They do not surprise him. He wants to heal you! He wants to show you who you are! What is better than healing? What is better than being fully known and fully loved? I can think of nothing better because I am fully known and fully loved by the King. You can be too! What he did for me, he will do for you! What do you have to lose? You have pain, fear, trauma, and shame to lose and I'd trade those any day for peace and healing.
You have a choice. You can wear your pain, trauma, shame, and fear around like a badge and trophy award (as heavy as they are); or you can wear healing, love, and peace like the warm coat that I know they are. This is all up to you! No one can make the decision but you. What say you today? Which do you choose?
Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT: “Today I have given you the choice between life and death,
between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you may live!”