Release From The Abuse Bind

There is a lot out there on shame and shame resilience. Brene Brown has extensive work on the topic including the origins of shame and lots of information on why shame can be so debilitating to us as human beings. Knowing our biological propensity toward shame (Brown discusses how shame encourages us to reconnect with our herd as part of survival instinct in her work on vulnerability) can actually be a cue that that we are not connected even if it appears we are in established relationship. In these instances we feel like we can’t win no matter what we do. In other words we are in a bind. And we feel ashamed.

If you are in a relationship where you are criticized incessantly regardless of how hard to try to be “good enough” then you are more than likely in a shame bind. You just can’t win. You feel like you are in a relationship that would be better if you could get it right…but you can’t ever seem to get it right. A typical pattern in abusive relationships, and what is commonly referred to as gas-lighting, this behavior from our partner can impact our psychological safety. We can doubt ourselves, feel less than, and even cultivate self-hatred.

You have to first recognize you are in a bind if you are going to step out of it. This is not your fault. And shame can serve as the knock on the door you should probably open. It is telling you that something is wrong with your connection…it is not telling you there is something wrong with you.

You may want to connect but the constant rejection and abandonment that occurs in domestic violence takes a toll if you stay in this type of relationship. When you feel like you can’t win no matter what you do chances are you are in an abusive (or at least incredibly unhealthy) relationship.

Recognize the pattern of abuse. Recognize the symptoms of abuse including gas lighting. Begin to create your exit strategy with a therapist or caring other. You deserve better and you deserve connections that are healthy and life sustaining. Our biology helps us survive. You will survive this too.

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