Toxic Shame: How to Heal & Journal Prompts to Overcome It

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Have you ever felt a deep, gnawing sense of unworthiness that seems impossible to shake? This feeling might be more than just a fleeting moment of self-doubt; it could be toxic shame.

How to Heal & Journal Prompts to Overcome Toxic Shame

Unlike regular shame, which can sometimes help us recognize and correct mistakes, toxic shame embeds itself into our identity and corrodes our self-worth. It’s like carrying an invisible weight that drags us down in every aspect of life. If this resonates with you, keep reading—you’re not alone, and there are ways to heal.

What This Post Covers and Why You Should Read It

In this post, we’ll explore what toxic shame is, why it’s so damaging, and how it holds us back. We’ll delve into the signs that you might be struggling with toxic shame, share some powerful quotes, and provide holistic healing methods through The Emotion Code and The Body Code. I’ll also offer journal prompts to help you work through and release this deeply embedded shame. Understanding and addressing toxic shame is crucial for anyone looking to improve their mental and emotional well-being.

My Own Toxic Shame Story

For years, I struggled with toxic shame without even knowing what it was. Sometimes, we just don’t know what we don’t know, right? I constantly felt regret, guilt, self-loathing, and shame for past mistakes that hurt others and myself. As I’ve shared in other posts, I battled with mental health issues, binge eating, and weight problems. At the core of it all was shame. I didn’t know how to process difficult emotions in a healthy way. Instead, I was miserable to be around, had a short fuse, and dealt with daily depression and anxiety. I used food to self-soothe because I lacked the knowledge and coping strategies to handle what was happening.

My journey to regain my health has been long and winding, full of trial and error. At one point, I was on prescription psychiatric drugs and in therapy, which helped me start the healing process. I have been hospitalized multiple times as well. But the deeper work was something I had to do on my own by being brutally honest with myself, admitting my mistakes, and then forgiving myself. It wasn’t a quick process and took years. If I’m completely honest, I’m still figuring things out, but I’ve come a long way. One of the most powerful healing experiences for me came earlier this year when I worked with a Body Code Practitioner. The impact was so profound that I felt a strong calling to become a practitioner myself to help others heal.

What is Toxic Shame?

Toxic shame goes beyond feeling embarrassed about a specific action or mistake. There’s an overwhelming feeling that you are fundamentally flawed and not deserving. This type of shame often starts from childhood experiences, where one internalizes repeated negative messages about oneself. Over time, these messages become ingrained, leading to a constant, painful feeling of worthlessness and inadequacy.

How Does Toxic Shame Develop in Childhood?

During childhood, our brains are highly impressionable and rapidly developing. This is the stage where we start to form our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. When we experience repeated negative messages or traumatic events, our subconscious mind absorbs these experiences and forms beliefs based on them.

Here’s how this process can unfold:

  1. Parental Criticism: If a child frequently hears criticisms like “You’re not good enough” or “Why can’t you do anything right?” from parents or caregivers, these negative messages can become internalized. The child begins to believe these statements as truth, embedding them deep in their subconscious.
  2. Emotional Neglect: When a child’s emotional needs are consistently ignored or dismissed, they might start to believe that their feelings are unimportant or that they themselves are unworthy of attention and care. This neglect can lead to a profound sense of invisibility and unworthiness.
  3. Shaming Experiences: Direct shaming experiences, such as being publicly humiliated or ridiculed, can leave lasting scars. Replaying these moments in their mind often reinforces the idea in the child that they are flawed or inferior.
  4. Trauma and Abuse: Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can cause deep-seated shame. The child might feel responsible for the abuse or believe that it happened because they are inherently bad or deserving of such treatment.
  5. Comparison with Siblings or Peers: Constantly comparing a child to siblings or other kids, especially in a negative way, may cause them to develop feelings of inadequacy. Hearing things like “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” can make a child feel they will never measure up or be good enough.
  6. Societal and Cultural Messages: Broader societal and cultural messages also play a role. Children pick up on societal standards of beauty, success, and behavior from media, school, and community. If they feel they don’t conform to these standards, it can create feelings of shame and inferiority.

The Subconscious Impact

These negative experiences and messages don’t just disappear; they become lodged in the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind acts like a sponge during childhood, soaking up every experience and message with little critical analysis. As a result, these negative beliefs form a part of the child’s core self-image.

Over time, these ingrained beliefs create a persistent narrative of unworthiness. The child grows up feeling that they are flawed, regardless of their actual accomplishments or positive attributes. When not addressed, this widespread feeling of toxic shame can lead to a range of mental health problems, such as chronic self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

Understanding the roots of toxic shame in these early experiences is crucial for healing. By recognizing where these feelings come from, we can begin to challenge and change these deeply held beliefs, paving the way for a healthier, more positive self-image.

Why Toxic Shame Is So Harmful

Toxic shame is incredibly harmful because it affects every aspect of our lives. It erodes self-esteem and self-worth, leading to a negative self-image. People struggling with toxic shame often sabotage their own success and happiness because they don’t believe they deserve it. And as I mentioned above, this widespread negativity can cause anxiety, depression, and multiple mental health struggles. Toxic shame can hinder relationships, as those affected might push others away or constantly seek validation.

Recognizing the Hidden Impact of Toxic Shame

Toxic shame often goes unnoticed, yet it profoundly affects people’s lives. It can be a part of our hidden self, operating beneath the surface of our conscious awareness. It takes a conscious effort to recognize the signs and begin the healing process.

The Hidden Self and Toxic Shame

The parts of ourselves that we are not fully aware of, including childhood-formed beliefs and deep-seated emotions, make up our hidden self. Toxic shame can become so ingrained in our psyche that we carry it into adulthood without recognizing it or its influence. This hidden shame manifests in subtle yet powerful ways, affecting our thoughts, behaviors, and interactions with others.

Signs That Toxic Shame Is Affecting You

Recognizing toxic shame can be challenging because it often disguises itself as other emotions or behaviors. Here are some signs that toxic shame might be affecting you:

  1. Perfectionism: You may strive for perfection to avoid feeling flawed or inadequate. This can lead to unrealistic expectations and constant self-criticism.
  2. People-Pleasing: A strong need for approval from others can stem from a deep-seated belief that you are not good enough as you are.
  3. Self-Sabotage: Unconsciously undermining your own success, happiness, or health can be a way of reinforcing the belief that you don’t deserve good things.
  4. Chronic Guilt: Feeling guilty for things beyond your control or for simply existing can be a sign of underlying shame.
  5. Avoidance of Intimacy: Fear of being seen as you truly are can lead to difficulties in forming close, authentic relationships.
  6. Negative Self-Talk: Constantly putting yourself down or engaging in harsh self-criticism can indicate a deeper issue with shame.
  7. Emotional Numbness: You might disconnect from your emotions to avoid feeling the pain associated with shame.

The Importance of Conscious Effort

Healing from toxic shame requires conscious effort and a willingness to face uncomfortable truths about yourself. This process can be challenging, but it’s essential for personal growth and well-being. Here’s why it’s worth the effort:

  1. Self-Awareness: Developing self-awareness allows you to identify the root causes of your shame and understand how it has influenced your life.
  2. Healing and Growth: Addressing and healing from toxic shame can lead to profound personal growth, freeing you from the limitations imposed by negative beliefs.
  3. Authenticity: As you heal, you can embrace your true self and live more authentically, fostering deeper connections with others.
  4. Empowerment: Recognizing and overcoming toxic shame empowers you to take control of your life and make choices that align with your true values and desires.

Steps to Heal from Toxic Shame

  1. Acknowledge and Accept: The first step is to acknowledge that toxic shame exists and accept that it has affected you. This can be difficult but is crucial for healing. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
  2. Seek Support: Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who specializes in shame and trauma. Support groups and trusted friends can also provide valuable encouragement.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Recognize that everyone has flaws and makes mistakes.
  4. Challenge Negative Beliefs: Actively challenge the negative beliefs and messages that contribute to your shame. Replace them with positive affirmations and truths.
  5. Engage in Healing Practices: Explore holistic healing practices like The Emotion Code and The Body Code to release trapped emotions and imbalances. I found relief from toxic shame from the Emotion and Body Code. Now I’m on a mission to help others. You can learn more about that HERE.
  6. Journal: Use journaling to explore your feelings, reflect on your experiences, and track your progress. Journal prompts can be helpful for uncovering and addressing toxic shame.

Healing from toxic shame is not easy, but it’s a transformative journey that can lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life. By making a conscious effort to recognize and address the hidden impact of shame, you can break free from its hold and move toward greater self-acceptance and happiness.

The Holistic Healing Modality I Used to Heal My Toxic Shame

Healing from toxic shame requires a holistic approach that addresses both the mind and body. One effective method involves The Emotion Code and The Body Code, which focus on releasing trapped emotions and correcting imbalances in the body.

The Emotion Code

The Emotion Code is a technique developed by Dr. Bradley Nelson that helps identify and release trapped emotions—negative energies that become lodged in the body because of past traumatic experiences. These trapped emotions can distort the energy field, leading to physical and emotional issues. By using muscle testing and other techniques, practitioners can pinpoint and release these trapped emotions, facilitating healing.

The Body Code

The Body Code is an advanced healing system that goes beyond The Emotion Code. It encompasses a wider range of imbalances, including structural, nutritional, and energetic. This method helps to identify and correct these imbalances, restoring harmony in the body and mind. The Body Code can help address the underlying causes of toxic shame by releasing trapped emotions and correcting other energetic imbalances.

How Shame Relates to the Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is all about the energy we put out into the universe and what we attract back into our lives. According to Dr. David Hawkins’ Scale of Consciousness, shame is the lowest vibration a person can experience. This scale measures the levels of human consciousness and their corresponding emotional states, from the lowest vibrations of shame and guilt to the highest vibrations of peace and enlightenment.

Dr. David Hawkins’ Scale of Consciousness

Dr. Hawkins’ scale is a fascinating tool for understanding how our emotions impact our energy. Shame vibrates at a mere 20, making it the lowest frequency on the scale. When we operate from this level, we’re stuck in a negative energy loop, attracting more experiences that reinforce our feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing. Learn more by reading his bestselling book, Power vs Force.

The Impact of Low Vibration

Living in a state of shame means we’re constantly emitting low-frequency energy, which according to the Law of Attraction, brings more negativity into our lives. This can manifest as recurring failures, toxic relationships, and persistent unhappiness. It’s like being in a dark cloud that follows you everywhere, making it hard to see the good in yourself and in life.

Raising Your Vibration

To break free from the cycle of toxic shame, it’s essential to raise your vibration. Healing practices like The Emotion Code and The Body Code can help release the trapped negative emotions that keep you at a low vibration. By letting go of shame and embracing higher-vibration emotions like love, acceptance, and joy, you can start attracting more positive experiences into your life.

Journal Prompts to Overcome Toxic Shame

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reflection and healing. Here are 10 unique and deep journal prompts to help you work through toxic shame:

  1. Reflect on Your Earliest Memory of Shame: Write about the first time you remember feeling deeply ashamed. What happened? How did it affect you?
  2. Identify Negative Messages: List any negative messages you received about yourself growing up. How have these messages shaped your self-image?
  3. Challenge Your Inner Critic: Write down some of the harsh things your inner critic says to you. Now, counter each one with a compassionate, truthful response.
  4. Explore Perfectionism: How has the need to be perfect affected your life? Write about a time when you felt you had to be perfect and how it made you feel.
  5. Examine Your Relationships: Reflect on how toxic shame has affected your relationships. Have you pushed people away or sought excessive validation?
  6. Write a Letter of Forgiveness: Write a letter forgiving yourself for any mistakes you believe you’ve made. Focus on self-compassion and understanding.
  7. Visualize Your Future Self: Imagine a future where you are free from toxic shame. What does your life look like? How do you feel about yourself?
  8. List Your Strengths: Write down your strengths and achievements. Reflect on how these qualities make you a worthy and valuable person.
  9. Set Boundaries: Reflect on where you need to set boundaries to protect your well-being. How can you start implementing these boundaries?
  10. Practice Gratitude: Write about things you are grateful for in your life. How does focusing on gratitude make you feel about yourself?

Even More Reading On This Topic:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between normal shame and toxic shame?

Normal shame is a temporary feeling related to specific actions or mistakes and can lead to positive changes. Toxic shame, however, is a pervasive sense of unworthiness and self-loathing that becomes part of your identity, affecting all aspects of your life.

How long does it take to heal from toxic shame?

Healing from toxic shame is a personal journey and varies from person to person. It depends on the depth of the shame and the methods used for healing. Consistent effort with techniques like The Emotion Code and journaling can accelerate the process.

Can toxic shame be completely eradicated?

While completely eradicating toxic shame might be challenging, it is possible to achieve significant healing and improvement. By addressing and releasing trapped emotions and working on self-compassion, you can greatly reduce its impact on your life.

Final Thoughts

By recognizing and addressing toxic shame, you can make critical upgrades for a better, more fulfilling life. It’s never too late to start making positive changes, and every small step counts towards improving your mental well-being. Take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health—you deserve it!

Comment below with which habit you find the most difficult to change, and let’s support each other on this journey to healing.

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Toxic Shame: How to Heal & Journal Prompts to Overcome It
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