Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Good shame doesn’t destroy; it convicts us of wrong. Bad shame slowly sucks the life out of us. It steals our joy and silences us. It can make us feel small, dirty, and unworthy. It is a voice inside that speaks loudly and tells us things that aren’t true, like we are to blame.
Sexual harassment, abuse, or bullying can make the victim feel shame. The longer silence keeps us captive, the more powerful the lies become.
What wrong did the victim commit? Some believe there is something about them that attracts predators. Others believe they did something to deserve the treatment. Keeping silent only keeps the victim in a state of shame and confusion. Misplaced shame is like a predator in the animal kingdom: it kills and eats its prey. When we are filled with bad shame, our spirits are killed; our sense of dignity is compromised. We can lose our perspective of who we are and as a result, we have little ability to interact with others because we feel so damaged.
Bringing the abuse out in the open, talking about it, especially with an individual counselor can be very healing. Shame begins to lose its power when its lies are brought into the light.
No, it wasn’t your fault. No, you didn’t deserve to be treated so horribly. No, you are not small or unworthy because of the despicable actions of another.
Speaking about the shameful act brings life and healing and a restored sense of self.