Select Page

Toxic Shame Counselling Wolverhampton

Toxic Shame – What It Is & How It is Treated

toxic shame counselling wolverhampton - woman pointing accusingly at the screen

Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful and when shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives.

Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction. We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves. We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves.

We all have our own specific triggers or tender points that produce feelings of shame. The intensity of our experience varies, too, depending upon our prior life experiences, cultural beliefs, personality, and the activating event.

Unlike ordinary shame, “internalised shame” hangs around and alters our self-image. It’s shame that has become “toxic,” a term first coined by Sylvan Tomkins in the early 1960s in his scholarly examination of human affect. For some people, toxic shame can monopolise their personality, while for others, it lies beneath their conscious awareness, but can easily be triggered.

Characteristics of Toxic Shame

Toxic shame differs from ordinary shame, which passes in a day or a few hours, in the following respects:

  • It can hide in our unconscious, so that we’re unaware that we have shame.
  • When we experience shame, it lasts much longer.
  • The feelings and pain associated with shame are of greater intensity.
  • An external event isn’t required to trigger it. Our own thoughts can bring on feelings of shame.
  • It leads to shame spirals that cause depression and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • It causes chronic “shame anxiety” — the fear of experiencing shame.
  • It’s accompanied by voices, images, or beliefs originating in childhood and is associated with a negative “shame story” about ourselves.
  • We needn’t recall the original source of the immediate shame, which usually originated in childhood or a prior trauma.
  • It creates deep feelings of inadequacy.

Unhelpful Beliefs Based on Toxic Shame

The fundamental belief underlying shame is that “I’m unlovable — not worthy of knowing.” Most frequently, internalised shame manifests as one of the following beliefs;

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m unattractive (especially to a romantic partner)
  • I’m a failure
  • I’m a bad person
  • I’m a fraud or a phony
  • I’m selfish
  • I’m not enough (this belief can be applied to numerous areas)
  • I hate myself
  • I don’t matter
  • I’m defective or inadequate
  • I shouldn’t have been born
  • I’m unlovable

The Causes of Toxic Shame

In most cases, shame becomes internalised or toxic from chronic or intense experiences of shame in childhood. Parents can unintentionally transfer their shame to their children through verbal messages or nonverbal behaviour. For an example, a child might feel unloved in reaction to a parent’s depression, indifference, absence, or irritability or feel inadequate due to a parent’s competitiveness or over-correcting behavior.

Children need to feel uniquely loved by both parents. When that connection is breached, such as when a child is scolded harshly (for example ‘you should feel ashamed of yourself‘), children feel alone and ashamed, unless the parent-child bond of love is soon repaired. However, even if shame has been internalized, it can be surmounted by later positive experiences.

If not healed, toxic shame can lead to aggression, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. It generates low self-esteem, anxiety, irrational guilt, perfectionism, and it limits our ability to enjoy satisfying relationships and professional success.

FREE Initial Consultations

free initial consultations for

We offer all prospective clients a FREE initial assessment to chat about your Anxiety problems or your personal development. During this 50 minute consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.

At TranceForm we believe that therapy & counselling should be a collaboration between therapist and client so it’s very important to be able to meet PRIOR to agreeing any kind of help. Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.

Thinking Errors Associated with Toxic Shame

Shame related problems may be exacerbated by any number of common thinking errors that people tend to ‘suffer’.

You can find out more about each of these by clicking on the links below:-

Phrases that may have brought you to this page:

Toxic Shame Therapy Wolverhampton, Therapy for Toxic Shame in Wolverhampton, Toxic Shame Counselling Wolverhampton, Counselling for Toxic Shame in Wolverhampton.

hcpc badge

IAEBP logo

Location

Maypole House
Maypole Street
Wombourne
Wolverhampton
WV5 9JB

TranceForm Psychology Wolverhampton Clinic

Opening Hours

Monday – Dr. Justina Somal Only – Please call
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – 10:00 to 20:00
Thursday – 10:00 to 20:00
Friday – 10:00 to 20:00
Saturday – 10:00 to 18:30
Sunday – Closed

All sessions by appointment only.

Mobile Paul: 07434 776125
Mobile Justina: 07880 491106
Mobile Joan: 07434 776504

Therapies

TranceForm offer a wide range of therapy modalities to help you solve your issues.

Click on the images below to find out more.

Thrive Programme

thrive programme logo

CBT

Hypnotherapy

BWRT

BWRT

EMDR

EMDR Therapy

Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis

Contact Tranceform Psychology Wolverhampton

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us to find out how TranceForm could help you to achieve your goals and aspirations or overcome problems. We offer ALL prospective clients a FREE initial consultation to discuss all the options available to you.

TRANCEFORM PSYCHOLOGY

Maypole House
Maypole Street
Wombourne
Wolverhampton
WV5 9JB

E-mail TranceForm

Mobile Paul: 07434 776125
Mobile Justina: 07880 491106
Mobile Joan: 07434 776504

counselling directory logo

View our Counselling Directory page

AFFILIATIONS

hcpc badge
IAEBP logo

LOCATION

Professional Counselling in Wombourne, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Dudley, Kingswinford, Bridgnorth, Telford, Shrewsbury, West Bromwich and Birmingham since 2009.

© TranceForm Psychology 2009 - 2018 | Website Design by Therapy Webs