A shame spiral is when you’ve done something wrong or been wronged by another, for example a disagreement with a friend or an issue that’s arisen at work and you feel extreme shame, discomfort and disproportionate guilt/hate. This happens because we are triggered in stressful situations and our brain activates defence mechanisms to help protect us, however these do not always serve us well as they are usually formed in childhood and not necessarily what we need as adults.
Going over and over it in your mind compounds the issue, keeping it alive longer than needed and running around your mind and body like toxic energy.
This is the ultimate horrid feeling for many and it can lead to falling in to the mindset of hating people, your job, relationships, etc. You may find that you get stuck in the mud type thinking and want to shrink away from the world.
Some things to try…
Lean on your supportive friends, write down the things you do each day which are a big deal for you and make sure you really switch off, by doing something you feel involved in like a hobby you enjoy, reading a fiction book you can get lost in or how about doing some pages in a journal – start with a doodle and see what thoughts come up for you.
In a shame spiral we can forget our worth and lose all perspective. ‘Paralysis by analysis’ can stop us being proactive and taking responsibility to sort the issue out.
For some, a shame spiral can last a day or two, for others, months or even years. You might retreat from the person you’re having issues with and find yourself ruminating.
Or it might convince you that you’re not able to ever fully redeem yourself so you may as well leave the job, end the friendship or even, that life isn’t worth continuing with.
You are worthy.
It’s okay to get it wrong.
It’s okay to need a period of inaction before you can take action.
It will not be as bad as you think.
Take the brave step. Put things right. Have the courageous conversation. Make amends or put things right again.
Talk to the person or people involved. Be prepared with your points, listen and respond. Speak your truth.
It doesn’t always work. It doesn’t work with everyone or in every situation but trying to face it honours you in the process. You can do this.
Remember how far you have come. Remember what you have come through in your life before.
You can do this. Speak your truth. Be authentic.
You’ll grow from this and each time you do it. It is a real thing that you are experiencing.