My literature is about Demi Moore’s painful and out of control behavior leading up to her divorce from Ashton Kutcher. The emotional breakdown she experienced afterwards came from a lifetime of battling her demons, the demoralization of her shame and lack of self-worth led her to many shameful behavior’s in search of unmet needs such as; attention, worthiness, and identity to name a few. Ultimately the confusion from the shame led her to substance abuse that numbed her pain.
After Demi’s breakdown, she revealed to Amanda de Cadenet a friend in Harper’s Bazaar; “What scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not lovable, that I’m not worthy ...view middle of the document...
(Miller 2012) said, “As with any feeling, when shame is denied it will only resurface to create even more pain and havoc.”
Shame is internalized and turns into this inner critical voice which judges harshly. Often these voices are a repeat of what was heard by our parents or other authority figures who were supposed to nurture, love, and care for us. In-turn the adult children believed these messages. Some examples of these critical voices are, “You idiot, why did you do that?” “Can’t you do anything right?” “You are such a dumbass.” “You are so damn stupid.” Frequently these authority figures are shame-based themselves and reenacting their own shame and passing on what was taught to them.
Adult children developed defense mechanisms to survive the dysfunction and carry the pain of the shame into adulthood. When triggered with shameful feelings adult children will revert back to self-doubt and shame in which he or she will try to hide it, control it, or apologize for it. Adult children's shaming inner critical voice continuously makes it impossible to do anything right, leaving them in a pit of shame. Many of us that suffer from shame don’t believe we make mistakes, we believe we are a mistake.
Bradshaw (2005) expands more in-depth on shame-based distorted thinking to externalized thinking: catastrophizing, mind reading, personalization, overgeneralization, either/or thinking, being right, “should” thinking, control thinking fallacies, cognitive deficiency or filtering, blaming and global labeling. (p. 213-219)
In the Twelve Steps of Adult Children Workbook there is a “Laundry List” (14 Characteristics of an Adult Child.) This seems to be a common bond with being brought up in an alcoholic household:
We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
We are frightened of angry people and any personal criticism.
We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
We became addicted to excitement.
We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and “rescue."
We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings,...