Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
In this episode, Jodi answers four listener questions about The Voice (shame) as it plays out in relationships.
Questions from Listeners:
- Can you push The Voice (shame) onto someone else? If it is the truth that you cannot make someone feel something, wouldn’t it also be true that you can’t shame anyone?
- How are Faulty Core Beliefs (shame) linked to triggers?
- How do thoughts drive emotions? How do Faulty Core Belief thoughts drive fears? How can I change them into positive thinking and positive emotions?
- What are the steps I can take in re-establishing trust when someone has hurt me? Is it wise to trust someone who has a history of lying?
Episode 47: Q&A #5—Shame, Relationships & Trust
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Good morning and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast for the week of March 21st, 2015. I have some more questions that I want to field. It’s just amazing—because shame is at the center of so much of what we think, and how we feel, and how we behave, many of us just have so many questions around, how does it play itself out in our lives? What triggers what? How do I be vulnerable when I feel it? How do I stay in a place of validating?
Let me field some more questions. Again, if you have any questions, please go to www.ConneXionsClassroom.com, go to the Podcast link and write your question in that box right there. It says “Questions for Jodi to Answer on a Future Podcast.” Go ahead and do that and I will answer those questions on upcoming podcasts.
The first question. Can you push shame on someone? So, we talk about how no one can make you feel anything, so wouldn’t that apply to you can’t shame someone either?
What a great question. Here’s the answer. You do not have the power to make someone feel shame. That is the Truth. Put that kind of mentally up on a shelf in your head. Here’s what else is true. It’s not The Truth but here’s what’s true:
You can share, or give, or push your shame towards someone, and many of us don’t have the boundaries, or the awareness, or the consciousness, or the ability to not pick that shame up and take it in and believe it ourselves. And that’s what happens.
So, you cannot make someone feel shame. However, because of their lack of consciousness and their inability to boundary or protect themselves, you can affect them. So, you cannot shame them, and you can affect them by your shame. And they can believe that you have shamed them, that you did do that to them.
Where this happens a lot is with children. Children do not have the ability to protect themselves. It’s our responsibility as parents and as care providers to protect children in all different areas. This is one of the areas, is to help them understand that other people’s shame that’s coming towards them is not theirs.
However, if we as parents or we as protectors of children do not understand that 1) we have shame, and 2) other people then have shame, then we won’t be able to adequately educate and help them learn the skills and strategies to protect themselves, and so other people’s shame will absolutely be passed onto them because they will pick it up and believe it.
If I’m not conscious of that, whether I’m a child or I’m an adult, I will take the things that were modeled for me; and just because I turn 18 and I become a legal adult, just because the sun set and the sun rose again on that adult birthday of 18 does not mean that I will then be able to adequately protect myself from not only my own shame, but other people’s shame. This is where it becomes really tricky, is that here I was a child and I was at some level not responsible for myself.
However, I was supposed to be learning to become responsible for myself in all areas. I was supposed to be taking these childhood years and being educated on how to protect, and interact, and communicate, and forgive, and to love, and to hold boundaries, and to be able to advocate for myself. I was supposed to learn all that stuff during childhood. And if I was raised in an environment where those principles were not taught, then I enter into the world figuratively / literally very ill-equipped—and what I would say is, shamed. If I’m not equipped to be able to do all of that, I have been shamed.
Why is that connected to shame? Because those are the principles of Truth that I was supposed to have learned, and when I have not learned them, I have learned something other than that. I have learned that I don’t have to have boundaries, or anyone can say or do anything they want to me, or I’m less than, or maybe I’ve learned that I’m more than, maybe I’ve learned that everybody who interacts with me needs to do what I want.
And so, either one of those presentations is on one end of the shame continuum or the other. So, it is now my responsibility as an adult to learn those principles that I just mentioned, to learn how to hold boundaries, to learn how to communicate, to learn how to forgive, to learn how to repent, and to own my own behavior, to learn how to be responsible, to learn how to work, to learn how to not be entitled, it’s my responsibility to learn how to really love, like what that means. It’s my responsibility to learn how to give, and how to be loyal, and how to be honest. It just goes on and on and on. Those are my responsibilities as a being, to learn how to do those things. Because if I choose to not learn those things, then I will walk around in shame.
And so, can someone push their shame on me? No. No. Big picture, no they cannot. Thank goodness because if they could, then we’d be a bigger mess than we already are as a society, as a culture, as a people because people could control us, and that is not the case. No one has the power to control us. People have the power to affect us, which is different than control. And so you will be affected by other people for sure. I mean, you might even have horrendous effects like someone could cause an accident for you and you have lifelong effects because of someone else’s choices. So, most definitely we can be significantly impacted by the effects of someone else.
However, we still get to choose how we’re going to hold each and every situation that we have presented to us, because they are opportunities for us to learn principles of character and principles of Truth, which are all those things I just mentioned a minute ago. We are obligated, we are under contract to learn those things so that we can take our life experiences and grow, and mature, and sophisticate ourselves instead of going into a place where we become rigid, and scared, and angry, and vindictive, and entitled, or just show up in a mean or aggressive kind of manner.
Next question. How are faulty core beliefs linked to triggers? Another way to say that: how is my shame linked to triggers?
Here’s how they’re linked. When I have a trigger, triggers don’t necessarily have to be connected to shame, they could be connected to things that are really pleasurable. I had a trigger last night when I was eating an ice cream bar, it triggered me to feel happy, and satisfied, and connected. I liked the taste of the ice cream bar. So, it was triggering me into pleasurable memories and experiences that I’ve had in the past.
In the context of this person asking this question, “how are my faulty core beliefs linked to triggers?”—they are talking about triggers that are uncomfortable. Now, uncomfortable does not mean necessarily “negative emotions” like sad, or fear, or anxiety. You can have pleasurable emotions that are linked to faulty core beliefs as well.
So, you could be at a wedding and really be a part of all this happiness and feel overwhelmed—liked triggered by how happy you are and it could go back to a faulty core belief that says you don’t deserve to be happy, or you don’t deserve to be this happy.
Most of your triggers are going to be connected back to things that are uncomfortable (and the pleasurable emotions can also be deemed as uncomfortable as well). I just want you to realize that. They’re not all these, what we would call “negative emotions.” I don’t really believe there’s positive and negative emotions, but because I’m trying to explain it to a massive audience, I think must of us recognize that there are unpleasant emotions and there are pleasurable emotions. I look at emotion as, it’s kind of all neutral. I mean, yes, they feel certain ways, and emotion is neutral. It’s just part of the experience, whatever it is we’re feeling.
How are they linked? When I get triggered, what that means is, is that I’m being given an opportunity to stop, like to hesitate in my life, to pause, and say, why is that triggering me? How come I’m feeling the way that I am?
Let’s say I’m out on a boat and it starts raining. All of a sudden, I get triggered into fear. Now, I could say to myself, why am I triggered? This might be an obvious one for everybody, but I could say why am I triggered? And I’m thinking oh, my goodness, I am triggered because I’m responsible for this boat, I’m responsible for everybody on the boat, I’m concerned that maybe lightning will hit the boat because we’re in this conductor where all this water is, and I’m feeling afraid because I’m so far away from shore.
So, I feel triggered into fear, I feel triggered into being responsible, I feel triggered into feeling overwhelmed or out of control. And so, what I can say to myself is, okay, here’s the Truth. I want to reframe the trigger from the fear into Truth which is, okay, yes, it is raining, that is the Truth. And yes, there is lightning over there at a distance, so that could be very dangerous. And yes, I am responsible for myself and the passengers on my boat. And yes, I am far away from shore. And yes, I do know how to take the boat and drive it towards safety. And yes, I do know how to have people sit down, and put towels over them, and to manage themselves. And yes, I do know how to use my cellphone and maybe call for help.
My point is that I know how to do other things than just being triggered by “oh, my goodness, this is bad,” which is a faulty core belief because it isn’t all bad—it’s an experience I’m having and if I will be willing to experience my experience in all the emotions that are present, then I can learn, I can learn from the experience. So the next time I go out on the boat, maybe I learn from my last experience that I need to check the weather before I go off. Or I need to make sure that I teach all these people who are getting on my boat how to show up in case we have a lightning storm. Or I need to teach other people about how to maybe anchor the boat on a shoreline in case we get into a situation where we can’t make it all the way back to shore, we’ll have to go some place else, and so I’ll have to teach them about how to anchor so that we can get off the boat and be on dry land and be more safe.
Those are the things that my triggers can teach me. Instead of just thinking oh, my goodness, this is a bad thing, I can use my triggers to bring the Truth also into the experience and learn from the trigger of fear what I can do different the next time. And that’s called humility—that I’m willing to humble myself and say okay, my triggers are here to teach me about what my faulty core beliefs are so that I can reframe them into Truth or back into honesty. And I can then learn from those so that the next time I have a similar experience, I can do something different.
I just think that’s so exciting, that we have the power to do that. It’s so awesome. It really is, I just get so excited when I teach this, because it is so empowering. I don’t have to be stuck in fear every time I get on that boat. I don’t have to be stuck in fear thinking oh, my goodness, every time I get on the boat, maybe it’s going to storm or there’s going to be lightning. I don’t have to live in that kind of prison sentence, that kind of jail cell, that mental / emotional jail cell where I have to be worried, or anxious, or fearful all the time.
I can use my triggers to teach me about where my faulty core beliefs are. Let’s say I have a trigger and the trigger is about I do a load of laundry and I’ve asked my son to change the laundry from the washer to the dryer and he does not do it. And I have some clothing in there that I need for that evening and he has not put it into the dryer and so I get the home and the clothes are sopping wet and I’m triggered, right? Okay, I’m triggered.
So, I’m triggered into frustration, I’m triggered into sadness, I’m triggered into thoughts or feelings of unworthiness. Wow, where did that come from? Well, my shame—that’s where my shame comes in. It says if you would have mattered to him, then he would have changed the clothes from the washer into the dryer. If you were enough, then he would have remembered that he made a commitment to change the clothes from the washer into the dryer. If you were good, then he wouldn’t have forgotten that he didn’t change the clothes from the washer into the dryer. Can you hear, logically, how ridiculous those statements are? However, they come so rapid-fire at us that they do not sound ridiculous, they sound very reasonable and very accurate. And I will react because I’m being triggered by those statements of dishonesty—I will be triggered into believing them. And because I’m being triggered, if I don’t get into the Truth, then I will “go with” the erroneous statements of, the reason he didn’t change the laundry is because I’m not enough, I don’t matter, I’m unlovable, he doesn’t care. Or it will say something like how dare he forget about me? I am so important, I do so much for him, so I need to ground him, or yell at him, or try to shame him into feeling less than me because he did this to me.
Now, when I talk about this stuff and I slow it down, you can see the silliness of those kinds of statements, but I’ll tell you, when we are not conscious, when we’re not awake and aware, this is how we react, and we all do it. We all do it.
And so, I implore you, when you are triggered, to stop yourself and say, okay, what’s the Truth? The Truth is this. The Truth is that I asked him to change the clothes. The Truth is, is that he committed. The Truth is that he forgot for whatever reason. He is responsible for that. The Truth is, is that his forgetting had nothing, zero, zilch, nada, to do with me. Had nothing to do with me. It had to do with him and his lack of follow through or his lack of reminding himself, or his inability to be responsible.
I don’t know why he didn’t do what he committed to do and, it had zero to do with me. Did it affect me? You bet it affected me. Now I don’t have my shirt that I needed to put on within a half hour to go to this dinner engagement so yes, it affected me. And it was not personal. It was not personal. My trigger said it was personal, my faulty core belief said it was personal.
And the Truth is, it’s not personal. And so when I get triggered and I feel those feelings, I get to go to him in Truth and say, “I am triggered, and help me understand why you did not change the clothes over to the dryer.” And maybe he goes into his shame and says, “You ask too much of me. I’m overwhelmed. I forgot because I had so many things going on today.” He goes into all these excuses and all this denial so he goes into his shame. I patiently am waiting and I say, “I’d like to invite you to come out of your shame, and help me understand why you didn’t change the clothes over.” And he gets out of shame and he says, “I really didn’t pay attention when you asked me to do that and so it did not register that I was going to do that and I did not follow through with my commitment. And I’m going to learn from that. I’m going to feel remorse and empathy for that, so that I don’t choose to do that again because I don’t like how this affected you, Mom. I don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable to see that I’ve affected you negatively.”
And that, my friends, it’s what’s so beautiful about this, is that if we’d both get out of our triggers and we’ll both get into Truth, then we will feel empathy and validation for one another. And when he says, “I’m so sorry, I blew you off. That was so inappropriate of me. Please forgive me,” then my heart softens and I say, “I understand. I’ve blown people off. I’ve not paid attention. I’ve not followed through with commitments.”
Throw the first stone, right? Who hasn’t done that kind of stuff? We all have done it and so we get to be compassionate for each other, and with each other, and we get to say, “You know what? I get it. I get it.”
Now, we can be compassionate and have someone not own their stuff and that is appropriate too. However, you still have to hold them accountable. If I’m being compassionate, like “Hey, I get why you forgot to put my clothes in the dryer and it’s really uncomfortable when you won’t own it.” Because if they won’t own it, they will repeat it again. They’ll do it again. If I don’t own my behavior, I will show up in the exact same way again, I will not follow through with my commitment again, and the same kind of pain will be caused.
And so, please, please, please, please, please humble yourselves, own your behavior. Own your behavior and change. When you humble and you own your behavior, you will feel empathy. You will feel vulnerable. And you will want to validate the person who you’ve affected. And the two of you, if you both are willing to go into those positions, you will feel safe with each other, you’ll forgive each other, and you’ll move forward. And you will have learned. So, the next time I say, “Hey, will you make sure you move the clothes over?” Or, “Will you make sure that you mow the lawn?” Or, “Will you please pick me up at this particular time?” He will remember that oh, I remember that it was uncomfortable to see the disappointment in my mom’s face, it was uncomfortable that I didn’t follow through with my commitments. I don’t want to be that way.
That will motivate him to make a different decision next time. See how beautiful that is? That beautiful cycle of being emotionally honest, being willing to be vulnerable and humble, and taking responsibility. It heals. It heals the human soul, it heals your faulty core beliefs, and it heals the triggers that are inside you. It heals them.
I was out to dinner the other night with my mother and we went into a hamburger joint and the floor was just so, so dirty. It had pop spilled all over it, and bread, and french fries. It looked like it hadn’t been swept or cleaned in weeks. It was really kind of disgusting. I went up to the gentleman who was cleaning up the counter and I said, “Hey, do you mind sweeping this floor? This is really 1) unprofessional, and 2) it’s just kind of disgusting to look at it.” And he launched into all these excuses and you know what? Maybe the excuses were real, were the Truth. And, he has a responsibility by working there to make the establishment clean. And so, all those “excuses” could have been absolutely the Truth and I have a commitment to keep the hamburger joint clean, keep the floor swept.
And so, after he got done with all the reasons why they couldn’t sweep the floor, I said, “And could you sweep it now?” And he’s like, “Uhh, yeah. I could get some guys over here sweeping it.” Three of the came out and started sweeping the floor, I’m like, “Thank you so much, that just feels so much better to not have to look at everybody’s else’s trash and paper straw containers and all that kind of stuff.”
So, please own your stuff. We all know that things come up. We all know that we are human and we forget and we make mistakes. AND, we can change that by doing something different the next time.
Another question. I understand that thoughts drive fears, so how do I create positive thoughts without it being fake? How do I create positive thoughts without them being fake?
Thoughts can, it’s not absolutely every time, but thoughts can cause or drive fears. And our thoughts come first. So, what we think—which is where those faulty core beliefs are—creates what we feel. And so if I’m thinking things that are based in distortion, then I will create feelings that are in distortion as well. And so, when I have feelings that are hooked into distorted thinking, oftentimes it comes across as fears. So, if I have a faulty core belief, then I will have a feeling of fear.
So, for example, when I came home and the clothes were still in the washer, I had a thought of he doesn’t love me. Now, I may not have heard that thought, like it was really loud in my head, however I reacted to that thought because I could feel the feeling inside me that says I’m not enough, I’m not lovable, he doesn’t care, I’m no good. I can feel it.
So, when I feel something like that, I’ve got to go back and recognize if there’s a statement that reinforces that feeling—which there will be. If I’m having that kind of feeling or that kind of fear come up, there will be some kind of faulty core belief that’s driving it.
How do I create a positive thought? And she asks without it being fake. And so, what I’m assuming this person is wondering is without it being in distortion. So I want to have positive thoughts in Truth, I don’t want to just make up stuff when it’s not the Truth. And so, like I said before, I get to take that distortion and I get to move it back into Truth, which is, this has nothing to do with love, this has nothing to do with my worthiness, this has nothing to do with me not being enough. This is about him. He did not remember to move the clothes from the washer into the dryer. It is not personal to me.
So, when I have a feeling that is uncomfortable, whatever it may be, I want to go look behind that feeling for a faulty core belief, because as I have feelings that are uncomfortable, they could be connected to a faulty core belief. Now, it doesn’t mean every time they’re connected, but most of the time they will be. The times that they’re not connected to faulty core beliefs are when they’re just legitimate experiences, like let’s say I am on a plane and the captain says, “The plane’s going down.” Now, I know that’s an extreme example and I’m doing it on purpose to make the point. I might immediately feel anxious, and that probably isn’t connected to a faulty core belief because I’m in a real dangerous situation.
Now, I could have a faulty core belief connected to that, I could be saying in my mind, God doesn’t love me, bad things always happen to me, it’s my fault, I’m being punished. I could have those kinds of thoughts which would be my faulty core beliefs and so the anxiety could be driven by that. And I could be somebody who doesn’t have any faulty core beliefs around that, I’m just feeling anxious because my life is coming to an end.
So, my point is please, please be critical of yourself, not critical like shaming but critical thoughtful—criticize what’s going on, critique what’s going on inside you and look for any kind of distortion or deception that you are thinking that could be directly tied to the emotion that you’re having, and then turn it back into the Truth. That’s how you create positive thoughts without being dishonest.
One more question. What are steps I can take in reestablishing trust with someone who has hurt me? Is it wise to trust someone who has a history of lying?
Great question. Let’s go back to how I got hurt. So, when someone has “hurt me,” I’ve got to look back at the relationship and see how much is mine and how much is theirs. And this is where it’s going to get real foggy and kind of blurry here for a minute, because if I’ve been hurt as a child—which probably many of us have been in certain areas—then as I grew up and become an adult, I have a propensity to have wounds in certain areas.
So, when I interact with other people, those wounds that were there from childhood are exposed or I’m raw in that area. So, when someone unknowingly in my adulthood touches that wound, it looks like they are hurting me, it feels like they are hurting me when really, that wound was there way before I even met them.
So, I who am feeling hurt need to look at my life, I need to look at my history, I need to look and understand where my vulnerabilities or my wounds are, and then once I can understand those, then I look at my relationships presently and see where those people or those experiences have touched the wound that was already there.
That’s a lot of work and you’re probably going to need a therapist or someone who can walk you into that experience to understand what was previously there, before you’re going to be able to understand why you’re reacting to people in your present day.
Now, the second part of it is, it wise to trust someone who has a history of lying?
No. It is not wise to trust someone who has a pattern of being deceitful. What you can do is you can share with that person that because you as a pattern of behavior choose to be dishonest for whatever reason—because there’s a reason why they’re doing that, I could tell you they’re loaded with faulty core beliefs, that’s why they’re doing that. It’s not personal to you, it’s just affecting you.
So, your job is to not take their deception personal, which is going to be way hard. Way hard. So, as you’re practicing not taking their lying personal, you also get to share with them that you cannot and will not give trust to them until they have a pattern where they know how to be honest. Because you cannot feel safe, you can’t depend on them, you can’t know what’s real, you can’t relax with someone who has a pattern of lying. You cannot be emotionally vulnerable with someone who has a pattern of lying because it’s not safe.
So, you share all this with them as you are not taking their lying personal. Now if you’re in a relationship where you have intimacy with this person, like a marriage or a friendship, you’re going to have to reestablish those boundaries because if you’re in a marriage, then you don’t have a marriage, because marriage suggests that you are vulnerable with each other, that you are honest with each other, that you are loyal, that you are emotionally present, and that you’re responsible. And if someone has a pattern of lying, then that ain’t no marriage. I know that’s poor grammar but my point is that there is no marriage there.
So, you are going to have to reestablish your boundaries with that person and put them on an outer ring so that you can have some safety with them. You cannot have them close to you if they are going to choose to continue the lie.
Now, again, they are not doing this to you to hurt you. Are you being hurt by it? Yes, you are because it affects you, AND, it is not personal to you. They’re not lying to you, they’re not lying because of you. They are lying, and their lies affect you. And some of their lies affect you greatly. And so, you get to learn how to not take it personal. And, don’t have them close to you, don’t have them in a relationship with you where you continue to be affected by their lies. Put them further out. You have the power to do that through your choice, you get to boundary that. If it means that you have to leave the relationship for a period of time, if it means that they spend time away from you, like they spend the night in another room, keep them away from you.
Unfortunately, you might have to divorce from them if they will not stop and they will not get the help that they need, because you are not responsible for making them not lie to you. That is their responsibility and they have to understand why they keep doing that, and where that started, and they need help, they need to get into therapy, they need to get into maybe their religious or spiritual advisor or mentor. They need some help understanding why I keep doing this, because it’s coming from some place in their history, I guarantee you.
And so, the best thing you can do for them is to hold them accountable which means put boundaries around yourself, be emotionally honest with them without shaming them—like shaming them would say, “You’re doing this to me and you’re causing me all this pain.” That is not the Truth. They are doing it to themselves and the are affecting you, so yes, you are feeling pain from their choices, however they’re not causing your pain because you can choose to put them some place else in your life figuratively / literally, so that the pain is not so immediate. Or maybe you don’t have any contact with them at all, so that you have no pain, that you don’t have to go through day by day, choice by choice with them being affected. They could go to a treatment center, or they could go live with somebody else. You get to choose where they are in relationship to you.
Now, I know that I’m being really bold here, there are probably some of you that are like ah, I don’t know what to do, I don’t have enough place for them to go. Well, what I’d say is you need to share this information with other people so that they can give you some more eyes looking at this and maybe some more options of what you can do. But you are not stuck, you are not trapped. There are options. But you are not responsible for them lying to you and please, please don’t take it personal because it is not. Does it affect you? Yes. But it is not personal to you.
So, what are the steps in reestablishing trust with someone who has hurt you?
- They must stop lying.
- They must learn how to be emotionally honest.
- They must learn how to be accountable for their decisions.
- They must learn how to be vulnerable and how to validate themselves and others.
- They must learn to recognize their faulty core beliefs and not react to them.
They must be willing to be humble and accept responsibility for how they’ve affected you and take the steps of repenting or cleaning up their side of the street so that you can start establishing safety with them. Not trust but safety. And then, they are responsible to show up consistently in that safety, of being honest, and being responsible, and being humble.
And over a period of time—and that time is conditioned upon you, you get to choose when you start giving trust, it’s not something that they have earned or they’re entitled to, it’s something that you give after you feel safe over a period of time and that might be weeks, months, days, years—then you start giving trust back to that person in very small steps.
That’s how you reestablish trust with someone who has lied to you or who has harmed you, is that you share with them the process that they need to go through and you need to go through as well. You need to live in emotional honesty. So, when they do something that is painful, you must share with them, “That hurt me.” And then, when you do something that’s painful to them, they share with you, “That hurts me.” So, you’re sharing back and forth emotional honesty and you’re both taking responsibility for your own choices, your own thoughts, your own behaviors, your own actions. And the only way to take responsibility for those is that you must live in a state of humility, you must be open, you must be willing, you must be vulnerable to accept that kind of feedback so that you can soften and you can change.
Thank you for joining me this morning. I hope you have a great rest of your weekend and we will talk very soon. Between now and then, stay connected. Bye bye.
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