How to free yourself from self blame (especially if you’re an HSP)
August 19, 2013 by Karly Randolph Pitman 16 Comments
In this human life, we all hurt at times. This is part of our shared, common humanity.
And yet some of us take this pain “on” at a very deep level, blaming ourselves for it. Instead of viewing pain as something we share as human beings, we take our pain personally, as if it’s our fault.
This belief can appear in our lives in several ways:
Feeling ashamed of our wounds.
Judging our pain.
Blaming ourselves for being “too sensitive,” for getting hurt in the first place.
Turning our spiritual ideals into weapons – where we tell ourselves if only we were more spiritual we’d be detached, impenetrable to hurt.
Feeling ashamed about how we coped with our pain. I particularly see this in those who loathe their overweight bodies. They hate the fact that they coped with their pain with food. This implies a “should” that they should’ve been able to handle their pain differently. And so their dear bodies become the scapegoat for their dislike of their vulnerability – and sensitivity – itself.
Blaming ourselves for our conditioning, for the early experiences that shaped us.
Judging ourselves for not doing better in the present – for the fact that our wounds still effect us.
To counter this, we can develop all sorts of coping strategies. We may try to control the pain we carry inside and “white knuckle” it. We may try to armor ourselves so that we never get hurt again. We may stuff and suppress our feelings and numb ourselves so that we don’t feel, period. We may bury our sensitivity.
Of course, these coping strategies hurt our tender hearts, and aren’t effective. So we may reach a point in our lives where we want to shift out of them. (If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you’re in this place.) And yet to change these habits we must change how we relate to our pain. One way we do this is by healing our pattern of self blame.
The origins of self blame
The belief that it’s my fault, that I’m bad, and that’s the reason that bad things happen to me are the beliefs of a small child – a tender child who just wants to be loved. When the child gets hurt, when bad things happen, the child thinks, “I must’ve caused this somehow.” And sadly, sometimes that message is conveyed by our culture, families, or loved ones.
A highly sensitive person is much more porous with these messages – they sense and perceive them more easily than others, and can pick them up and take them as their “own.” An HSP is also highly conscientious. So they may internalize these messages more strongly than someone who isn’t so sensitive.
As we grow, we may carry these beliefs with us and internalize them. They run underground and become a part of the air we breathe. They’re unconscious – we may not even see their workings. But we feel their effects. We look at our lives through these wounded, young child eyes. In that child’s world, pain = I’m doing it wrong. Pain = I’m bad. Pain = I’m unlovable. Pain = I’m responsible.