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The Toxic Impact of Shame in Your Relationship
Episode 1616th February 2023 • Habits for Your Happily Ever After • Rebecca Mullen
00:00:00 00:27:04

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Today we’ll talk about the toxic impact that a layer of shame has on your relationship and the intimacy you crave.

1.    We’ll look at the emotions that cause shame

2.    You’ll identify three culprits that are likely to breed shame, and thus hinder open, honest conversation

3.    And I’ll give you a habit and a discussion to wash shame out of your relationship so you can feel more connection with your sweetheart

Link to the show notes page here.

It only took me 20+ years to discard a layer of shame that was polluting my marriage.

I didn’t know it was there. It clung to me the same way my step-father’s cigarette smoke infused my clothes when I was a girl. My nose got so used to the smell, I didn’t notice it.

The shame came from a tug-of-war I first felt just after my first child was born. I didn’t feel worthy as a provider because I didn’t earn much money.

And I didn’t feel worthy as a parent because I was so sleep-deprived I regularly lost my temper.

Shame emerged as blame

I thought the reason I blamed my husband for the new boots he bought was because he spent too much money.

But once I cleared away my shame, I realized I blamed him and shamed him because I felt embarrassed of the income I earned.

Shame grows out of perfection, comparison, and focusing on your failures.


Try this:

Shift your focus.

It’s tempting to focus on all the ways you don’t measure up. We all fall prey to the negativity bias that keeps on focus on what’s wrong.

But when you shift your focus to all the ways you’re living up to your values, you wash shame away.

When I realized I’d made choices that served my values all those years raising kids, I ran to my husband. “Hey!” I said, “It was generous of me to give so much attention to our kids rather than climb that big career ladder.”

“No duh,” said my husband. “I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

But I hadn’t heard that. Shame can actually keep us from seeing and hearing what’s right in front of us. Just like a smoke-filled-room.

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