Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 3


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wowee, what a chapter.

Brene covers A LOT in this rich chapter on shame and vulnerability.

If you’ve read Chapter 3, you probably understand why I chose the image above.  Brene Brown describes the shame gremlins as those voices or tapes that play in our heads that say we’re not ______ enough.  They’re the voice of the accuser, the critical voice, the voice that keeps us stuck.

And I’m learning in my life these days that if I can have at least a little humor about my gremlins, it makes this whole vulnerability thing a bit more…..bearable.

Here’s what stood out to me as the key points in this chapter: 

Shame is the fear of disconnection.

Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.

The Shame 1-2-3s:

  1.  We all have it.

  2.  We’re all afraid to talk about shame.

  3.  The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives (p. 68).

Guilt = I did something bad.

Shame = I am bad.

The Four Elements of Shame Resilience:

1.  Recognizing Shame and Understanding Its Triggers

2.  Practicing Critical Awareness

3.  Reaching Out

4.  Speaking Shame (p. 75)

Discussion Questions:

Here we go, friends.  I’d like to dive into these four elements of shame resilience.  How else are we going to develop resilience than by doing this dirty work? Taken directly from page 75:

1.  Can you physically recognize when you’re in the grips of shame, feel your way through it, and figure out what messages and expectations triggered it?

2.  Can you reality-check the messages and expectations that are driving your shame?  Are they realistic? Attainable?  Are they what you want to be or what you think others need/want from you?

3.  Are you owning and sharing your story?  We can’t experience empathy if we’re not connecting.

4. Are you talking about how you feel and asking for what you need when you feel shame?

Next post on (or around) March 29th:  Chapter 4: The Vulnerability Armory

2 Responses to “Daring Greatly Book Study: Chapter 3”

  1. Brandie March 17, 2013 11:03 pm #

    1. Ugh. I’m getting better at recognizing it. Lately it’s been showing up as anger and frustration. I start picking fights with Mark and getting into super critical mode (hmm, quite similarly to how BB describes her early marriage struggles in this chapter). It’s really helpful for me to connect with my fight or flight signals too- I feel SUPER hurried and frustrated that there’s never “enough” time, I’ll never get it all done, whatever…


    Feeling my way through it….yes, I’m starting to do that better too I think. Today, in fact, I was able to recognize it as it was happening and then actually go to Mark and say, “I think this is what’s happening….” and then I explained what I thought was triggering my anger/frustration. It was actually later in the day that even more information emerged inside me that was closer to the root of my frustration and it was definitely shame. Shame about my mothering capabilities, my own inner gremlins were getting the best of me for sure.

    2. I don’t know if we are supposed to be able to do this one on our own, necessarily. Mark helps me a TON with this. He helps me talk through (very logically) these voices and discern reality. I think we all need each other to practice this skill with because it’s HARD- especially when I’m in the middle of a battle with my gremlins.

    3. Yes, I think I am. With my trusted circle of friends I am. I think part of this journey is learning when and with whom it is best to share these deep vulnerable places with. I think the more we talk about it with a trusted friend, partner, coach or therapist, the easier it is to share our story authentically without “oversharing”. It becomes more about connecting, and less about divulging our secrets.

    4. I’m beginning to. I actually did ask Mark for what I needed this morning as part of that frustration and vulnerable conversation. And, what do you know, it was that I needed to feel “heard”.

  2. Cara March 20, 2013 5:56 pm #

    Brandie, I sooo hear you on the shame showing up as anger and frustration. I don’t have a spouse to get critical with, but I do have a body to criticize, a self-image to tear apart, and even a child to critique, at my lowest points. I pick fights with myself and with my 7 month old. Neither really ends well, and usually ends up being about fear or shame. Fear that I am not being a good enough parent, or shame about various aspects of my past, including my childhood experiences and single mom-hood.

    As for me…I got kind of stuck in this chapter. I still feel like I need to reread it, honestly.

    1.) I’d say yes, to some degree I’m starting to become more conscious about what’s really going on in me, but that doesn’t mean I’m becoming skilled in discussing or even feeling it. When I’m feeling big anger or big fear, I get a specific knot and hardening in my stomach and start looking for a way to release it. But then the thought confetti starts and I look for other people to pin it on instead of going inward to see what’s been triggered. More often than not, I’m feeling embarrassed or ashamed about some aspect of myself/life. And more often than not, if it has to do with my ability to be a mother, I can trace it back to my feelings of worthlessness and shame over how Charlotte was conceived. So there’s that.

    2.) My experiences with CBT and DBT in treatment have helped me to take a step back and separate the facts from the emotions, but I do still struggle often. A lot of the time, when I’m at my least rational, it involves my mom or a close friend helping me process and come down off the ledge, so to speak. Usually what ends up coming out during the talk-through isn’t even related to what started the big feelings! My shame manifests itself in some ways that require a lot of positive self-talk and fact checking to get through. One example is shame surrounding breastfeeding. In the early weeks, my shame over my body, over being so promiscuous, and coupled with my buried shame from childhood trauma, made breastfeeding a horribly monumental task. I felt, at my least rational, that I was harming Charlotte somehow. I got angry, and I cried and I struggled every time I fed her because I thought the act of breastfeeding was somehow overstepping her boundaries and becoming sexually abusive. I resented breastfeeding, and I resented Charlotte. It took looking at the thoughts and fears full-on to determine that they weren’t true and that I wasn’t going to harm my baby by feeding her. I was nurturing my baby. I had to take a step back and give myself permission to be nurtured for a bit before I could let that reality sink in and accept that I was being a good mother. Sometimes now, if I’m feeling especially triggered, I can pump a bottle and let myself have that break. It helps. I still honestly don’t know how we made it through that without switching to formula. I’m so grateful for our village.

    3.) I would agree, that yes I am owning and sharing my story fully within my safe spaces. I am comfortable sharing bits and pieces (like above) in a public setting, but only if I’m feeling connected to it. I got way too good at sharing facts about myself (true or untrue) without connecting to them.

    4.) Ahh, I think this is the hardest part for me. I’m not good at asking for what I need – I’m more apt to go about it in a very convoluted way, or just blatantly act out in an effort to make others somehow know how to meet my needs. I’m also likely to joke about the things that are hurting me/causing me to feel less-than because asking for support feels too hard. Since having Charlotte, I’ve become a lot more aware of myself and my ability to reach out to my community, express struggles, and ask for help. That doesn’t mean I’m not still playing in the Shame Olympics in my head, and I do still struggle with sharing /those/ parts of me for fear of judgement. Places like my AA homegroup and Love Machine help, places that I can bring my shame to the surface and speak it while looking into the eyes of people who love me. That’s the hard part, the looking in the eyes. I can type out just about anything and send it, and I can tell it to the ground, but I can’t verbalize my inner turmoil and shame while looking at someone who cares. I guess it might go along with that nagging fear of rejection. It totally doesn’t work with the way I beat myself up. I can’t be loved and feel shame at the same time. Well, I can, it’s just hard. Work in progress.

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