“The wounded healer” refers to us, who suffer greatly from shame, helping others via love, tolerance and understanding who also suffer greatly from shame.
We can help others and be helped because we all know what it is like to feel the chronic, toxic shame the drives addictive behaviours.
Our understanding of shame is not out of a book it is real, lived experience. We know how it can drive one into chronic addiction and we know how to recovery from the persistent effects of this shame.
The main thing that struck me when I first went to AA was a lack of judgement which was amazing considering I was very jaundiced at the time.
I was accepted in the group without reservation. This greatly helped my damaged sense of belonging, my not feeling part of.
It made me feel that this is the place I need to be. Have always needed to be?
The “shares” or testimonies of other recovering people made we realise they suffered the same shame as me and had worked to overcome it via the steps, via having fellowships, people in their lives who understood and who helped them. They told me of their triumphs over their emotional difficulties, over their chronic lack of self esteem, over not feeling good enough, of feeling less than.
A failure – they talked about me and how I felt about me. How I had always felt about me!?
I had never been in a group of people who had talked so openly about their intimate feelings which was amazing. In doing so they were talking about my intimate feelings too. This gave me a sense of not being alone anymore. They seemed to be shining a light of hope into the dark recesses of of my shameful psyche.
It addressed my sense of isolation right away.
I had spent my life feeling not good enough, bad, l had that knawing feeling of less than, that hole in the sole.
I was like these people. They were like me.
I felt and continue to feel more like these people than I do my own family.
They became my surrogate family, my newly learnt attachment.
They were like me. They had not learnt this stuff out of a book, by professional observation but by having been through this stuff themselves. This was real not learnt.
They had been there. They were here now for me.
They knew what they were talking about.
This was the beginning of my psychic change. A person who was to become by therapist at the local treatment was at my first meeting and he later said that he felt I had a psychic change at that my first meeting.
I had come in utterly beaten, at death’s door and had left with hope.
The journey started with hope.
I had found a portal in the universe – it was Alcoholics Anonymous but from the shares it might have been called Shame sufferers Anonymous.
Shame ran through every share. They say fear is the corrosive thread which ran through our lives but it is equally the case that shame does too and causes just as much distress and damage.
It is difficult to live life when you do not have your own back, believe in yourself as worthy of the good, healthy, things in life. That you are not worthy them. That these things happen to others. Not you as you do not deserve them.
Why recover at all when you are not worth it?
This is how many of us feel? We are not worth it, this recovery.
The truth is the opposite, we are worth it. We do deserve it.
We are heroes who suffered so much and come through so much. We deserve happiness more than most! As a result we have so have so much to offer others. We are all wounded healers.
We are here to help others like ourselves, in a way that only we can!
It was via others, like parents that we have this shame and these negative self schemas.
It is through human relationships that these start to heal. Shame is a social emotion which needs a social treatment.
We need to reconnect to overcome the isolating force of shame.
You are enough! We are enough!