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Hi I'm back and thoughts on shame


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Hi old friends and Hi to those friends I don't know yet. It's been 2 1/2 years since finding my soul friend Adrial and this place and learning that I had herpes. At that time I had just discovered my marriage of 17 plus years was over and I'd been betrayed by my childhood best friend, my first love. He was the guy who gave me herpes. It's been a journey.

 

And in the last two years I've discovered many more betrayals, had three surgeries and been forced to change jobs three times. I've homeschooled my son through his freshman year while working full-time because he was deeply depressed and being bullied at school, and a couple of weeks ago I was down-sized again for the third time, so I'm looking for job number four.

 

I was severely neglected as a child, among other things, so when I got married I gave my life to my family and put myself last because I thought that meant things would be okay. Like that was some kind of insurance against anything bad ever happening. I pushed down all of my fears and shame. Instead of facing them and working through them, I chose to learn about them and made lists of ways to be happy. If I felt scared or sad, I volunteered more. I thought if I made everyone else feel happy and loved, I would feel happy and loved, but life doesn't work like that. Our lessons are our lessons. We all have our own work to do, and sometimes that work leads you away from the things that make you feel safe and the people you love so you can do it.

 

I have so many reasons to be thankful in spite of things. My son is back in school this year and doing so well and my daughter is healing. We are closer than we have ever been. I am learning and growing every day. I am healing and learning to love myself. I am learning how shame thrives in the dark, and since I hid myself and my pain from everyone else, my shame grew to be Godzilla-sized, and for a long time it stayed that way. It took a lot of courage for me to put a leash on Godzilla, leave my marriage. And that would have been hard enough. But when I changed my life I learned almost everyone in it was more invested in me staying as I was, than seeing me grow and heal. I'd chosen those people. I knew why once I'd left.

 

I've since studied a lot about shame and if you ever read about shame you would have to read Brene' Brown, which I have and do. A lot. And I've learned from her what it looks like when people are dealing with shame and how I dealt with mine for so long and survived.

 

Some people move away from others and withdraw...they hide and silence themselves and keep their secrets.

Some people move against others, power up and get aggressive and fight their own shame by shaming others.

Some people move toward others and look for ways to please them and appease them, and by doing that feel better about themselves. That was me. I couldn't love and serve everyone else enough and I hoped against hope it would fix my shame. But all that did was move me further away from myself.

 

So what I do now is say it when I feel it. And right now I feel like shit. I am tired of looking for a new job. I am lonely and worried about everything and frustrated with the slow pace at which change is coming to me. I guess it isn't slow when you realize I did it another way for 40 years, but the last three have been long. LONNNNGGG. And I still feel so broken. But I'm not hiding or pleasing anymore. So that makes it uncomfortable. And I'm not letting shame write my story. What I AM trying to do is ask myself every day what the most courageous thing I can do for myself is, and then I do that.

 

I think that's the way out. And so I'm doing it. And I am sharing that story with people who have earned the right to hear it and no one else. And that is only three people now, and you guys. The circle gets small when it starts getting real.

 

So if you're wringing your hands about disclosing to someone, ask yourself if they have earned the right to see your vulnerable places and if they haven't, wait. If they have, tell it straight and be ready to do the next most courageous thing for yourself no matter how they respond. This is about you and your story.

 

I will keep you posted about the Lifetime movie that is my life at the moment.

 

grace and peace,

Kristin

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hey victoriaxx and abc, thanks so much for your comments and support. :)

 

Swimming in the deep end takes practice and work, unfortunately. And its not always fun. I wish time would change things. It doesn't. But you can change things. And you are in a safe and encouraging place here for you to practice and work on those things in yourself, thanks to Adrial.

 

We can only love others as fiercely as we love ourselves. I never learned that, or how to do it. (Like you abc, I was very good at the other stuff.) It has taken a conscious decision to do something else instead. Because what if I really am worth loving?

 

I'm here (and so are you) and that is the proof we need.

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We can only love others as fiercely as we love ourselves.

 

Amen Sister!

 

Remember that the job issue has nothing to do with your H status nor you for that matter. Its a symptom of the economy and it SUCKS. My business has kept shrinking for 5 years, along with the minute Retirement savings I had from my divorce agreement. Most of us are paddling like hell in an effort to survive.

 

One day these 3 years will be a spot in the rear view mirror...and you will be stronger for it. Us 40+ yr old women start to come into our own and at 52 I can tell you, I am more confident now than I've ever been. I had 15 years of waiting for the other shoe to drop - 2 family members with major mental illness, divorce, mother taking 8 years to die, teenager who was attempting to self destruct, having to retrain for a new career. Topped off my Menopause :p

 

Yeah... it was tough.... but one day I woke up and realized...it was all over and it was time to move on. I even got a tattoo to remind me that through all the crap, I rose to become a better version of myself.

 

You day will come my friend. Until then, know you are learning and growing and that this too shall pass. Because it always does. You just gotta get good at riding it out and stop worrying about what is coming next. If you can't affect it, drop it. You need to save your energy for more important things like your kids and your next job. The rest will sort itself out :)

 

(((HUGS)))

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Your story is so inspiring Kristen. "ask yourself if they have earned the right to see your vulnerable places and if they haven't, wait..." spoke to be so loudly. Shame is such an incredibly toxic thing and I too have had so much in my life. I've been learning it's about me loving myself enough to choose who's earned the right to know ME. I'm also learning that as I bring those dark painful places into Light, they become less scary and have less power. Reading of such inspiring and courageous people who share their stories here in this place gives me hope and courage for when I will choose to share my story. Thanks for being one of the courageous ones <3

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"The circle gets small when it starts getting real."

Yes, Kristin, it certainly does. My story is SO similar to yours, but I didn't get H from my ex. I got it from a man who only had degraded love to offer me, but I was SO starved for love at the end of a 20 yr marriage of trying to be someone I wasn't that even degraded love seemed like a feast after my separation.

 

This site has led me to SO many revelations about myself! For the first time in my 44 year existence, I know what authentic love is because I have finally placed value on myself enough to love ME! It doesn't mean I'm selfish or self-centered. It means that I SO value the whole person that is within me that I want to be well cared for. It's the only way I have anything valuable to share with the circle of people I love.

 

I never "stopped" loving anyone as I got more "real". But things certainly changed. And as those changes began to manifest in everyday life, I finally had to practice the following words (literally) so that I could be ready to respond to the people I knew who would communicate their disregard for the "new" me...who really isn't the "new" me...just the most authentic me I've ever shown the world...

 

My response is simple: (and this has mostly applied to friends)

"I feel for you, I really do. You have a very difficult decision to make. You see, it's not hard for me to continue to love you in spite of our differences. I fear, though, it may be hard for you, and so you have a tough decision to make. Can you continue in relationship with me and love me even if I never do what you think I should? Even if I do what you think I shouldn't? Take all the time you need to think about it. Until then, I sure hope you have a nice day!"

 

My circle certainly did get smaller before it started expanding into new and even more beautiful relationships. Many of my friendships have in fact been restored, even post divorce. Many of my new friendships have felt even deeper and more intimate than ones I've had for 25 years! And the one relationship that is particularly special in my life right now happens to be with a man who truly values the authentic me. He wouldn't want me to be ANY other way. I don't have to "please" him because I already feel ok about myself, and this is exciting, new territory for me!

 

I get REALLY scared sometimes, of course. A teenage boy, a teenage girl, back in school at 44, wanting to be a nurse, but knowing the journey to RN will certainly get REALLY tough. Financial concerns, aging parents, new love (post divorce and with kids)...The road is tough.

 

I am SO thankful, though, for being on the site again (wasn't on over the holidays) and for being counted among the people who get the privilege of reading about your journey.

 

Thank you SO much for sharing and making me think again about the road to "getting real".

 

e-HUGS :)

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My response is simple: (and this has mostly applied to friends)

"I feel for you, I really do. You have a very difficult decision to make. You see, it's not hard for me to continue to love you in spite of our differences. I fear, though, it may be hard for you, and so you have a tough decision to make. Can you continue in relationship with me and love me even if I never do what you think I should? Even if I do what you think I shouldn't? Take all the time you need to think about it. Until then, I sure hope you have a nice day!"

 

I LOVE this...and it's how I have lived my life for the last 10 years or so (Or at least, I started the journey 10 yrs ago...arrived to a solid relationship with myself about 5 years ago..). It's such a powerful statement and when you can live fully into it, gosh, it feels good!

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