America’s Toxic Shame Exposed

falseguiltAs a psychiatric nurse, something recently came to me over my morning coffee:  we as citizens are part of one giant dysfunctional family, part of which is either ignoring our country’s problems or pretending they don’t exist. The mechanism for this is denial, and in dysfunctional families, denial is a powerful force. Denial exerts enough influence for abusive family members to force their version of reality upon others with fear of reprisal. The reprisal might be withdrawing affection, instituting punishment to those who do not agree or accept and comply with the fantasy. It becomes much easier for the family members to agree.

The term for this phenomenon is “gaslighting”, derived from a British film in 1944 in which Ingrid Bergman plays a traumatized wife whose husband is trying to convince her she is insane. “Gaslighting” came to represent the behavior in which a person challenges the memories and perceptions of someone. In extreme denial, controlling people often believe their own press and many adult children of dysfunctional parenting will tell you the mantra in the homes they grew up in was “that never happened!”

In today’s America, we are truly turning into one giant dysfunctional family, being toxically shamed by media and by government agencies.   How many recent scandals—Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, NSA–have been hushed, pushed under the carpet—and when we ask for answers, we’re told we’re crazy for even mentioning it?

We citizens are also being publicly shamed into believing we are guilty of the right to protect ourselves and defend our very lives. Our public servants, elected, or usurped, have decided we don’t need pesky things like guns, or privacy to keep ourselves safe and we’re ridiculed for speaking out about it.  They tell us we have NSA, DHS, and TSA to decide on our safety because apparently we can’t possibly keep ourselves safe.

One other tactic in dysfunctional families is to isolate the members. The entire purpose of the Trayvon Martin psychological assault via government injection into the trial was specifically to divide the races and create shame. Only then could dissent and discord with the version of reality that played out be encouraged. The dynamics have worked because the American brethren who derive benefits from the chaos and riots and threats believe they have succeeded when they put perfectly innocent ‘Crazy A** Crackas’ on the defensive for having done no wrong. This is what is being perpetuated–by the White House–this very moment.

In the dysfunctional family, someone must pay a price for having a different mindset.  In the book, Healing the Shame that Binds, author John Bradshaw writes that at the root of dysfunction is shame.  Bradshaw wrote the following poem that I believe it is very appropriate now, as “shame” is the very tactic used by the Obama administration against us. We are targeted and blamed for our feelings, thoughts and rights. It is toxic when a government directs its actions against innocent private citizens who do not go along with their version of ‘reality’, encouraging the worst punishment directed at the ones who refuse to say the elephant is not in the room.

My Name Is Toxic Shame
by John Bradshaw
I was there at your conception
In the epinephrine of your mother’s shame
You felt me in the fluid of your mother’s womb
I came upon you before you could speak
Before you understood
Before you had any way of knowing
I came upon you when you were learning to walk
When you were unprotected and exposed
When you were vulnerable and needy
Before you had any boundariesMY NAME IS TOXIC SHAME
I came upon you when you were magical
Before you could know I was there
I severed your soul
I pierced you to the core
I brought you feelings of being flawed and defective
I brought you feelings of distrust, ugliness, stupidity,doubt
worthlessness, inferiority, and unworthiness
I made you feel different
I told you there was something wrong with you
I soiled your Godlikeness

I existed before conscience
Before guilt
Before morality
I am the master emotion
I am the internal voice that whispers words of condemnation
I am the internal shudder that courses through you without any mental preparation

I live in secrecy
In the deep moist banks of darkness depression and despair
Always I sneak up on you I catch you off guard I come through the back door
Uninvited unwanted
The first to arrive
I was there at the beginning of time
With Father Adam, Mother Eve
Brother Cain
I was at the Tower of Babel the Slaughter of the Innocents

I come from “shameless” caretakers, abandonment, ridicule, abuse, neglect – perfectionistic systems
I am empowered by the shocking intensity of a parent’s rage
The cruel remarks of siblings
The jeering humiliation of other children
The awkward reflection in the mirrors
The touch that feels icky and frightening
The slap, the pinch, the jerk that ruptures trust
I am intensified by
A racist, sexist culture
The righteous condemnation of religious bigots
The fears and pressures of schooling
The hypocrisy of politicians
The multigenerational shame of dysfunctional family systems

I can transform a woman person, a Jewish person, a black person, a gay person, an oriental person, a precious child into
A b****, a k***, a n*****, a bull d***, a f*****, a c****, a selfish little b******
I bring pain that is chronic
A pain that will not go away
I am the hunter that stalks you night and day
Every day everywhere
I have no boundaries
You try to hide from me
But you cannot
Because I live inside of you
I make you feel hopeless
Like there is no way out

My pain is so unbearable that you must pass me on to others through control, perfectionism, contempt, criticism, blame,
envy, judgment, power, and rage
My pain is so intense
You must cover me up with addictions, rigid roles, reenactment, and unconscious ego defenses.
My pain is so intense
That you must numb out and no longer feel me.
I convinced you that I am gone – that I do not exist – you experience absence and emptiness.

I am the core of co-dependency
I am spiritual bankruptcy
The logic of absurdity
The repetition compulsion
I am crime, violence, incest, rape
I am the voracious hole that fuels all addictions
I am instability and lust
I am Ahaverus the Wandering Jew, Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, Dostoyevski’s underground man, Kierkegaard’s seducer,
Goethe’s Faust
I twist who you are into what you do and have
I murder your soul and you pass me on for generations

Lisa Marie Allen

Lisa Marie Allen is a Registered Nurse, a computer graphics specialist, a wife, mother and a dog rescuer. Lisa has lived all across the U.S.A.

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