Toxic Shame: Why Do Women Reduce their Success?

Countless times when I mentioned some daily success, a new job, a new decision, an implemented habit, most of my male (!) Friends congratulated me, and I would stare or feel ashamed and secretly blush.

Congratulations, on what !? On something that is taken for granted, and that “understanding” of mine often meant giving up in a toxic environment, drawing the line with bad habits, graduating from college, starting a blog, founding an agency… It’s all normal for me.

The criteria go so far that in sixteen hours a day (if I count that I sleep an average of eight) I could – get up, do yoga or go for a run, take the dog out, prepare breakfast, set aside time for work, make an appointment, think about the next meal, mentally arrange household chores if the apartment is in chaos, read for at least an hour, take the dog out again, do some other little things… With all these daily pranks, be focused on business obligations, tasks, and projects on a monthly basis, write a weekly column, stay positive and inspired, and be motivated for the bigger goals I have…

… That in the end, I would feel that I did not do enough and that I could do more.

Rather, insufficiency… Imposter syndrome, an intruder syndrome is a term rooted in modern psychology and is defined as a phenomenon when individuals, more often women, can not accept their own successes but feel that it does not belong to them.

At school, I justified my great success with the sentences that I had questions on the exam that I knew, that I read a lot with gusto and know how to write a good essay, that I remembered a lot in class… Over time, I became aware of how hard I worked to achieve certain results – sometimes it was sleepless nights, sometimes just the fact that I was persistent and stubborn in what I set out to do.

Toxic business environment

However, what I have noticed is that a person begins to doubt himself when he is in a toxic environment for him, and for adults, this environment is the job they spend the most time on.

The feeling of incompetence starts from the toxic relationship we have with someone whose opinion we value, but the other side always has a few “constructive” criticisms to add without presenting an alternative – the presentation for the client could have been different, you shouldn’t have explained the offer at the meeting. that’s good, but I would put “more into this”.

Younger generations listen to “I’m fine with that, but it’s still not okay, you still need to learn”. A man learns while he is alive, but if he was explained once or twice how he belongs, he would learn, but managers who do not know how to manage people do not try to become mentors younger than themselves, but consider them eternal assistants.

All the sweet-talking criticism is served under the guise of explaining something to us for our “good,” and in fact, our value is continually diminishing in order to keep us under control and fear of losing our jobs.

The endpoint is when we ask ourselves if we are really so incompetent and uncreative…

After a while, there is a shame of ability, success, and the need to congratulate ourselves on a job well done, let alone share this news with colleagues or friends.

In a world where competitiveness is an overture to envy and jealousy and testing someone’s ego, there remains little space where we feel free and without fear of being judged by good things.

Are you ashamed to show your true self?

I began by thinking about shame and how much it really affects our daily lives by reading Release That Shame That Holds You Back. It is one of the books that left me “poof” on the first few pages I read, but the most important thing is that it made me wonder who I am and what I have been doing these years, which made me afraid to applaud myself for doing well. business !?

We distinguish two forms of shame: healthy and toxic shame. Healthy shame keeps us firmly on the ground. It is a yellow light that warns us that we are essentially limited. Healthy shame is a fundamental metaphysical boundary for human beings. He is part of the personal powers of every human being. It allows us to know what our limits are and thus uses our energy more efficiently. We don’t waste time on goals we can’t achieve or on things we can’t change. We can feel healthy shame when we blush because someone exposes us. One such example is when we said something wrong in the oral exams or raised our hand in front of the whole class and were wrong.
Healthy shame encourages us to talk openly about mistakes, but also the lessons we have learned from them.

Bradshaw also writes about healthy shame as a source of creativity: When we think we are absolutely right we stop looking for new information. Being right means being safe, and when we are safe, we stop being curious. Curiosity and wonder are at the heart of all learning. Plato said that philosophy begins with wonder. Therefore, a sense of complete security and a sense that we are right led us to stop searching and learning. Our healthy shame, which is a feeling of our essential limitations and limitations, does not allow us to ever think that we know everything. Our healthy shame is good insofar as it encourages us to seek new information and learn new knowledge.

Toxic shame destroys the action of our authentic self so much that clear syndromes of shame break through the forms of concealing the false self. Each syndrome has its own structure. Toxic shame becomes the core of neurosis, personality disorders, violence, and crime. One example of toxic shame is knowing the answer to a question asked by a professor, but not raising our hands because we were too ashamed to speak at all, let alone say something wrong so that all the eyes of the class were on our mistake. Later it manifests that we do not want to take the initiative at work, but “stand aside”.

Toxic shame in the later stages turns into fears of public appearances, taking the initiative, cutting bad habits, change, and both emotions (both fear and shame) hinder us in everyday life and personal development.

The shame of success (and toxic shame in general) is instilled in us in the myths that we must be “good”, but nowhere does it say what “good” is. Most often, it is a measure of the environment that has its own systems of evaluating good and bad deeds or good and bad qualities, and they evaluate us through subjective thinking (that presentation from the beginning of the text). One such example is that we are good people if we nod our heads, do not stand out, do not quarrel… In translation: we stifle feelings of our own individuality in order to fit. For a long time, we become the mats of others in this way of life.

Fear blocks us for a short time while shame has much longer-term and deeper consequences that we end up carrying into love, friendship, family, or business relationships. Our distorted personality based on shame and restraint enters all the pores of everyday life and over time we can come to terms with the fact that we will forget who we are.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you didn’t know who you were at all, let alone what you wanted in life because someone else’s values ​​are imposed as the only correct ones?

Shame lies in that bush.

To cure toxic shame, we need to stop hiding. As long as we hide our shame, we can’t help ourselves. To alter toxic shame, we must embrace it. An old therapeutic saying goes: In order to get out of the hallway, you have to go through it. Embracing shame means pain. Pain is what we try to avoid, but through pain and cognition, we grow.

Self-promotion – what is it?

In one of the first texts, I wrote that the Kardashian-Jenner clan is the embodiment of all that is shameless promotion. And the truth is, such a way simply does not suit someone because it is too open, but if they had not pushed themselves into show business and that directed scandals do not last for decades, it would be difficult to survive in an industry that is always looking for new “blood”.

The area in which you operate does not have to be under the spotlight to get in the habit of sharing that great article that came out about us, publishing a before and after photo of a makeover, calling someone close to us and sharing with him that we finally asked for a raise, if fired, we are planning a new project…

One of the ways I see in black and white what I did during the week is to write down briefly how many texts went online, did I publish a column, evaluate how I stand with ongoing projects… Sometimes the results are not the most wonderful, but sometimes I wonder how I got it all and did what gives me an incentive not to give up.

Life is too short to burden ourselves with who thinks of us, after all – a good brand is created on a quality story and the values ​​we foster.

Be what you are because only you know who you are and what you can do.

Celebrate your successes and the occasional downfall.

All other measures are a social myth anyway.

5 thoughts on “Toxic Shame: Why Do Women Reduce their Success?”

  1. This was a really interesting post. It is so unfortunate that even in today’s society women are sometimes not treated equally especially in business. Women or anyone should not let anyone make them ashamed for success.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an insightful and poignant post. Important to talk about openly in today’s society. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.


  3. I have definitely experienced this in my life. When working in the corporate tech sector, I had to really assert myself for any recognition. I found that I was working with people who either assumed an accolade was to someone’s else credit, or a co-worker rewrote history. That kind of thing can make some people shrivel back and find comfort in the back seat. I think women need to stand tall and speak about their accomplishments with confidence. Why not be openly proud of your work, despite what other people may think you should do.

    ~ Cassie |

    Liked by 1 person

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