I have noticed that when I expose my shame I feel very vulnerable.  I am showing my underbelly.  I am letting someone else know where I feel stupid or less than or unworthy.  At that time I am risking being misunderstood and if that happens, re-experiencing the shame.

It helps to really have that awareness and have it in the context of shame so that I pick carefully who I will share my shame with.

Early in my work as a therapist I did not let people know when they shared their shame, mistakes, history, with me, that they may feel very vulnerable.  So, I learned that people, after they shared, did not always know how to come back and see me again.  I would have people come in and see me and share deeply.  At times they would do that before they knew me very well and before they had a trusting relationship with me.  I would feel very honored they had shared with me and very puzzled when some of them did not come back.  What I learned was that after they had exposed their secrets and shame, they did not know how to come back.  They were afraid I would judge them harshly.  That is what they were already doing to themselves and so they projected that on me.

I learned to tell people from the beginning of my work with them that once they started sharing with me in a deep way, they may feel very vulnerable and have a hard time coming back to see me.  They may think I was judging them and would not want to work with them.  I told them that I would not be judging them, that I would be very honored when they shared and that I would very much want to see them again.

Letting people know they would feel vulnerable was very helpful.  I suggest that when you share your shame with people you let them know you are vulnerable and let them know what you need from them as you share. (Sometimes it helps to ask people to not interrupt, or to ask them to not judge, or to just honor that you are not blaming them but just trying to heal you own shame.)

This is part of why I talk about creating safety around sharing shame and secrets.  It is why we pick carefully when we share the stuff where we are really vulnerable.

Peace to your heart!

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