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  • Shame Based Family Systems: How did the human race begin?

    How did the human race begin, the little boy asked mom?
    Mom:  G-d created man from the dust of the earth, took out a rib and made woman.  They got together and started the human race.
    The little boy went to dad and asked him, how did the human race begin?
    Dad: The human race began when apes were born and they eventually evolved into human beings.  The little boy was all confused and went to his mother and said, “Mom, you told me the human race began from G-d and dad says it came from apes?  Which is it, mom?
    Mom:  I told you about my side of the family and dad told you about his side.
    In a shame based family system, there is little respect, dignity or emotions being communicated between family members.  In a healthy system there is role flexibility, conflict resolution, empathy and unconditional love. Children are encouraged to express their feelings, are emotionally attached to parents and can rely on their parents for support, encouragement, and trust.
    In an open system love becomes the fuel to grow and live productive lives.
    In a closed system, there is an aura of fear, power and control because “I said so.”
    The seeds of adult shame are planted in children early on and when adults feel the shame they react in the same way they did as a child, flight, fight or freeze.
    Erickson explains the developmental stages of growth as it relates to shame.
    1. Trust vs. Mistrust:  Can I trust you to not leave me and to take care of me?
    2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt: Can I do things myself or have to rely on others?
    3. Initiative vs. Guilt: Am I good or bad? Do I feel I can master things on my own or do I have to rely on others? Can I make a mistake and am I flawed in some way?

    In my new book below, I discuss these topics and present how to improve your character as an adult to succeed in this world despite shame you’re carrying from childhood.