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Wondering if anyone (or your husband) has gone through a process of healing from shame?

I'm beginning to believe my husband and I are unable to grow in emotional intimacy because he is imprisoned by shame. I suspect this shame comes from prejudice he experienced throughout his childhood and subsequent events and choices he made as a young man. I'm learning to be more compassionate and less demanding of him. I want to help him work through this, but don't even know how to approach it without driving him further away. Anyone been through this? Can you recommend resources? Thanks!

Just leave a message and I'll PM you. Please bump if you can't answer! Thanks so much!


Asked by Anonymous at 1:29 AM on Aug. 27, 2010 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Its very easy to lock up and box away the things that hurt us the most. Problem is, they ALWAYS will bubble back to the surface worse than before. When I first went to couseling early in my marriage, I could not understand how "talking" was supposed to fix anything. It seemed absurd! I eventually discovered that by burying the past, I gave it more power than ever. Re-visiting, opening up those boxes, and facing those memories made them less scary. I found that as soon as I talked about it even once, it stopped being such a heavy weight.

    My DH had a VERY traumatic childhood. So much so that his mother has blocked it out and pretends it did not happen, or was "not that bad". He tried very hard to just block it all out and it caused him to become a very angry person. It took years, but once he was able to open up to his mom about the past, he began to get better. You might start by discussing your own fears with him.

    Answer by WyndenSkie at 2:30 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • I have found that the best way to deal with shame is to deal with it head-on. It is so easy to dwell in the shameful experience and create a shrine to it that will imprison you. Encourage your spouse to break those bonds and forgive himself as well as those who hurt him.

    My spouse had cheated on me on his birthday. He was so ashamed that he wanted to never celebrate his birthday again. I felt that would create that shrine to that experience and every year we would just have to re-live it over and over. So I made sure to make an extra-special birthday party the folowing year. It took a long time for him to forgive himself, but now we are 15 years later and it is just a distant memory of something that shaped our lives for the better. I just wanted to smash that shame. It hurt worse than the original event did!

    We all make mistakes. A lot of them. If you can learn from your mistakes, they will not control you!

    Answer by WyndenSkie at 1:48 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • Thanks Wynden.... I would totally agree with you, except that with my husband, he is very avoidant of the shame. He has very sketchy memories of his past and doesn't believe there's any benefit in revisiting the past. I haven't pushed him, but I'm beginning to believe there are some keys in his past that would bring freedom to us. I'm just praying about it, because it would be so easy to push him deeper into shame.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:17 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • I wish I had an answer for you. I'm exactly like your husband. I try to ignore everything and it eats away at me.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:20 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • BTW - There is NOT enough room on the answer board for deep stuff. Also, does he have a good relationship with your pastor? Sometimes they can have some REALLY GREAT ADVICE on forgiveness.

    Answer by WyndenSkie at 2:33 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • Thanks again, Wynden. Your answers shows me you really do understand. I'm a huge believer in openness. I grew up in a very open family, and though I have my pain from growing up, I've always been free to open up about it, which, ironically, leads counselors to focus on me instead of seeing the more subtle needs in my husband. I've always been very open about my fears/needs, but my husband actually seems to react negatively to that, as though by being so open, I'm being weak. He's not a bad person. I think he tries, but he doesn't recognize his own limitations.

    And this is the really hard part: my husband IS my pastor! I have been seeking counsel from my childhood pastor who married us and gave us premarital counseling. He's very supportive, but still I'm not sure how to approach my husband yet, and I know he will be upset I even talked to anyone about him. But I have to. I refuse to live within these walls anymore.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 11:11 AM on Aug. 27, 2010

  • counseling

    Answer by 3xangel at 3:58 PM on Aug. 27, 2010