How to Break the Top 3 Rules of Family Shame

If you want to heal from abuse, you have to untangle yourself from your family's dysfunctional rules. These patterns of shaming behavior are the "rules of family shame" which helped block the natural unfolding of you into a healthy and happy human being. Here's how you break the rules and start to feel better.


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    Give Up Perfectionism. Whether it was your father pushing you to score every touchdown or a smothering mother pushing you to get straight A's in everything so you could become a doctor, you had be the "perfect" child. No room for error. Having these kinds of unrealistic expectations placed upon you damaged your sense of self-worth and gave you a sense of worthlessness. Breaking this rule will actually be fun. All you have to do is screw up and learn to feel OK about it. Don't comb every hair perfectly in place. Flub something every once in a while (ideally, something that won't endanger anyone else). Leave a few "I's" undotted and a few "T's" uncrossed. The world won't end because you let your hair down, and you'll feel better for it.
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    Break the "Don't Feel" Rule. Your family may have operated as if only certain feelings were ok. For instance, it was never okay to feel depressed or angry. Boys weren't allowed to cry and girls had to smile all the time. If you're going to live a happy and healthy life, you have to feel all your emotions. The way to break this rule is to give yourself permission to feel pain and loss. Don't cover up your pain with a smile. Cry. Scream. Let it out. That's how you find healing.
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    Give up Blame. Did you ever feel like you were walking on eggshells in your family? No matter how good you tried to be, something was always your fault. Whether it was the fact your dad left the family or your mom didn't have enough money to make ends meet, it was always your fault somehow. Do you find yourself blaming yourself or others? Do you still let your family blame you? If so, now is a good time to stop the blame game. Stop blaming yourself for things you have no control over. Stop blaming others for things they had no control over. If you find yourself judging yourself harshly for something you did, yell "STOP" in your mind. It's a good way to interrupt the flow of your thoughts. Focus on the good you did or something positive that can come out of the situation.
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    Commit to your self improvement. Commit to your own self improvement. Stay focused on your healing. Your goal is to find happiness and breaking the rules of family shame is the way to begin. You'll be glad you did.

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Categories: Family Life