The Cycles (Part One)
“Nine” Part Series
The battle to recover from shame and manipulation while experiencing a life full of grace and freedom is waged in two primary areas: the renewing of your mind and the fight to believe the truth while you are exercising your faith. This is God’s process of bringing recovery from shame.
Shame is mentioned specifically in the Scriptures. When reading the account of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis, it is easy to identify that they experienced shame as a result of their sin. After they ate the fruit, they hid, tried to shift blame, and were aware of their nakedness (see Gen. 2:25-3:10). When Adam and Eve sinned, they introduced spiritual death and shame into the world.
Because shame was introduced at the beginning of creation, Paul’s words to the Romans make sense and are so needed today. As Scripture says, “anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).
Shame is a powerful force in the lives of many believers. It has the power to hinder us from growing into our full potential as the bride of Christ. Contrary to what some may believe, shame does not just “happen,” but rather is the result of systematic events that occur outside of us, within us, and through us. To help you better understand these cycles of shame, I am going to break them down, step-by-step, so that you can identify how they might be operating in your life and how to get out of them and walk into the life that God has intended for you.
Here is an illustration that we will look at and work from.
Let’s start with the “Give-Up Cycle” by breaking down the characters in it. First we have “Outside Sources” which include our parents, friends, pastors, teachers, and our extended family.
An outside sources is anyone outside of yourself that speaks criticism or shame into your life can be a part of this group of “Outside Sources.” These people are often simply repeating the cycle that they have been a part of themselves. They have experienced criticism and shame from others, and they, in turn, are now delivering these toxic things to other people. You have simply become the recipient of their shame.
A shaming message is designed to manipulate or control the recipient. Shame messages are sometimes packaged as coded messages, comparisons, favoritism, perfectionism, rules, or rejection.
Here are some examples. As a kid, my dad would announce from the living room this “coded message”: “I sure wish someone would take out the garbage.” Other than my parents, I was the only one in the house. From my bedroom, I had to interpret the coded message and take out the trash. I became quite good at interpreting these messages that are actually forms of shame.
Shame uses manipulation to achieve its desired results. Humiliation is a form of shame and produces utter and profound defeat. Coded messages are simply crooked speech, designed to humiliate someone into doing something for someone else. In my case, I was humiliated into taking out the trash. In other words, the person delivering the coded message is not speaking the truth. They are simply manipulating the recipient into doing what they want. Here are more examples of shame messages:
“How come your sister gets A’s on her report card and you can’t?”
“Can’t you do anything right?”
“Children are to be seen and not heard.”
Look for The Cycles (Part Two) post tomorrow.