I made a worksheet packet on Shame Spirals that you can find in my Etsy Shop!
Before I knew what a Shame Spiral was, I just called it “spiraling”. Spiraling happens when we feel like we’ve done something wrong, or we’re not good enough. Instead of working through those feelings, they take control and drag us down the rabbit hole of unworthiness. On the way down we find judgment, self-loathing, and so much shame.
My wonderful partner recently started therapy to start dealing with depression and anxiety and was diagnosed with PTSD from childhood abuse. It’s been like the floodgates have opened and he’s feeling all of the feelings. One thing he struggles with is shame spirals, especially in regard to relationships.
We’ve talked a lot about them over the last few weeks and it really inspired me to create the Shame Spiral Worksheets. Shame spirals used to be so familiar to me, not so much anymore, but I remember feeling like the smallest thing would just tip me down that spiral.
Here’s How A Shame Spiral Happens
An event triggers feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, or inadequacy.
You start feeling like you can’t do anything right and that you are a failure.
You start to have thoughts that everyone is judging you the way that you are judging yourself.
Then, you start gathering evidence to support your judgy, critical, thoughts about yourself.
Next comes self-sabotage or running away. You want to quit, isolate, withdraw, or run away.
You spiral into anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.
Working Through Spirals
In my worksheets, I go through the tools I used to stop the spirals but the most important ones are therapy to deal with the root of shame and then self-talk.
Creating a kind and compassionate voice in your head is invaluable. This month I’ve been all about focusing on self-talk and your inner voice – so here are some tips on how to change that voice.
Another thing to focus on is finding a healthy emotional outlet. When we’re in a spiral, we turn our emotions at ourselves with verbal punches. If we can channel those emotions to something that calms us, that’s a great step in the right direction.
Talk about your feelings instead of stewing in them. It also helps me to say how I’m feeling out loud (even if I’m the only one who can hear it).