What is it about shame that weighs down our soul? Why do we walk in silence wrapped with intangible chains so burdensome that our souls cry out for relief? Day after day, mile after mile we carry this cross never able to put it down. Unable to share with another kindred soul how we feel or to truly tell how poorly we are doing. Shame is one of the main things beside pain that the strong alpha male of our species carries with them everywhere. Shame for actions, hungers and desires, things we never want another to know. Shame of where we came from, or what we have or haven’t achieved, or maybe it is the burden of truth that brings us down.
It is not new; shame is spoken of throughout the Bible, and other ancient writings. It is spoken of and experienced in every culture and every nation. Men have killed and been killed to hide their shame or to cover it up. I think that it is a major cause for suicide among men, they can’t live anymore with the way they feel, and there seems to be nowhere they can turn. So they drink themselves to death, overdose, or to eat a bullet.
Maybe if we looked hard enough we’d find that shame is the root of most domestic violence and child abuse. Think of it this way, A man comes from poor beginnings, never dresses in the in style, can’t afford a new car, his family is considered trash by others in the community. Now fast forward several years, he’s married and has a couple of kids, works extra shifts or takes an extra job to make ends meet. Every day he goes home to find out that bill collectors are calling, they are late with the rent, the kids need this and that. He hears the words that are being said but his soul hears that he came from nothing and he will never amount to anything. He will never be able to provide for his family, he’s a loser just like his old man. It continues to build inside him until he finally lashes out. The nearest targets are his family, and the circle continues.
There are many different types of shame, discovery, hunger/desire, failure, lack, action or inaction, the list goes on and on each type carrying with it the same burden and guilt. Women will never understand the depths that men feel shame and the extremes we will go to hide or disprove what we feel about ourselves. I find it disturbingly funny that women want men to open up and talk about how they feel or what they are thinking and as soon as the man does the women see it as a sign of weakness. And in a fight or argument they will pull out the one thing that strikes deepest at a man’s heart and use it against him. Not that men are any better; they will do the exact same thing. It is that most of the time we can’t remember what a woman has said until it is too late.
I doubt that there is one man that will read this post and not be able to look inside and not see this ugly beast hiding inside. This burden is so heavy for men to carry that if we searched the background of most male suicides we would find that shame of something is the root of the problem. There are too many things to talk about in a simple post to deal with all the problems that stem from shame. So I’ll only try to deal with the ones I understand from a personal level. It is among those of us that have experienced violence at an up close and personal level that I want to talk to. I don’t care if you’re a cop, soldier, thug, whatever. You know what I mean when I say that nights can be the longest time of the day. You lay there hour upon hour staring at the ceiling trying not think about what you’ve seen or what you’ve done. That is when the ghost and demons lurking in your heart rear their ugly heads, whispering in your thoughts just how worthless you are and how you will never change. Time after time you close your eyes and try to sleep but your mind plays the same scene over and over again. Reliving the pain you have caused, or maybe the things you should have done instead.
So I guess the question is how do we deal or face this problem before it kills us or harms those closest to us. I have tried Meds, therapy, prayer all of them worked for a while but they just masked the problem. None of the things I tried cured my problems completely. I read the books, worked the programs and nothing ever stopped what I was feeling. Under it all the root of my pain and problems was shame and until I dealt with it I could never be whole. I could never be the man that my wife and family needed me to be. So I began writing my obituary, may sound strange to you, it really helped me. I wrote as if I was trying to sum up my entire life in a few short pages, I left nothing out good, bad, ugly and even those things that I was ashamed of. You know those deep dark secrets and thoughts that I would never tell anyone about. All of it went into my obituary. It actually took several weeks and a lot of soul searching before I was finally satisfied with the results. Surprisingly it really helped, I was able to tell all the things I wanted to, and get it out of my system. I am not saying that this will work for everyone and I damn sure would never let anyone that I didn’t trust completely read it but for me it helped to heal those scars that needed to be opened up and let drain of the poison they held. Just something to think about.
Whiskey Prayers and Broken Dreams Ya’ll