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#262997 - 11/21/08 08:45 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: ttoon]
Sans Logos Offline
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Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
in light of the conjoining in my brain of the two recently emerging topics of both excessive apologizing and shame, i felt a sudden attraction to this thread.

so taking a little desk chair excursion i visited a couple of cyber lands.

first stop, etymology dictionary which gives this info about the word 'sorry':

O.E. sarig "distressed, full of sorrow," from W.Gmc. *sairig-, from *sairaz "pain" (physical and mental); related to sar (see sore). Meaning "wretched, worthless, poor" first recorded c.1250. Spelling shift from -a- to -o- by influence of sorrow. Apologetic sense (short for I'm sorry) is attested from 1834; phrase sorry about that popularized 1960s by U.S. TV show "Get Smart."

second stop, to the definition of 'sorry' itself:

1. Feeling or expressing sympathy, pity, or regret: I'm sorry I'm late.
2. Worthless or inferior; paltry: a sorry excuse.
3. Causing sorrow, grief, or misfortune; grievous: a sorry development.


then it was suggested: 'see sore', so i saw 'sore':

1. Painful to the touch; tender.
2. Feeling physical pain; hurting: sore all over.
3. Causing misery, sorrow, or distress; grievous: in sore need.
4. Causing embarrassment or irritation: a sore subject.
5. Full of distress; sorrowful.
6. Informal Angry; offended.


what i realized is that when we speak about 'sorry' the reference is more to the 'is-ness' than the 'does-ness' of apology, or rather, perhaps appall-ogy.

appall:

1. To depress or discourage with fear; to impress with fear in such a manner that the mind shrinks, or loses its firmness; to overcome with sudden terror or horror; to dismay; as, the sight appalled the stoutest heart.

i think the 'appall' part comes from toxic shame [as opposed to healthy shame]. the state of being that living breathing apology [n] for daring to present myself in public in the first place. then, at times when my presence collides or intersects with that of another in a moment or place in temporal space, all of my toxic shame buttons get pushed by the 'man behind the curtain' who works tirelessly to ensure that no one be harmed by the leperous 'me'. like in younger times when the social practice was that lepers had to call out to warn people of their approach.

'i am coming, look out, don't get 'me' on you! run for your life, your 'chi'. don't be sullied by my presence!'

yes for me, obsessive appall-ogy underscores the subconscious notion that i am worthless and don't deserve to cause any type of feeling mechanism to activate in you. you should not have to react to me. you should not have to be impeded in your line of travel by the vehicle of 'me'. your right to occupy that physical space, to breath that air, is so much greater than mine. in fact all of your rights come first. mine are secondary, because mine don't count. i should remain the silent invisible nothingness that i was groomed to be in a family system that used me as a scapegoat for it's own toxic shame. its own sense of restraint for ever causing offence to anyone.

toxic shame assumes all people are unequivocally offensible, and that i am unworthy of any type of loving consideration. that i am not a man among equals.

i bury myself in moral platitudes and create a belief system that if i follow all of those things that would keep me from winning the disapproval of other, then i will be safe.

you see, it's so important to avoid the disapproval of other, and that is the 'sorry' truth of the toxic shame bound person, is that we don't merely seek others' approval, but rather must avoid their disapproval at all costs, because deep down, we sense that we would never be worthy of it, and so the solution of course then is to hide, to isolate from the very possibility of affronting someone with my useless self. to create a life where one would never have to engage in any type of personal relationship, because we are not worthy of it! every breath taken, and every move made becomes a strategic investment in the cause for avoiding offense of others' sensibilities.

in that sense life becomes a silent apology that no one ever hears.

i must stop for a bit and process these feelings that have come up before they turn themselves into thoughts and file and galvanize themselves in the steel trap of my mind.

thanks for the platform.

have a day, good peeple, see you in the next thread.....

ron

ps. the tendency to grandiosity is overcompensation, an attempt to prove and hide from myself the sad fear that all of the above is not true, and is merely the flip side of the toxic shame coin; i know because i have lived there, too. peace...






Edited by Sans Logos (11/21/08 08:48 AM)
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#263005 - 11/21/08 10:26 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: Sans Logos]
ttoon Offline
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Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Thanks, ron,


There is only one way to follow that...

So, assuming we say "I am sorry," even when it might not be apropriate or maybe, disproportionate to the event, situation, conversation, whatever...by doing it, would it be safe, accurate to suggest that it comes from a "victim" place?

If it is...how do we step outside of that...for the moment?

Would the honest expression of any emotion take us out of that place?

I am not looking for a debate on what the honest expression of any given emotion might be.

Let's consider anger. Anger in it's purest form helps us to define and maintain our boundaries.

"I am angry as I read your response to this post." It is neither a judgment or criticism...it is simply a statement of fact. I feel it. It is not right or wrong.

A distortion of anger might read something like, "Hey, smartass, where do you get off?" Sarcasm is always a fun sort of distortion of anger and one I am very familiar with having grown up with parents that were extremely angry people.

Helpless and hopeless are thought to be distortions of anger, too. "You are right, I don't know what I was thinking. Sorry."

Who doesn't know or is not familiar with rage as a distortion of anger?

So, whenever or wherever anger might be disproportionate to the events right in front of you...would it be safe to say there is residual anger left over from any other number of evens that we were unable or unwilling to express?

So, rather than saying, "I am sorry," in situations where it does not or no longer is apropriate...what is the alternative...in order to step outside the victim box?


:-)


Dave

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#263007 - 11/21/08 11:02 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: Sans Logos]
ttoon Offline
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Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
Oh, woops...I double posted...

I'm sorry laugh


Dave



Edited by ttoon (11/21/08 11:03 AM)
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#263010 - 11/21/08 11:10 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: Sans Logos]
ineffable Offline
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Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 1371
Loc: state of holeecrapdood
Great topic & dialogue

Currently pondering the differences, also the subsequent affects of disagreement & disapproval in the context of how we respond to each other including our posts at MS.

More grist for the brain-mill

Thanks!

C

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#263017 - 11/21/08 12:24 PM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: ttoon]
Sans Logos Offline
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dave i think i comprehend what you are asking.

in light of my own situation where the space between floor and ceiling of my own self esteem was so narrow, there was no other air to breathe but that of shame.

anger was not permitted. joy was disapproved.

my sa situation was that, to my memory, my brother was the only abuser [ a serial abuser of both myself and several other siblings] there may have been other abuse of which i am not currently aware, but the most tragic part of the disease of the family system i was born and bred into, thrived on secrecy, was toxic shame based, and neither one of my parents nor any of my extended family exuded the emotion of joy. the only emotions that we witnessed were anger and shame. there were no other emotions mirrored in the lives of any of my relatives. and because the stage had been set for me to act out of shame, i made choices in my people pleasing search for love and acceptance that put me in situations where i was raped several times, once with a knife at my throat.

we in my family system were tarred and feathered in the toxicity of shame, where there is no room for any other type of emotional psychic expression.

so the roots of my own dysfunction are systemic and include sexual abuse, within the context of an unrelenting climate of toxic shame, anger, control.

my sa did not happen outside 'the happy home'. it occurred as part of dark dungeon where the finest expressions of the human spirit would not be honored; this was the fertile soil of my emergence.

anger? what a luxury. never developed that part of my nature. i would have been pulverized had i behaved in disagreement of any sort. i learned to shut up and put up, yearning only for the day when i would turn 18 and be free do get the hell out of that asylum. ASYLUM! how can one word bear opposite meanings at the same time!

i am not sure if you are saying that you use 'i'm sorry' to mask your 'real' response, which is inhibited and kept hidden.

my anger is only permitted where i am in full control of the situation, and there is no danger of retaliation. for instance, in my car, with no witnesses, when someone pulls out in front of me, or does not go fast enough, i launch into a an inner dialogue such as i would never do in reality. or in a 3d situation, i would just squelch my knee-jerk anger response and be passive aggressive, or pretend to have no reaction, till later, when alone, i would vent in my own head or eat a carton of iced cream or a bag of m&m's.... a large bag, or seek to get my needs met spending hours in front of a computer terminal [there it is again, and indictment from the universe in the realm of language: the word 'terminal!'] typing thoughts grown out of misunderstood repressed feelings as an outlet for creativity.

but all that anger response suppression for me, grows out of the toxic shame base. the fact that everyone else's feeling gets placed before mine. i never learned about a judicial system for evaluating the merits of each situations, because the course for developing equitable criteria for making fair judgment never offered in the school of my family. since no one had a voice, then it followed they had no ears, no eyes, no heart, no mind. no input, no output.

under these circumstances, there is no natural or pure emotive currency. only fear. compassion and empathy could not develop. no opinions, no hopes no dreams, except as they reflected the family ethic: which was, first, 'do no harm' to the family image.

yes, my anger seeps out, and i constantly have to monitor it while i balance on the teeter totter of fairness and self-affirmation, and healthy self parenting.

but i have been working for years to erase the effect and the baggage of a life built on the mirey clay of toxic shame. to lay a new foundation as i build, while at the same time, being careful that the whole mansion does not come toppling to the ground when i screw up.

for me the evidence that i am finding freedom, is the fact that my former compulsive behaviors have relaxed their grip on me, and i have taken my power back, and begun to allow myself to be in situations where my shame and anger can be tested, without resorting to my usual flight response. through all these years of recovery, at least i have addressed the fear factor.

baby steps.

and the next frontier is the toxic shame. and beyond that, i hope to see a ron uninhibited and fully blossomed in all of his skills and talents.

my main concern for today, is that time is running out, and i may physically fall apart before i ever get the chance to see me fly.

but, i plod on.

well, my brain hurts and i must stop. this has been a day of reckoning for me. i hope this makes sense, and if it doesn't, i'm not sorry, but i mean no disrespect.

laugh

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#263019 - 11/21/08 12:54 PM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: Sans Logos]
ttoon Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/19/07
Posts: 977
ron,

It makes absolute sense.

There is a theory which suggests that we are only born with two fears. That off falling and that of loud noises. Every other fear we currently enjoy, is learned.

As you think about that, consider it, imagine the enormity of it. We become afraid to feel, to express the anger that is certainly apropriate, absolutely necessary.

Drop a Mento into a bottle of Diet Coke and try to stop what happens as a natural consequence as these two things come together.

To any and every parent, watch your toddler as he plays. See how it works, the natural expression of anger, of sadness, of joy. When they see themselves in a mirror tthey may laugh with abandon...as you smile or, frown at them, they may mimic the smile, the may laugh, they might cry. They are processing who they are and how they fit into this space, our space that we share.

As they play, watch them as a favorite toy falls outside their reach, depending on their developmental stage they may go through every one of the stages of loss. Denial...as they stare at it, no, hey! Anger...as they realize and are now aware that it is outside their reach. They bargain by trying to figure out away to reach it, grabbing for it. And sadness, as they realize they cannot reach it. Then, for most, an amazing thing happens, if we allow them to process it...they accept it and move on. They might pick up another toy, start singing again...they are done with it.

Emotions are not the enemy...they allow us to process everything that goes on in our lives. If there is an enemy, it is those people who would suppress the natural expression of it or, them. Either through their own selfish needs or, because of circumstance.

You have, as usual, most eloquently desrcribed mine and I would bet a lot of the people here...the process as it unfolds in our families as we grow up.

We learned that anger was to be feared, we watched as it hurt people or us...but, it is a tool first, to help us define who we are as we wander around on this planet.

Unfortunately, like so many things, it can also be a weapon.

A hammer is a tool, but can also be used to kill...hammer not bad, person that uses it to kill...bad.


Thanks, ron...


Dave

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#263035 - 11/21/08 05:32 PM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: Sans Logos]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Ron,

My topic on shame had it's orgin here when I tried to respond to this post.
It just took off from here and before I knew it I had entirely new topic.
You and Dave are talking about exacting the feelings that caused me to explore the topic of shame.
Because most of my life until the last few years.
I did not feel I was worthly to even exist.
Much less have the right to my needs or feelings or them being met or recognized.
I always felt that for some reason I was less than human. Much less my needs or feelings being equally as important as anybody else's.

And I can't really blame my parents because as chilren they were raised and treated the same way. Who knows where this toxic shame orginated in my family, it's been going on for generations.
But I know that I would like for it to end with me. And for it to end in me today.

Mike

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#263380 - 11/23/08 09:07 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: ttoon]
Sans Logos Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
Originally Posted By: ttoon
There is a theory which suggests that we are only born with two fears. That off falling and that of loud noises. Every other fear we currently enjoy, is learned.


i love that dave, so true about the two fears. i 3 parrots and sure enough the thing that gets their feathers ruffled initiating a startle response are when they lose their footing [ better known as the ' mrs fletcher ' response]on their cage or perch, and when there is some sudden noise [better known as the ' who's for dinner? ' response]. if you subscribe to the theory of evolution, it follows that we would have maintained that protective attribute in our current stage, survival being the ultimate motivation for fight or flight.

hey, cool name for a website....whodda thunk it? as a matter of fact, who did thunk it?

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#263382 - 11/23/08 09:21 AM Re: How often do you say, "I'm sorry?" [Re: michael banks]
Sans Logos Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
mike it is such a timely topic for me. even though i tackled shame big time back in 1988 when bradshaw's book 'healing the shame that binds you' came out, i did not have enough hindsight at the time, to see how this would insinuate itself into my constitution, and carry itself over for decades in a manner that was not as obvious at the time as it is today in this particular moment.

the realization of how it has shaped my entire life's trajectory has got me reeling.

for me, shame belies the OCD behaviors i struggled with all of my life, and now with most of them gone, i am just waiting for that moment of epiphany went it becomes clear that my recovery path was not a ruse leading to a dead end.

oh yea, btw, i stopped blaming my parents for not being perfect long time ago, thankfully. i have forgiven them for that, and myself for expecting them so. they were taught to transmit the message of perfection and ultimate authority, but i understand that they were shaped by a cultural and family ethic where shame was allowed to rule and prevail. at some point i think my dad even came around when he made a license plate that he posted on the front of his care that said:

.......p o b o d y' s .......n e r f e c t

seeing that attitude change contributed to helping me let go the fear of him that i carried for so many years. unfortunately, it did not bring us closer together. but that's another thread.

thanks to you and dave and everyone, for this great topic. it helped me come to terms with a lotta crap.

ron

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