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Part 1 - Shame  Part 2, Shame and Addiction    Part 3 - Generational Shame    

Part 4 - A Shame-based Life  Part 5 - Healing Shame


I can use my power to take good care of myself.Shame Free

If Christ so valued my life that He chose to become human and die for my benefit then I can also do what is in my power to care for myself.

We have been bought with the price of the blood of Christ. We belong to Him and taking care of ourselves is one way that we can bring Him honor.

Caring for oneself will encompass physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and relational issues.

I can make changes in my life if I want to.

Changes start with finding the underlying identity and intimacy formation issues. This will be accomplished by going deep inside, looking at one's past and family of origin, and identifying the issues of guilt, shame, and fear of abandonment that have issued from them. Identifying is the first step but an essential step.

I have power over my own life.

Uncovering and admitting our denial systems takes time. It is a process that must be done slowly and thoroughly.

The system was built for a reason that no longer exists. It was a survival mechanism for a powerless child in an overwhelming family. It served a legitimate purpose at that time. It has since become a powerful trap.

We had the power to build this self-protective systems and therefore have the power to take them down. Without this recognition nothing will change. With recognition and determination, and most likely some outside assistance, anything is possible.

I deserve to make my own life safe and happy.

Learn to protect yourself by establishing boundaries. You do not have to stay stuck in the helplessness you learned at home.

You can learn new patterns of relating and functioning; this is the essence of the personal power God wants you to have.

Becoming interdependent


InterdependentI do not have to take abuse or mistreatment.

The Bible urges us to separate from those who continue to hurt us and to create a safe place for ourselves. Taking time off from a person, or a project, can be a way of regaining ownership over some out-of-control aspect of your life where boundaries need to be set.


No one must put up with abuse or mistreatment. This is not what the Lord was speaking of when He talked of turning the other cheek. We are not called to be doormats for Christ. Allowing oneself to be abused is dishonoring to God.

I can say no to what I do not like or want.

Owning your own identity means being one's own person who is able to maintain a clear and separate identity from others while still recognizing the need for help and support from others in healthy rather that destructive ways.

A shame-based person will need to learn how to be in a relationship without losing their identity. Lose of self in intimacy is dependency not intimacy. In learning to state personal preferences one learns to own oneself.

I can count on my own creativity and resourcefulness.

First, inventory false guilt and authentic guilt and give back that guilt that does not belong to you and ask for forgiveness for that which does.

Next, develop your talents with dedication and discipline, taking them seriously as the gifts they are. Set up clear boundaries in relationships to guard your gifts. Insist on reciprocity, equal power, need, influence, dependency, independence, interdependence, separateness, strength, courage, dignity, self-respect etc.

Expressing feelings.


I can trust my own feelings and perceptions.

As children shame-based people were taught not to show their feelings. Anger, sadness, fear, hurt must all be buried. They learned not only to deny their feelings but to deny who they are, what they feel, and the reality surrounding them.

Outside they maintain a good looking front but inside they're dying. Recovery then means that those long buried feelings must be allowed to surface and be dealt with.

I deserve freedom from mental anguish.

It is essential that they allow themselves to feel the loneliness, hurt, sadness, fear, anger, and resentment so that they can deal with them.

It will have to feel much worse before it can every feel better. But they need to tune into their feelings; they are symptoms. Identifying the symptoms helps to identify the cure.

Persistent feelings need to be expressed. Feelings should be aired with respect and dealt with before they become resentments.

Build a network of friends


I am not alone; I can ask others for help.Pray together

Dysfunction feeds on dysfunction. Sharing problems only within the dysfunctional systems will only feed the sickness. Healthy friends, counselors, etc. are essential to seeing the truth. Also they will need a diversity of friends so that they don't become too dependent on any one person.

I am worth working for and changing for. People most always change as a result of relationship. They alone can make the changes but in a supportive environment those changes need not be so terribly hard.

Healthy friends will treat one as a separate person, with dignity and respect, allow one to have their individuality, and acknowledge and validate their feelings. There will be warmth, respect, open communication, and mutual consideration.

Examine family history


I am not to blame for being abused.

The pain of admitting that our parents were not capable of loving us in a healthy manner hurts more than believing that there is something bad in us undeserving of love. But it is that realization that will help in the recovery process.

Gaining awareness is a major task. Learning the truth about those who abused us and facing the emotional pain of growing up in a dysfunctional family is a difficult yet necessary part of the process.

An examined life reveals the don't talk, don't trust, don't feel messages learned as a child.

Make friends with yourself


I am an important human being.

They need to learn to listen to their feelings, and physical symptoms. They need to admit that they are scared, hurt, and lonely. And they need to find out who they are.

In a dysfunctional family a child's identity development is arrested. They grow up to be wounded children wearing adult clothes.

God designed each of us specifically. God has a plan and a purpose for each life. They need to learn to break old rules and learn new ones. They need to learn to question their emotions, thoughts, and actions. They need to learn to own their own feelings, attitudes and beliefs, behaviors, choices, values, limits, talents, thoughts, and desires. They are all part of an healthy human being.

I can decide for myself what is best for me.

Who are you now, where do you want to go? Believe that you are entitled to your own thoughts, dreams, and wants.

Care for yourself, recognize your strengths, and give yourself permission to have fun. Determine your needs and make plans to meet them yourself, taking action every day. Build structure into your days to feel more secure.

Claim your heart as your own property and guard it.

The truth will set you free.


Jesus is the wayThere can be an end to the cycle.

Just as families can become more dysfunctional through many generations, families can also become more healthy. The essential ingredient is truth.

The truth sets us free, sets our children free. The truth frees us from the lies of abuse, from the bondage of shame, and the terror of exposure.

The truth is that those born of God are not condemned regardless of what they have been brought up to believe (Rom. 8:1). They are at peace with the greatest authority figure through Jesus Christ (Ro. 5:1). They have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of God's Son (Col. 1:13).

There is no need to live in further bondage. They have been forgiven for their sinful responses and continued dysfunction and they can learn to let go of them (Col. 2:13-14).

They are free to stand without blame, without shame before God and He wants and desires them to do so (Ep. 2:18, 3:12).

~ In Christ, Dr. Kim West

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