Shame, which leads to avoidance. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 02-17-2008, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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UGH! I hate that I do this and I want to stop.

This is basically the cycle...

I am kind of lazy with regard to my finances, and my home.

I become overwhelmed with shame and feelings of "how could I let this happen again" every time I think about how to get a handle on things.

I the feelings of shame lead to avoidance, to the point where I will avoid looking at my finances for WEEKS, avoid answering the phone, avoid finishing home improvement projects, avoid tackling cluttered areas (basically every room!)

I'm afraid that if I really look at every detail of what needs to be fixed/cleaned/paid etc. I will just hate myself, so I ignore the problems, and they get worse.

Anyone deal with this, or have any ideas on how to get unstuck?
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#2 of 12 Old 02-17-2008, 08:09 PM
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Ooer! I am relating to this. It also overwhelms me and leads to a bit of depression and anxiety, too many jobs to do, too much money owed, no energy or enthusiasm to get it all done. Easier to avoid when it all piles up. But don't lose heart, try and get a coupla things done, try pay one bill or at least do the paperwork, try get one corner of a room clear, declutter, flog something, donate. Try find time to do something for you, I am reading an art book and hope to start some drawing exercises soon, will be doing it with dc too. Have a polytunnel to build, knotweed to endlessly dig up, a car needing mot'd, a house that rains when you are in the bath, kids homework, no money etc etc. It really does overload, I'm glad I read your post cos I think I've been avoiding acknowledging that I am avoiding!
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#3 of 12 Old 02-18-2008, 03:09 PM
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Here's a suggestion that I'm only suggesting for you to try.

Get a big desk calendar to put on your wall (unless there are big wall calendars). Take a black ink pen and write down things you can do on certain days (example: Pay Bills on Monday and write the list of bills you have to pay that day, Clean my bedroom on Tuesday, cook a big supper on Wednesday...maybe even have leftovers on Thursday, etc.)

Then, find a blue pen or another pretty color you like that stands out (purple, green, etc....but not red). For each thing you actually do on that calendar, circle it. At the end of the week, make a note of the things you did and talk to yourself about the accomplishments you did. Your reward is actually seeing that you did do things that needed to be done. If you want a tangible reward, think on that too.

Now, here's the important part. If you didn't get to something that still needs doing, put it on next week's list (if you can push it back...bills are tops on every list). Also, don't beat yourself up for what you didn't accomplish, simply talk to yourself about what you DID accomplish. Even if it is only one important thing that week.

At the end of the month, count how many things you did, see if you can beat it next month, etc. Just think about it. Seeing it somewhere in a visual place is much better than it going around in your head making you upset.
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#4 of 12 Old 02-19-2008, 11:18 AM
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#5 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 12:46 AM
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i do this. i'm the type of person who, if i forget to return a library book or video, or return a phonecall, i'll start feeling so embarrassed and ashamed that i just keep putting it off--until it's so overwhelmingly embarrassing that i can't imagine EVER doing it. i'm worried the same thing is gonna happen with my dissertation advice, just sympathy.

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#6 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 12:53 AM
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no advice either, but you have just totally described me. :
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#7 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 05:59 AM
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I soooo totally do that too. Big time. It's a bad cycle. I think most people do this on some level. The social ones really get me. I'm terrible with things like phone calls, and there is definitely a correlation between length of time I put it off, and how much harder it becomes to actually do it. I'm even like that with emails. It especially happens with anything that I feel is expected of me. The more I "should" do it, the harder it is. The more I put it off, the harder it is.

All of that is also why 12-step programmes heavily address shame, because those feelings feed the addiction. It's hard to break those patterns and cycles of addiction while still feeling ashamed. It's just easier to keep feeding it, so those nagging voices of shame and guilt and sorrow will shut up for a short while (in doing the addictive behavior). The more that is done, the more shame that is involved... and the harder it is to stop and deal with the issue. Make sense? It's a really awful cycle, no matter the circumstances.

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#8 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 06:52 AM
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Yup. This is becoming a big problem in my life--I was just thinking about this before I saw this post. I've learned to manage manage manage the productivity aspects of this problem--not 100% but pretty well. But now I have this growing overall sense regarding the bigger things in my life, everything I have tried to do that turned out flawed, every single disappointment.
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#9 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 07:19 PM
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This is SO me!!!

I have found my long lost family
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#10 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 11:10 PM
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Hmmn this sounds a lot like me too. This has been the most difficult cycle to break out of all of my "baggage." I have no idea what to do about it.

The suggestion of a wall calendar is good, till you see that you didn't complete something and the cycle starts. Pretty soon it becomes the wall calendar of shame. Not useful for someone like myself.
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#11 of 12 Old 02-21-2008, 11:12 PM
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What I do for practical things is I use this to do website:

I enter in all the stuff I want to do, as it pops into my head, including regular tasks, and give them a priority. I have to stay realistic about what's really high priority and what isn't. Then the "dashboard" front page when I first log in shows me something like my top seven priorities. It's helpful to have a to do list that's automatically shortened to the most important stuff.
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#12 of 12 Old 02-23-2008, 10:42 PM
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The title says it all.

There have been times when shame has paralyzed me so much that I have done things that are wrong because I simply could not cope with the shame. I'm not proud of that at all but it's true.
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