Shame and PTSD Recovery


Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash


During C-PTSD recovery it’s not uncommon for patients to feel shameful. The trauma experienced and the reality the trauma continues to create is full of lies, myths, and distortions. Losing right of what’s real and what’s not is extremely common and is usually when the shame emotion begins to sink in. Shame often drives the feeling of not being good enough and an overwhelming sense of humiliation. The feeling of shame is driven externally by the fear that others will discover what you’re trying to hide. Shame is extremely isolating and can have adverse effects on your overall physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Here are a few ways to help resolve shame as you continue with your C-PTSD recovery.


Explore the Shame

Exploring your shame in a way that allows your name, clarify, and organize your thoughts will help you to begin working things out. Asking yourself questions like

  • What is this shame about?
  • When do you first remember feeling this way?
  • Is this feeling tied to a specific person, place, or situation?
  • Are there any perceived personal defects that this shame stems from?

Doing this will help you organize your thoughts and help you base your thoughts in the current reality rather than from the distorted reality the shame is making you see.


Define and Describe

What does the shame mean to you? Writing down what you feel shameful about and what it means to you can help you clarify the subject. It also helps you to separate yourself from the emotion to be able to look at it from an objective point of view. From here you can view how accurate what you’re feeling is saying about you actually is. The truth is, there’s so much more to you than what the shame is making you feel there is.


Form a Statement

Many times shame makes you magnify your perceived defects. You begin to think and feel that everyone can see these defects and knows about them. The fact of the matter is, most of these defects are perceived and totally invisible to the world. Forming a statement that reminds you that you’re more than your perceived defects and reading it or repeating it to yourself every time you start to feel a shame spiral start can help pull you out.


Dealing with C-PTSD is not easy to do on your own. Although it is possible, professional counseling can have a dramatically positive impact on the success rate of healing. However, it is important to remember that healing is a journey. Some days you may feel like you’ve taken 5 steps forward and other days you may feel as if you’ve taken 20 steps back. There’s no universal right or wrong way to heal. Schedule an appointment today with us to discuss the healing journey that’s right for you.