Shame:(Noun) A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior – loss of self-respect or self-esteem. Used to reprove someone for something they have done or failed to do.
(Verb) Causing another to feel shame, embarrassment, loss of esteem. To cause someone to feel inadequate.
Shame Culture: refers to social conformity of behavior being maintained by the individuals’ fear of being shamed.
What does this have to do with Physical Therapy? Did you notice that part where it calls shame “A painful feeling” and how shame is both a verb (we do it to others) and a noun (we feel it in our selves). We internalize the feeling of pain and dysfunction as if it is our fault, that we have done something wrong.
I think this is a subtle and insidious thing but that you’ve heard it before: • when someone hurts their back “What did you do to it?” or “what did you do wrong?” • when there are incontinence issues “I have a weak bladder” or “Are you doing your Kegels (are you doing them right? Often enough?)” • with painful sex “you need to relax more” or “it’s all in your head” • If you would just _________ then you would be better.
The internal sense of being inadequate or “not good enough” is a powerful thing that gets in the way of well being. Feeling ashamed of your own self (body, thoughts and actions) can be a challenge on the road to recovery.
And it’s one that we can work with. We can • Acknowledge that you have been brave to seek help, maybe talking with many professionals before you found us. • Create an atmosphere that is open and supportive of your challenges. • Physical Therapists can help you move with ease, get your function back and teach you how to maintain the quality of life that you desire. But we can’t do it all, we work with quality health professionals who are able to support your efforts to reclaim the important things in your life.
At Entropy Physiotherapy we are working to create a Rehabilitation Center that takes into consideration all of the contributions to the your experience, and treat the socially delicate issues complicating incontinence and sexual dysfunction with grace and respect for the difficulty faced by the individual. With pelvic health and persistent pain we are aiming for empathy – and we recognize that the shackles of shame are as varied as the expressions of an individual pain experience. Happily we have Angela Coleville here to aide in the journey to well being.
We promise to be courageous and kind,