Shame is a complex intolerable feeling of being exposed, wanting to disappear, emotional vulnerability, feeling inferior and worthless. Each person feels shame in his or her own way. A child who feels shame has been shamed by parent(s) siblings or other family members. Shaming a child is a way of controlling them–making them feel small and helpless.Chronic shaming abuse leaves a painful imprint on the psyche..
Narcissists are shameless. They have no sense of limits or consideration for others. Narcissists lie shamelessly, attempt to destroy your reputation, even have you fired—For these serious transgressions of human decency they feel no shame. Not having a conscience facilitates narcissists in their outrageous and hurtful behaviors.
Narcissists are particularly brutal with their spouses. They create reasons to shame their partners. Riding along with the shaming is their volcanic rage. Here there is no let up. They constantly scream in your face, slam doors, hit walls, then revert to the silent treatment. At the end of these wretched scenes the narcissist blames you for disturbing him. Narcissistic spouses are constantly finding ways to whittle you down psychologically, to keep you desperate, to throttle your nerve endings.
Shaming is one of their most effective cruelties. It is especially pernicious if you were shamed as a child. Some spouses take this toxic kind of abuse because it is so familiar to them. They unconsciously turn to a narcissistic spouse to reinforce how they feel about themselves from childhood. Some spouses, after years of being belittled and laughed out and dragged through the mud of abuse, wake up and realize they don’t deserve to be treated in this abusive manner.
The work of separating permanently from the narcissistic spouse has begun. This passage may not be easy or smooth but it is worth the journey. I am in communication with many spouses who have made this final separation from the narcissistic spouse. With the help of the support of family members and/or other members of their social group together with those who benefit from excellent psychotherapy, they taste freedom for the first time in their lives. They don’t have to make excuses for who they are. They feel no shame or hesitation as they move toward healing and wholeness.