The Shame

Today has been awful. AWFUL! I just got home and have been dealing with A: the welfare office and B: the outpatient clinic since very very early this morning. It’s 4:45 now. I JUST took my shoes off. And now I am going to tell you a secret.

If you are lucky enough to not be in the gaping maw of social services, you are very lucky. Because there is exactly one emotion that goes along with social services and that emotion is shame. And it is shame that we will talk about today.

I have a great deal of shame. Crippling shame. Debilitating shame. For past actions. For bad thoughts. For just being a deeply imperfect person. Shame. I’m marinating in it.

Dealing with social services means admitting you need help. *I* need help. I need help, and I have to ask for it. That’s where the shame comes in. Not you! If you need help I will gladly help you. But not me. No, when *I* ask for help, an anvil of shame comes crashing onto my head and all the bad thoughts start. How I’m selfish. Greedy. Spoiled. Inconsiderate. A burden. The black sheep of the family. The dirty little secret. I have a close family member who hasn’t looked me in the eye for over three years. Shame. I’m drowning in it.

And it makes me angry. Furious. Seething and ripping mad and I want to tear everything apart and put my fist through the windows and scream and break things and cry until I can’t breathe. But I can’t. Because that? Gets you in trouble. Might even land you in the bin. And there’s nowhere like the bin to encourage more shame. Nice little black spot on your record, there, missy. Got thrown in the bin because you can’t behave like a normal person and just shut up and take your licks as they come. There’s nothing wrong with you, you spoiled, narcissistic cow. Shut your fucking mouth and crawl into your brain and live inside with the shame where you belong.

That’s what a day of dealing with social services does to me.

I would very much like for today to be over. Or for someone to hit me in the head with a hammer. Either will do.

Sorry about this post. I’ll probably delete it once I’ve read it over. I’m ashamed that I’m whining so much.

But I don’t know any other way of letting it out.


The Shame — 19 Comments

  1. I feel that shame too. It is humbling to admit that my life is not like other peoples’ lives. To ask for help takes a lot of courage, though, and it doesn’t help the situation when other people look at us like we are the dregs of humanity for “suckling off the public teat.” Yeah, thanks for that, I’d much rather do this and eke out an existence than get a nice job with great benefits at 5 times the pay. Try not to be ashamed. Try to realize how much strength it takes to do this and how strong you are for writing it.

  2. I understand. I have the same thoughts, feelings, and reactions… especially when dealing with social services.

    Shame sucks.

    Just try and hear me though: you are not shameful.


  3. *sigh*

    I’m unemployed and spent the day one the phone with the unemployment office, mostly on hold.

    I do have a dear, dear friend with mental and emotional issues who is on disability. She considers her monthly check as a government grant to keep prospective employers safe from her particular brand of crazy.

    An attitude you would do well to adopt.

  4. I almost died from carrying my burden of shame around with me. After letting my shame almost destroy my family.

    And then someone took me aside, looked me in the eyes and reminded me that it is only the weak who never ask for help. That it takes a strong person to raise their hand and admit they need a hand.

    I’m looking you in the eyes today and reminding you the same thing.The people in your life who can’t see your strength or your awesomeness, well they should feel shame.
    Redneck Mommy last post: A Mother’s Hormones

  5. DON’T DELETE IT!!! That will make the shame have more power. Thank you for telling us how you feel. I have had to deal with the welfare office myself and can tell you that everyone feels that way. I cried for 3 hours after deciding I needed help and I can’t even tell you how much each hoop I had to jump through hurt me even more. But here’s the thing, you need the help. Its not like you are living on the system for fun!!! I hope you feel better after some rest and a few cigarettes 🙂

  6. Oh I’ve been there. Feeling shame about it is kind of a good thing, though, you know? It means you don’t feel entitled and you’re doing everything you can to not need help. But you do, and *I* do, and we’re who the system was actually designed for!

  7. No reason for the shame, but hooo-doggie I can relate! *hugs* Everyone has shame about something, but the trick is not to marinate, drown or bathe in it. Feel it, acknowledge it and then move past it. Good for you for admitting the anger, though. -court

  8. I know lots of people on SSDI and they are some of the kindest people I know. These people have held my hand, hugged me, told me they loved me for now reason at all, let me cry on them, all during my recovery from alcoholism. These women are so amazing, I’m so proud of them, they give much more to their community than the entire Junior League (yes I belong to that group too). If I woke up with no money and no food to feed for my children, a friend on SSDI would share her meal with me, even if she only had a couple bucks left before the end of the month. SSDI doesn’t define you, Miss Banshee, Do Not be ashamed. The person you are, and the kindness you show others is how you are defined (and your funniness, wittiness, honesty). I bet you would share a meal and have a laugh and a hug with any of us out here on the internet, if we knocked on your door and needed help. xoxo

  9. Another one who has been there. I’m finally ok with it because that’s what they are there for, to help those truly in need. The handful of people who abuse the system make it hard for the rest of us, but there is no shame is asking for help. We all need it from time to time.

  10. Don’t delete it. I know how you feel. I am crippled with fear, doubt, and yes, shame whenever I come to the point where I realize I have to ask for help.

    The problem is, that usually just ends up causing me to hold on and wait, and then things get worse.


    One of the reasons I read your blog is because you often put into words (eloquently) things I’m feeling and thinking but haven’t formed words for yet. I really appreciate that, and I am grateful that you’re here.

    Keep right on bloggin’ for as long as you’ve got words to share.

    I’ll keep readin’.

  11. Don’t delete the post. Dodge the anvil, there’s no shame here. Keep your story coming. (Is there some hope you will be not quite so poor when you’ve succeeded in bending social services to your needs?)

  12. I’m glad that you let it all out, and that you wrote it here in your blog.

    You are a writer and you should write.

    Yes, things are rough, but you are not alone. They are rough for a lot of people right now. I don’t know much about your life, but I know that you are at a turning point. Now is the time for you to take a left turn and do whatever it is that you’ve been thinking about: change careers, go back to school, and/or make a career of your writing.

    Just know that we are wishing you well.


  13. there is absolutely NO SHAME in recognizing and ADMITTING OUT LOUD that you need help. NEEDING help is never shameful. the only thing you should ever feel shame about is if you are one day in a position to help other people who need it, and you don’t.

  14. You are keeping it real and I admire you for that. You give me strength sista fuel and hope. I have problems too & mine seem small compared to what you deal with. The people who condemn you should be ashamed. I’ve never come across a person more committed to coping and self improvement than you – after everything!

    Keep sharing with us. You are helping everyone and I’ve never looked you in the eye so who needs that eye to eye shit anyhow? ( referring to that relative of yours)
    Lynne last post: Life with Lynne Jordan and the Shivers-

  15. We love you. You are not alone. We are all here to help. You are a beautiful, smart, funny person of worth. Extreme worth. PRICELESS, BITCH!

    Basically, hang in there. The world needs you.

  16. I don’t know if you have seen this already or if this is the eleventiest time that it has been sent to you, but I thought of it when reading your post.

    I think that most of us know someone who is/has been on disability or unemployment or has been in the bin. Hell, I have been there myself (actually, I have experienced all three). I guess I don’t actually say that enough to people, so I guess you could say that I understand the shame. But I yearn for the day when asking for help isn’t a stigma: I want it to be a badge of honour.

  17. In recent years I have had to ask for help. I felt ashamed that I couldn`t house and feed my son and myself without assistance. What has gotten me through it is holding my head up, tears streaming or not and declaring that I`ve gotta do what I`ve gotta do. It`s hard. It grinds me that I work so fucking hard and still can`t take care of us fully. In the end we all do the best we can, what else is there? I say, fuck shame! You know you do the best you can. Every human being on this planet needs help sometime. And I`ll tell you a secret…the most successful people in the world HAVE RECEIVED THE MOST HELP! So in receiving help we are just on our way to the fucking top! =)

  18. I know the shame. Between asking for public assistance & asking my parents for moral (& occasional financial) support, I have felt like a burden & a terrible disappointment for a whole lot of the last 15 years. I can’t claim to know how to get over it because I haven’t a clue. However, I have my Mom & the (very) few friends that have stuck around, & they tell me I am invaluable to them. I don’t know.
    I thank you for expressing some of my worst emotions. But ALSO for sharing my twisted sense of humor (“What’s in the box?”) & giving us all hope to find someone who understands when we get the crazies.I say make yourself a big bowl of pudding & pelt the cats with edamame. You’ll feel better. Love you. Get some sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

  19. Add me to the chorus of those who are glad you wrote this and have left it up. I too know this shame, and have seen it around me, and have witnessed the ways it’s perpetuated by our society (“Welfare Queens,” anyone?), and I’m so glad you’re here to talk about it, so glad you’re around to tell your story, because your story is important. Sending you love and light and kitty-head-butts. 😉
    Lizzie last post: Quote of the Day

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