I was ashamed that while I was an excellent editor, I couldn’t write nearly as quickly as the people who worked for me. Print. Well done, well thought out, and well written.
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html, http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html, Translingualism: An Alternative to Restrictive Monolingual Ideologies in Writing Instruction, Title: Translingualism: An Alternative to Restrictive Monolingual Ideologies in Writing Instruction – Another Word, Writing with Custodians: Community Writing Center Work within the University, The Craft of Science Writing: Introducing a Resource for Writers, Instructors, and Tutors, Writing Center Websites and Their Discontents, Booked but Can’t Read: “Functional Literacy,” National Citizenship, and the New Face of Dred Scott in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Introducing our New Academic Staff Members. To be with somebody who can tolerate and contain our emotional states. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. But I’m interested in taking another angle on shame—shame as it relates to earnestness. ‘Shame feels like solitary pain, and chronic shame seems like a personal failing caused by one’s own negative thinking and low self-esteem.’. The full book is definitely worth checking out if you do enjoy grappling with big ideas, and I found Pat’s descriptions of her client-work some of the most generous, caring, and open that I’ve read. She is now the Writing Specialist in the Humanities at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where she provides one-on-one writing consultations for students and support for faculty who want to better incorporate writing instruction into their courses. There may be a variety of reasons for this. In guiding students to look back at their writing, really look at it, we are opening them up to shame. Again Pat emphasises the need for both empathic, real relationships with ourselves, and with others, so that we keep reinforcing the new neural connections through sharing openly with ourselves and others, being met by them, and – when hurt happens – taking responsibility for our actions without taking all the blame for how the other feels (guilt, not shame). I think her articulation of vulnerability and risk taking echoes what you are talking about.
Thanks for sharing your reflections. While some students may find writing as natural as breathing, for most it is a process with steps and techniques–something learned and improved with practice.
However, Pat insists that shame in all its forms is relational.
I’ve been out of the Writing Center world for a decade, and I coach writers outside of a school. One client could avoid shame so long as she was performing well and being a competent self, but the inevitable failures along the way felt intolerable. For example, our internal voices may directly shame us with attacks. If there’s emotional trouble in the family, these sensitive children try to manage it as best they can. She is a dead serious, social scientist who does research on shame and vulnerability. Thank you very much for an article I wanted to read to the end.
It makes sense that they protect themselves from this kind of repetition – even though they also want to trust.’, ‘A chronically shamed person knows in a visceral way that what happened before in moments like this – dysregulation, rupture, or misunderstanding – is too painful to repeat. . Another client kept a double life where he could be a happy enough family man, but on the side he kept engaging in risky sexual activities. In moments of feeling humiliated, they can’t speak, or even think. They spend their childhood offering emotional attunement beyond their years and doing without the emotional understanding they need. Performance became a way of life, hiding some disgusting or demeaning truth about who she was. Instead of feeling energetically focused, I feel overwhelmed. As children we require regulation of our feelings by those close to us in order to learn how to regulate them ourselves. One self – who had previously been quite hidden – fell in love and went through a relationship and breakup, which was blamed upon them. My own writing shame grew out of my title as a senior editor at a large metropolitan daily. Taking Risks Like you say, though, the writing center is a good place to confront and exorcise that shame. We tend to withdraw into ourselves to address this and/or to protect others from ourselves. Shame feels like a crushing, inescapable weight on our chests, cutting off our air, knotting our guts, stealing our words, making us flushed. Again we can learn this through therapy – through having a relationship where somebody is able to do that with us. It seems that we need to think more about the role that shame plays in this if we want help-seeking to be part of our campus culture, for all genders. This might happen, for example: ‘When I am feeling a rush of emotion, the other’s response fails to help me manage what I’m feeling. ‘People who struggle with chronic shame usually report that emotions were either shut down or out of control in their family.’, ‘Acceptance was missing, too; the family system didn’t create space where the kid could be confident of an unconditional welcome for his unique being, including his wants, feelings, and failings.’, ‘A child has to have at least one caregiver who is able to respond in an attuned, consistent way to what the child feels. If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. And so he repeats disconnection instead.’. Other students believe themselves to be poor writers and don’t want to confirm their worst fears. When caregiving is good-enough there may be momentary shame when a child misbehaves or makes a mistake – felt as a danger of shattering – but there is a quick return after the caregiver’s displeasure or discipline to relational connection, so the child gets the message ‘I did a bad thing, but it’s over, and I’m still a good kid’.
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