What is tribal shaming? Tribal shaming is a term that I learned years ago through the work of Dr. Mario Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist who spent a lot of time studying the ways that our thoughts and emotions affect our health.
In Brene Brown’s work, she shares that we are wired for connection. Shame is our fear of disconnection. We want to be connected to our tribes because from an early age, this is where we develop our sense of self.
So what is tribal shaming? Tribal shaming is the way that our group of origin such as our family, religion, nationality, and/or culture shames us back into alignment if we go against the tribal rules. Once a tribe member begins to break tribal rules, they are no longer safe and accepted within the tribe and they will likely be punished. The tribe punishes by disowning, invalidating, shunning, sometimes physical abuse, and shaming.
Shame makes us feel unworthy and isolated. The tribe members are not shaming us out of malicious intent, rather, they believe that keeping us in line is for our own good. The problem with using shame as a means of control is that it is not healthy. It stops personal growth and development, affects our immune system, and impacts our body’s ability to heal. Shame keeps us in a constant state of inflammation and unease.
Tribal shaming can also cause us to sabotage our own success because the only way a member is welcomed back into the tribe is if they fail. Some people do this without even realizing it. Venturing outside of tribal norms is how we advance in consciousness as a species, so it’s actually a good thing and not cause for shaming.
So how can tribal shaming be healed? In the Mind Body Code by Dr. Mario Martinez, he shares a process that consists of getting yourself into a state of deep relaxation, and then in your mind’s eye, ask yourself this question: Who is the person in the world living or dead, whom I would most need to abandon in order to live my own true path with happiness and peace?
Now imagine this person in front of you and say to the person, “I am going to abandon you now. I am going to betray you now.”
Then, in your imagination, become the other person (the one that has been shaming you), and in that person’s voice, say to yourself, “I completely understand, I forgive you. All I want is for you to be happy.”
This process is simple, yet powerful. It allows you to free yourself from the toxicity of shame. I hope this helps!
For more of The Mind Body Code techniques and a guided healing process, listen to my podcast on the topic, or buy Dr. Mario Martinez’s book which is linked on my amazon page below. You can find the YouTube version of my podcast here. My YouTube healing for shame may also be helpful.
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