shock+shameUnprocessed childhood experiences occur mainly when grown-ups do not properly deal with the boundaries or needs of the child. We grow up as it were with a yoke on the shoulders with a bucket on each side: one in which we collect unprocessed experiences of boundary transgressions (shock) and one in which we collect unprocessed experiences of abandonment and rejection (shame). Working with the shock of the inner child requires a completely different approach than working with the shame of the inner child. Depending on your themes sessions will sometimes focus more on the processing of shock and sometimes more on the processing of shame.

The Child and Shock
Shock occurs when the child’s upbringers administer violence to the child by transgressing its boundaries, for example, verbally, physically, emotionally or sexually. The child is completely dependent and may often not be able to fight or flee from the violating adult. The child can become overwhelmed and just undergo the situation. It develops a strong anxiety and then starts to respond with “going into shock.” It learn to stiffen or freeze in situation of closeness or overwhelming. When upbringers do not reassure the child again and help him/her to shake off the tension, then the child will freeze repeatedly. Gradually the tension will reside into the nervous system. Body and mind will stay alert, even when it is not necessary. This can give a lot of physical and mental symptoms. Leter on, in situations of closeness the person will react with forms of freezing to ‘survive’.
The Child and Shame
Shame occurs when the upbringers consciously or unconsciously abandon the child or reject its needs (for safety, love, warmth, encouragement, care, food, clothing, etc) while it is still totally dependent on them. The child often develops a deep uncertainty about itself (“I’m not good enough, it’s me, I’m not worth it”). When the upbringers do not help the child by pulling it up close again and restore its self-esteem, then later in life the person will very easily perceive distance between people as rejection or abandonment. The person will withdraw to ‘survive’.

Read more about The Inner Child.