If a child lives with criticism he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame he learns to be guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness he learns justice.

If a child lives with security he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship he learns to find love in the world.

What was your childhood like? Did you feel loved and were you accepted for who and what you were as a child? Did you get praise, fairness, security, approval and tolerance?

I came from a very dysfunctional family so I received no: tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, security, approval and acceptance from the age of eight years old after I emigrated to Scotland from Hong Kong with my big brother and mother. My dad is a rageaholic and his temper and toxic shaming destroyed my self worth, sense of security and self confidence. He did the exact same to my big brother and mum. My mum became a huge part of him from his toxicity after we lived in Scotland and I began to resent her. This created a huge distance between my mother and I, where I was once closest to her. My inner voice is full of my parents negative words from their toxic shame yet I have learned to handle them positively instead of allowing them to control my life.

I remember days of abuse from my parents where I was physically punished whenever I did something that erupted their temper. Then there were days where I was shamed, criticised, scolded, shouted at, blamed, disapproved, dismissed and nothing I did was ever good enough for them. I felt sad and hurt, all alone in a nasty home where I longed to feel loved and accepted. As the only daughter of my family, I could feel that their was double standards from the way I was treated from that of my big brother by my mum whilst we were living in Hong Kong. Then when we lived in Scotland, I was scolded by my dad for doing things that were considered inappropriate for my name as I was being unladylike, rude, vulgar, and unrefined.  Whenever I whistled, chewed gum or sat in what he said was in an unladylike manner he would disapprove and shame me in the presence of others. I had so much hatred for my dad and his toxic shame back then. I felt he just didn’t appreciate me as his only daughter and I longed to escape. There was nothing I could ever do that he was ever happy with.

I was physically abused by my rageaholic dad for a number of years from my early teens to mid teens. He would hit me with anything he could get his hands on whenever I did something, anything that erupted his rage. I hated him for destroying me at the time and I was so scared of him when he beat me up and my mum could not protect me because dad was physically stronger than her. The physical abuse only stopped after my Physical Education teacher saw me with a massive bruise on my left arm one day after I had changed into my P.E kit and she asked me about my massive bruise. She immediately reported the incident to our headteacher who informed the police. The social workers got involved and an interpreter was called. My dad was given a warning and the physical abuse stopped yet the psychological damage had already destroyed the teenager in me.

To a child, being physically abused whenever they do something wrong or inappropriate to discipline them only confuses them and creates hatred, fear and resentment. They need their parents guidance in a positive, constructive, effective and safe environment to understand and learn as to what they do is wrong and/or inappropriate with reasoning. Physical punishment or physical abuse never works effectively for disciplining children as they are the best copy cats. They pick up on whatever their parents do and they do it to others. With reasoning, children learn to accept that what they did was wrong and inappropriate so that they learn from it and never to repeat the same actions. Yet with physical punishment and abuse, children learn to fight, resent and hate their parent(s). They lose their confidence from their childhood and they are the ones who remain stagnant when they become adults. They never make any progress in life because they believe that they can do nothing to please their parents so there is no point in achieving goals and make progress. This is what holds so many adults back from getting out of their comfort zone and make progress with their lives.

I grew up with no self confidence, no self worth, no happiness and no feelings of being loved, accepted, important or worthy of anything. I was numb to all the emotional pain I had endured as a child and teenager. The toxic shame has been passed on from one generation to the next and the massive destruction has been passed onto my three sons.

My big brother was mainly criticised by our dad for saying he could do something when he could not. My mum criticised him for the things he could not do as she had not taught him the skills to do them with. Then I remember our father’s rage erupted one late evening when everyone was sat at the dining table chatting. My big brother (aged 20) had raised his voice as he became excited about the topic we were discussing and was told by our dad to lower his voice a few times. Then all of a sudden I heard our dad shout so loudly and his face was so angry it was like thunder and lightening combined!  He told my big brother to leave, to get out and this was after midnight. I was shocked and scared, hurt and overwhelmed. My big brother had nowhere to go and was shocked as to what he did to deserve such treatment.  I drove him to my then boyfriend’s mum’s which was the only place I could think of at the time.

This event had a huge impact on my big brother’s mental health and a year later he was diagnosed with schizophrenia which was the biggest shock to him and us at the time. Then his life became more painful each year as he felt he never got the love and acceptance that he deserved from our father. He would have relapses every few years just to get the attention of dad yet he never got it. He craved to feel dad’s love and acceptance and it slowly killing him inside. He was becoming so disconnected from our dad that would eventually stab his heart each day. It was a very vicious circle. He got better from a relapse, kept up with taking his medication only to stop taking them every few years to be hospitalised and hoping to get dad’s attention and love which never worked. All it did was put huge pressure onto our mum and myself who were always there for him when he took a relapse. Our dad’s toxic shame was creating a huge distance from his wife and children and we were feeling very sick from it all.

I remember there was the most heartbreaking thing we had to do at the time when I was pregnant with my youngest son. My mum called me one morning to ask me to drive her over to big brother’s flat because she knew he was having another episode of not taking his medication. This time we needed the help of the police and paramedics to get him into hospital. He had locked himself in, barricaded his flat, did not recognise us and was clearly in a seriously confused state that required immediate medical attention. We saw how long and painful it was for the police to force his door open so that the police could get him into the awaiting ambulance. I was hearbroken to witness him being led away in the ambulance by police. There was so much shame and fear inside of me that was passed onto me by my parents. I felt so much shame that emotional day and I was drained physically, mentally and emotionally. I was upset and felt angry that our dad was not there for us.

There were numerous times of this admitting my big brother into hospital whenever he took a relapse that continued for more than fifteen years. Then eventually the last time I admitted him into hospital all by myself with the help of the police and paramedics again. I was mentally stronger by now from my personal development and all the new skills I had learned had served me well. Eight weeks after his last admission was when he suddenly died in hospital and days before he died he had asked my mum why our dad never came to visit him in hospital. That was the only time he had ever asked such a question. He died a very hurt, sad, damaged and unloved man by all the negative treatment he received from our dad. His inner child still craved the unconditional love from dad that he truly deserved yet never got.

My mum felt she was not getting the support from her husband throughout the journey with her son’s schizophrenia. She cared for the needs of her son throughout his journey with relapses and it took a toll on her health and well being yet she persevered for the sake of love. She was always a giving person never expecting anything in return yet my dad was the total opposite. He was a taker and never had compassion for himself so he would never know how to be compassionate with others. I became the care taker in my family from a very young age because of the language barrier my parents had. So I was the interpretator from the age of nine and this continued to this day. I would be scolded for not getting things done the way my dad wanted and this damaged me, destroyed my self worth and I became resentful, angry and frustrated. The toxic shame was creating so much ill health that the only escape for me was to move out. That’s what I did at the age of twenty only to get into another toxic relationship with a Chinese traditional man who also shamed me. So I “married my dad”!

The man I married also had family who shamed others and I became so unhappy and sick from all the exposure of toxic shame. His toxic ways had me keeping quiet and I slowly lost my voice to stand up for what mattered to me.  I endured an unfulfilling marriage for fourteen years before finally deciding enough is enough and I let go of our marriage to begin a new life. That was to become the best decision I could ever make for me and my three sons. I was finally free from all the toxic shame and I could start afresh and create happiness for myself. Yet , I had no idea how painful it would become to find myself again. Being in such an unhappy childhood and marriage had completely destroyed my self worth and depression had been born from my dysfunctional family’s ways.

I had picked up my dad and husband’s toxic shame and passed it onto my sons. I was picking on their faults, flaws and weaknesses. It destroyed their happiness and childhood as I was being critical of their actions and neglected to focus on their positive sides and strengths. My older two sons have been damaged yet not to my extent, thank goodness. My number two son was passing on the toxic shame he received from my younger brother onto Calvin, his younger brother. So he was influenced negatively and this is the norm in dysfunctional families. The toxic shame just gets passed onto other family members and it is usually the younger members who bear the brunt of it

I took charge of my life and invested in time, money and much effort to build myself back up over four years ago after I was introduced to a business opportunity back in June 2011. The business opportunity is very big on personal development and that was where I learned how to turn my life around. It took me many hours, days, weeks and months of hard work as I:

  1. Read self help books (over 35 in total to date)
  2. Attended a personal development course in Edinburgh
  3. Saw my counsellor for a number of issues
  4. Stepped out of my comfort zone to travel (Barcelona, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Cologne, Sydney and Hong Kong so far)
  5. Created plans to achieve my goals, dreams and ambitions
  6. Eliminated toxic friends and associates from my life
  7. Limited my time spent with my toxic dad and younger brother
  8. Practicing gratitude daily
  9. Exercised and meditated
  10.  Listened to audio books
  11. Wrote my bucket list and worked hard consistently on ticking the list off ( I ticked off three last year)

Which all helped me to strengthen my mind, relaxing it and find inner peace and harmony. I learned so many valuable skills along my magical journey with personal development and I am still learning because each and every day is a school day. I may have completed my formal education yet my self education is what matters and everyone can benefit from investing the time to learn something new each day. I have so many stories to share and all of my life experiences along the way shall be forever with me.

It took me some sweat, tears, effort and money to learn that I do not need to react to my dad or younger brother’s toxic shame. In the past I would get into an argument with them from my reactions only to have my happiness sucked out of me and go home feeling drained and hurt. That created ill health for me and a huge distance between us.

I do not enjoy family gatherings where we eat in restaurants because my dad and younger brother shames our family. My dad shames me and mum. Younger brother shames my two older sons. In John Bradshaw’s book “Healing the shame that binds you” it mentions that the husband shouts at the wife, the wife shouts at the kids and the kids shouts at the dog. So this is what’s happening with my family. My dad’s shaming mum and me had been picked up by younger brother so he shames my two older sons and the people he knows and loves. My two older sons has now lost their respect for my dad and younger brother too due to their continuous toxic shaming of our family and this has created a huge distance between them.

I feel hurt and angry whenever I hear my dad shame my mum in public and this shall never change. However, my mum reacts to my dad’s toxic shame so she is only fuelling the fire yet she’s quick tempered and that’s never going to change. I had taken some time away from family gatherings at restaurants for a while to avoid my happiness being sucked away by my dad and younger brother as I also reacted to them. I have now learned to stay calm and ignore their shaming so I can live a life of inner peace and harmony. I only give the important things and people my time, focus, attention and this is working for me for inner peac.

I had been friends with a girl for eight years who was also shaming herself and others for their faults, weaknesses and flaws. Her two kids had picked up their mum’s  ( and their mum’s boyfriend’s) toxic shaming and was passing this on to my youngest son. So I decided last year, to eliminate her from my life and that was a huge achievement for me last year. I was being influenced by her toxic shaming in a negative manner and I wanted to put a stop to that. I was being distracted from achieving my goals from her toxic ways and the best thing to do was to cut her out of my life.

Now I have very little negative distractions from toxic shame so that I can continue to make great progress for more personal growth. I have learned that what we give our attention, time and focus on, grows. I have also learned that we do not need to react to toxic shame and by choosing to ignore it the person who shames us shall get bored and shall move onto shaming someone else. We are responsible for how we handle each life situation. We can remove ourselves from negative situations. We can ignore any negative feedback. We can choose to be tactful and ask what the shaming person means by their feedback instead of immediately reacting to it. We can choose to cut the toxic shaming person from our lives or limit the time we spend with them. So we have many choices we can take to create a better life for ourselves. Our happiness, inner peace and harmony is our responsibility so value it and protect it with our inner strength and mental power.

Remember that the people who shame us are very damaged and they have very little conscious of the impact they have on others with their shaming. We cannot change them, we can only change the way we handle them by making wise choices. So by learning effective and constructive ways to handle toxic shaming people, our lives shall become better, brighter and bigger. We all deserve to feel happy and live a life of inner peace and harmony.

Here is something to remember by:

We become the first five people we spend the most time with. So be very aware of who and what you are becoming by analyising what you get from the people you spend the most time with. How are they influencing you? What do they talk about? What they talk about is what they focus on and this affects on what you focus on.

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