4.6 Externalization


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Video Transcript externalization as you can probably tell by the word externalization This is the opposite of internalization. internalization we spoke about is the process of, of burying, shame into the subconscious until it forms a subconscious state of being. It’s the process of making shame, go from being healthy human conscious shame into being toxic, subconscious shame. So to reverse this process and to basically heal this subconscious, toxic shame, to heal this sense of inadequacy, we just need to get all of this subconscious shame, all of this inadequacy up and out of the subconscious and actually into the conscious, because if it’s into the conscious, then we can deal with it in a healthy way. So this involves talking about it about shame, I mean, I’m gonna go through a long list on this slide of things that we can do specific methods to do. It was talking and writing can help and just just thinking about these things, sharing your feelings, honestly, that can really help. They say that the tendency to avoid emotional suffering, and this is something that everyone has, we all have this tendency to avoid feeling any pain or avoid feeling any conscious shame. And I mean, that’s what’s caused the toxic shame in the first place is the tendency to avoid it. They say that the tendency to avoid emotional suffering is the primary basis for all human mental illness. And in the case of shame, the more we avoid it, the worse it gets. We cannot change our internalized shame, until we externalize it. And as I say, that just means getting all these feelings up and out and making them real, making them conscious. Alice Miller has repeatedly said how it’s not the traumas that we suffer in childhood. Again, trauma is a strong word. But just, you know, take this take this lightly. It’s not the traumas that we suffer in childhood that cause pain, but it’s the inability to express them. And that’s what this is all about. It’s all about expressing. So many things I’m going to take you through now the specific methods, the specific things that we’re expressing. And there’s going to be a lot of text on this slide, as you can tell with the size of that font. So the first thing you can do is legitimizing our abandonment, by writing and talking about it. abandonment, we said was the process where in childhood, you just don’t get your needs met. Now, if you can think of any times in childhood where that happened, if you can think about any times where you were ignored, or criticized or shamed, just by thinking about it makes it real, it legitimizes it, to make this even even more real, write it down. That really helps. And if you have someone in your life, that you can talk about this with someone that’s not going to shame you for this, because if you’re in any way shamed or criticized for doing this, then that’s gonna, that’s going to be taking about two steps back. So you don’t want that at all. But just to talk about this, and to honestly express this and share this. And if you can’t think of anything, if you can’t remember any times about like this, then you can just write about the process or talk about the concept of abandonment, you can talk about just how your parents generally were towards you, you know, if they were a bit neglectful, or if they were a bit critical, or if they did put a lot of pressure on you. Or if they were hard on you, or you know, anything that we spoke about. But this is just again, legitimizing is the really key word here, it’s making it real, because by making it conscious, by becoming aware of it, and by either writing or talking about it, we take it up out of the subconscious, it is no longer a subconscious part of ourselves, it becomes conscious. We can also externalize old subconscious memories from the past which form collages of shame scenes, and learning how to heal them. We spoke about shame scenes, as well in these collages, these interconnected memories that we have of times that that make us feel shame. I think I gave the example of when I was walking in the streets, and a woman said hello to me. So I said hello back. And she was just talking to a friend. And I felt a lot of shame from that. And that’s that’s just one of the things that’s popped up in my head. All throughout my life really, as weird as that is, but we all have these, these memories that make us feel somehow fraud or inadequate or, or or shamed, really. So just by becoming aware of that This is the first step, if you can become aware of these memories of these collages of shame scenes, that’s the first step and then learning how to heal them. That’s really the process of self compassion is the process of saying, either Everyone makes mistakes, or it’s, it’s normal, or it’s human. Having this kind of shared humanity that everyone feels shame, no one is perfect. That’s an important part of self compassion. And if you do want to write about this, or share or share this, then that’s great too. externalizing the shaming voices in our heads, and learning to replace them with new nurturing and positive voices. Now, when it says shaming voices in our heads, this isn’t about schizophrenia, or anything this is, this can be quite a common thing where we, as we go about our days, we can kind of drift off into imagining people being critical or shaming towards us. And then we can either spend our days kind of justifying ourselves in our heads, because that can feel very good. If you, for example, let’s say you walk past a mirror, and your your brain might go off into thinking about someone, you know, criticizing your haircut. And then you would spend a good five minutes explaining why your hair cat is actually fine or whatever. These things can be quite common, that was a stupid example. But you know, these things can be quite common. And if you can just become aware of this, if you can become aware of times where you’re, you’re hearing some sort of shaming voice or imagining someone being critical, or even neglectful or no, or shaming, just generally shaming if you can become aware of this, and then make it real, write about this, or talk about this or, or anything, just make it conscious. Learning to be aware of certain interpersonal situations, most likely to trigger shame spirals. So yeah, if you are, if you are criticized, then that’s probably going to trigger some sort of shame spiral. If you are ignored, that can be another thing that can trigger a shame as well. So just learn to be aware of this. That can really help that can be a big thing, because there are these things in life that just trigger this shame. Learning how to deal with critical and shaming people by practicing assertive techniques. There are people in our lives that are critical and shaming. And, as I said, in the relationships section, for some reason, shame based people tend to stick with other shame based people. And so our significant others can actually be the most critical or shaming people in our lives. Practicing assertive techniques is very important in kind of reclaiming the sense that we are good enough by kind of just standing up for ourselves, not letting ourselves be criticized, or shamed. And, as I say, in life, obviously, we go through these times where we are criticized or shamed. And it’s important in those times to not react to emotionally, again, if this hits a deep note inside us, if we do have this toxic shame, we believe that that we really are fundamentally flawed, that this can be very, very hurtful, it can really have a massive effect on us. So by practicing assertive techniques, we’re basically kind of just saying no standing up for ourselves, and realizing that, you know, we’re not fundamentally inadequate and being really assertive with what we need. And learning to externalize our needs and our wants by becoming more self assertive. And we spoke about nonviolent communication and how this is can be, this can be the main method of, of becoming more self assertive, in a way. our needs and our wants are something that we’re so disconnected from. And I’ve spoken spoken about this such a lot in this course, but to become aware of our needs, and our wants, and again, externalizing is just, it’s just making it conscious, and making it out there in the world and talking about it. And then standing up for ourselves with this too, and saying that it’s okay to have needs and it’s okay to have once seeing ourselves mirrored and echoed in the eyes of at least one non shaming person. One of the things that happens in childhood is that one of our needs as young children is to see ourselves mirrored and echoed in the eyes of others. And this is our parents in childhood or a primary caregivers, whoever they are That is one of the fundamental needs because this is actually the way that identity is formed, we only kind of know who we are through the eyes of others. Some people that don’t get this need met, they kind of struggle with a sense of identity and a sense of who they are. So to heal this, we need to see ourselves in the eyes of others, we need to have ourselves mirrored and echoed by someone that isn’t going to be shaming or neglectful or anything. This is really just the process of having friends, really, this is just the normal part of what will happen when we get out there in the world and have normal friends and, and live a life around other people. Learning how to handle our mistakes and having the courage to be imperfect. Again, the difference between healthy conscious shame and toxic subconscious shame is is almost in how we deal with mistakes because healthy conscious shame is, is saying, I made a mistake, and that’s okay. And toxic shame is saying I am a mistake. So that’s how we handle our mistakes, we need to say that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s okay to be imperfect. And that will be hard. So we need courage doing exercises to externalize our self image and change it I think we’ve spoken enough about self image learning to recognize various split off parts of ourselves as we’ve made as we make these parts conscious externalize them, we can embrace and integrate them. So the split off parts of ourselves or parts of ourselves that have been shamed in our lives. This can be for a lot of people this is sexuality, because sexuality is so commonly shamed. And when these things are shamed, we we disconnect with them, we they become split off parts of ourselves. So we need to reconnect with them and recognize them and make these parts conscious. And then we will naturally just embrace and integrate them making new decisions to accept all parts of ourselves with unconditional positive regard. And this what we spoke about in the last slide, really, this is self love, and coming out of hiding by social contact, honestly sharing our feelings. social contact is the number one way to heal inadequacy. I mean, this really is a social problem. So it’s very important, important to honestly share our feelings with normal non shaming people and stay true to ourselves when in social situations situations. So this is a process of kind of self discovery and self acceptance. And you need to focus on staying open and honest when social and you need to listen to your feelings as well. And that’s basically the process of externalization

Externalization is the opposite of internalization, which of course is the process in which shame becomes toxic.

Externalization changes toxic shame/inadequacy back into healthy shame. It’s about expressing this toxic shame in whatever way possible, whether that’s writing about it or talking about it.

If you can think of any event in your life that has made you feel shame, which has then been internalized… express it. Let it out! If you can remember being ignored, mistreated, rejected, or where you’ve made a mistake, perhaps a social mistake, a you need to let it out and make it real. This is about being genuine, open, and honest.

Writing about it is the first step and I encourage you to do that. But getting human empathy and understanding is important too, so at some point I encourage you to start sharing some of this with others.

This isn’t one step – it’s not like you let it all out at once to one person. This is an ongoing process, that happens bit by bit over time. It’s about accepting mistakes, accepting imperfections, accepting all aspects of yourself, and OWNING that.

It’s important to find safe, non-shaming people to share this with, who’ll listen to you with unconditional positive regard. If you don’t have anyone like that, it might be a good idea to start by emailing me (connorsuniquecoaching@gmail.com – use the subject line ‘Externalization’ so i know!), whether it’s about old shame memories, ‘abandonment’ experiences, shaming voices, or anything you need to get out. I’ll try to reply too 🙂 (but the important part is just getting it OUT).

Hopefully you’ll have someone in your real life to talk to honestly and openly. Obviously, it’s important to be accepted, and there’s no guarantee of that. So it can be scary. But just be aware: ‘Telling the truth is not a magic formula for living a smooth life. But living a life of integrity is actually easier than living one built around the opposite.’ Dr Robert Glover – No More Mr Nice Guy

Openness and honesty does not mean being without privacy. Privacy too is a human need. It also doesn’t mean being ignorant of social norms.

Weird, Shameful Secrets

For example, being honest about certain things can be socially weird at times, and that’s when privacy is necessary. People don’t talk about their fetishes, for example, because that would be a social faux pas, regardless of whether it makes them feel shame or not. Perhaps you have some other ‘secret’ that you don’t want to admit, that causes you a lot of shame. And, perhaps part of the reason for keeping it secret is because it’s socially unacceptable to talk about that. But, if your friends are talking about their weird things, or there’s another scenario in which those social ‘rules’ are lifted, then you shouldn’t hide yours. It may not feel great if it involves admitting you’re imperfect, but stop trying to be great and start trying to be real. It is the denial of your reality which causes problems, either from attempting to be superior or feeling so uselessly inferior, it is the inability to be authentically you which stops you from healing inadequacy.

Admitting that you watch porn or have sexual needs is an example. I’ve met men who’ve told their spouses that they never watch porn – a giant lie – and they have no reason to say such things. Particularly for extremely conservative or religious people, this is a common problem. It’s creating a completely unnecessary secret.

Others have different secrets. One of mine is that I self-harmed as a teenager, and still have the scars. It’s a pretty horrible thing to think about, and it’s obviously not something i’m proud of. For many years, I did everything possible to avoid admitting it to anyone, tried my best to make sure no-one ever found out (which included avoiding sex for many years because I didn’t want to risk them seeing the scars!). But over time, I saw it as a much smaller part of my life and of me. Now, I have no trouble talking about it (although it tends to bring the mood down!), I can speak freely in the right situation, and I see it more accurately as a very small and largely insignificant struggle that was a result of a number of factors in my life at that time. It’s no longer something that I care about, yet in the past it completely controlled me. I also realised that 1) no-one cares, unless it’s widespread and they’re unable to associate with you because they’d be excluded by everyone else for doing so, and 2) everyone else has their own struggles and secrets, and being open about yours invites them to do the same and thus connect on a much deeper level.

The feeling of needing to keep it secret is exactly what gives it power over you. When it’s a secret, it’s toxic shame. It’s evidence that you are fundamentally flawed and no-one will ever love you. It’s proof that you are simply inadequate. When it’s out in the open, it’s healthy shame. It’s a bad thing that you may dislike about yourself, but it’s not yourself that you hate. It’s a way in which you’re less than perfect – in a world where everyone is less than perfect.

Most people assume that they will be outcast from society for talking about these things. They are unable to accept it as a small imperfection, and instead see it as an all-encompassing confirmation of total inadequacy. In reality, you will most likely gain respect from your devotion to overcoming it. If you make it clear that you don’t value these things, no-one will think you do! Perhaps, it will inspire the person you’re talking with to share something similar about them.

The reasoning behind keeping secrets is: ‘If I hide this thing from everyone, I can still be loved, accepted, and no-one will have to know I’m imperfect. I can go on appearing to be without major flaws’. Hiding imperfections and flaws, and trying to appear perfect is the result of toxic shame. Healthy shame means being as flawed and imperfect as everyone else. Being unable to accept imperfections and flaws is the hallmark of toxic shame. Therefore, keeping it secret is what gives it power over you. Some secrets carry life-destroying power; particularly addictions like alcoholism and porn addiction. While it is secret, it is a big source of toxic shame, and that toxic shame will never be released if you don’t allow yourself to experience healthy shame and acknowledge imperfections.

Having a dirty little secret leads to lying, closing yourself off, unable to be truly yourself or to let people in, and social isolation – leading to more toxic shame. Most importantly, it means you can never heal the toxic shame. Usually, the bigger the secret, the more you need to tell someone. Humble yourself; that is the cure.

If this sounds like a step too far for you, it probably is at this point in time. It takes a lot of social contact to become comfortable enough, and know that people won’t judge, mock, or shame you nearly as much as you think. The overarching principle is what’s important: imperfections don’t make you worthless.

Write your story, your feelings, your shameful secrets, your insecurities, your confessions, and get it out into the world. If nothing else, the process will remove the power that these insecurities have over you. And, in future, when you’ve overcome this fetish, you should be able to freely recount the past and tell your journey of having this fetish. If you can’t even visualize this, you will never truly find self-acceptance, and will never stop feeling inadequate. As counter-intuitive as all of this seems, it is at least the truth.


As always, use your own judgement when doing this, i’m sure there’s pitfalls to fall into whenever other people are involved. Make sure to do this with non-shaming people, and not people who will mock you or shame you.

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Author(s) || Connor McGonigal

Website || howtostopbeingacuckold.com

Article || 4.6 Externalization

Date || Between January 27th, 2018 and June 2nd, 2019

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