Home Health and wellbeing

Vulnerability & Shame - Speaker

SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
edited October 2018 in Health and wellbeing
One of the guest speakers at the BC lunch I went to last week was talking about vulnerability and shame.  I have to admit to being a little bit over the self-help pstcho-babble and inwardly cringed when we were asked to talk to our neighbours at the table but it turned out to be a very interesting presentation.  It's based on the work of Brene Brown and worth a quick perusal if nothing more.  Is it a surprise when one of my "I believe" statements was that "I believe that the beach can fix anything"? (Obviously, not curing cancer but it makes me feel better about what I'm dealing with.). Anyway, I thought I should share because I play nicely that way.


  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,903
    Good woman. Can you eleborate a bit (generally) about the shame portion of the talk? Shame about what? 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    I probably won't explain it very well but it's about feeling unworthy or that we have or will fail and so hiding that feeling with a mask, which in turn leads to a level of disconnectedness from others. And it stems from not being willing to expose our vulnerability.  I think I've got it kind of right.  I haven't had a chance to do some real reading up about it but when the woman (Anna Ranaldo?) was talking, it made perfect sense. Brene Brown has a TED talk but I have not watched it yet.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,889
    Interesting topic, @Sister  - I don't suppose it was recorded for later listening?

  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,903
    That sounds right.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,889
    Here are links to numerous talks by Brene Brown

  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    No I don't think it was recorded but lots of Brown's stuff online and she's published a couple of books. I'm going to find out more because it definitely resonated at the time.
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,973
    edited October 2018

    I vividly remember taking my dear friend Trish to her first appointment at the Austin to see an expert on the particular lung cancer she had. She was so stressed out I did most of her admission stuff and that was the first time I ever realised that shame could come into the cancer equation. The fat bitch behind the desk (sorry, but no other description is adequate) sneered,  stared at my distressed mate and said "I suppose she's a smoker." I flipped my lid. How dare someone who was quite obviously making appalling health choices in their own life dismiss someone else as 'deserving what they got'. I would not normally make a derogatory comment about someone else's body, but the combination of  hypocrisy and nastiness was just breathtaking.

    Trish died on October 5th 2011. The way she was treated by some people both inside and outside the health services because she had a 'dirty' disease that was easily dismissed as being her own fault still burns me.

    Dialog about what causes breast cancer or contributes to your risk of getting it--being overweight, a smoker, alcohol, eating meat, being on the  pill or not breast feeding for example--might possibly help someone avoid the disease, though I seriously doubt that. What those discussions definitely can do is give the righteous a stick to probe the cause of our misery. Are we responsible for our own condition? Should we have been more virtuous? Abstained from the sort of behaviour that may have caused the whole mess? I think that's where the shame comes in; is the disease evidence of our inadequacy and poor decision making? Could we have done better, done more to avoid it? 

    Sorry for the rant, but this stuff sends me mental.

  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 1,469

    That's very sad to hear about your friend.  Around the same time I was diagnosed a work colleague's husband was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The first thing she said after telling everybody about his prognosis was to  add "He wasn't a smoker" Probably to avoid the "Oh, well, he brought it on himself look" He passed two months after initial diagnosis.

    I doubt in this day and age whether there are many demographic groups that get sneered at and segregated as much as smokers.

    Honestly, you could sit in the gutter and shoot up and people would just say that you needed help. You can sit on your arse in Maccas every day and stuff yourself till your 250kg and people will say you have a problem and need help.

     You light up, out in the open air, generally on a footpath or in a gutter, which is where us leppers have to stand these days and you will get dirty looks or the fake cough cough as someone walks past, normally after taking a 3m wide berth around us filthy disgusting people who are all going to get lung cancer. I saw one lady give me that look one day as she put her baby in the pram that was directly beside her idling diesel car exhaust. LOL

    The list of contributing factors as to what might cause breast cancer is long and is a similar list to most other cancers.  I can see where the shame bit comes in.

    Every time I read "I gave up alcohol, I don't eat sugar anymore, I don't use deodorants with aluminium, I've gone organic, etc etc etc. I feel slightly guilty.  Even though a few of those myths have been totally debunked there still a tiny little thought in the back of my mind.  Was it those underwire bras??????
     I still smoke, drink alcohol, use parabens, eat chocolate, amongst a myriad of other things that are probably on a list somewhere of how I did this to myself, ooh and I took the pill and didn't breast feed. Poor life choices caused it?  Shame on me.

  • Kiwi AngelKiwi Angel Sydney, NSWMember Posts: 1,951
    @Zoffiel what a horrible experience for your dear friend. We are all human and fallible. I myself have smoked on and off for most of my life and did experience a “did I get what I deserved” moment and feel very embarrassed and silly when I still smoke sometimes.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,889
    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend - but how shocking for both you & your friend, @Zoffiel having to put up with that ignorant, supercilious bitch!  I hope you gave the woman an absolute bollocking!    

    My uncle died from Lung Cancer & never smoked a cigarette in his life!    Casting aspersions at ANYONE for having ANY sort of cancer (or ANY disease for that matter) is disgusting & actually grandstands THEIR ignorance & intolerance.  :(

    Being virtuous has nothing to do with it, either - it was originally call "The Nun's Disease'' as they appeared to have higher numbers than any other group ladies ....... with it most probably being related to never having children/breast feeding or not.

    No, we are not responsible for our own condition ..... it is bad luck or bad genes, I reckon.  But at least we have the support of our buddies here at BCNA!  ;)
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,903
    Exactly @primek. I feel shame for struggling now when I should be leaping gratefully into my cancer free life. Everytime people ask me how I am I feel ashamed because I want to say shithouse but instead I say OK or fine thanks. It's absolutely ridiculous I know. I am what I am, I feel what I feel, it is what it is. I get the mask concept.
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,973

    @kezmusc , its a dilemma, isn't it? I reckon I'm too far gone for any remedial actions to be useful, they'll just make me more difficult to live with and easier to live without.

     I still enjoy a cigarette a day, but I never smoke in public, or if I'm in the company of junkies (don't ask) or if I'm inside, or if I'm at work, or if I know I have to talk to people who may smell it on me... Thus a 25gm pack of rollies lasts nearly two months. I reckon the asbestos will get me before the fags, but I'll have the guilts either way. I refuse to give up because I like that cigarette a day. 20 years barmaiding in smoky pubs, I can blame someone else anyway.

    @primek makes a good point about the fraud guilt. The mad thing is that people who haven't done this think we are stressed about our hair and surviving the next 10 years (which we do) but the day to day involves concentrating on having a proper poo.

  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,352
    @kmakm My comment to how are you going was....as well as can be expected. And then say SURVIVORSHIP is harder than  you think. But only to those who really care to know.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,124
    Away from topic but I  read Survivorship and smiled as the TV show Survivor is on at present oh and a surprise winner

    My Mum died as a result of cancer 
    Metastasis lung and bladder. Double whammy smoking and working in a cotton mill.  She was treated with the utmost respect by her medicos and us her family.

    As to vulnerability that isn't my frailty but I appreciate for some that it is. For me I found acceptance early and that became my strength.

    As to shame I'm unable to fathom that feeling

    I'm proud of how I have got through.

    I do hopr you all find strength and for those that are struggling please seek an ear professional or otherwise.  The forum is a great help and we're all in it together. There are some champions on here past their 5 or 6 year mark willing to help us all along

    Take care 

Sign In or Register to comment.