Shame is a soul eating emotion

An image of a heart with a single tear on it, and a dark red background,to go with my post about feeling shame when I don't have to.

I wasn’t going to write for the subject of shame, until this afternoon happened. I know this is not what Barefoot had in mind with this optional prompt, but when Master T and I talked about this, I remembered the prompt, and I just had to write about it.


Well, read on and you will understand.


Yesterday, our youngest daughter turned 23. Yes, I know, I’m getting old!

Six months ago, she moved out and moved in with her boyfriend. We visited them on the day after Christmas 2020, and their house was a mess. Unpacked boxes everywhere, you could barely see the floor, and the dining room table was hidden under… well, everything. Of course it was to be expected, as they had only been living there for three weeks.

But about two months in, and then four months in I was there again, and it was still a mess. And every time she sent us a photo of her cat or something new they had bought, I noticed the mess.

Then this afternoon, we visited them again. I couldn’t help myself. I just had to compliment them on their house. All the mess was gone, and it just looked so nice and cozy and homely. Really brilliant, and I was SO proud. Really, really proud!

After our visit there, Master T and I sat at our favorite restaurant for dinner, and we talked about our daughter’s home, and how proud we were of her.

Feeling shame

As we talked about it, I realized why it was I always noticed the mess in our daughter’s house. And frankly, not only hers, but also that of others where we occasionally visit.

You see, whenever someone visits me, I always make sure everything is tidied up and clean before they come. I absolutely hate when people come to visit without notifying me first. I hate it because it doesn’t give me time to tidy up, and while they are here, I see everything that’s wrong. Dust on the table, fluff on the floor, stuff on the table that should’ve been tidied up…. just everything.

So when I visit someone else, I tend to see the mess, and I feel shame on their behalf.

Believe me, I know this is stupid. It happened many times when people unexpectedly stood on my doorstep, and afterwards I apologized for the mess, that they said they haven’t seen anything. I always assume they are just being nice about it, but I also know they might really mean it, that they really didn’t see anything.

Where does the feeling of shame come from?

When we sat there talking about it, I wondered where the feeling of shame comes from. I think many people might feel shame about their own homes when in the same position as I described above, but why feel shame about another’s home. Because really, it’s not my place to feel shame, right?

I wonder if my feeling of shame comes from me being an empath? Maybe the people I visit feel shame, and I am just taking over their emotions? There’s another thought playing in my mind which might explain my feeling of shame, but I am not ready to talk about it, since it’s something I am still exploring and coming to terms with.

Shame for sexual things

Ha! You didn’t really think I wasn’t going to touch on the subject of sex, right?

I remember a trip to London with my mom and youngest daughter in 2013. My daughter was walking ahead and mom and I had time to talk. Back then, our D/s was in its prime years and my conversation with mom touched on kink. I remember making my case that when you are into kink, there is nothing to be ashamed of, and no one else should shame you for it either. Also, that if you’re not harming anyone else with your lifestyle, there is no reason why people should voice their opinions about it.

I had that conversation with mom, but there also came a time when I had the same conversation with my oldest. She’s very outspoken, and often times have a negative opinion of things she doesn’t know enough about. Therefore, she had an not-so-positive opinion about kink, but also about any other kind of sexuality than hetero. I never told her I was wrong, but I did tell her that people should be respected for their choices, and for who they are, especially if they harm no one else with it, and only want to love and be loved for who they are.

To be honest, I felt shame for their — her and her husband’s — shortsightedness on these subjects.

Today I feel pride

I don’t know when it happened, but my daughter’s way of thinking has changed.

A week or two ago they were here to visit. I don’t know how we got to the subject, but we touched on the subjects of kink and people who don’t identify as heterosexual. Her negativity has totally disappeared. For the kink side it’s obvious that she’s more positive about it because she and her husband are engaging in some kinky things, but what made me really proud is how she said that everyone should be respected for who they are.

She said that she finds it really difficult how to use pronouns (believe me, in Dutch it seems more difficult than in English, because some ‘they’ words sound similar to ‘she’ words) but that she feels we have to respect that there are people who don’t identify as male or female. I have tried over the years to get her to see things differently, not only for herself, but also for her kids growing up in a changing world. I am so proud that she is changing, and because she is, her husband is too, and I know she will send her kids into the world knowing they have to respect people for who they are, and not for who they think they should be.

To be honest, when she was so negative about everything being ‘different’, I really felt shame in her place, because I do believe everyone deserves a place in the sun, deserves respect, and deserves to be who they really are. And who they really are, doesn’t have to fit the ‘mold’ we have grown up with.

We all need to learn, it’s a process

Today I feel only pride, no more shame. Pride because my daughter is growing, and I love that she is. Pride because I know she will give her children the proper values for when they are adults.

We all need to learn, but it’s a process, and it can’t happen overnight. As long as we are willing to learn, the ‘battle’ is half won.

Now if only I can learn to not feel ashamed on someone else’s behalf…

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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11 thoughts on “Shame is a soul eating emotion

  1. Today I learned a new english word: vicarious. I wanted to make remark about as we say in the netherlands “plaatsvervangende schaamte” = vicarious shame/embarresment (or substitue shame). There are moments I have that vicarious shame feeling too. It can even make me blush sometimes. Also things as the behavior of dutch people in general. it must have something to do with “my people/my group” that I (want to) belong to.

  2. I’m with barefoot with the house thing. We keep a clean house and mostly tidy but if someone is visiting and the choice is clean the windows and dust the skirting boards or have an afternoon on fun, I know which I’m doing lol

  3. I can relate strongly to what you have written about feelings of shame about mess in mine or others home, to be honest until reading your post I hadn’t related the feelings to shame but this is exactly what it is! I always apologise for the mess and assume they are being nice when they say there isn’t one. I have also had conversations with my mother very similar to the ones you write about with your daughter when she was younger, and again it is shame I feel about my mothers negatively towards anyone she considers ‘different’, although sadly unlike your daughter, my mother’s strong views don’t look as though they will change any time soon. Really interesting post, thank you!

    1. Ha! I am the same when they tell me they don’t see a mess… I just assume they are being nice, because believe me, I see every speck of dust I might have missed!

  4. You have raised an interesting point here about feeling shame on others’ behalves. I am wondering now whether that is what I sometimes feel around some of my pet hates. I also like to know before people arrive at my house. I am happy to have an open door but I want to be ready behind it! Missy x

    1. I so agree with that, Missy. They are welcome to come over, as long as I am ready for it!

  5. One thing I cannot abide is the “I was raised…” then nothing. Really hit home when I visited the John Wayne birthplace museum which had his daughter proudly spouting how John Wayne raised her to be conservative, Christian, patriot, etc. But, um your dad was also a racist bigot, was that included in the programming as well?

    A base of values must be established, but I cannot abide being a robot that doesn’t think for themselves if their base values are actually any good. I’m very happy to hear your daughter isn’t a robot!

  6. I love this post!

    On the subject of tidy homes, I was having this conversation a few days ago on a Facebook thread. Some friends were saying “never turn up unannounced”. I’m not the tidiest of people, and after years of the ex (hoarder and really, really messy!) saying “people will judge you if the house is untidy” I have thr opposite opinion. If people turn up and don’t like how I live then they don’t need to come back. I think it was a self defence mechanism, because he’d spent so long telling me that I wasn’t good enough for this, that or the other, but I’ve yet to scare anyone off!

    I love this post, and I’m so glad your older daughter is having a change of heart. N xx

    1. I like that N, that if they come and they don’t like how I live, they don’t have to come back. Now I just have to change my own attitude to this, and stop feeling the shame 😉 xox

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