This site and my book (The Awfulizer) began through my own personal journey of healing from shame. The idea itself began during a shame group therapy session that I was in.
A member of my group was doing work on the figure in her life that she first remembered shaming her. As she was listing all the ways this person made her feel, I remember thinking of a silly name for them- The Awfulizer.
After class as I thought about it and realized that is the perfect name for that shaming part of ourselves. But, that it also was silly and relatable enough for even my kids to understand it.
I thought how much easier it would have been if I had learned some strategies for, or even how to name, shame as a child. How much more resilient kids can be, and how with the right tools and language they could defeat and manage shame before it took over their life. So, I began to write.
The original stories followed my own personal journey of how I learned to recognize and deal with shame. There were three books each with a different strategy or super power on how to defeat shame- "Illuminating", "Vocalizing" and "The Visualizer". Now the stories and the powers are a bit different, but I want to walk you through my original process.
I began “Illuminating” in college, when my shame and depression were at a peak point. I bought a journal and forced myself to write a minimum of 5 good things that happened every day to me or something that I was proud of. “Illuminating” brought me out of a very dark place. It is a great way to treat a lot of the symptoms of shame, but it did not fix the root of my shame issues.
Finally, in my thirties (yes, it took me ten years to fully recognize my problem) I sought out a therapist to help me deal with both my feelings of shame, and my tendency to shame others. I had became “The Vocalizer”.
Fully embracing this stage of my healing, I learned to not only talk to my therapist or my group, but to be honest to the people in my life about being in therapy and what for. For me it was extremely vulnerable to open this part of myself up. Everyone was so supportive and more importantly open and vulnerable with me. Many shared similar struggles that they had. It is such a wonderful feeling to realize you are not, in fact, alone in your struggles of self-worth and belonging.
All that led me to the last book/super power-“The Visualizer”. And while I still hear The Awfulizer, I now also recognize him for what he is. He is not my husband, or my family or society as a whole saying that I am not good enough or that I am a failure. That voice is The Awfulizer, and by recognizing him it can help weaken his control on me.
This was my journey and my original path. The stories have shifted and changed, especially as I get closer and closer to actually being published. I lost a few super powers and gained others in the process. But, I wanted to share with you my heart. My only sincere hope is that these books and now blogs will help you start this journey (with our without your child) and lead you to a more whole and healing place.