Strategies of Disconnection

by Sarah on December 10, 2018

This week, we are taking our #realtalk exploration of Shame one step further as we look at our survival strategies around this universal, yet painful experience. If you missed last week’s conversation, check out the blog here and here.

At the root of shame is the fear of disconnection or a loss of connection. At the core of our survival needs is a sense of worthiness, love and belonging. This is why shame is a powerful threat to our survival. I can live without food, shelter and even a sense of purpose much longer than I can live without connection.

When the pain of disconnection threatens our survival, we move to protect ourselves in 3 primary ways. The researchers from the Stone Center at Wellesley College identified these as our Strategies of Disconnection. They are the ways we shield ourselves from the pain of shame. It’s ironic that in our fear of disconnection, we employ a strategy to disconnect. No wonder this is not leading us in the direction that we desire.

The first strategy is Moving Away. When we feel shame we hide and play small. This is where the phrase, “hang your head in shame” comes from. Our body stance is to collapse, cave in and get small. Internally, we feel much the same. We may pull away, isolate and hide in our own lives.

The second strategy is Moving Toward. When we feel shame we people please, perform and engage in perfectionism. Instead of recognizing we’ll never reach this ideal, when things don’t go perfectly we just double up our efforts and try even harder next time.

The third strategy is Moving Against. When we feel shame we fight back and blame. We put on our gloves and fight shame with shame.

We cultivate our sense of love and belonging through our choices to take risks and be vulnerable. It’s the only way to experience connection. All of these shields are keeping us from being seen and heard. The answer is to practice and develop our resilience to shame and choose a new strategy.

If this resonates with you, and you’d like to learn more, I invite you to join me for The Daring Way™, a 12-week online course with personalized coaching from me. The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown, a leading shame, vulnerability and courage researcher.

The method was developed to help us learn how to show up, be seen, and live braver lives. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing a courage practice that transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. I have been a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (CDWF) for almost 5 years now. This is one of the more life-changing processes I’ve taken people through and I’d love for you to join us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *