本文作者Darlene Lancer


Shame and Emptiness 羞愧和空虚

Prolonged shame is coupled with psychological emptiness, whether felt asrestlessness, a void, or a hunger to fill it. For some, it’s felt as deadness,nothingness, meaninglessness, or a constant undertone of depression, andfor others, these feelings are felt periodically – vaguely or profoundly,usually elicited by acute shame or loss. Many traumatized codependents hide a“deep inner hell that often is unspeakable and unnamable,” a “devouring blackhole,” which when contrasted with their hollow and empty persona, create adivided self, “massive despair and the sense of broken reality.”Addictsand codependents often feel this depression when stopping an addiction,including the ending of even a brief close relationship. Same, guilt,doubt, and low self-esteem typically accompany loneliness, abandonment, and rejection.


Internalized shame fromchildhood colors loss and separation– as revealed in a stanza of a poem I wrote at 14: “Yet from day to day man is doomed, his sentence is what others see.Every move is judged and thus an image forms, but man is a lonely creature.”The “image” refers to my self-image etched in shame and loneliness. Thus, whenwe’re alone or inactive, we may quickly fill our emptiness with obsession,fantasy, or negative thoughts and self-persecutory judgments. We might attribute loneliness and unrequited love to our unworthiness and unlovability.This perpetuates our assumption that if we were different or didn’t make a mistake, we wouldn’t have been abandoned or rejected. If we respond by isolating more, shame can increase, along with depression, emptiness, and loneliness. It’s a self-reinforcing, vicious circle.


Additionally, self-shaming and lack of autonomy deny access to our realself and the ability to manifest our potentialities and desires, further confirming the belief that we can’t direct our life. We miss out on joy,self-love, pride, and realizing our hearts’ desire. This reinforces our depression, emptiness, and hopeless beliefs that things will never change and that no one cares.


The Solution 解决方法

Whether we have existential or psychological emptiness, the solution begins with facing the reality that emptiness is both inescapable and unfillable from the outside. We must humbly and courageously assume responsibility for ourselves, live authentically, and become who we are – our true self. This gradually heals codependency and is the antidote for the depression, emptiness, and meaninglessness that result from living for and through others. See Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You for the entire chapter on emptiness and how to heal.



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