Have you ever felt shame?

The burning, red hot sensation that there is something really wrong with you? That if the world knew the truth about you, it would demand your execution? Ostracism? Exile? Or worse?

I was raised in shame, grew up in shame, and lived most of my adulthood thus far in shame, convinced that there was something radically, fundamentally, unforgivably wrong with me. And that my continued survival depended on my ability successfully to hide that truth from others – my wife, my family, my colleagues, my friends.

Ironically(?), as my “recovery” has progressed, as I’ve become more and more comfortable in my skin, confident in my ability not to resort to compulsive sex as a way of medicating emotions, I’ve found myself not just un-ashamed, but downright proud. I mean, not proud of the CPOS I was, or of the miserable, cheating, lying, stealing existence I led for years. And not proud of how long it took me to come to terms with the fact that I was powerless over sex, that my life had become unmanageable. But proud of all that’s happened since then.

This isn’t always easy – either for me or for T. Because if you put shame and pride on a vertical axis, and secrecy and openness on a horizontal, pride generally corresponds with openness, secrecy with shame.

And as I’ve occasionally written about before, I have no model for a healthy relationship to the difference between secrets (which I think are generally bad) and privacy (which I think is generally good).

But I’m working it out, slowly.

With your help.


  1. I really appreciate you being as open as you are – and bringing up the topics that you do. It’s really helpful and inspiring. Thanks. 🙂

  2. i absolutely can understand that feeling that something is fundamentally wrong with me. I grew up in a family that was all about intellect and achievement, while I was all about creativity and tree hugging freedom of thought and cosmic My views on sex and love have always been “wrong” and caused by some twisted wiring in me that makes me desire to submit when, b y rights of my upbringing and IQ, I should be a neofeminist. Shame was just in my personal baggage claim. To deal with it I adopted the “make up” mentality. I did everything I could, that everyone else wanted me to do, to the absolute best of my abilty to try and make up for my black sheep status. It sucked….and sucked…and sucked the life out of me..litterally. Then i had a heart attack. I had to evaluate what it was that was stressing me out at not even 40yrs old enough for that to happen. my brother was the one who helped me articulate the issue. He said it took allot of courage to be who i am….i rebutted, “it takes allot of courage to be who everyone thinks I am”

    So I stopped. i stopped putting the mask on every day and being the model anything except the model me. i’m still not there. It wasn’t that long ago. i have always hid myself from those that I was afraid would judge because I was afraid they were right to. Even MasterD and i had communication issues because of it. It’s scary sometimes to just “be” but it’s so much less stressful and MORE FUN. gawd! lol I like myself a whole lot more now, that’s for sure. 🙂

    Really glad you are on that path as well and to have found your blog, Of course.

  3. I do too. In my case, it centers around enjoying certain aspects of play with other partners more than with my wife, my darling wife who encourages and supports my going to see them.

  4. Your post touches on something I am currently going though. I’m not being truthful with the one I love. I’m not lying upfront, but lies of omission. I’m leaving him clues and he may know or think he does, but I also know he won’t ask. He will wait for me to tell him but hope that I dont because denial is easier.

      1. I’ve no idea what I am going to do at this point, I am playing things by ear or lust. Hoping the world doesn’t come crashing down.

  5. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

    I’ve written about this more than once. My Father was an Air Force officer. Both my parents are staunch Lutherans. I was raised mostly in the Southeastern United States. EVERYTHING about me had to be hidden from a young age to keep the bullying away. Being one of the shortest in my class for years didn’t help. I got so good at stuffing things down inside that I have trouble accessing certain feelings without effort now. It’s why NOBODY — not my ex-wife, parents, or most friends — foresaw me leaving my wife after she became emotionally abusive and/or neglectful depending on the day.

    I was lucky enough to find Mrs. AP, who has been helping me through all of my issues and getting me to open up more and find who I am deep inside. Her help has been critical to my coming back from the edge of the abyss. One of the plethora of reasons I started my blog was to describe things like that and provide help for others, to let others know that more than one of us has gone through times of hiding oneself to the point of agony and despair.

    I’m glad I found you. Two postings in and I feel a calling of similarity. Thank you.

    Stay SINful
    Mr. AP

    1. No, thank you. I’m enjoying your blog too. I’m reading on my phone, so not yet able to comment. But I have lots to say. Nice to meet you!

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