Left: An emotional Jeff Emmerson holds his long-awaited pardon from the Canadian government in early 2007, something he worked very hard to realize (to prove himself in society by taking responsibility for his actions and clearing his name through the elimination of his former criminal record).
– “Lots of therapy and self-honesty helped me gradually break through destructive patterns and begin to learn new, healthier perspectives on life and relationships, thank God. It took a ton of work investing in getting to the heart of my thought and behavior patterns, but it changed my life – literally.”
Inner Shame Can Appear Through Destructive Behaviors
While I’m not you, shame is shame. Yes, each of us process and allow our feelings and sense of self to appear in different ways in day to day life, but one thing is for sure: shame and self-sabotage have familiar patterns in human beings. Whether it’s pushing relationships away, being abusive in one way or another, putting others down constantly (to make up for feelings of failure and inadequacy), drug use, self-harming in one way or another or sabotaging your own progress in life (for example), shame is a toxic thing that we’re all too commonly taught by parents, teachers or peers in most cases. It can take root in our sense of self-worth and stay with us for our entire lives, causing damage everywhere we go if we don’t recognize it.
Recognizing Personal Thought and Behavior Patterns Is The First Step To Healing
Until I felt handcuffs around my wrists and being under arrest, I didn’t fully grasp just how much my anger and fear/trust issues with my Mother had impacted my development relationship-wise. Wow, was that a wake-up call, and it took several years to even begin to peel back the layers of just how hurt and viciously angry I was at her for all she did to my sister and I growing up.
There’s a ton online when it comes to learning about shame, self-sabotage and how these two impact people into adulthood. I want to hammer home the fact that we can all choose to work on our patterns toward living better, happier lives. Concepts like compassion-focused therapy and inner child work can make a massive difference in your life, and I know that first-hand.
Self-Sabotage Is A Cry For Help
When we think about it, and as I look back on how I burned bridges with numerous job recruiters while pursuing a dream I had for many years, we see that self-sabotage is a pattern in itself. Regardless of what area of life it happens in, or how it takes shape, self-sabotage can be stopped. That’s the great news!
Sure – it pretty much eliminated my hopes of working with certain companies, but hey – life goes on and sometimes dreams that aren’t achieved turn into even better ones, as hard as that might be to accept in the moment (and it was hard for me – it nearly broke me, in fact…I wanted the goal with every ounce of my soul). Therapy and gradual self-growth through learning about my past have made a life-changing difference. In hindsight, I had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way, as opposed to learning them from watching others make mistakes.
Your life is a journey, never forget. Even though I tried to kill myself in 2011, even that horrible time taught me lessons that have ultimately made me stronger and wiser, not to mention more grateful for my life than ever. It’s funny what a shift in how you see yourself and the world around you can do. It can change your entire future path, in fact.
From a jail cell, hundreds of jobs, a criminal record, severe anxiety, despair and a suicide attempt (and a later psych ward stay in 2013) to being happily married, signing a book deal and becoming a successful entrepreneur (plus a lot more that’s in my up-coming book entitled Beyond ADHD), I’m living proof of the changes that are possible when you keep going and learning, even when it gets exhausting. Be gentle on yourself and remember: You have way more control over how your future goes than you likely realize right now.