God and Sexual Assault

Misplaced Shame

Are you feeling misplaced shame this Christmas?

Shame: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

(This is the definition of shame from the dictionary.)

As I was thinking about this, and praying on it, I realized I’ve had misplaced shame.

Trauma, especially early trauma in childhood, causes this as well as people who are not looking out for the best interest of us.

I realized around the holiday time I have a lot of shame about telling people I don’t spend it with my “family” of origin. This is because when I approached my first abuser in 2009, I was no longer allowed to come to gatherings unless they gave me “permission”. This made me feel ashamed.

However, the definition of shame “is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of a wrong or foolish behavior.”

I did not do a wrong or foolish behavior. I had sinful actions done against me which caused repercussions for both parties. The consequence of those actions has led to me not having not only a family of my own, but any connection with my family of origin, and this should not lead to shame on my part.

It is not my fault the people in my family made the choices they did. It is not my fault they abused me, and it is not my fault my holidays look different than the “typical” family. (Which by the way is a lie, because there is no “typical” family.

However, when people are talking about their family traditions around Christmas, it makes it hard to answer or participate in the conversation. Which leads to shame which is misplaced. Because as survivors we feel the shame, but it is not our shame to feel. It’s OK your life looks different than the “norm” and the moment in time social media reels out there. It’s OK.

All this has led me to realize my true family is God’s family, with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

What misplaced shame are you carrying this holiday season? Are you carrying shame which really belongs to someone else? Is this the freedom God has for you? No.

Ask God to help you lay down the shame which is not yours and pick up His freedom. Remember He loves you beyond your wildest imagination! As you continue to seek to be whole and holy, ask for His guidance to accept consequences for the choices you have made, but not to accept the shame and consequences for things which were not your fault.

My prayer is you experience the freedom God has for you emotionally and spiritually as you continue to heal.

Let’s pray today:

Father God,

Please help me lay down shame which is not mine to carry and accept the freedom of grace and mercy and love You give. Help me place responsibility for actions on the appropriate person and not on myself.

Do not let Satan convince me I have less worth or should be ashamed about sharing my experiences and holiday plans with others. Help me release their judgments and remember their reaction is not my responsibility. Thank you for loving me, and thank you above all, for sending Jesus so I have joy and peace and hope despite the evil from this world.

In Jesus Name,



© 2022 Susan M Clabaugh. All rights reserved.

2 comments on “Misplaced Shame

  1. Such a great reminder to us all. Have no guilt around this either. Guilt is to me:

    Gulping other peoples responsibility
    United against yourself
    Imagining their life (instead of your own)
    Lies, Lies, Lies
    Traitor to yourself

    Father help us not feel shame or guilt and enjoy this season of celebrating you!

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