I have a hard time writing about Toxic Shame, as it was so insidious and very painful for me to have. I don’t like reminding myself of how this felt as it was one of the worse feelings ever and was so very hard to recover from. I did need professional help to get over this one!! I am so very grateful I have!!

I found this article a little while ago and thought to share it here as it explains how I felt in the past, and why, and it shows some of the things I have done to get over this Toxic Shame over the past year. This has been my experience and this article written by someone else, explains what I went through a lot better than I ever could.

I spent just over the past year learning about and recovering from, the Toxic Shame that was placed upon me by the words and actions of others, including the Toxic Adult Bullies I had as a Tenant.


Recognize shame and understand its triggers. Challenge the shameful messages and change the narrative. Connect with others and speak the shame.

As Brene Brown explains, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” If shame is a habit of hearing pervasively negative messages so much that we believe them, the solution is to start to tell ourselves something different.

It felt like I had ants crawling all over, feeling the little burn of their thousands of little legs running up and down my skin, making my skin crawl. It was like one of my worst nightmares, standing on a stage, with a spotlight centred on me, while people out in the audience made caustic comments and laughed and pointed at me. I became the center of attention in such a negative way, it was demoralizing for me.

I was “exposed” by Tenants who made false claims about my character, intellect, appearance, and personality, in person on the property with other Tenants, even their guests and family members who came to visit, and online on their many websites.

After a while, I started internalizing this shame placed upon me. I started taking on the responsibility of it being my fault, as I was made to feel that way by the reactions of people around me. In the end, I isolated myself in order to protect myself from further emotional injury. I hid away out of extreme fear of more personal attacks on my character, intellect, appearance, and personality. I was also afraid that someone would get mad enough over their false allegations that they would physically attack me, as I was seeing it going on in the World on the news.

I was the center of a firestorm of putdowns, criticisms, and rejections by everyone around me, as the article below explains better. “ It usually occurs as a result of criticism that focuses on the integral nature of a person, such as someone’s character, intellect, appearance, or personality. It becomes toxic when it is repeated to the point that the person experiencing the shaming then internalizes it.”

I have written about shame before, on June 11, 2022, and how it wasn’t mine to feel. https://stellareddy.xyz/no-shame-for-stella-reddy/. In that post, I talked about how the exposure of my personal information by Tenants, with their outrageous fabrications of what they claim I was doing, made me feel this toxic shame. Every post on stellareddy.com was geared towards invalidating me as a human being, and they all brought out Toxic Shame.

It was this post I did, and the articles I read at that time, that started me on this journey to recover from Toxic Shame. It has been very empowering for me!

The actions of KR & AR brought this Toxic Shame into my life, beginning with their lie of a prior meeting, and I have learned it is theirs to feel, they did these things, they wrote those words and they said what they said. I didn’t “force” them to do anything as they are adults responsible for themselves and what they do.

Myself, and the property owners, were not responsible for their comfort. Inconvenience to Tenants, the issues of what Tenants have to experience as a result of an eviction, are not anyone else’s responsibility but their own. All the comments made in their posts online in all their domains, try to place blame on others for bad experiences they have, when in reality, they are responsible for their own lives, and what happens within them, not anyone else! If they experience hardships, it usually started with something they said or did, not anyone else!

As it says one of the main things you need to realize is the “Root cause of the Toxic Shame”. For me, it was “inflicted by the words of a bully” who was KR & AR, within the property with the gossip and rumours they spread and by their websites and the malicious narratives they wrote within their posts. It was the nasty emails they sent during the HRTO process and all their documents for that filled with false allegations against me of every sort you could think of. It was also the lack of support from the property owners over the Tenant’s false allegations of racism and discrimination. and it was the avoidance of other Tenants and not wanting to get involved.

As it says, “Over time, these comments can make you begin to believe that you’re not enough, or even that you are a bad person.” I ended up feeling it was my fault that the owners of Alto Properties Inc, David Strashin, Kevin Lundy, Vanada Patel, my various family members, and even Cherie White and her husband, were also being abused by these Tenants very publicly on websites.

With counselling and all my reading, I came to see I was not to blame for anyone else being abused by KR & AR, they are responsible for their own words and actions.

Everything KR & AR have done was in an attempt to control me and everything I did, or didn’t do. They didn’t want me speaking up against them, wanted me cowering in a corner afraid to come out to more of the malicious narratives they were spreading about me to others, either in person or online. Each time I did respond, even during HRTO, another post showed up on stellareddy.com gaslighting what I said.

It took time, but I got over feeling Toxic Shame. As the article says below, I had to work on my self-talk and with mindfulness, I came to understand what was happening and I learned how to stop it and place all the shame back where it belongs, on the actions and words of Toxic Tenants, their enablers, and anyone else who pushed me down during this situation.

I will always do whatever I can to improve myself and my mental health, even my physical health and I am proof that “Moving beyond the hurt caused by toxic shame is both possible and life-changing. Free from shame, you will be able to cultivate a new, positive relationship with yourself and those around you.  You will see the world on your own terms, not those imposed on you by a bully or an abuser.

These days, I see the World on my terms, not those imposed upon me by Toxic Adult Bullies in their many domains and their contents and it has been life-changing.

Being free of Toxic Shame has allowed me to cultivate a new, positive relationship with myself and those around me, even new people I have met! It has given me the freedom to just be myself out in public once again!

I went shopping yesterday, and as I was standing in an aisle looking at some products, another lady came to stand next to me, and before I knew it, I started a conversation with her about the products in front of us. We stood there for about 20 minutes talking, and even laughing at times. By the time we were done, we exchanged phone numbers and promise to meet for coffee soon. That conversation I struck up yesterday with that lady is a result of my recovery from All the Toxic Shame placed on me by Toxic Adult Bullies.

It was hard, and I have to admit, I still have bouts at times, but with mindfulness, I can get out of it a lot faster. With time, I expect it to be all gone!

Recovery from Toxic Shame is possible! Now that I know what it is, I am more protected and I won’t ever feel that way ever again!

Toxic shame is a serious threat to personal wellbeing, but professional support and treatment can help you understand, manage and eventually overcome its effects.

Shame is one of those feelings that buries itself deep into our psyches, an emotional wound that rarely completely heals. If we are lucky, we experience it only a few times, inflicted by the words of a bully, or even by ourselves as a reaction to a particularly egregious mistake. In a small dose, the poison of shame is something we can gradually recover from, even if we never completely forget it.

When shame is regularly doled out, particularly by those we rely on for support, it is incredibly toxic. It negatively affects our sense of self, our relationships with others, and the way we view the world. 

What is Toxic Shame? 

Shame is a powerful emotion involving a poor view of oneself and a sense of worthlessness. It usually occurs as a result of criticism that focuses on the integral nature of a person, such as someone’s character, intellect, appearance, or personality. It becomes toxic when it is repeated to the point that the person experiencing the shaming then internalises it.

Shaming often begins in childhood, and may be employed by a parent or other authority figure as a method to correct behaviour. Instead of using constructive language that focuses on a task or action, people who shame put the person at the center of what needs to be corrected, implying that the person themselves are somehow wrong or inadequate. 

It is the difference between saying, “The next time you clean your room, I need you to work on making sure everything is put away neatly,” and “Your room is always such a mess – you’re so lazy, it’s disgusting.” Over time, these comments can make you begin to believe that you’re not enough, or even that you are a bad person. 

Abusive personal relationships often feature shaming language or actions as a way to control and manipulate someone, tearing apart their self-worth and confidence in order to make them believe that the only person who would put up with them is their abuser. Shame can also come from neglect, as those who are repeatedly denied their physical or emotional needs may begin to believe that they do not deserve those things.

Regardless of where shame comes from, its impacts on a person’s emotional, mental and physical health are powerful and sobering. No one deserves to live with the burdens of shame.

Recognising Some Key Features of Toxic Shame

Toxic shame can be insidious, and potentially affect your mental health to the point where it is difficult to pinpoint it. Here are some common characteristics of toxic shame:

  • The feelings of shame cut deeply and are long-lasting
  • The shame also manifests in physical symptoms, like unexplained pain, stomach problems, or headaches
  • The shame may be hidden in your subconscious, but come flooding back with certain triggers
  • The shame is not only brought on by something external but by your own thoughts
  • You feel anxious about doing anything which may bring about shaming
  • The shame results in a sense of inadequacy and feelings of depression and hopelessness
  • The shame may be associated with images, beliefs or voices from childhood
  • The shame creates a negative personal narrative in your head that is doubtful, critical, and insulting

Effects of Toxic Shame

Because toxic shame distorts our sense of self, the effects of it can be catastrophic to one’s personal goals, relationships and general outlook. There are several key ways that toxic shame can seriously impact your life.

Toxic Shame Isolates You

Just as we instinctively flinch and draw our hand back when we brush up against a hot stove, the pain of shame causes us to emotionally withdraw, turning inwards to try to tend to our wounds. When shame is regularly inflicted, it can cause a more permanent retreat away from others in an attempt to protect oneself from further emotional injury. Unfortunately, this avoidance may extend even to those who are loving and supportive as shame erodes the foundational element of trust.

Toxic Shame Seeps into Your Emotions

For some people, shame is accompanied by a powerful and righteous sense of outrage at the way they have been treated. However, this pent-up anger may be directed at people who are not responsible for the shaming, or at one’s own self, and can result in seemingly inexplicable emotional outbursts or self-destructive behaviour. 

Sadness, embarrassment, fear, and anxiety are other common emotional responses to toxic shame that can become all-encompassing, permanently casting a negative tone to most interactions and experiences.

Toxic Shame Tends to Bring on Negative Coping Mechanism

The pain of toxic shame is always present, and many who struggle to live with it turn to coping mechanisms that are unhealthy. Substance abuse, self-harm, or disordered eating are just a few ways that people attempt to manage the persistent discomfort of toxic shame. While these mechanisms may provide some immediate relief, they typically result in further feelings of shame or self-loathing, perpetuating the cycle of shame and prolonging real healing.

Toxic Shame Gets in the Way of Good Relationships

When you have internalised that you are not good enough, this has profound impacts on the people you choose to have relationships with, as well as how much of yourself you allow to be present in relationships. Partners may find you distant or evasive, which can affect trust. You may also be with people that don’t treat you well, or that you don’t feel a deep connection with, because you believe you don’t deserve any differently.

Even in healthy relationships, feelings of toxic shame can be triggered by natural interactions – a difference of opinions, a well-meaning comment about behaviour, or even suggestions about new activities to try can tap into deeply buried feelings of shame and provoke an emotional reaction that may seem completely out of nowhere.

To stop the effects of toxic shame from wreaking havoc on fundamental aspects of your life, it’s important to commit to recognising and addressing it so that real healing may begin.

How to Heal from Toxic Shame

Moving beyond the hurt caused by toxic shame is both possible and life-changing. Free from shame, you will be able to cultivate a new, positive relationship with yourself and those around you.  You will see the world on your own terms, not those imposed on you by a bully or an abuser. Here are several steps to take when turning your attention to recovering from shame:

  1. identify the root cause of shame – in order to fully remove shame from your psyche, you must know what put it there in the first place. This may be painful to consider, but facing this will ultimately help you in fully addressing it.
  2. Understand your self-talk – when you suffer from toxic shame, those beliefs tend to be embedded and oft-repeated in your own inner narrative. Understand that for a while during your healing process, the self-talk you are going to hear will be reflective of this shame, and try not to react to it.
  3. Be gentle with yourself – we all make mistakes. This isn’t related to you being a defective person, but what ties you into the rest of humanity. Mistakes are meant to be made, learned from and grown upon. Allow yourself the opportunity to move forward.
  4. Be mindful – toxic shame has likely crept up in many of your thoughts and feelings. By simply noticing it and understanding it as shame, you take away the need to react to it, which can set a powerful precedent for operating in ways not driven by shame. If you need to, talk to a trusted friend and partner about what you are feeling to help break the isolation of shame and get validation and support.
  5. Seek professional support – if you’ve recognized that you are struggling with toxic shame, it is likely that it’s been affecting you for a long period of time. Reaching out for professional support can ensure that you have all the resources you need to remove this poison from your life, as well as the backing of a compassionate, experienced community during your healing process.