Episode 114: The Shame-Blame Trap

Uncategorized Mar 20, 2023


When you feel shame around having viewed pornography, blame is never far behind. Whether you blame yourself and experience more shame or you find someone else to blame for what you’re going through, this is a trap many of my clients are stuck in when they first come to me. In this episode, I’m showing you how to break out of this shame-blame spiral.

Blame is often an effect of shame and the way to stop shaming yourself isn’t to blame others to move out of it. There is always a more true and compassionate way of looking at these circumstances and I’m showing you how in this episode.

Tune in this week to start the work of escaping the shame-blame trap. I’m sharing why, even though it’s difficult to talk yourself out of shame, you can move through it with compassion for yourself, without resorting to blaming others.


If you’re ready to do this work and start practicing unconditional commitment toward quitting your porn habit, sign up to work with me!


What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • What the shame-blame trap might look like in your life.
  • Why this spiral of shaming and blaming can lead to an uncontrollable spiral.
  • How removing the shame takes away the need to blame.
  • Why there is always a more compassionate and true response than shame and blame.
  • How to show up for yourself and other people with radical honesty and love.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast episode 114, The Shame-Blame Trap.

Welcome to the Overcome Pornography for Good podcast, the show that will teach you how to stop viewing pornography and never go back to it. If you want to learn how to train your brain out of a pornography habit, completely shame-free, then this is the show for you. I’m your host Sara Brewer, a certified life and faith-based coach.

Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast this week, glad you’re here. Last week I was so sick. I had COVID and strep throat and it really took me out. I was down for the count for a good three, four days last week. It was a bummer. So I hope you all are staying a little bit more healthy than I have been. 

The other exciting news of my life is that we are moving this week. We are moving. And we are moving just down the road, honestly, five minutes from where I live now, but to a new home that we’re really excited about. We’re going to have a yard. We haven’t had a yard in our current home. And we have two little kids and so the yard is going to be really fun. It’s close to some really nice walking paths and biking paths. And so we’re just really excited and really looking forward to summer. 

I don’t know how winter has been for you guys where you’re at, but here in Utah, oh man, winter is still here. And it’s like in full force, too. It’s so cold and snowy. Usually this time by March we’re having at least a few warm days here and there. Not this year, man. It’s very, very, very much still winter. 

And so we’re hoping spring will pop up soon. Really, really hoping spring pops up soon. And in the meantime, I’m going to use my happy light. You know those lights that give you the vitamin D or the rays that you need from the sun? We’re just going to keep using those. 

Let’s just dive into the content today. I want to talk about the shame-blame trap. So we’ve talked about the shame apathy trap before, and you can go listen to that if that interests you. But the main idea there is that this feeling of apathy, I just don’t even care anymore. I just can’t do it anymore, whatever. I just don’t even care. I’m just apathetic, no feelings towards it. 

A lot of times what I see is that comes after long periods of shame. And so the shame is exhausting and it leads to apathy because we’re just exhausted. So this is different, we’re going to talk about the shame-blame trap. 

I learned this first from Jody Moore, but it’s a similar trap that we fall into where we feel shame and then it turns into blame. And one thing that’s really interesting here is that blame is often an effect of shame. And so the way to stop blaming isn’t to shame yourself out of stop blaming, but it’s just to – Well we’re going to talk about it and get really into that and some examples here. 

But blame is often an effect of shame. So you feel really bad, you feel shame. We wonder why. We wonder what happened. Why am I feeling shame? And we can go one of two ways, right? It’s my fault, more shame. Or it’s their fault, blaming. And so it’s really easy to get into the trap of cycling back and forth between these two. It’s my fault, shame, and it’s their fault, blame. 

So, for example, you might be hanging out with your family and your brother says to you, “Oh, you have such a cute little car.” And that triggers something in you. Maybe you notice the shame first. So what’s wrong with me? I don’t have a nice enough car. My car, there’s something wrong with me because of this car that I have. You feel embarrassed, you feel shame. You feel ashamed, right? 

And then maybe you swing to blame. But what’s wrong with them? They are so condescending. Why would my brother say that? He always does this stuff. It’s his fault that I feel this way. And then maybe back into shame, but there’s also something wrong with me because I don’t have a nice enough car. What’s wrong with me? 

And then maybe into blame, maybe you blame your brother again or maybe blame, well, it’s not my fault. If I didn’t have so many kids that needed braces, or if my employer actually paid me more money or whatever. 

Then more blame and then more shame. Right, because there’s not really a reason to blame if the shame isn’t there in the first place. If your brother says, “Oh, you have such a cute little car,” and you’re like, “Yeah, it is so cute and little and I love it.” There’s no shame there. There’s no reason to go into the blame. 

And so we want to be careful of this shame-blame trap, especially around pornography. And I want to give you some tools to get out of it. So a better solution here is when you feel the shame, you know, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What went wrong?” I want you to ask yourself, okay, what is maybe a more true and a more compassionate answer? 

So, oh, you have such a cute little car. Oh, what’s wrong? What went wrong? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them? Instead, what’s a more compassionate and true answer? Nothing. Nothing, this negative emotion that I have right now that I’m feeling, this embarrassment or whatever, isn’t actually a problem. 

Maybe it’s not actually a problem that I have the car that I have. And maybe I’m feeling some shame and some embarrassment and I’m not able to just talk myself out of those feelings. And that’s okay, but maybe there’s nothing wrong. 

Another truth, both me and my brother, we are both great and we are both not great. There are great things about him and not great things about him. And there are great things about me, and not great things about me. So when I’m finding myself going to that blame trap, I can remind myself we’re both great and not great. 

And what’s another more true and more compassionate answer here is that we both have insecurities. So falling into the blame trap, “Well, what’s wrong with my brother? He’s so condescending.” We both have insecurities. The only reason he’s being condescending is probably because he’s insecure about some things. But also, I’m insecure too because it wouldn’t bother me if I wasn’t insecure about the way my car looks. 

The way out of this shame-blame trap is radical honesty and radical love. Radical love for you, and for the other person. So the radical honesty, what am I making it mean about me that I don’t have a big fancy car? Really sit on that question, and boom, the answer of that is what we want to work on and what we want to look at. What am I making it mean about me that I don’t have a big fancy car? That’s the radical honesty part. 

And then the radical shame, how can I explore this with radical, almost insane amounts of love? That’s how we’re going to do it, okay? If we just keep the radical honesty, it’s going to be easy to fall back into the shame. So we also want to make sure we have the radical love with the radical honesty. The radical honesty is going to tell us what to work on, the radical love, how can I explore this with radical amounts of love, is going to tell us how to work on it. 

So another example is porn. We see this come up all the time with porn. You view porn, you feel shame, what’s wrong with me? And then that shame-blame trap. The blame is going to want to go into blaming circumstances, right? If I wouldn’t have been given this grade, I wouldn’t have felt so bad. And my professor just hates me and why did he give me this grade? 

And then swing back into the shame. Actually, it’s my fault that I got this grade. What’s wrong with me? Back to blaming the professor, why can’t I just do this? He doesn’t teach good enough. She doesn’t teach good enough. Shame, blame, shame, blame. 

View porn, shame, what’s wrong with me? And then maybe blaming the circumstance. If they would have gone out with me again, if they wouldn’t have told me they weren’t interested in me, it’s their fault. If they wouldn’t have worn those clothes at the gym, if my boss wasn’t a jerk, if my wife would have sex with me. I want you to be really – As I’m talking about this you’re going to start to become more aware of when this really shows up and happens in your life. 

This shame-blame trap is always going to keep you stuck. We’ve got to be really, really aware of it. So you feel shame because of whatever happened, maybe you viewed porn, you have thoughts, brings shame, you have conditioning, brings shame. And then it goes into blame. 

Blaming other people, blaming your spouse, blaming your boss, blaming random people that you saw at the gym, blaming people you saw on the internet, blaming bad circumstances. Swinging back into shame, going back into blame, it’s a really icky cycle to get stuck into. So how we get out of it, radical honesty, radical love. So radical honesty, I viewed porn because I was feeling rejected. Breathe into the emotion that that brings up. 

Now, the thing here is that as you’re bringing that radical honesty, you’re going to want to breathe into and accept any emotion that that brings up. Sometimes we avoid being honest because we’re afraid of what we’re going to feel when we’re honest. So if you’re willing to feel whatever it is that comes up when you’re honest, you’re going to make so much more progress. 

So it might be shame. It might be disappointment. It might be just bummed, right? But this radical honesty, I viewed porn because I was feeling rejected. I viewed porn because I didn’t process my urges. I viewed porn because I was feeling resentful of my spouse. 

Now, this radical honesty is always going to be about you. Why did you do what you did? It’s not going to be about the other person. The radical honesty is not, well, my wife didn’t have sex with me and now I viewed porn. The radical honesty is I viewed porn because I was feeling X, Y, or Z, or because I experienced this and I didn’t know how to handle it. 

And then always including that with the radical love. It’s almost like and it’s okay. And I’m going to fix it. I’m going to work through it. And this is the truth and I’m going to love myself while I’m feeling this shame. 

A really important note here is that radical love doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to get rid of shame and all the other emotions and just feel rainbows and daisies, and we’re going to feel really great about our slip up. We’re going to feel really great about what we did. 

No, radical love is just holding yourself while you’re feeling that. I’m being honest and I’m feeling shame. And instead of falling into the blame trap, I’m going to hold myself and love myself while I’m experiencing this. I’m a human who makes mistakes and feels shame, and nothing has gone terribly wrong. 

So another example, maybe your spouse is feeling betrayed by your porn use. Shame is what’s wrong with me, there’s something wrong with me. Blame, it’s their fault. It’s their fault that they’re feeling so betrayed. They just need to be more compassionate and understanding, then I won’t feel so bad about myself. They need to have more self-love for themselves, and then I wouldn’t feel so bad. 

Okay, how we’re going to start approaching this, again, radical honesty and radical love. So radical honesty, I’m not trustworthy to my spouse. My spouse does not trust me right now. She’s feeling hurt. Radical love, saying to yourself, ooh, that is kind of a big thing to chew on. How can I hold myself and love myself through this while I’m feeling all this stuff and coming to this realization that my spouse is feeling this? 

How can I remind myself that this isn’t the end and that shame is a lie? And I have some stuff to work through and I’m feeling some shame and I’m feeling some guilt. How can I love myself and hold myself through this? 

Okay, radical honesty, radical love. If you want some help with this, please come to a coaching call and let us help you with this and coach you through this. If you’re not in the program, come and join us, sarabrewer.com/workwithme. It’s lifetime access to all the coaching calls and all the program content, all the extra workshops, all the stuff you’ve heard about on the podcast. It’s really an incredible program and it just gets better and better every single month, every single year. We have some really great stuff coming up. 

Okay, but in the meantime let’s start being aware of any shame-blame traps that we fall into and then start approaching those shame-blame traps with radical honesty and radical love. 

All right, you guys have a great week, we’ll talk to you later. Bye bye. 

I want to invite you to come and listen to my free class, How To Overcome Pornography For Good Without Using Willpower. We talk about how to stop giving in to urges without pure willpower or relying on phone filters so that you can actually stop wanting pornography. 

We talk about how to stop giving up after a few weeks or months. And spoiler alert, the answer isn’t to have more willpower. And then lastly, we talk about how to make a life without porn easily sustainable and permanent. We talk about how to stop giving up after a few weeks or months. And spoiler alert, the answer isn't to have more willpower. And then lastly, we talk about how to make a life without porn easily sustainable and permanent. 

If you’re trying to quit porn, this class is a game changer. So you can go and sign up at Sarabrewer.com/masterclass, and it is totally free.

Enjoy the Show?


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.