What Toxic Shame Feels Like: 9 People Share Their Experiences

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.” ~Carl Rogers

My heart races as I raise my hand, eager to contribute yet terrified of the attention it brings. When the teacher picks me, the entire classroom turns toward me, putting me in the spotlight. I feel exposed. Shame floods over me like hot lava, twisting my stomach into knots and flushing my face with heat. I try desperately to stop it, but the throbbing intensity only grows. 

I mutter words I can barely comprehend, feeling like a stranger in my own

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