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  • Brian Petermeyer, MA, LMHCA

The Barricade of Shame

3 Detours to Evade the Shame Roadblock



Change is hard. I think we’ve all experienced this to be true. I also believe change is hard because it SEEMS so easy. We think to ourselves that we’ll just change our mind about something and we just…do it, boom changed! Easy enough right?? Not so fast.


The road towards change is like driving in the Pacific Northwest. There could be rain, wind, snow, and sunshine all during the same drive. These variables can make driving a little difficult, but while driving on the road towards change, progress is typically shut down when we eventually run into that frustrating barricade saying ROAD CLOSED. This barricade is what I like to call “the barricade of shame.” It is what halts our movement forward and forces us to stop and sometimes turn around. Shame has a strong voice but it’s often difficult to recognize because it is so covert. For me, it usually sounds like “you’re weak”, “you lack discipline,” “you’re an idiot for thinking you could do that” or “you’re a coward.” Aaaand there’s a little look behind the curtain into my brain and the lines I often associate with shame. I think it’s important to note that it has taken me years of therapy and education to help me pin down the shame phrases in my life. Personally and professionally, I emphatically believe the greatest roadblock to change is shame.


Something I am currently trying to change is going to bed earlier. I’m often tired in the afternoons and find myself dozing off while reading bedtime books to my girls. Because I am so tired, I struggle to wake up earlier in the morning to have some quiet time to myself. It would "seem easy" to just go to bed earlier, right? Well, shame definitely has something to say about my desire for change. Just when I’m off to a good start on the road towards change, I once again find myself face to face with the barricade of shame telling me to slow my roll and turn around.


Taking down the roadblock of shame requires a shift in our approach to change. While roadblocks are sometimes inevitable, I have discovered 3 detours to evade the roadblock of shame.

  1. Be curious. The question I'm asking myself is this. "What about the evening keeps me up for an hour or two later than desired?" Perhaps it’s revenge on the day that got away? (I love this great article on Revenge Sleep Procrastination!) YES, that is correct for me. But for you, what is it you’re actually looking for, feeling, wanting, and/or needing?

  2. Don’t go alone. Shame loves to corner and bully us when we are in isolation. Is there someone that can join you on your journey towards change? A partner? Friend? Roommate? Perhaps a licensed therapist? As soon as we speak of what we want with a trusted person we’ve taken a HUGE step towards evading the barricade of shame.

  3. Be kind. Yes, you know how to drive, and you know the destination, but sometimes we are thrown off by what life has tossed our way and we need to regroup. The one thing these all have in common is that they all have us leaning in and towards rather than out and away. Lean into the struggle to understand it rather than moving away because we don’t like how it’s going. The drive towards change requires curiosity, community, and kindness. When we consider and implement these shame detours, I believe we can experience the healing, growth, and change we all deserve.

What road of change are you on? What obstacles have you experienced? Can you begin to put a name to your roadblock of shame? If you’d like to set up a free 20-minute phone consultation to talk more about how to evade the shame roadblock then feel free to reach me HERE.






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