Interior Integration for Catholics

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Dr. Peter discusses the impact of unresolved shame on the spiritual life, how it separate us from the real God and impels us toward negative God images. Bringing in the spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, Dr. Peter discusses the remedies for unresolved shame in the spiritual life, focusing on childlike trust, humility and repentance.

Show Notes

  1. Intro: Welcome to the podcast Coronavirus Crisis: Carpe Diem!, where by God’s grace, you and I rise up and embrace the possibilities and opportunities for spiritual and psychological growth right now, in these days, all grounded in a Catholic worldview.   We are going beyond mere resilience, to rising up to the challenges in our lives and becoming even healthier in the natural and the spiritual realms.  I’m clinical psychologist Peter Malinoski and I am here with you, to be your host and guide.  This podcast is part of Souls and Hearts, our online outreach at, which is all about shoring up our natural foundation for the Catholic spiritual life, all about overcoming psychological obstacles to being loved and to loving God and neighbor -- it short, this podcast is all about relationships -- it's all about becoming much more relational in our lives and in our faith.  
    1. This is episode 45, released on December 7, 2020
    2. Thank you for being here with me.  
    3. and it is the ninth episode in our series on shame.  
    4. and it is titled: How Shame Leads Us to Idolatry
    5. We are now Diving into the spiritual dimension of shame.
    6. This podcast is all about transformation -- fundamental transformation of all of us -- all parts of us.  Even the parts we keep secret, hidden.  
      1. This podcast is all about removing psychological obstacles to following the two great commandments
      2. Not entertainment.  Not about having a good time, just enjoying a entertaining podcast, funny and distracting.
      3. No this podcast is about developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, a personal relationship with God our spiritual Father, and a personal relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, our spiritual Mother
      4. Any psychological obstacles you have to relating with others, you will have in relating to God.  
        1. You will bring those relational inhibitions, those relational problems into your spiritual life because they are formed into you and they have not been healed through experiencing throughout your whole being who God really is.   
        2. Spiritual realm is not some special place where the relational limitations you have are just dispensed, you're no longer trouble with them.  No, you are still you in the spiritual realm.  
      5. Any psychological issues you have with your earthly father and mother you will bring into your relationship with God as Father and Mary as Mother.  
        1. Child psychologist -- transferences
  2. Two major assumptions in the natural realm for why we don't have a personal relationship with a loving God.
    1. Assumption 1.  We do not believe that we are worthy to be in relationship with God -- driven by shame
    1. Assumption 2.  We do not believe that God is worthy to be in relationship with us -- driven by negative God images -- see episodes 23-29
      1. Idolatry.  We are not worshiping God as He is. 

    1. And here is the more tragic part:  We stay with those assumptions, even though they are so manifestly problematic and harmful.  We don't seek, we assume that assumptions one and two are true.  

    1. Her is the great offer I am making to you.  I am inviting you on an adventure, an adventure to discover who you really are, an adventure to discover who God really is, and adventure in learning to relate and to connect with our God, our God who is personal, who is relational, who is loving, who is Love Himself.  

    1. If you really knew who God was and you really knew who you are, and you really knew how God truly saw you -- you would always run to His loving arms.  You really would.  

    1. But you don't know these realities at a deep, integrated level.  We know them to some degree in our heads, in a theological way, in an abstract way, we can quote the Catechism.  But not in our hearts, our souls, and our bones.  

    1. In fact, at a gut level, at an intuitive level  the vast majority of us have varying degrees of certainty or confidence in very warped assumptions about ourselves and assumptions about God.  These assumptions are wildly different from what God reveals to us about who he is and who we are through Scripture, through Tradition, and through the perennial teachings of our Catholic Church.  In our hearts, in our bodies, in the depths of our souls, in our unconscious, We believe in lies.  This is so common.  And it's deadly and so much of it is driven by shame.  

  4. Review of Shame
    1. Definition of Shame
      1. Explored this in a lot of detail in Episode 37, the first in our series on shame.  Shame is: 
        1. The primary problem we have in the natural realm -- foundational problem.  Grace perfects nature, if our natural foundation is infused with shame, it makes the foundation for our spiritual life shaky, unreliable, uncertain.  
        2. That gives birth to so many secondary problems -- we tend to focus on the secondary problems, the problems that are further downstream -- so we are not getting to the root.  

      1. Shame is:  a primary emotion, a bodily reaction, a signal,  a judgement, and an action. (Click to episode 38 for a summary)
      1. Qualities of shame
        1. Shame is hidden.  Hidden from others, hidden from God, often hidden from the therapist, hidden from self.  

        1.   Shame inhibits positive emotions

      1. Strategies for coping with shame

    1. Chronic shame needs to be attenuated, reduced, titrated, ordered, regulated. 
      1. Chronic shame develops when a little boy or little girl has a sense of being rejected, unwanted, a burden.  
      2. When the child changes behaviors, does what he can to be better in the eyes of the adult and still is rejected, he can conclude that he just is a bad kid.  
      3. The difficulty is in the response of the others -- the caregivers.  
      4. But the child bears the burden of shame caused by the shaming of the caregivers.  
      5. Child sees parts of himself that are unacknowledged and unacceptable
      6. Ostracized or invaded.  

    1. And we assume that God responds to us like our shaming caregivers -- soulset.  We generalize from our experiences of shame and assume that God is like those caregivers.  This is called a transference.  
      1. Transference is a phenomenon within psychotherapy in which the feelings a person has about their parents, as one example, are unconsciously redirected or transferred onto the therapist. It usually concerns feelings from a primary relationship during childhood.

    1. Ubiquity of Shame.  

  5. Shame as the silent killer -- Episode 37
    1. Shame can lead to spiritual death. 

    1. Shame is the Silent Killer who Stalks you from inside  (episode 37) and despair is the murder weapon. 

    1. Spiritual view on this
      1. Primary struggle is against powers and principalities. 

      1. Satan's goals -- personal relationship with you. 
        1. Satan is real, folks.  Big effort in certain very mainstream Christian circles to undermine belief in Satan.  
          1. Satan loves this.  Very helpful and useful for him.  
          2. He wants to work unobserved.
          3. IFS recognizes malevolent spiritual forces -- has a name for them -- unattached burdens.  
        2. Blindness -- keeping us in the dark
        3. Despair, giving up  

    1. Nathanson (1992, 1997)  Four defensive scripts for avoiding shame:  attacking self, attacking others, isolating from others, avoiding inner experiences.  
      1. Attack self  -- I am unworthy.  I am bad, I am nothing.  
      2. Attacking others first -- preemptive.  Sarcasm, cutting humor,
        1. Condemning others.  

        1. This can include God.  Via poor God images.   

        1. All distorted God images are attacks on God that allow us to justify cutting off the relationship or distancing ourselves from Him.  Episodes 23-29
        1. God images of parts -- modes of operating
      5. Isolate from others -- Isolating from God.  Cutting ourselves off from relationship
        1. So we won't be seen
        1. So the shame won't be known, brought to light, increased
        1. Genesis 3.  What does God do?
        1. Shame can drive flight from God.  
          1. Avoiding God
            1. Not praying -- not entering into relational prayer.  Mechanical vocal prayer.  Prayer before meals.  

          2. Not going to confession -- big one.  
          3. Fantasy that we will, by our own power, somehow redeem ourselves, make ourselves acceptable to God.  
            1. Pelagianism
            2. Or somehow just waiting will change something.  
          4. Or just not thinking about the future -- not looking where this road will lead.  Shortsighted vision.  Some parts when they are in control do not look very far ahead.  

      9. Avoid inner experiences
        1. We are so afraid of ourselves -- parts afraid of parts.
          1. Makes sense.  We can't resolve the situation by ourselves.  

        1. Controlling-caregiving -- viewing others as more deserving, as more in needs
        1. Denying my own needs by extending myself to serve others
          1. but it's not out of charity -- it’s a defense, a way of running away from my own shame
          1. keeping just ahead of my shame shadow.  

  1. Despair is the murder weapon, despair is the knife.  
    1. Unforgiveable sin -- blaspheming against the Holy Spirit
    2. Satan uses our shame.  
      1. Work with the parts of us burdened with shame that are abandoned, exiled within us.    
      2. Wants us to be low-maintenance, caught in prisons that we maintain.  Parts of us like prison guards keeping shame at bay.  
  2. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ
    1. Choosing our own spiritual reading -- problem
    1. Wretched worm spiritual literature
      1. Helpful for some -- parts with strong narcissistic defenses.  

  4. Shame and Pride
  5. Antidote to Shame is Love:  There is one thing that disarms shame.  One thing.  And that one thing is Love.  Real authentic Love.  Charity.   Love rescues us from shame.  It transforms us, makes us immune to the shame who no longer has power over us.  Love heals us from shame.  Not our own efforts.  So let's talk about love.
  6. God's message
    1. I want a relationship with you, right now, as you are, with all parts of you, all of you, including all that you consider undesirable in you.  I can heal all of it.  But not without your permission.  

    1. Nothing too dark, too shameful for God to accept in you and to heal
  8. Healthy ways to deal with Shame
    1. Childlike trust in God -- Absolute confidence in God, especially in God's love for us as a good Father for a little child.  Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God is made up of such as these.  
      1. Childlike trust in God -- Need to be small, like a little child, like a parvulus -- see episode 30 -- How small are we supposed to be, really?
        1. Recommend book:  The complete spiritual doctrine of St. Therese of Lisieux.  Fr. François Jamart, OCD.  Society of St. Paul, 1961.  

        1. St. Therese of Lisieux: "In order to belong to Jesus we must be little, but there are few souls who aspire to remain in that littleness."  

        1. St. Therese of Lisieux: "My peace consists in remaining small; hence, when I fall on the road I can quickly rise again and Jesus takes me by the hand."  

        1. We want to be big -- because we believe at a gut level that is safer -- we want to solve our problems by ourselves, we want to make ourselves presentable, overcome our sins, faults, failings, by our own efforts, we want to take over the role of God for ourselves, we want to be God for ourselves, we try to redeem ourselves.  And that doesn't work.  
          1. Proverbs 3:5 --  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on our own insight.  RSVCE2
          2. Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not upon thy own prudence.  Douay Rheims.  

        1. Nothing pleases God more than for us to trust in him like a child, like an infant or toddler in a good father, knowing by faith first that he will provide for all our needs.  That honors Him more than anything else.  More than any penance, any mortification, any sacrifice, anything else we could give him.  
          1. St. Therese of Lisieux: "In order to remain a little child, we must expect everything from our good Lord, as a child expects everything from his father, without worrying about anything.  
          2. St. Therese of Lisieux: "The thing that pleases Jesus when He beholds my soul is that I love my littleness and my poverty and I have a blind hope in His mercy.

        1. We won't feel it at first -- this is based on faith and hope.  

      2. We want to trust in us.  That won't work.
        1. Not trusting ourselves -- giving up the unwarranted confidence we have in our own vision.

    1. Humility in addition to the childlike trust and absolute confident in God.
      1. St. Therese of Lisieux:  "If I am humble, I am entitled, without offending the good Lord, to do small, foolish thing until I die.  Look at little children.  They constantly break things, tear them up, fall, and all the while, in spite of that, they love their parents very much.  Well, when I fall in this way, like a child, it makes me realize my nothingness and my weakness all the better and I say to myself: 'What would become of me?  What would I be able to accomplish if I were to rely on my own powers alone?'"
      1. St. Therese of Lisieux: "Sanctity does not consist in this or that practice.  It consists In a disposition of the heart which makes us humble and little in God's arms, conscious of our weakness and confident even unto audacity in the goodness of the Father."    

    1. Repentance:
      1. Shifting our vision from our sins, faults, weaknesses, failings, limitations, our shame -- to God's goodness and his love for us.  Trusting in it before we feel it.  Scene in the 1989 film Indiana Jones the Last Crusade -- the leap of faith.  Villain says to Indiana Jones:  It's time to ask yourself what you believe.  The narrow bridge appears only after Indiana Jones steps into the chasm.  

      1. St. Therese of Lisieux:  "It is only when His children ignore their constant lapses and make of habit of them and fail to ask His pardon that Christ grieves over them; but He is full of joy at the sight of those who love Him and after each fault ask His pardon and cast themselves in His arms.  

      1. St. Therese of Lisieux: "…I have learned that the way to Jesus is through His Heart.  Consider a small child who has vexed his mother by a display of bad temper or disobedience.  If the child hides in a corner through fear of punishment, he feels that his mother will not forgive him.  But if instead he extends his little arms toward her and with a smile cries out 'Love, kiss me mamma,  I will not do it again,' will not his mother press the little one to her heart with tenderness, and forget what the child has done?  And yet, though she knows very well that her dear little one will misbehave again at the first opportunity, that means nothing if the child appeals to her heart.  He will never be punished…"

    1. Abandonment to God's mercy.  

  9. Exercise -- parts of you.  
  10. Wrap
    1. Can start by sharing these podcast -- spotify, apple podcasts, google play, amazon.  Share it on social media -- buttons are on our website at  -- get your word out there, with your personal recommendation -- how these episodes have helped you.  Share them, let others know 

    1. Get on the waiting list
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    1. This Wednesday, second Wed.  December 9, 2020 at 7:30 -8:30 PM EST.   dicussion shame and the spiritual life.  

    1. Patronness and Patron.

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Resilient Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation. We look for God's providence in all that happens to us, in accord with Romans 8:28, grounded in an authentic Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also join our online community around this podcast at