Honesty versus shame. A lifelong dilemma

Evleen Mann

For Evleen Mann the cover up was worse than the crime. She has written a personal, wry, occasionally painful memoir of shame, laced with plenty of honesty, to which we can all relate. The author is a former GP and now a psychotherapist. She writes as a member of the Dympna Circle, three women who write on spiritual and therapeutic matters.

About six months ago, I saw a moth in the cupboard where I store the tablecloths and napkins. I put in a sticky moth paper and closed the door. A few weeks later, I opened the cupboard. Creatures flew out at me and wriggling things moved amongst the linen. I tried to separate the healthy from the well, but after touching so many caterpillars, I became squeamish. The whole lot had to go.

A short time later, I was at the Post Office buying foreign currency when a moth flew out of my back pack. I was so ashamed. I remembered the gospel story:
‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Luke 12.33

I’d seen a problem, not investigated it, not dealt with it properly, closed the door. And the problem had multiplied. My wardrobes were affected, my woollens. Pretending there was nothing to worry about cost me a small fortune. Why do we ignore the signs that something is wrong? I think it has something to do with shame. We don’t like to admit that we’ve made a mistake, or been lazy, or not washed our clothes properly. Until we are infested.

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