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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where Does Shame Come From? Part I

Shame is taught or learned in many ways. The following is not necessarily an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are many more ways that shame develops into self-defeating patterns in our lives. Even if you do not recognize the example as happening in your life, it may occur to you later on as you explore examples that are familiar to you. Shame-based people block out the past because it is so painful. Allow yourself time to explore your past. Universal criticism - It means that nothing I do is good enough. If I get three A’s and one B, then only the B is focused on. When I clean the house, the dust I missed in one corner is focused on. Neglect - You many have known that you are loved, but there was still a sense that something was missing or that something is wrong with you. This can come from lack of physical presence. On an unconscious level it comes from lack of emotional presence even when the physical presence is there. No rules - Children usually celebrate when they have no rules. The unconscious message is that they are not important enough to have rules. When there are no rules, parents do not pay attention to their children. Rules that could not be met - this occurs when rules are unreasonably high or too rigid to be met. The unconscious message is that something is wrong with you. Lack of touch - not to being held is very abusive. When you see your friends being hugged and you aren’t, the only way to understand it is that there must be something wrong with you.

Learn more by reading November 2011 Love in Action Newsletter @ Newsletter Archives

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shame vs. Guilt

Shame (Webster) is defined as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute, deep personal humiliation and disgrace, dishonorable conduct. There is a significant difference in the definitions of shame and guilt. Shame and guilt can exist simultaneously. Many times they do which is why they are confused and are not differentiated. Guilt is more concerned with doing something wrong. Making a mistake produces guilt. Guilty people fear punishment. Shame comes when a person is judged because of doing something wrong. Shame carries with it a feeling of not being wanted. Shame based people do not feel worthy. Shame carries with it a judgment that a person doesn’t measure up. This judgment can come from others. Most detrimentally, it comes from the person. A shame based person never gets away from their own self-condemnation. Physical characteristics of shame include: looking away from eye contact, a racing heart when in social situations, blushing, nausea, strong desire to get away, and the inability to speak or think. Shame people fear abandonment. Oh no, there’s that word again. Shame began in the Garden. The account of this can be found in Genesis, Chapter 3. Sin entered in where there had once been perfect love. This produced fear. Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid. They had become separated from God. I believe their fear was fear of abandonment. I believe they hid because they did not feel worthy (shame).

Learn more by reading October 2011 Love in Action Newsletter @ Newsletter Archives