Any other goals for the session? Any ground rules for our discussions?
Which comes first – addiction or shame?Definition of guilt: failure of duty, responsibility for an action, or omission of action.What are the differences between guilt and shame? the association between shame and aggression, guilt has consistently been found to be a protective factor against anger and aggression, possibly through the facilitation of other-oriented empathy (Eisenberg, 1986; Miller & Eisenberg, 1988). Further, in contrast to shame, guilt has been found to be associated with a tendency to accept responsibility for one’s actions and to own up to one’s contributions to situations (Tangney & Dearing, 2002). As opposed to the destructive responses to anger characteristic of shame-prone individuals, guilt-prone individuals tend to respond to conflict more constructively, in such a way as to make efforts to make amends (Tangney, 1995).
Normal, too small, too tall. It has been suggested that narcissism in adults is related to defenses against shame and that narcissistic personality disorder is connected to shame as well. Psychiatrist Glen Gabbard suggested that NPD could be broken down into two subtypes, a grandiose, arrogant, thick-skinned "oblivious" subtype and an easily hurt, oversensitive, ashamed "hypervigilant" subtype. The oblivious subtype presents for admiration, envy, and appreciation a grandiose self that is the antithesis of a weak internalized self which hides in shame, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. Having a cynical and detached attitude toward life. The four poles of the compass of shame: withdrawal, attack self, avoidance, and attack other.Kohut sees that there are three basic personality types that result from consistent shortcomings in mirroring self-object relationships. Individuals with merger-hungry personalities must continuously attach themselves to self-objects in such an entangled way that they are often unable to "discriminate their own thoughts, wishes and intentions from those of the self-objects”. Those with contact-shunning personalities avoid social interaction and become isolated because they fear that they will be swallowed up or that further non-empathic mirroring will destroy the remnants of their already vulnerable nuclear self. Finally, and generally suffering from less profound self pathology, are individuals with mirror-hungry personalities. They are compelled to insistently display themselves in such a way as to obtain continuous confirming and admiring responses, without which they feel worthless. Because of the intensity of their needs, their conviction that the needs will not be met, and the shame they feel, all of these people often alternate between depressed, hopeless withdrawal and outbursts of enraged acting out.
Any other roles of addiction in shame? Actions that are part of avoidance include ceaseless competition so as to be better at something than somebody, the constant search for excitement in thrills or danger, the psychology of machismo, the use of sexual activity as a hedge against the feeling of inadequacy, or the purchase of goods and services that literally wrap a shame damaged self in gold.Attack other attempts to hide any sense of the self's defectiveness by demeaning and degrading others, halting "any tendency to lookwithinthe self byfostering"systems of extemalization, blame and paranoia" –Nathanson.
Strange Situation Paradigm. This observational measure helps determine a child’s level and type of attachment to a parent based on the reaction when a parent enters, leaves, and reenters a room. The child’s reactions are categorized as either secure or insecure, based on the child’s ability to approach and to communicate having missed the returning parent, as well as the ability to accept comfort and to resume play and exploration of toys with the parent. The disorganized/disoriented pattern of insecure attachment is characterized by the child’s paradoxical approach and avoidance of the parent when the parent re-enters the room after separation during this paradigm. This pattern is further characterized by freezing and inconsistent strategy for relating to an attachment figure. A child might, for example, approach his returning mother but with his eyes closed, or he might stay at the door when his mother re-enters the room and then glance fleetingly toward her from a distance. Children who display this disorganized, disoriented pattern of insecure attachment behave more aggressively over time. By ages three to five, many of these children try to act like they are the ones in charge as a way of taking control of relationships with others rather than being at the mercy of others’ unpredictable behavior—they may boss others around or take care of others like a parent would. Children with abusive parents have to maintain the illusion of being safe and protected by separating positive memories of their caretakers from frightening memories and suppressing the latter. An adaptive way for children to do this is to split or dissociate experiences, compartmentalizing memories in order to continue to depend on someone they fear.A child strives to acquire socialization skills, to be accepted and praised by others, and to avoid negative affect caused by failure such as motivation to succeed. Children give up instinctual gratification and work towards two key goals: gain socially acceptable behavior that his parents want and to gain self regulation that grants him the power of being more autonomous and adult-like.
Can you think of other types of relationships that involve extreme shame? Slavery, prostitution, domestic violence. The shame of the abused child as an intense and destructive sense of self-disgust, verging on self-hatred. The shame concerns being treated as a physical object in the very context where special personal recognition is expected. At the most intense moment of shame anxiety, we interrupt their emotional expression by tensing our muscles, holding our breath and becoming silent.
What are the differences in the way men and women experience shame? Kohut’s (1968, 1972) concept of narcissistic rage which posits that shame stemming from perceptions of personal failure results in unexpected and uncontrolled anger and aggression in order to alleviate painful emotions. Taking this theory to its logical extension, Kohut contends that shame-prone individuals are likely to actively search for conflict to assuage their suffering. Early shaming experiences contribute to the formation of the “abusive personality,” characterized by high levels of chronic anger and an attributional style of externalizing blame, and parental physical abusiveness provides the modeling of behaviors to express anger characteristic of this type of personality.
initial question the therapist might ask when a client endorses this statement is “compared with whom?”
Disclosure in the context of a safe and securely established therapy relationship is a mastery experience that leads to greater self-knowledge, greater self-compassion, and reduced feelings of alienation. Being seen and accepted. Primitive ego = guilt = I’ll disappear. Honor versus shame.
In withdrawal, the individual attempts to ward off the negative effects of shame by removing himself/herself from the gaze of the other, in attack self, by publicly acknowledging the self's defectiveness. In their benign forms, both can be healthy responses. Withdrawal gives the individual time to "regroup and recover self esteem" facilitating the return to the world of others. The capacity to make fun of oneself and acknowledge one's limitations is a valued social skill.
Other remedies for shame include community:n openness to the sharing and mutualizing of feelings and, a commitment to maximize positive affect and minimize negative affect. Resilience is a capacity to bounce back from failure by having a sense of connectedness between current tasks and future possibilities. Future orientation.Feel, accept, and express the shame and any other feelings that accompany it.individuals recovering from shame need to own their power, to reestablish control, to increase their awareness that they do have choices about whether to accept negative judgments or to walk away from them.
Externally focused versus internally focused as predictor of suffering from PTSD. Activation, seeking help, self soothing.
It is far better to befriend our shame than it is to treat it with dread or hatred. All of us feel ashamed of ourselves on occasion. Try to make peace with that shame if at all possible, because it is really another power of you. We must respect every part of ourselves, including our shame, to discover our love of ourselves.
Two responses to unacknowledged shame: Overt, undifferentiated shame is shame which is disguised. "One is so flustered by the threat. . . that one is unable to observe and analyze what is happening”. The individual becomes disoriented. In bypassed shame, the shame is avoided; one succeeds in not experiencing it. In its place, the individual may report episodes of compulsive thinking or speaking, one experiences little feeling. Speech, for example, may take on "a speeded up, but repetitive quality”.Bypassed emotion disrupts the fine-tuning of thought necessary for effective action in problematic situations. Since one's inner resources are given over to the emotional arousal and to the attempt to hide it one cannot devote full attention to problemsolving.
What are primary attachment figures? Does shame have a positive role to play in socializing a child?
Shame is closely related to certain forms of externalizing and internalizing behavior, aggression, social anxiety, immune-related health problems and psychopathology, most prominently, depression
Take a moment to describe the sensation of shame in your body. Where do you feel it? When are other instances or conditions that you feel this way?
Shame (1) (1)
And it‘s cure
Definition of Shame
Shame is the intensely painful
feeling where we believe that we
are flawed and therefore unworthy
of love and belonging.
The roots of the word ‗shame‘ come
from an older word meaning "to
Discussing shame requires trust
and vulnerability. One goal of this
presentation will be to put shame
into words and transform it into self-
Eve being ejected from
the garden of Eden
Lakota Chief Yellow Lark
Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.
Shame and addictions
A study of women in recovery found that higher
levels of shame meant more relapses.
In a study of 5th graders, more shame predicted
school suspension, drug use, and suicide
Two studies found that people in recovery score
higher on shame and lower on guilt compared
with the public.
Guilt seemed to provide a protective effect
against the development of alcohol and drug use.
Addiction: shame escape
People full of shame find that
addictions takes away shameful
feelings while the high lasts.
There is also the relief of feeling
―normal‖ or the high of superiority -
or what is termed ‗grandiosity‘ in the
vocabulary of Alcoholics
Anonymous. Superiority is a
defense against shame.
Addiction and shame
The Shame–Addiction Spiral:
feeling defective - followed by
a need to escape - followed
by facing last night… i.e.
having lost control.
Addiction as a source of pride
and belonging: ―I can drink
anyone under the table.‖
Addiction as proof of one‘s
intrinsic shamefulness: ―You
see, I told you I‘m garbage.
What more proof do you
The expression of shame usually
starts by age 2.
Separation from mom, which
brings fear and protest in babies,
does not evoke shame.
Shame can be seen in reunion
with baby and mom, when baby‘s
excitement is met with
indifference or disapproval from
Securely attached baby learns
the limits of mom‘s tolerance and
also learns to self-soothe and
regulate shame states.
People experience shame if others are too
distant, as in shunning, and if others come too
close, as in the extreme case in which personal
boundaries are violated. ‗Don‘t stand so close to
me.‘ or staring.
Shame also speaks to social value or status. ‗Oh
you don‘t own a polo horse?‘
Mild experiences of shame are a part of ordinary
social life. For example, children learn to behave
through the experience of shame.
Extreme shame is the reaction to being treated in
a degrading manner.
These shame emotions include; humiliation and
feelings of defilement, disgrace, or dishonor.
Disgust and contempt are emotions of low status.
Relationships of dominance and subordination
are inherently shaming.
Trauma survivors can exist in a permanently
dishonored social status or ‗social death‘.
Vietnam veterans are an example.
Women describe shame:
―Shame is being rejected.‖
―When you can‘t do it all and people know you‘re
―You work hard to show the world what it wants
to see. Shame happens when your mask is
pulled off and the unlikable parts of you are seen.
It feels unbearable to be seen.‖
―Shame is feeling like an outsider—not
―Shame is being exposed—the flawed parts of
yourself that you want to hide from everyone are
revealed. You want to hide or die.‖
Men describe shame:
―Shame is failure. At work. On the football field. In
your marriage. In bed. With money. With your
children. It doesn‘t matter—shame is failure.‖
―Shame is being wrong. Not doing it wrong, but being
―Shame happens when people think you‘re soft. It‘s
and shaming to be seen as anything but tough.‖
―Showing fear is shameful. You can‘t show fear. You
can‘t be afraid. No matter what.‖
―Shame is being seen as ‗the guy you can shove up
against the lockers.‘‖
―Our worst fear is being criticized or ridiculed—either
one of these is extremely shaming.‖
Defenses Against Shame
Denial: denying the parts of life that bring us shame,
Withdrawal: temporarily pulling away from others with
lost of interest and energy.
Rage: driving others away so that they cannot see
our defects. This happens too when we believe that
others are deliberately trying to humiliate us.
Perfectionism: trying to hold off shame by striving to
never make a mistake or to do everything perfectly.
Arrogance: acting superior to everybody or insisting
that others are full of defects. Grandiose and
Exhibitionism: making a public display of behavior
―I am not good enough‖
―I am not good enough‖ - our emotions often involve
comparing us to others. Shame, guilt,
embarrassment, and our own idealized expectations
or the expectations of others.
We become tempted to give up in despair.
Central question: Not good enough? Compared with
―I do not belong‖
―I do not belong‖ - a central fear related to shame is
that of being abandoned or cast out because of one‘s
Taking extreme measures to hide addictive behaviors
AA: a place where we can belong not only despite -
but actually - because of our addictive behaviors.
―I am unlovable‖
―I am unlovable‖ basically sense that we have
long ago and irretrievably been rejected by our
families and loved ones.
A sense of rejection then becomes a template for
all future relationships, predicting that
relationships are bound to fail and that the our
fate is to go through life alone and lonely.
―I should not be‖
―I should not be‖ is the ultimate
suicide/annihilating shame belief.
Ultimately, a spiritual question.
The emphasis in AA on developing a strong
relationship with our Higher Power relates to this
―What gives your life meaning?‖
―Who are you when you let go of your roles and
One main element in healing shame is
developing a caring relationship with someone -
aka: who can you call at 3am to talk about a
concern or crisis?
Shame is a slippery emotion at all times, as it is
hidden behind a screen of avoid and defend
tactics. Let us bring it into the light.
Can you think of an embarrassing incident where
you were able to laugh about it – compared to
Many people with shame hide their strengths and
joys. Why do you think this is?
What are your most proud achievements? Can
you feel the pride and joy flow through your
Replacing shaming statements with supportive
Personality attacks with specific grievances.
Criticism with praise.
Disinterest with interest.
The 5 As
Attention: I have time for you.
Approval: I like what you do.
Acceptance: It‘s OK for you to be you.
Admiration: I can learn from you.
Affirmation: I celebrate your existence.
Directly experiencing the arousal of shame and
being soothed by a friend is one of the best
Soothing includes empathy, attunement,
acceptance and validation by another person.
Focus on breathing, observing emotions as they
come and go like leaves on a stream.
Taking time to savor our lives and world, like
tasting our food or watching the sunset.
What are other needs you have when feeling
Forgiveness & Mercy
There are many ways to boost forgiveness:
Recall the hurt;
empathize as best you can - see the situation
from the other person‘s point of view;
consider forgiveness as an act of altruism by
recalling the gratitude felt over being forgiven;
commit to forgive over the long-run;
hold on to forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process
that takes time and needs to be repeated and
Therapy with shame-prone alcoholic and drug-dependent clients. Potter-Efron, Ronald
T. Dearing in Ronda L. (Ed); Tangney, June Price (Ed), (2011). Shame in the therapy
hour., (pp. 219-235). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, xiv,
428 pp. doi: 10.1037/12326-009
Posttraumatic stress disorder as a shame disorder. By Herman, Judith Lewis Shame in
the therapy hour., (pp. 219-235). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological
Association, xiv, 428 pp. doi: 10.1037/12326-009
Connections: A 12-session psychoeducational shame resilience curriculum. By Brown,
Brené; Hernandez, Virginia Rondero; Villarreal, Yolanda, Shame in the therapy hour.,
(pp. 219-235). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, xiv, 428 pp.
Emotion-focused therapy and shame. By Greenberg, Leslie S.; Iwakabe, Shigeru,
Shame in the therapy hour., (pp. 219-235). Washington, DC, US: American
Psychological Association, xiv, 428 pp. doi: 10.1037/12326-009
Treating shame: A functional analytic approach. By Koerner, Kelly; Tsai, Mavis;
Simpson, Elizabeth, Shame in the therapy hour., (pp. 219-235). Washington, DC, US:
American Psychological Association, xiv, 428 pp. doi: 10.1037/12326-009
Toward a Comprehensive Model of Antisocial Development: A Dynamic Systems
Approach. Granic, Isabela Patterson, Gerald R. Psychological Review, Jan 01, 2008;
Genuine shame: is associated with genuine dishonor or
False shame: is associated with false condemnation as in
the double-bind form of false shaming; "he brought what
we did to him upon himself‖. Schadenfreude: enjoyment
obtained from the troubles of others.
Secret shame: describes the idea of being ashamed to be
ashamed and to keep the shame a secret.
Toxic shame: describes false shame. Incest and other
forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe
toxic shame. It is related to complex trauma in children who
cannot cope with toxic shaming incident and who
dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with.
Vicarious shame: refers to the experience of shame on
behalf of another person who is already feeling shame on
behalf of a third party (or possibly on behalf of the
The science of shame
Shame has been compared to fear.
Like fear, it is a fast-track body response that - in
intense forms - can overwhelm higher
Like fear, it is also a social signal, with facial and
postural signs that can be recognized across
The science of shame
Shame is a wordless state,
in which speech and
thought stop cold. It is also
a self-conscious state.
We feel small, ridiculous,
and exposed. There is a
wish to hide: ―Sink through
the ﬂoor‖ or ―Crawl in a hole
Charles Darwin studied the
expression of emotions in both
people and animals.
He described shame affect or
feelings as consisting of
blushing, confusion of
mind, downward cast eyes, slack
posture, and lowered head.
He also noted the sense of warmth
or heat (associated with the
vasodilation of the face and skin)
occurring in intense shame.
Produces elevated cortisol (a stress
hormone) and adrenalin - a stress
What does shame feel like for you?