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#449392 - 10/07/13 11:59 AM Shame
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3869
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi guys, I wanted to share something from own healing journey although I didn't write on public boards for some time.

These days I've been talking with my therapist about shame and similar self negative feelings. She gave me couple of interesting articles to read. I shortly looked trough it and one thought has caught my eye and it is bugging me ever since. I've read that shame is feeling that has emerged from some relationship as sort of adaptation usually to some (ab)use of power meaning that persons where not equal in communication.

Here is the quote:

"The shy person... is physically and constantly conscious of his body, not as it is for him but as it is fro the Other....We often say that shy man is "embarrassed" by his own body. Actually this is incorrect:I cannot be embarrassed by my own body as I exist in it. It is my body as it is for the Other which embarrasses me."
Jean Paul Sartre

Here is what has written in article:
"Shame and guilt are, in part, different ways of perceiving the other with regard to the use of power. With guilt, the other is seen as the injured party with self causing the injury. With shame there is a sense of inferiority in which the other person is perceived as more powerful and capable of inflicting injury to self, usually via scorn, contempt, or humiliation. Submissive behavior is the most important social adaption that humans beings developed in order to survive in the presence of a more powerful and potentially dangerous other."

Trough therapy I become aware of shameful feelings that I was carrying around. They are emerging when I need to interact in some social events and also in intimate issues. Sometimes it is difficult for me to make phone call or to get somewhere alone, I don't know why or how but I could delaying it for days. Also it can be seen like I'm looking for support and protection by making friends as I have many of them where ever I was: from workplace, school, till different hobbies.
I don't do it on purpose but rather spontaneously.

Anyway I'm always trying to avoid being in focus of attention of other people. When I need to go trough such situation I feel anxious and unpleasant - like I'd like to disappear.
I always thought that something is wrong with me because of that and that I'm the only person responsible for such emotions so when I've read that shame is result of interacting of two people it opened my eyes and I can't stop thinking about it ever since.

Just felt need to share it.

My story

#449393 - 10/07/13 12:46 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
Onesimus75 Offline

Registered: 08/22/13
Posts: 158
Loc: Minnesota
My own recovery included a similar idea. Guilt is internal and shame is external/social.

Guilt says, "I have done wrong" and may be correct.
Shame says, "I AM wrong" and is never correct.
We are not defined by our faults, or our wounds, but by the truth within us, which nothing can take away.

#449397 - 10/07/13 01:01 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 542
Loc: NY
Thanks, Pero.

The dynamic that you are describing is very familiar to me. I think it became how I understood myself as a boy.

Later in life, as I tried to grow up, I became even more vigilant. Still to this day, I find myself unconsciously worrying about what others say about me. It is as if I have a shame monitor that is always keeping track of how much there is around me.

Understanding it as something that happens between people makes a lot of sense. These days I find myself in a process of lifting a burden from myself (and body) that carries around the shameful identity. I then have brief periods of realization that tell me how I adapted in ways that have held me back.

Most of the time there's a lot less wrong with us than we originally thought....

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#449398 - 10/07/13 01:09 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
That was a great share. I have never really thought on it at that depth.

I had shame of my guilt in being molested ever being found out.

Context. Wow...
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#449416 - 10/07/13 03:57 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
DavoSwim Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 397
Loc: Midwest
Pero- this is a great post. It is helping me identify my feelings of inferiority, why they exist and why they appear at the most inopportune times.

I have had to learn to distinguish between guilt and sadness as well. Sadness is simply feeling bad about the given circumstance. It may be mourning the loss of what might have been. It may be coupled with regret over past behavior.

Guilt is feelings of remorse over behaving badly. This is our conscience in action, regulating our behavior.

So often we say we feel guilty over something, when it is really sadness. We feel bad about a circumstance or a behavior, but that doesn't mean that it was wrong. It is necessary at times to forge ahead and do things which are painful albeit necessary. We need to simply mourn at those time, but not confuse it with guilt.


#450435 - 10/17/13 05:03 AM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
WriterKeith Offline

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 980
Interesting topic.

When I first disclosed (or "confronted" as some may refer) my parents about my father's assaults on my sister and I, my mother's response was, "YOU must have done something to entice it. It's your own fault." My father's response was, "YOU got what you asked for."

No wonder me and my three siblings have had a cloud of shame for being alive hovering over us all our lives. I'm so glad I sought out professional help.

#450915 - 10/22/13 04:59 AM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Thanks Pero. I really needed this. My mother systematically tortured me into submission from 0-3. She had two other children to satisfy her needs by that time. She destroyed any identity of a Self for me and I have spent much of my life trying to find a Me. I only began to remember how my mother used me as a sexual toy 5 months ago. I'm 64 now. The shame, guilt, and living a life only for "the other" has been a horror for me. I have never known joy or love, never been able to express myself through music in a satisfying way. Music-playing the piano and singing-is a central piece of who I am, yet it has always been blocked from the inside. My hands cramp when I try to play. My vision blurs and I lose focus when I try to play. My throat tightens and strains often when I sing. All these are fearful responses that someone (my mother or father) is going to hurt me.

I have been able to go into my history of abuse at a much deeper level since being here at MS. I had never talked to a male survivor before less than two weeks ago here. I am moving through the old layers of shame and guilt which keep me from finding the Me inside and keep me from finding Myself. I'm using "me" as the learned self, and "Me" as my Authentic Self. I have heard some talk about the Authentic Self over the past couple of years and I like the distinction.

The Sartre quote really took the blinders off my eyes. And the comments on shame and guilt took me much deeper in understanding myself. It has been so difficult to get past the place inside which tells me I'm crazy and what I feel isn't real. I'm not crazy and what I feel is very real. This is very challenging for me to get through, but I believe the reason it is so challenging is because all of these old and mistaken beliefs are shaking loose, and are doing everything in their power to frighten me on the way out. The support of others who have traveled the journey I'm on is a huge help in keeping me grounded and centered and not freaking out. Thank you. Don
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#450964 - 10/22/13 02:18 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
jas4159 Offline

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 483
Loc: New Hampshire
Thanks, this is great stuff. i also learned similar things durig my recovery. we need more insights like this.

thank you for the post.

my blog:


#450971 - 10/22/13 03:23 PM Re: Shame [Re: peroperic2009]
ForeverFighting Offline

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 1253
Loc: New Mexico, USA
"The shy person... is physically and constantly conscious of his body, not as it is for him but as it is fro the Other....We often say that shy man is "embarrassed" by his own body. Actually this is incorrect:I cannot be embarrassed by my own body as I exist in it. It is my body as it is for the Other which embarrasses me."
Jean Paul Sartre

Wow. This time of year I get a bit dissociative, and that's what happens. I see myself as if I'm the other person looking at me. Trying to be what the other person "wants" while not knowing what the other person wants is exhausting. It's like putting the definition of perfection in the other person's hands and never being able to live up to that. Because I could never be good enough all on my own. So I slip back in time to the times I obviously must have been good enough to my uncle, because he raped me. And the shame begins all over again.

What a good post. Thank you for sharing that article. I need to read that.
"This search for the truth--it's not for the faint of heart."--Goren on 'Law & Order: CI'
"The former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart."--Isaiah 65:17


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