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The Heaviness of Shame

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC

As we study emotions, we come across two that are heart piercing. Feeling guilt

Over something that we have done or not done; pricks our heart with a host of should and ought statements. Guilt is a good emotion if it leads us to making better choices, yet if it takes home then it can become a deeper and harmful emotion; shame. Guilt is “what” we did or should have done. Shame is “who” we believe we are. Both can be the result of distorted thinking, yet the latter is far more harmful.

· Shame can occur because of something done to us (ie: abuse, mockery).

· Shame may be due to something we feel amiss (missing or bad) in regards to me (disability, financial status, divorce, singleness, flawed, intellectual).

· Shame may occur due to something associated with or of me (unworthiness, rejected, unwanted).

Shame is how we see ourselves or how others see us. Others may have attempted to control me by harsh judgments of my perceived short comings.

The results of shame could be:

1. Hopeless perfectionism; performing to be accepted or to play others.

2. Harsh criticism of self or of others which derives from a negative filter, judgement, arrogance, pride, or self-hate.

3. Helpless feelings, feeling overwhelmed, feeling as a failure, sense of disappointment, or assuming the worse.

With counseling, one can locate the multiple thought distortions that are creating the feelings mentioned above, then work to challenge these feelings, thus finding that the emotions subside. We invite you to come and to learn how to change the negative into a positive and an empowering opportunity.

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