Destroy Shame's Village of Feeling Bad

Ever wonder why you are living in the Village of Feeling Bad? How would you like to relocate?

Patricia Lee Hulsey, The Shackles Of Shame

Shame-based reactions are implemented to avoid dealing with the root issue of shame. Here are some common shame-based reactions:

SCAPEGOATING: Blame is a cover up for shame and a way to pass it on to others. You reduce your own feelings of shame by putting down and criticizing someone else. "Psychologically, putting guilt on someone else allows us the opportunity to hate or blame that individual, thus discharging our emotions while our rational faculties justify it.

SELF-PUNISHMENT: There is a long history of people who mutilated their bodies or in other ways punished themselves to atone for their shame. In its more subtle forms, such self-punishment is the voice of shame saying, "You don't deserve to be happy."

DEFENSIVENESS: Defensive people are extremely sensitive to criticism or the suggestion of personal blame, they are argumentative, and always must be right. Shame-based people interpret criticism of what they do into a judgment of who they are. They confuse their do and who. "Our shame defenses keep us from showing ourselves to anyone else. More tragically, these defenses keep us from looking at ourselves."

PATRONIZING: Patronizing is a very subtle way of deferring your shame. On the surface, you seem to help another person by support and encouragement, but in reality you have a condescending attitude which defers your own shame by shaming them.

CONTROLLING: A shame-based person attempts to control other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions to insure that no one can ever shame him again. In many families this control results in suppression of true feelings. There is no honest feedback, emotional growth is hindered, and shame is further perpetrated.

ARROGANT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: Arrogance is a psychological cover up for shame. The arrogant, self-righteous person hides his true self from others and in so doing, hides from himself.

ADDICTIONS: The content of the addiction, whether it be an ingestive addiction or an activity addiction (like work, buying, or gambling) is an attempt at an intimate relationship...Each addictive acting out creates life-damaging consequences which create more shame. The new shame fuels the cycle of addiction.

AGGRESSION: Because a shame-based person does not value himself, he lacks respect for others. This leads to contempt, anger, retaliation, and rage. If a person with internalized aggression also acquires power, then it results in violence and criminal behavior.

ALIENATION AND DISASSOCIATION: A shame-based person sometimes will alienate himself by self-imposed isolation. Such behavior may be disguised by explanations such as "I am very reserved" or "I am a private person." In reality, the withdrawal is an attempt to conceal shame. In its ultimate form, such alienation results in living life as a recluse from society.

RITUAL: In New Testament times the Pharisees and Sadducees learned they could not keep the law of God themselves, so they became self-righteous, demanding, critical leaders. They formulated hundreds of detailed rules which they tacked on to their religion.

Don’t forget about perfectionism that is highlighted in the teaching. 

From the work of Dr. Neil Anderson:


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