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The Shame Family

“It is shame…which reveals to me the Other’s look and myself at the end of that look.”—Jean-Paul Sartre.  As Sartre well understood, in feeling ashamed we feel objectified and exposed as inherently flawed or defective before the gaze of a viewing, judging other. (Sometimes, we, ourselves, can be our viewing other.) In shame we are tyrannized and held hostage by the eyes of others; we belong, not to ourselves, but to them. In that sense, shame is indicative of an inauthentic or unowned way of existing.Many emotional states are variants of shame or combinations of shame with other dimensions of emotional phenomenology. 

Here are some examples:
Moral shame (as distinct from guilt) is the experience of having exposed one’s moral flawedness to a viewing other. Embarrassment is mild shame. Self-consciousness is anticipatory or signal shame.
Shyness is anticipatory shame motivating a shying away from viewing others to avoid shame proper.Humiliation is the experience of having a viewing other use one’s shameful exposure to feel superior to or lord it over one.

In self-hatred or self-loathing we hate or loathe ourselves for having exposed our shamefulness to viewing others. Mortification is unendurable, annihilating shame. In feelings of worthlessness or valuelessness we experience our inherent flawedness as defining the core of our being. In a certain form of despair one experiences one’s inherent flawedness as dooming one to a life of unremitting shame and eternal isolating valuelessness. In some accommodative patterns, serving or performing becomes a way of substituting for a missing sense of inherent value and thereby maintaining a connection with a viewing other. Defensive grandiosity and devaluation of, contempt for, rage at, orenvy of a viewing other can represent efforts to cover up or counteract unbearable shame.Many psychological disturbances have a double-layered emotional structure consisting in a first-order painful feeling combined with a second-order feeling about that first-order feeling. For example, so-called“panic disorders” consist in escalating cycles of anxiety coupled with shame about exposing the anxiety (= flawedness) to viewing others. 

The anxiety-shame combination is so unbearable that the anxiety must often be somatized such that it only shows up as physical symptoms. Many phobias embody efforts at avoiding shameful exposure of anxiety. Similarly, some clinical depressions consist in escalating cycles of natural depressive feelings (sadness, grief, etc.) combined with shame about exposing the depressive feelings (= flawedness) to viewing others. Like the anxiety in panic disorders, the depressive feelings too must be somatized, showing up mostly as vegetative symptoms.The therapeutic approach to panic disorders and clinical depressions entails 1) loosening the grip of the shame about exposing anxious and depressive feelings, and 2) dwelling with these feelings so that they can find a context of emotional understanding in which they can be held, better borne, and eventually integrated.

6 Comments to The Shame Family:

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replica watches on Thursday, September 28, 2017 10:14 PM
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IreneGriffin on Saturday, April 28, 2018 6:50 AM
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custom essays reviews on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 2:42 AM
My family feels proud not to shame that feeling to all that to won the award of the best player in the city at table tennis matches. Shame family was that who was accepted the lost from me and I will still pray for against player to win next.
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expert assignment writer on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:30 AM
The mood has to control with our mind that what to be come first on our mood the anger or the kind. The bewilder mood of mine inhibit me to have to talk with the politely with my colleagues at the working places.
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expert essay writer on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 5:30 AM
Partner in my business that always corporate and are compromise with me to handle the business problems. He is my best and great partner that when I late to reach at office he come early to attend the meetings.
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livecareer review on Friday, October 05, 2018 2:55 AM
I really admired your post, but I think beyond the things that we often associate with the term shame, there is really more to it that we do not see. I mean, shame is there for us to feel convicted and condemned. Shame is there for us to remind ourselves that we are imperfect and that we all have our flaws, yet we still have a time to lessen these flaws and make them beneficial for us. If we are not going to be ashamed sometimes, it is undeniable that we might end up being too proud and boastful. Being ashamed is not shameful, it is a privilege.

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