About Shame and Guilt

        Shame  (low self esteem / self disdain) is the primal human emotion related to believing "I am a worthless, unlovable, disgusting, inept, stupid, ugly person / male / female." This crippling belief usually starts in early childhood, if we're taught that our worth depends on pleasing other people (like parents and teachers). Scorn, exclusion, and disrespect promote local or enduring shame - which promotes self-neglect and addictions. Public shame causes embarrassment.

        Guilt is a normal emotional reaction to perceiving "I broke a rule - a should (not), must (not), or ought (not) - I did something 'wrong')." Feeling guilty ("I did a bad thing") often amplifies personal shame (I am a bad thing!"), and feels similar to it. Moderate shame and guilt pro-mote healthy personal decisions.

        Excessive shame and guilts are common in people raised in a low-nurturance childhood. Many divorcing and stepfamily adults suffer these and up to five more psychjological wounds, which promote low-nurtur-ance relationships and families. Lesson 1 in this site offers a frame-work for reducing these wounds over time. Excessive shame is re-duced differently than excessive guilt.

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