Shame is healthy human power which can become a true sickness of the soul. There are two forms of shame, nourishing shame and toxic shame. Toxic shame divides us from ourselves and from others. In toxic shame we disown ourselves. It is a deep cut felt primarily from inside.

Shame has many faces

Shame as healthy human emotion, it makes you speak candidly of your failure. Healthy shame makes one open and honest. Shame as permission to be human, healthy shame lets us know that we are limited. Like all other emotions, healthy shame is also energy in motion as it moves us to get our basic needs met. Shame allows our energy to be integrated rather than diffused. Shame as a developmental stage, sense of shame is part of second stage of psychosocial development. Shame as interpersonal bridge, trust is the foundation of interpersonal relationship and once trust is established the child is in a position to develop shame. Shame as embarrassment and blushing, in an embarrassing situation one is caught off guard, we experience blush that accompanies the feeling of healthy shame. Shame as shyness, it’s a natural boundary which protects us from being exposed or get hurt by a stranger. Shyness can become a real problem when it is rooted with toxic shame. Shame as basic need for community, a proverb says one man is no man without healthy signal of shame we would not be in touch with our core dependency needs. Shame as the source of creativity and learning, our healthy shame which is feeling of our boundary and our limitedness, never allows us to believe that we know it all; it moves us to seek new information and to learn new things. Shame as the source of spirituality, by signaling us our limitations, healthy shame tells us that we are not God. Our healthy shame is the psychological ground of our humility.

Shame as toxic, a toxically shamed person has adversarial relationship with himself. Toxic shame is the basis of both neurotic and character disordered syndromes of behavior. Toxic shame is like an internal bleeding. It gives you a sense of emptiness, worthlessness and failure. Toxic shame is no more an emotion as binds you instead of moving you forward. Shame as self alienation and isolation, alienation means that one experiences parts of one’s self as alien to one’s self. The deepest and most devastating aspect of neurotic shame is the rejection of self by the self. Shame as false self, as exposure of self to self lies at the heart of neurotic shame, escape from self is necessary and it is accomplished by creating a false self. Shame as codependency, in codependency one has no inner life and happiness lies outside and internalized shame is the foundation of codependency. Shame as Border Line Personality, it is believed that neurotic shame is the underlying cause of borderline personality. Shame as the core and fuel of all addictions, neurotic shame is the core of all compulsive behaviors and addictions, Character disorder syndromes of shame, narcissistic personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, offender behavior, criminality, physical abuse, sexual abuse are the character disorders created by toxic shame. Toxic shame as spiritual bankruptcy, spirituality is about growth, newness, expansion and creativity and toxic shame actually binds the creativity and works as shackles. Toxic shame also gives hopelessness and it leads to impotence.