Monday 23 April 2007

Shame & Guilt

Name of book:

  • Shame and Guilt (Guilford Press, c2002) by June Price Tangney & Ronda L. Dearing.


  • This book examines two specific types of emotions (i.e., shame and guilt), their differences and the significance in understanding and dealing with their differences.

My favorite quotes from this book:

  • “There is substantial evidence supporting Lewis’s (1971) contention that the fundamental difference between shame and guilt centers on the role of the self (i.e., “Who I am”). Guilt involves a more articulated condemnation of a specific behavior (i.e., “What I did.”)”. (page 24). Example of shame: “I did that horrible thing.” Example of guilt: “I did that horrible thing.” (page 25) To me then, shame is a feeling resulting from what I perceive how others may think of me and guilt is a feeling resulting from what I should have done but did not do.
  • This chapter has described one of the great surprises from our program of research on shame and guilt. Contrary to folk wisdom, feelings of shame actually provoke other directed anger, rather than inhibiting anger and aggression.” (page 11) ‘.. guilt along with empathy emerge as a “good” moral affective experience (page 89)


  • It has been an immensely rewarding feeling when a client can learn to view a situation of his/her past differently such that, at least momentarily, they are freed from (or deescalate) a sense of shame ... and they have an opening, mindful of its presence and with persistent practice (simple but difficult), they can rid themselves of shame.
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