View Full Version : "The Influence of Shame on Postraumatic Disorders:Have We Failed To See The Obvious?"


Unmanagable
09-24-15, 04:50 PM
The thread title is also the title of the paper in the link below. I don't feel I do very well reading and interpreting these types of things to share them in my own words with much confidence or clarity, and that's likely rooted in shame still, but this subject resonates deeply with my personal experiences and I thought perhaps some others would like to read it as well.

After having multiple mental health professionals totally ignore severe trauma related events that I openly and fully shared with them, and having them misdiagnose so much stuff, I feel it's even more important to bring awareness to what all we hold inside ourselves so we can dig deep and heal.

Maintaining internal heights is so necessary in my world, and I've had to learn to design my own tool box. None of the "ready made kits" have ever worked for me. Raised vibrations serve us all better than the squashed ones, most especially purposely squashed ones. Shame has never served me well, that I can recall.


http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847

A number of different theorists relate shame to the emergence of other symptoms. From a background of psychoanalytic theory, Lansky (2000 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0036_28847)) described how shame remains hidden from awareness following trauma.

He identified an altered ego state, disorganised and at risk of fragmentation, that he called the “posttraumatic state.” He proposed that this state gives rise to shame as a result of the person believing they no longer meet their ego ideal or belief in their prior identity.

In addition, because this state is disempowering and frightening, he suggested it results in defences that keep shame-arousing awareness from consciousness, and replace it with a variety of pathological phenomena which may include impulsive self-destructive behaviours, withdrawal, or anger.

He saw this as a defence against the sense of fragility, neediness, and resultant shame that invariably accompanies the posttrauma state. H. B. Lewis (1971 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0040_28847)) described shame as a “sleeper” in psychopathology because of its many disguised presentations, where shame can be “unacknowledged” or “bypassed,” resulting in the emergence of other affects or behaviours.

Theorists who have connected shame with anger include Scheff (2011 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0054_28847)) and Gilligan (1997 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0025_28847), 2001 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0026_28847)) who maintained that all violence has some form of bypassed shame at its core.

They consider that disrespect from others is experienced as shame/humiliation and retributive aggression results from this. Elison et al. (2014 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0017_28847)) conceptualised shame as social pain—the pain of feeling unvalued or excluded—with the response of anger and violence as a maladaptive defence.

Tangney and Dearing (2002 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0058_28847)) related the shame response to the emergence of anger and aggression and used this as confirmation of their belief that shame is a destructive emotion. Scheff (2014 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0055_28847)) described the phenomenon of the recursive “feeling trap” to explain how the emotions might persist over time.

Applied to shame, he proposed that one can become ashamed because one is ashamed, or angry because one is ashamed, then ashamed because one is angry, and so on, gathering increasing force with time, and potentially leading to depression or self-harm.

It is possible also that shame diverted into anger, combined with the hyperarousal features of the disorder, could account for the frequency of anger reactions in PTSD, as described by McHugh, Forbes, Bates, Hopwood, and Creamer (2012 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0046_28847)).

If this is so, anger management techniques as they are employed in the presence of PTSD (and perhaps in a more general sense) might require an examination of the possible presence of underlying shame as the driver of the anger, as proposed by Velotti et al. (2014 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0069_28847)).

Scheff (1994 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0052_28847)) described shame as the “master emotion” with a central role in evoking a range of other emotions. Nathanson (1987 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0047_28847), 1992 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0048_28847)) similarly conceptualised shame as a key emotion, proposing a “Compass of Shame,” with shame in a central position and shame-related behaviours summarised as: “attack other,” “attack self,” “withdrawal,” and “avoidance.”

The theory behind the Compass of Shame suggested that individuals develop scripts or schemas in order to ignore, reduce, or displace shame, without directly addressing its origin. Webb (2003 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0071_28847), 2010 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0072_28847)) proposed developments to this concept, suggesting that the behaviours map a compass of shame-avoidance rather than shame itself.

He adopted the language used by participants in a qualitative study to rename Nathanson’s (1987 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0047_28847)) “withdrawal” and “avoidance” poles as “hide from other” and “hide from self,” thereby more clearly identifying the bi-polar dimensions of aggression and alienation of the basic shame-avoidant responses.

The four poles thus correspond to the social behaviours of “aggression,” “depression,” “isolation,” and “addiction,” together with their associated avoidant emotions of fear, anger, distress, and disgust (see Fig. 1 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#F0001_28847)).


http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/viewFile/28847/html_77/172783 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/viewFile/28847/html_77/172784)

Fig. 1. Compass of shame-avoidant behaviours and masking emotions (Webb, 2010 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0072_28847), developed from Nathanson, 1992 (http://www.ejpt.net/index.php/ejpt/article/view/28847#CIT0048_28847)).

aeon
09-24-15, 06:52 PM
I know I am an endless cheerleader for this book, but the beginnings and development of shame is a major focus point of Dr. Allan Schore’s Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self.

Lizzie80
09-26-15, 11:13 PM
I know I am an endless cheerleader for this book, but the beginnings and development of shame is a major focus point of Dr. Allan Schore’s Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self.

I haven't read the book, but it definitely sounds like intriguing reading on how the parent-child bond in early development shapes the brain and life of the person with great significance. Perhaps more significance than our society readily acknowledges, at least in the Western world. I admit that with my own maternal issues, I'm almost a bit afraid to try and read the book!

Is it a book which mostly goes into the theories of shame and its effect on the brain's development? Does it also touch on any well-researched treatment modalities for the dysfunction that comes from shame, or from negative early development in general? (I am looking for very practical texts at this time regarding treatment, which is why I ask. However, I acknowledge that the research into and the documentation of dysfunction is of great value on its own.)

dvdnvwls
09-27-15, 12:37 AM
I've known people who have some serious shame.

I've known people who need and deserve some serious shame.

They have never ever once been the same people. :(

It seems to me that those who feel shame are usually the ones who have the least need or justification for it.

Greyhound1
09-27-15, 01:20 AM
I've known people who have some serious shame.

I've known people who need and deserve some serious shame.

They have never ever once been the same people. :(

It seems to me that those who feel shame are usually the ones who have the least need or justification for it.

I agree. It's terrible that many victims of horrible events and crimes feel shame and usually their perpetrators feel temporary satisfaction only.