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Old 10-18-16, 06:07 AM
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Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

As someone who on a daily basis gets overwhelmed with guilt and shame I've always believed that they were detrimental to me and unnecessarily so. I thought that there is nothing that guilt and shame can give me that can't be achieved by healthier and more pleasant methods.

I'm wondering if I was wrong. Guilt and shame (gs from now on) are powerful motivators. More powerful than rules or wants or most other things that light guide us in our decision making

As an rxample, I've only recently started eating chocolates again after an abstinence of 7 years. Yesterday I bought a lot of chocolate bars and gobbled then down while walking home. When I started feeling sick the familiar old feelings of gs came over me and I thought 'I'm a pathetic disgusting piece of ****'. But then somehow I decided to not feel bad about it. To just give myself a break and allow myself to enjoy this binge. And it felt good. Incredibly good. Liberating. Today morning the first thing I did is to eat an entire packet of chocolate bars....

This is just an 3xample but it made me wonder. In the absence of strong will power and self control are not gs invaluable tools for decision making? If our reward system us impaired do gs not ensure that we make more decisions that benefit us long term? If this is true though is it worth having the unpleasant feelings of gs even if it means more long term success, however you define success?
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Old 10-18-16, 06:40 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Maybe they are, in the way that a prison sentence will dissuade you from robbing a bank; the dislike of guilt and shame can make you avoid a behaviour;

But in my case there was just so much guilt and shame over every tiny thing I did "wrong", it nearly destroyed me. Its hard for me to even answer this rationally, because I really have no idea.
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Old 10-18-16, 06:41 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Negative motivation always works stronger than positive for me. But it comes at such a huge cost making it not worth it.

The cost is happiness, your health in the long term due to all the extra stress you put on your body and mind. I already can see my body if I continue to work. I already have high blood pressure, I have already had stomach erosion at one point in my life. I can see heart attack, ulcers, and anxiety in the future if I don't remove negative motivations.

Even short term, too much will cause crippling anxiety. So it's absolutely not worth it both short and long term.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:11 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Postive motivation is DEFINITELY better!
I absolutely hate cleaning; I can only do it if I keep in mind how nice it will look afterwards. so instead of omg, look it this place, you are such a slob you should be ashamed (really I used to say these things), on a saturday i now think ok if i can just clean this [one thing] up before lunch, it will look so much better!
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Old 10-18-16, 07:30 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

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Originally Posted by stef View Post
Maybe they are, in the way that a prison sentence will dissuade you from robbing a bank; the dislike of guilt and shame can make you avoid a behaviour;

But in my case there was just so much guilt and shame over every tiny thing I did "wrong", it nearly destroyed me. Its hard for me to even answer this rationally, because I really have no idea.
I really like that analogy. That how it is. If you don't have anything else though to exert that pressure on you..then what do you do? Is it better sometimes to be I prison rather than doing something you really don't want to do? Probably not but I really don't know. Maybe I'll know in a few decades if I've wasted my life being imprisoned by gs or if I've don't too many things that I regret.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:49 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Our bodily reactions to the guilt and shame are, as acdc and stef mentioned, too big of a price to pay for me to allow myself to remain there for too long.

With the drastic diet changes I've accomplished in the last year and a half, I had to learn to flip the script of my usual and repetitive shaming self-talk to focusing on what I could add to enrich my life. I had a choice, of course, but it was much closer to death than I was comfortable with any longer.

Otherwise, I spend all my time and energies on painfully recovering from crashed adrenals and debilitating symptoms of multiple digestive and elimination system disruptions. Emotions are some powerful mojo, inside and out.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:14 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

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Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
Negative motivation always works stronger than positive for me. But it comes at such a huge cost making it not worth it.

The cost is happiness, your health in the long term due to all the extra stress you put on your body and mind. I already can see my body if I continue to work. I already have high blood pressure, I have already had stomach erosion at one point in my life. I can see heart attack, ulcers, and anxiety in the future if I don't remove negative motivations.

Even short term, too much will cause crippling anxiety. So it's absolutely not worth it both short and long term.
Yes for Me unfortunately negative emotions work much better than positive ones to the extent that positive ones almost don't work at all

It takes it's toll but I haven't found anything that works as well
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Old 10-18-16, 08:22 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Funnily enough my body works much better 5hsn my mind. In spite of all my mental health problems depression and constant stress I'm surprisingly healthy.. even though I do very little to take care of my health. I'm guessing I can't rely on my body to self heal forever but the last time I had a thorough check up everything was perfectly fine. Even hubby was surprised....

Anyway...that's a aside...just tooting my own horn.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:39 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

All my physical check-ups used to be fine, too. Blood tests and such, especially. That's one of the reasons I used to think I was doing "just fine" despite weighing over 300 lbs.

I was always in awe when the tests came back, because each time I would brace myself for high cholesterol, high sugar, or something diet related. I was a smoker then, too. I would brag to the healthier eating non-smoking peeps when I got back to work about how my choices obviously weren't harming me.

Each test remained in their "normal" ranges, until stuff started catching up with me, avalanche style, in my early to mid 40's. Once the flood gates open, look out!

I also learned that the testing done by most doctors aren't nearly as thorough as they could/should be to give a wider and more specific view of the shape of things. I always have to specifically request the hormone/vitamin levels in addition, or else that would continue to have been overlooked.

Having the numbers in the good range is always good. High fives!! Keeping them there is the trick, it seems. Many wishes of continued good health. It's our greatest asset.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:44 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

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Originally Posted by Unmanagable View Post
All my physical check-ups used to be fine, too. Blood tests and such, especially. That's one of the reasons I used to think I was doing "just fine" despite weighing over 300 lbs.

I was always in awe when the tests came back, because each time I would brace myself for high cholesterol, high sugar, or something diet related. I was a smoker then, too. I would brag to the healthier eating non-smoking peeps when I got back to work about how my choices obviously weren't harming me.

Each test remained in their "normal" ranges, until stuff started catching up with me, avalanche style, in my early to mid 40's. Once the flood gates open, look out!

I also learned that the testing done by most doctors aren't nearly as thorough as they could/should be to give a wider and more specific view of the shape of things. I always have to specifically request the hormone/vitamin levels in addition, or else that would continue to have been overlooked.

Having the numbers in the good range is always good. High fives!! Keeping them there is the trick, it seems. Many wishes of continued good health. It's our greatest asset.
Yes at some point something will give I guess.

I wonder if shaming myself into better healthier habits would work
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Old 10-18-16, 08:48 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

It didn't work for me. I had to be catapulted into healthier choices via the emergency room. I think shame and guilt played a big part in the accumulation of things that landed me there. I highly suggest taking a different route if you can.
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Old 10-18-16, 09:13 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Knowing how bad they feel makes me more empathetic. I actually feel too much empathy, it hurts.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:25 AM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

I think shame and guilt are two particular emotional experiences derived from our nature as human beings, more specifically:
  • our consciousness, and the expression of the individuated self (as opposed to other)...changes to the expression of self, or perhaps, perception of that self as individuated leads to changes (or elimination) in the experience of shame and guilt.
  • the structure of our nervous system and associated hormonal systems, such that we are able to have nerve-mediated hormonal release, as well as the potential of specific regions of the brain associated with empathic response, and other emotions which may have played a part in the survival of our species as a social animal.

Cheers,
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Old 10-18-16, 01:13 PM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

I'm in the grips of shame, guilt, and FEAR right now. I was supposed to send the lawyers some documents to transfer the shares of my late husband's company to me. I just couldn't make myself do it. We have a one-third partner who has been trying to wrest control of company operations away from me, and this sort of thing spells incompetence. After 8 months, I've finally made an effort to obtain the documents. As soon as I did, I felt so much shame, guilt, fear, and embarrassment that I was almost sick.

I also have been trying to move out of my house to sell it, and it's still in the same piles-upon-piles shape it's been in for years. A process server left a notice on my door yesterday, I think the bank is foreclosing.

It's hard to breathe.
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Old 10-18-16, 04:14 PM
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Re: Guilt and shame: do they serve a purpose?

Carol I'm so sorry. I think strong emotionsoke grief are not great motivators so please don't feel guilty. Hope everything will be ok.
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