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Is shame part of your social anxiety?

jajingna

jajingna

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A deeper powerful feeling that only sometimes surfaces. Can make you feel unworthy, like you done some serious wrong that made you unacceptable. And the feeling is there without a proper explanation. There's no crime to point to yet you feel guilty anyway. And in your fear you imagine others have the same low opinion you have of yourself, even when they barely know anything about you.
 
SoftRain

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I feel like it is for me. Not sure what I feel shame about. Have posted about it before, but don't understand it. It's like a deep buried feeling that I'm rarely in touch with. Kind of scary or painful to look at I guess. Where it came from, I don't really know. Maybe my parents? Maybe it's just part of the culture I was raised in. Maybe too much blame and criticism. Too much judgement, not much understanding? I don't really know.
I feel the same and I am not self aware enough yet to know why.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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From a young age you can made to feel shame. I woke up feeling it this morning. I believe both my parents had plenty of it. They were both so troubled. There was so little affection. A lot of pain and bitterness and frustration. So the sons inherit this, we're well schooled in its insidious ways. And it has been there all along behind the scenes, never spoken of. I can't even imagine a conversation about it. Yet it lurks in the shadows and is like a director unseen. Now you feel uncomfortable and awkward around each other, deep down you feel shame, rarely acknowledged, a confusing ugly feeling you'd rather not look at. You are ashamed of who you are, of how you behave, and it feeds on itself. Shame leads to more shame, your behavior sustains it. You'll have troubles with communication, and with intimacy, there will be shame about sexual things. You'll feel not quite right out in the town just doing regular things. The greater culture too has a role in reinforcing shame. They tell you you are supposed to be a certain way but they also fear you as a stranger. You feel like a criminal who hasn't been caught yet. And if you ever bring up the topic, which you won't, no one will want to acknowledge any of this. They'll go on pretending it isn't even there, it doesn't fit logically and emotions are scary. And confusing.
 
slowturtle

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Talking about your shame leads to more shame. Our society has not come to terms with it yet. It can be unsafe to talk about why you are ashamed.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Talking about your shame leads to more shame. Our society has not come to terms with it yet. It can be unsafe to talk about why you are ashamed.
Could be. I guess this is why people spend a fortune on therapists.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Was thinking the other day how shame is there in the feeling of unworthiness. For me this likely comes from parents too, with being criticized and feeling rejected and unloved. If you're treated this way you don't feel accepted, and then you might feel there is something wrong with you. On some level you may think you don't even deserve love or affection, and you may struggle with trust, intimacy and honest communication. You might be guarded and defensive, sarcastic or aloof. You've had your feelings hurt over and over and over growing up. You struggle to form relationships. Inside all this there is shame, though you did nothing wrong, and that's the confusing part of it. Why do I feel shame if I've done no wrong? Maybe it's because you were led to believe that who you are is unacceptable somehow. Could be your parents passed this message along after they learned it from theirs. Who knows for sure. Siblings, peers, teachers and other could reinforce the feeling of unworthiness too, if you're bullied or otherwise treated poorly, or rejected, or just not really accepted by others for who you are.
 
Q

quilteddown10

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Was thinking the other day how shame is there in the feeling of unworthiness. For me this likely comes from parents too, with being criticized and feeling rejected and unloved. If you're treated this way you don't feel accepted, and then you might feel there is something wrong with you. On some level you may think you don't even deserve love or affection, and you may struggle with trust, intimacy and honest communication. You might be guarded and defensive, sarcastic or aloof. You've had your feelings hurt over and over and over growing up. You struggle to form relationships. Inside all this there is shame, though you did nothing wrong, and that's the confusing part of it. Why do I feel shame if I've done no wrong? Maybe it's because you were led to believe that who you are is unacceptable somehow. Could be your parents passed this message along after they learned it from theirs. Who knows for sure. Siblings, peers, teachers and other could reinforce the feeling of unworthiness too, if you're bullied or otherwise treated poorly, or rejected, or just not really accepted by others for who you are.
I think public shame (which is the type I grapple with) is a form of social control. You are invited, in effect, to internalise 'the stare', 'the pointing finger', etc to the extent that you exclude yourself. A bit like scapegoating but it's much more subtle and emotionally intense.

By stepping outside of this you can see how shame works, how it functions, controls and regulates behaviour. It is always criterion based and the feeling of unworthiness is part of how this works. It's almost like an evolved algorithm.

Looking at it in this way has really helped me understand the processes I am caught up in.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Guess I grew up with shame, seemed to be a big thing in my family. We've have mental illnesses, alcoholism, and various other struggles along the way. Only recently I've started to think back on my parents some more, they're dead now, and try to imagine how they experienced things. That's not something I did as a child, try to put yourself in your parents' shoes. How could you, really, as a kid, know what their day to day experiences were like? And even now it involves a leap of imagination and some guesswork to say, yeah, they probably suffered from shame and social anxiety too. And all the children learned this, and maybe some is genetic. (can't see shame being genetic, but anxiousness maybe)
 
Q

quilteddown10

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A paradox...

..when you cannot do the things that instil 'good mental health' without provoking those social processes that would, at the same time, take it away.
 
Q

quilteddown10

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Guess I grew up with shame, seemed to be a big thing in my family. We've have mental illnesses, alcoholism, and various other struggles along the way. Only recently I've started to think back on my parents some more, they're dead now, and try to imagine how they experienced things. That's not something I did as a child, try to put yourself in your parents' shoes. How could you, really, as a kid, know what their day to day experiences were like? And even now it involves a leap of imagination and some guesswork to say, yeah, they probably suffered from shame and social anxiety too. And all the children learned this, and maybe some is genetic. (can't see shame being genetic, but anxiousness maybe)
I think 'shame' is very closely related to 'stigma' and there is no doubt in my mind that entire families can 'suffer' almost as a whole unit from the shameful effects of being stigmatised. I've worked in enough primary schools across the UK to see this. It's sad and shocking.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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I think there is shame that is there that makes one anxious, but then also some shame because of having that problem, and even more shame perhaps for some of your behavior that stems from being anxious! Like a "shame loop" or something that feels hard to break free from.
 
Karmaman

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My social anxiety has a lot to do with the fear of losing control or looking out of place.
 
Q

quilteddown10

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I think there is shame that is there that makes one anxious, but then also some shame because of having that problem, and even more shame perhaps for some of your behavior that stems from being anxious! Like a "shame loop" or something that feels hard to break free from.
There's lots of reasons for shame but I think they all involve some sort of internalised finger pointing.

Some feel shame because they feel self-conscious about not meeting some kind of public criterion. Likewise, I am shamed because of my face and I stay indoors to avoid that feeling of shame.

I'm guessing that is an ancient form of stigma that has strong, evolved roots (like the stigma of 'disease' or 'disfigurement').

I'm not sure if all examples of shame have an evolutionary-psychology like facial stigma but it would be interesting to find out if there is any research on it.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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It's an interesting topic to me lately since the feeling sometimes comes around, and the only way I know how to describe it is as shame. It's not a pleasant feeling at all, feels awful sometimes, like it happens in the gut and has this sense of wrongness to it, like something about myself feels unacceptable perhaps, and I've been judging myself harshly for a long time I guess. Not sure. It's confusing stuff, but a powerful feeling.

As I said before, for me it seems to come from family mostly, the parents and my brothers, we have been a judgemental bunch who seem to have trouble simply accepting one another as we are, and instead often criticizing one another about how we should be. Thinking it anyway, if not directly saying it.

But people's attitudes and behaviors don't often change much or easily over time. Generally speaking, most of us appear pretty much the same as we were long ago. Yet we continue to judge each other for this and have trouble accepting that this is just how we are. I dunno, wishing people would be something other than what they are, is a futile wish. It's like wishing the weather would just suddenly change to the way you want it to be. Not gonna happen. You've got to accept the weather as it is now.
 
Q

quilteddown10

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It's an interesting topic to me lately since the feeling sometimes comes around, and the only way I know how to describe it is as shame. It's not a pleasant feeling at all, feels awful sometimes, like it happens in the gut and has this sense of wrongness to it, like something about myself feels unacceptable perhaps, and I've been judging myself harshly for a long time I guess. Not sure. It's confusing stuff, but a powerful feeling.

As I said before, for me it seems to come from family mostly, the parents and my brothers, we have been a judgemental bunch who seem to have trouble simply accepting one another as we are, and instead often criticizing one another about how we should be. Thinking it anyway, if not directly saying it.

But people's attitudes and behaviors don't often change much or easily over time. Generally speaking, most of us appear pretty much the same as we were long ago. Yet we continue to judge each other for this and have trouble accepting that this is just how we are. I dunno, wishing people would be something other than what they are, is a futile wish. It's like wishing the weather would just suddenly change to the way you want it to be. Not gonna happen. You've got to accept the weather as it is now.
Shame sure is a horrible feeling.

It's only recently that I've actually realised the hot, burning feeling in my soul that I have been feeling since I was about 15 is 'shame'. It's such a 'natural' response to being stigmatised that I hadn't really analysed it. I now see that stigma and shame are two sides of the same social coin.

We normalise the link between stigma and shame because it is a function of normal social psychology. This is why I don't take 'positive psychology' seriously. It fails to address the fact that stigma, shame and social exclusion are entirely normal, non-pathological processes.
 
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