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Shame Poll


What Causes Shame?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. What causes shame in our life?

    • Other people’s words (externally forced)
      0
    • Our interpretation of other people’s words (internally caused)
      5
    • Something else (explain)
      7


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6 minutes ago, Calm said:

All of the above..

Would you say there are things someone could say that would force another to feel shame regardless of the situation or who it is said to?

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2 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

shifts in beliefs and cognitions can reduce a shame response.

No one can fully “force” one to feel shame. It’s more like strong influences that add up.

It seems to me one of the things that has to happen for shame to be induced is, the person has to be in agreement with the shaming words (or actions) on some level.  So I think children who do not yet have strong boundaries in that regard are especially vulnerable, as are some adults. 

On the other hand, my cats have healthy boundaries and do not go into agreement with shaming words or actions directed at them.

If there is a scale of spiritual energy states that ranges from low to high, I think that shame is way down at or near the lowest end of the scale.  I do not think it is beneficial to seek to impose shame on either children or adults because it is such a de-valuing, soul-crushing state for the person.  

BlueDreams, I am interested in your insights on shifting one's beliefs and cognitions to reduce a shame response, if you don't mind sharing. 

Edited by manol
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8 hours ago, Fether said:

Would you say there are things someone could say that would force another to feel shame regardless of the situation or who it is said to?

You can’t force someone who is mentally/emotionally  healthy to feel shame, but I have my doubts about people who are already vulnerable in an area , such that someone could knowingly hit their triggers as I think there is a distinct possibility they could be controlled/forced to feel shame.  Normally you can contribute to increasing risk of feeling, but such can be resisted by healthy people. 

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10 hours ago, Fether said:

This isn’t a poll about whether it is ok to be mean. This is a poll purely about what causes the feeling of shame

Shame should be a healthy result of unhealthy behaviors when known by others. Unhealthy shame can occur from an environment where one is morally or intellectually misinformed, and one does not like to be thought to be different before man. The Christian should not be troubled (ashamed) about being different before man. But we should observe that any of his brothers or sisters should have true compassion for the immature Christian who is ashamed to be identified as a Christian. Surely most mature Christians have been in that position at one time or another and should not feel superior.

After baptism, which makes a new life, the babe in Jesus ordinarily has to be nourished and disciplined and to be allowed to grow up without expecting fully mature behavior by his or her fellows. Shame can be a help to little ones, as they see that they do not meet the full measure of their potential, which is practically limitless. But who is not still "little"? Who has reached their full potential? The most mature is still moving forward, subject to shame themselves, and therefore tolerant of those around them who also do not perfectly imitate Jesus, their Model.    

To be altogether shameless is not an appropriate attitude for fallible persons. Shame, properly understood before God and man, can be an instrument of grace that leads to humility, which is nothing less than a true understanding of our position before God and all creatures.  

Edited by 3DOP
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59 minutes ago, Calm said:

You can’t force someone who is mentally/emotionally  healthy to feel shame, but I have my doubts about people who are already vulnerable in an area , such that someone could knowingly hit their triggers as I think there is a distinct possibility they could be controlled/forced to feel shame.  Normally you can contribute to increasing risk of feeling, but such can be resisted by healthy people. 

Follow up question (and this can be answered by everyone). 
 

What is the shame culture, described by many, in the church? Is it simply just that the church expects much of its people and there are a lot of people who do not interpret those expectations well? Should the church change its expectations?

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I think when a person tries to make another person feel embarrassed over an idea or interest they have the one instigating or discouragement really has an insecurity problem.  Some people are afraid of other people being successful so they try to install fear so you will become fearful .  Like this other day I was encouraging a few people to study the Bible the person I was with started to correct me.  She didn't get to finish speaking because I kept on talking.  She started to say , "What you need to understand Rhonda ....." But I didn't let her finish because she had already faithfully offered me two other insults and now she was goin g to tell me to shut up or something.  Or what I had to offer people wasn't needed.

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2 minutes ago, SteelMagnoliainTexas said:

I think when a person tries to make another person feel embarrassed over an idea or interest they have the one instigating or discouragement really has an insecurity problem.  Some people are afraid of other people being successful so they try to install fear so you will become fearful .  Like this other day I was encouraging a few people to study the Bible the person I was with started to correct me.  She didn't get to finish speaking because I kept on talking.  She started to say , "What you need to understand Rhonda ....." But I didn't let her finish because she had already faithfully offered me two other insults and now she was goin g to tell me to shut up or something.  Or what I had to offer people wasn't needed.

So it's fear.  People use fear to try and make you feel ashamed and really sometimes I don't even want to walk out that door because someoneout there will say something to me purposely to discourage .

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When a person feels shame because they have been asked not to partake of the sacrament for repentance purposes; is the shame they feel caused by their own internal thoughts, or is the church culpable for shaming them?

One if my childhood teenage friends said one of the things that caused him to leave the church was the shame he felt when he was asked not to partake of the sacrament for a period of time. He felt the whole congregation was judging him. To be honest, I didn’t even know and I’m assuming most of the congregation didn’t either. And if some did know, they didn’t care.

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I've learned that shame is like a scalpel. It is beneficial as far as it is actually needed and is wielded with knowledge and compassion. Outside of that it just leaves scars and damage.

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Just now, Chum said:

I've learned that shame is like a scalpel. It is beneficial as far as it is actually needed and is wielded with knowledge and compassion. Outside of that it just leaves scars and damage.

Beautiful!

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57 minutes ago, filovirus said:

When a person feels shame because they have been asked not to partake of the sacrament for repentance purposes; is the shame they feel caused by their own internal thoughts, or is the church culpable for shaming them?

One if my childhood teenage friends said one of the things that caused him to leave the church was the shame he felt when he was asked not to partake of the sacrament for a period of time. He felt the whole congregation was judging him. To be honest, I didn’t even know and I’m assuming most of the congregation didn’t either. And if some did know, they didn’t care.

My closest sibling and I experienced almost identical things in our lives. We were both raised by the same parents, went to the same church, and had the same issue with pornography. 
 

When I was asked to not partake of the sacrament, I never felt shame or that I was less than others. I simply acknowledged that this was an issue I needed to overcome, and this was the process. 
 

My sibling, on the other hand, had the exact opposite experience. The shame was thick for them and it was one major step for them in leaving the church.

Im more inclined to think the feeling of shame is far more how we interpret what is being said and not some systematic issue the church has.

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21 minutes ago, Chum said:

I've learned that shame is like a scalpel. It is beneficial as far as it is actually needed and is wielded with knowledge and compassion. Outside of that it just leaves scars and damage.

Alma 42:29-30

”only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance …do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.”

Some people allow that scalpel to have its way and to just cut and cut non-stop. Never allowing the sutures to step in and close the hole

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8 hours ago, manol said:

It seems to me one of the things that has to happen for shame to be induced is, the person has to be in agreement with the shaming words (or actions) on some level.  So I think children who do not yet have strong boundaries in that regard are especially vulnerable, as are some adults. 

On the other hand, my cats have healthy boundaries and do not go into agreement with shaming words or actions directed at them.

If there is a scale of spiritual energy states that ranges from low to high, I think that shame is way down at or near the lowest end of the scale.  I do not think it is beneficial to seek to impose shame on either children or adults because it is such a de-valuing, soul-crushing state for the person.  

BlueDreams, I am interested in your insights on shifting one's beliefs and cognitions to reduce a shame response, if you don't mind sharing. 

Sure. It's not super easy if shame's a go-to. But it's based on cognitive behavioral therapy (basicaly identifying and changing thinking errors or maladaptive beliefs), learning to practice self-compassion, and being mindful of when one is falling into a shame hole. Really bad shame patterns I call shame-holes or say they like blackholes because no light or positive messages outside them really can help them escape it. It has to be them learning to take and believe the messages they come up with outside the shame-hole and responding back them for oneself when in them. I've watch more than one well-meaning partner try to bolster them up and wear themselves out before their shaming partners starts to ease out of their shame-hole. 

If there's shame given from an external source and the person doesn't naturally go to shame, then it's just learning to process the message, see what is actually true (maybe they did something wrong) v what isn't (that they're bad, extreme assumptions, etc).

 

With luv,

BD

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3 minutes ago, Fether said:

only let your sins trouble you

I think the boundary here is important - that shame isn't appropriate if sin isn't present.  It does not say to let every sin trouble you or that sin dictates we ought to live with ongoing shame.

The thing with shame, it is extremely resource intensive. It is it's nature to sap the strength we need to repair damage and rectify mistakes.

In short, shame is clearly helpful, in those limited cases, where it leads to clearly beneficial outcomes. Past that, it's risky at best.

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29 minutes ago, Chum said:

The thing with shame, it is extremely resource intensive. It is it's nature to sap the strength we need to repair damage and rectify mistakes.

Just to be clear why it is so, the difference between guilt and shame:

Quote

You may sometimes confuse shame with guilt, a related but different emotion.

  • Guilt is a feeling you get when you did something wrong, or perceived you did something wrong.
  • Shame is a feeling that your whole self is wrong, and it may not be related to a specific behavior or event.

When you feel guilty about the wrong thing you did, you can take steps to make up for it and put it behind you. But feeling shame, or being convinced that you are the thing that's wrong, offers no clear-cut way to "come back" to feeling more positive about yourself. That's one difference between shame and guilt.

From the day you were born, you were learning to feel that you were okay or not okay, accepted or not accepted, in your world. Your self-esteem was shaped by your daily experiences of being praised or criticized, lovingly disciplined or punished, taken care of or neglected…

People who grow up in abusive environments can easily get the message that they are undeserving, inadequate, and inferior—in other words, that they should feel ashamed.

Over time, intense feelings of shame can take hold of a person's self-image and create low self-esteem. Feelings of shame often stem from what other people think. The person may become super-sensitive to what feels like criticism, even if it isn't, and may feel rejected by others. Inside, they feel painful self-contempt and worthlessness.

Researchers studying the role of biology in the development of shame-based low self-esteem are focusing some of their attention on serotonin, a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) in the brain. They are exploring the possibility that low levels of serotonin may contribute to submissive behavior leading to feelings of shame.1

Evidence is increasing that serious problems can occur when shame gets deeply woven into a person's self-image and sense of self-worth.2 

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-shame-425328

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4 hours ago, Fether said:

Follow up question (and this can be answered by everyone). 
 

What is the shame culture, described by many, in the church? Is it simply just that the church expects much of its people and there are a lot of people who do not interpret those expectations well? Should the church change its expectations?

some think that whatever you do in the church isn't good enough, you don't have a good enough job, calling, car, husband/wife, kids, family etc. Some think that all behavior is sexual and so must be contained to not having any relations whatever with members of the opposite gender-you can't talk them, see them etc it's all sexual in nature so at some point you just snap

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4 hours ago, Duncan said:

Some think that all behavior is sexual and so must be contained to not having any relations whatever with members of the opposite gender-you can't talk them, see them etc it's all sexual in nature so at some point you just snap

Wait.  You mean it isn't all sexual in nature????  Because the Church clearly teaches that it is.  Oh wait, you are straight.  You are allowed to be sexual.  Never mind.  Forgot the double standard for a second.  

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John Bradshaw's classic book Healing the Shame that Binds You distinguishes between toxic shame and healthy shame.  Shame is a painful feeling of being exposed when you are not ready to be exposed.  Toxic shame is when you feel that you are inherently defective, a mistake, painful exposure waiting to happen.  Healthy shame is when you recognize that you are human, and therefore, make mistakes, and therefore, as a mere human rather than the God of your own existence, need boundaries.  It follows that a shameless person has no boundaries and that their ego is the source of their commandments. (Where to come up with a good example of that kind of person?  Ex presidents?)

The point of confession in recovery as in repentence is not to inflict shame but to release it.  A person who feels inherently defective does not want to be exposed and inevitably rejected as such, and lies reflexively to avoid any such feeling of shame, and often just as reflexively projects their own guilts onto other people, using the role of judge and accuser as a substitute for personal repentence.  (Once again, there is a very good example of excesses of that kind of being.)   What happens with true recovery and confession is that before a person confesses, they will first be exposed to other people's confessions.  And as they listen recognize themselves, see their own flawed but still lovable humanity in the confession of the other.  They then find hope that in their own confessing they will not be rejected as defective, but rather, recognized as human and loved as such.  With confession comes the release of a burden that they had likely carried for so long and so constantly, that till the weight of it left, they did not understand how heavy it was and how long they had carried it.  With confession and release comes an enhanced capacity for change, aided by the recognition that other flawed humans, and perhaps even a compassonate and perfectly understanding Christ, can help carry their burden and help in defining and maintaining healthy boundaries.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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On 6/19/2022 at 5:03 PM, Chum said:

I've learned that shame is like a scalpel. It is beneficial as far as it is actually needed and is wielded with knowledge and compassion. Outside of that it just leaves scars and damage.

Public shaming surely is never acceptable. As you say compassion and guidance, true pastoral care, is what is needed to set someone back on the right path. Judgementalism, is never acceptable to God.

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4 hours ago, Orthodox Christian said:

Public shaming surely is never acceptable. As you say compassion and guidance, true pastoral care, is what is needed to set someone back on the right path. Judgementalism, is never acceptable to God.

I wasn't thinking of public shaming but that fits too.

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