Guilt & Shame: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people get these two feelings confused.

Guilt is the feeling you have when you’ve done something wrong.  It comes from inside of yourself. Its something you may want to make amends for. It nags at you. Maybe you were unkind to someone. Maybe you broke the law. That kind of thing. It does not consume your identity..

 Shame, on the other hand, is something that is done to you by the bad behavior of another person. It is abuse.It is usually done to children, who grow up feeling they are damaged or defective in some way. Their whole self concept is negative, because they’ve grown up thinking there must be something inherently wrong with me if an adult would treat me that way. The same thing happens when an adult is assaulted. They absorb the shame of the abuser, thus keeping the abuser in control long after he or she is gone.

Therapy can help you to put the shame back on the abuser, where it belongs, and take back control of who you are.

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