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Shame

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Re: Shame

Postby covertunsure » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:21 pm

Akuma wrote:Whats the difference between shame and embarrassment?
I feel some of my development-delays and stuff "normal" people kern in their teens or earlier and I have to work on them almost in my 40s now to be a bit embarrassing. But I'm not sure I am ashamed of it.


IMO, embarrassment is a temporary reaction that can be more easily resolved, whereas shame seems to cut deeper into our own self-image and self-esteem, something that cannot be easily resolved. Embarrassment usually doesn't result in social ostracization, whereas shame can. Shame seems designed to get us back in line with the social norm to prevent that ostracization, whereas embarrassment seems "lighter" somehow. Not sure if that adequately explains it, but that's my perception.

justonemoreperson wrote:Shame is a fear response with no resolution. Usually people react to fear by either running from the situation or fighting it. Shame exists after the event, where no more action can be taken.

It's a realisation that you've caused a social problem that cannot be fixed, and your flight / flight process has nothing to work with. With the behaviour comes a recognition that you've contravened some widely accepted principle and your status in your social group is threatened.


Yes, this is my understanding, as well. But there must be a resolution, as I believe you can work on chronic and/or toxic shame. It is just hard to resolve in the moment. Having friends to reassure you and make you feel worthy can be helpful, but I rarely believe me as I think they are putting me on and the proof is in the pudding--I was rejected.

I don't think shame is always triggered by causing a social problem in others, although perhaps that's not what you meant. For me, shame (and, sometimes, guilt) is threatened by my raging, angry, or rude behavior toward others, as well as more often and more painfully, being rejected by a romantic (or, to a lesser extent, business or platonic) interest. Rejection naturally triggers shame in those with low self-esteem or narcissistic (or perhaps borderline) defenses. I hate rejection with a passion; it makes me question my worthiness, my attractiveness (above all), my personality, etc. It makes me hate myself and hate the person who rejected me and put me in the inferior position.

For sure, it's definitely a threat to my perceived or actual social status and feeling of acceptance in the tribe of humanity.
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Re: Shame

Postby ViniStonemoss » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:40 pm

Hey Jomp,

Nice to see you over here...

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Re: Shame

Postby justonemoreperson » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:44 pm

ViniStonemoss wrote:Hey Jomp,

Nice to see you over here...


Just spreading the love.

-- 19 Nov 2019, 21:49 --

covertunsure wrote:Rejection naturally triggers shame in those with low self-esteem or narcissistic (or perhaps borderline) defenses. I hate rejection with a passion; it makes me question my worthiness, my attractiveness (above all), my personality, etc. It makes me hate myself and hate the person who rejected me and put me in the inferior position.


I get why you feel angry at the rejection, but shame? Why? Do you think you behave in a way that requires shame?
I'm not arguing; I'm explaining why I'm right.
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Re: Shame

Postby ViniStonemoss » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:34 pm

I think, perhaps, it's the other way around. You grow up not knowing shame, being given some leeway. When people criticize or reject you, you may experience vivid painful shame, but have no idea how to deal with it/integrate criticisms. So it's panic on board instead, translating into vivid anger at people, as you may model after people from your close environment.

One of the possible scenarios...

- It can be misleading that NPD is said to be shame-based. As I don't think people with NPD are necessarily shame filled, rather they're ill-equipped to deal with shame.
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Re: Shame

Postby covertunsure » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:48 pm

justonemoreperson wrote:I get why you feel angry at the rejection, but shame? Why? Do you think you behave in a way that requires shame?


No, I don't think shame is necessarily based on behavior, I think it can result from rejection itself and alone, I.e. "You aren't good enough for me/the tribe. Fix yourself." It's often a maladaptive response, but a response nonetheless based on real or perceived ostracization from the tribe. Does that make sense?

If you think about it, anger at rejection is maladaptive too. It makes more rational sense to simply accept it, lick your wounds, and move on to greener pastures and people that don't reject you. Jealousy as well is often maladaptive, yet we often partake in it unwillingly.

ViniStonemoss wrote:I think, perhaps, it's the other way around. You grow up not knowing shame, being given some leeway. When people criticize or reject you, you may experience vivid painful shame, but have no idea how to deal with it/integrate criticisms. So it's panic on board instead, translating into vivid anger at people, as you may model after people from your close environment.

One of the possible scenarios...

- It can be misleading that NPD is said to be shame-based. As I don't think people with NPD are necessarily shame filled, rather they're ill-equipped to deal with shame.


Just to be clear, my psychologist doesn't think I have full-blown NPD, but significant narcissistic defenses nonetheless. That said, I'm not sure what, if any, difference it makes since the NPD criteria are somewhat arbitrary, as with all things psychiatry/psychology.

I did grow up knowing shame. I was ashamed of my body and my pot-belly as a kid--I wasn't fat but always had this persistent pot-belly that made me look pregnant. I was ashamed and extremely self-conscious to show my body and jump into a pool with people I knew, even when I was 6 or 8. I was extremely embarrassed when my voice changed at puberty, so much so that I purposefully overrode the change to still sound like a kid. I didn't want people noticing changes in me, I was ashamed to be human. I've always been extremely hypersensitive to and hypervigilant for rejection. I think some people just have that as a personality trait.

I'm still shame-filled, but you're right, the bigger problem, perhaps, is not knowing how to deal with it.

Let me ask this: a) do "normal" people experience shame as much as pwNPD? b) How do they adaptively deal with shame?
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Re: Shame

Postby justonemoreperson » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:59 am

covertunsure wrote:
If you think about it, anger at rejection is maladaptive too. It makes more rational sense to simply accept it, lick your wounds, and move on to greener pastures and people that don't reject you. Jealousy as well is often maladaptive, yet we often partake in it unwillingly.


I don't agree. I think anger at rejection is probably one of the most normal responses. Ignore correct societal behaviour and look at how all animals behave. Their behaviour is based on finding a mate, conflict with a rival, anger, violence and then winning or losing.

Society tells us that we must be nice people; 'do unto others as we'd have them do to us'. But this is controlling behaviour to create a civil society; it's not natural behaviour, and it lies on top of hundreds of thousands of years of instinct.

We're quite happy to be nice to other people. providing that they do the same, otherwise anger and retribution becomes our motive.

Rejection is the same. You put effort and time into someone and expect them to do the same. Rejection is a failure, in our minds, of them not living up to their end of the social contract. They deserve to burn.
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Re: Shame

Postby covertunsure » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:28 pm

Welp, I was rejected again last night by TWO people, the second for sure and the first maybe just by omission/default. I just can't stand this. Coping with rejection and shame as a narcissist is excruciating. I have nothing to fall back on, no real self-esteem or sense of self-worth, just grandiosity mixed with self-loathing and worthlessness...a truly toxic combination of vulnerable narcissism.

First guy: I went to a gay singles event and chatted him up. I'd thought he was checking me out before, but maybe it was wishful thinking. We were talking for about 5-10 minutes and his friend was leaving and he basically just walked away to leave and say goodbye to a couple other people.

I was dejected but I went to a gay bar and talked to a guy for a while, at which point he pulled the "I'm going to the bathroom" BS and I saw him promptly stride out afterward.

So not overt rejections, just clear disinterest to me IMO.

It doesn't help, likely, that I have a big ole disgusting acne cyst right on the damn bridge of my nose, due to eating dairy (which I know I shouldn't do), but I can't help but feel that sense of entitlement that people shouldn't reject ME for that, that I'm the exception, that people are shallow assholes, etc. Externalization and classic narcissism. Very painful. But accepting that I'm not the exception and that I need to work on myself, and that I'll still not be perfect and have this awful skin condition and be rejected, is equally painful.

When I'm rejected, the next few days are anxiety-, shame-, and anger-filled, and I can barely function. I ######6 hate this.

With the first guy, I immediately thought about suicide, slashing my wrists, etc. when he walked away, but I am too much of a narcissist and pussy to do it. I desperately wish I had the courage.

With this disease, one simply cannot win.

justonemoreperson wrote:
covertunsure wrote:
If you think about it, anger at rejection is maladaptive too. It makes more rational sense to simply accept it, lick your wounds, and move on to greener pastures and people that don't reject you. Jealousy as well is often maladaptive, yet we often partake in it unwillingly.


I don't agree. I think anger at rejection is probably one of the most normal responses. Ignore correct societal behaviour and look at how all animals behave. Their behaviour is based on finding a mate, conflict with a rival, anger, violence and then winning or losing.

Society tells us that we must be nice people; 'do unto others as we'd have them do to us'. But this is controlling behaviour to create a civil society; it's not natural behaviour, and it lies on top of hundreds of thousands of years of instinct.

We're quite happy to be nice to other people. providing that they do the same, otherwise anger and retribution becomes our motive.

Rejection is the same. You put effort and time into someone and expect them to do the same. Rejection is a failure, in our minds, of them not living up to their end of the social contract. They deserve to burn.


I don't really agree with the bolded part. This is entitlement, the idea of "expectation" of someone doing the same. There is no social contract and should be no expectations if you approach someone you're romantically interested in, as they may not be interested back. How is anger in this case justified? It actually harms the other person, yourself, and potentially your other relationships if you take it out on others.

Fact is, many people don't experience anger upon rejection--my friend included, who probably has close to 0 pathological narcissistic traits despite being good looking in his youth. He accepts someone's disinterest and moves on. Sure, he's not happy, and he feels disappointed, but he doesn't feel much shame and certainly doesn't experience rage or significant anger.
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Re: Shame

Postby Greebo » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:07 pm

Covertunsure, just how old are you?

Sometimes you sound like you’re in your early twenties, loitering in your apartment, trying to think up get rich quick schemes. Other times you talk like someone closing in on 40, trying to hold onto their fading youth with both hands.

It would help to have some context in regards to most of these posts as it’s difficult (at least for me) to get a fix on where you are coming from.
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Re: Shame

Postby covertunsure » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:16 pm

Greebo wrote:Covertunsure, just how old are you?

Sometimes you sound like you’re in your early twenties, loitering in your apartment, trying to think up get rich quick schemes. Other times you talk like someone closing in on 40, trying to hold onto their fading youth with both hands.

It would help to have some context in regards to most of these posts as it’s difficult (at least for me) to get a fix on where you are coming from.


I'm about 30. And I am loitering in my apartment, which is extremely depressing, like a perpetual Groundhog Day. but I wouldn't say I'm thinking up get rich quick schemes. I'm more trying to figure out what to do with my life and how to get out of this awful rut.

You raise a good point. I'm not your typical roughly-30 year old. I have bad acne and acne scarring, which makes almost *everyone* think I'm significantly older than my age and probably hampers my attractiveness and luck with those I'm attracted to, who tend to be younger. Incredibly frustrating.
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Re: Shame

Postby ViniStonemoss » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:36 pm

justonemoreperson wrote:Society tells us that we must be nice people; 'do unto others as we'd have them do to us'. But this is controlling behaviour to create a civil society; it's not natural behaviour, and it lies on top of hundreds of thousands of years of instinct.


I believe it's about well-being rather:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/evidence-based-living/201906/knowing-your-why-is-good-you
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