Shame or Guilt? (Quick Thought)

Via Step 12.5

I met a social worker in Phnom Penh, Cambodia recently (a Mecca for aid workers) and we had a 15 minutes conversation that lasted hours. We talked about the nature of guilt and shame, and she pointed out the difference I hadn’t considered.

  1. Guilt happens when you feel bad about your actions while shame happens when you feel bad about who you are as a person.
  2. Guilt causes a person to want to make amends and reform while shame makes a person frustrated and humiliated.
  3. Guilt can be used to effect positive behaviors or social change while shame can create obedience and give authority to abusive personalities.

Read more: Difference Between Guilt and Shame | Difference Between | Guilt vs Shame

One thought on “Shame or Guilt? (Quick Thought)

  1. Yeah, interesting delineation. Much like anger which can be turned inward and manifest as depression or self loathing. Something sensitive people often do and not to be gender leaning, this often said about of women, how they turn anger the feel toward another against themselves rather that direct it toward the source. A way of accommodating, care taking, not making waves.
    Shame is a personal attack on the self which has it’s submissive effects where guilt can be used for change or also to punish as a backlash.
    We’re going to have some interesting conversations…always more.

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