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Guilt & Shame

Guilt and shame are often used interchangeably, but they are different feelings. Guilt can help you understand how your actions impact others, but shame is an inward-facing emotion that reflects how you feel about yourself.

Guilt vs. Shame

Discussing shame vs. guilt in recovery is an important aspect of success.

Guilt is:
  • Feeling remorse or responsible for something you’ve done wrong or perceived you did wrong
  • Relating to a specific action like making a mistake, committing an offense, or hurting someone (intentionally or unintentionally)
Shame, on the other hand, is:
  • Feeling that you are bad, worthy of contempt, or inadequate as a person
  • Relating to our behavior or self, often in relation to other people’s opinions, not necessarily about a specific behavior or event

Mental Health & Shame

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

Someone who feels deep-seated shame and low self-esteem may not realize that it’s the motivation for many destructive behaviors, which can include substance abuse, eating disorders, road rage, domestic violence, and many other personal and social crises.

Find Help at Nystrom & Associates

At Nystrom & Associates, we help clients work through feelings of guilt so they can also release feelings of shame. We take an individualized approach that helps you figure out what is guilt and what is shame in your own life.

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