We think we know what it is.
The dictionary defines it as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour, or a regrettable or unfortunate situation.
We are ashamed of our emotions.
We are ashamed of our physical bodies.
Most of all, we are ashamed of our sexuality.
Unlike the dictionary definition, this shame is not only permanent but entirely unconscious.
Whenever we encounter something that we can’t or won’t talk about, or behaviour that we can’t control, we encounter shame.
What is unconscious shame?
Unconscious shame underlies a wide spectrum of destructive thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
These range from minor issues like the fear of public speaking or the shame of being seen in the toilet, through anxiety or a dislike of being touched, into sexual issues such as porn addiction and premature ejaculation, to the most severe sexual crimes including rape and sexually motivated murder.
What is generational shame?
Unconscious shame is inherited on the basis of epigenetic inheritance, causing the same negative behaviours to repeat from generation to generation.
What are shame-based issues?
Unconscious shame underlies an entire family of destructive behaviours including self-harm, porn addiction, honour-based violence and radicalisation.
Some of these are cyclical in nature, where the repetitive destructive action occurs as a distraction from the pain of the underlying shame.
A brief history of shame
Unconscious shame has its origins in our patriarchal past, when emotional and sexual behaviour were violently suppressed until they became repressed.
Celebrity & criminal shame
Perhaps the clearest way to see unconscious shame in action is to study some famous—or infamous—people whose lives have been shaped or shattered by it.
Are YOU ashamed?
Complete the self-test today!
Spoiler: our entire society is currently infected with shame. Many of the issues in the test are so widespread they are considered normal. They are not normal; they are normalised.
…begins by recognising its presence and understanding its mechanics.
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Joan Morgan McCarthy, author of Peace and Harmony: Reenvisioning Sexuality Education
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