Having a Conversation with Shame

Shame comes from early experiences in life when your basic needs and feelings were not only unmet, but perhaps dismissed or unvalidated by adults. The icky, awful feeling can get activated throughout your life in situations that trigger similar feelings or experiences.It’s an insidious feeling of worthlessness that often shows up in survivors of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Working with a therapist who understands shame can be very beneficial. Shame is difficult to heal and doing it on your own may cause you to lose hope—the hope of feeling better about yourself.

What would a conversation with shame look like? You can ask shame anything you want. The answers may be hard to hear, but keep going. You could start by asking shame why you feel so badly about yourself?

Shame: You are a loser, always have been, always will be. If that’s what shame is going to say, why should I continue?

Shame, why should I continue asking questions if you are so mean?

Shame: I’m not mean, you are. You are always berating yourself, why is that?

I don’t know, well, I guess I do know, because what you said is true—I am flawed. Shame, How did I become so flawed?

Shame: There you go again. You are not flawed. People made you think you were. Remember how your mother always criticized you? You had to get yourself ready for school, and got yelled at for being late?

Shame, I hate thinking about my mother, and school. I hated school. I was so stupid and got terrible grades. Shame, why did I get terrible grades?

Shame: As a little kid you had to cope with a drunk mother, dirty dishes, a father who beat her up and slapped you about. Living with all of that, how do you think you could have concentrated in school?

Well, I have put all of that behind me. Even though I am depressed, I put on a good front. My house is immaculate, and I am an outstanding worker. I can’t control my temper, though. Why do I get so angry?

Shame: Chances are your anger built up from years of neglect and abuse. Then you internalized all that anger and disrespect. It didn’t stop when you became an adult. Now there’s no where for it to go but up and out.

I hate this conversation. It’s too much to deal with. Shame, is there any good news?

Shame: It’s a lot to deal with. Let’s slow down our conversation. None of this is your fault and you are loved!


Treatment can be a transformative process when you find a program that works for you as well as with you. At Infinity Treatment Centers, lasting recovery is attainable at last. Our luxury residences offer the highest privacy and comfort while our clinical program provides the personalized approach necessary for infinite change. Call us today for information: (844) 399-0438

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